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New luxury, sustainable skincare brand makes the most of sheep’s milk

By MiNDFOOD

New luxury, sustainable skincare brand makes the most of sheep’s milk

Housed in refillable, handcrafted and compostable ceramic vessels, Ewe Care is a new skincare line based on the topical benefits of sheep’s milk.

Created as an extension of Granvewe, a family-owned and operated Tasmanian farm that produces artisan sheep’s cheese, the day and night face creams not only make the most of the milks’ vitamin-rich properties but repurposes output not suitable for cheesemaking, minimising waste in a business where every step is considered. Another arm of the business, Hartshorn Distillery, turns excess whey from cheesemaking into small batch vodka and gin.

“When it became clear that lower solids, start of season milk was marginally profitable for cheese making, we started to look peripherally for solutions,” says Nicole Gilliver, co-founder and executive director of Ewe Care.

While undertaking market research around the potential for a skincare operation, Gilliver says they came across research presented to Massey University’s ANZ Sheep Milk conference. 

“There was an academic paper that outlined the historical use of specifically sheep milk fats in ancient Asian and Sub Continental peoples as a topical anti-bacterial and anti-microbial treatment with amazing outcomes in reduction of scarring and visible redness. The paper scientifically concluded that the fats specific to sheep milk and particularly Asian and Sub Continental breeds of sheep, such as the Awassi (the breed we have), not only served to stave off infection also had a remarkable natural ability to reduce redness and irritation also significantly reducing scarring and pigmentation.”

The list of benefits doesn’t stop there. Rich in vitamins A, B, C, D & E, including a host of proteins, fats and acids, sheep’s milk is said to aid in nourishing and softening skin and increasing cell turnover through gentle exfoliation. Ewe Care’s formulas contain not only this beneficial milk but also a considered selection of Tasmanian-native botanicals, including Fucoidan Kelp Extract, Coastal Tea Tree Oil, Cape Grim Water and Tasmanian Mountain Pepperberry that come together in creams that hold their own in the overcrowded luxury skincare market.  

What helps them further stand apart is the brand’s stylish and unique packaging. All components can be expected to biodegrade in normal home compost within 45 days to 12-months.

“Whilst the packaging in beauty is for the most part made from either recyclable or recycled plastics, this fails to address two major issues,” explains Gilliver (pictured above)

“One, many beauty plastics are designed to lock out air and thus they are impossible to clean which, for the most part, even if they find their way into recycling bins renders them as contaminants.

“Two, humans are fundamentally lazy. We have been programmed towards convenience over effort since supermarkets came about and thus, irrespective of what we know of recycling most plastics still find their way into landfill.”

She says in order to stick rigidly to the brand’s values they had to offer a non-plastic, high value compostable solution.  High value because if packaging isn’t precious in cost and aesthetics, there’s a tendency to throw things out.

“We looked to creating packaging that represented not only our values but would add value to the user as an extension of the ritual of beauty in its aesthetics and feel. A unique piece of art that would take pride of place as a permanent solution to beauty packaging.”

Each of the raku ceramic jars are handmade by fellow Tasmania artisan Ian Clare who finishes each by using the waste wool from a sheep’s belly to burn a unique patina on the outside. Refills of the cream are available in compostable sachets. 

“Our entire now 20-year-old business was born out of an obsession with waste in all its forms,” says Gilliver of the closed system polyculture farm, run on tank water, and its offshoots. “We see waste as an opportunity and not a cost.”

 

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