Meet Corbin Halliday, founder of Three Warriors, an Australian-made self-tan brand.
Corbin Halliday had been working in the beauty industry for ten years when he experienced some serious health issues he couldn't ignore. This inspired him to pivot his career and refocus his energy on building his own business creating chemical-free self-tan products.
Growing up in the pristine state of Tasmania, to a family of entrepreneurs, Corbin says starting a business was ‘in his blood.’ So with the help of a biochemist friend and fuelled by a fierce desire to challenge the tanning industry and make clean beauty accessible, Three Warriors was born.
Five years on, his organic self-tanning brand has reached A-brand status, with eight awards, a cult celebrity and influencer following and a distinct Tasmanian-derived, plant-based DNA to its name.
Here, he shares his brand story, what he’s learned, how the beauty industry has leaned into clean beauty and sustainability, and what has been instrumental to its success.
I started Three Warriors in 2014. I had been working in the beauty industry as a hairdresser for ten years and started to become really unwell. I was waking up with bad migraines and experiencing pain down my arms, legs and feet. It was so bad I would leave the salon to go straight to hospital.
After the third hospital visit, my blood pressure had become so high, I was close to a stroke. I was soon after diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, a response resulting from toxin build up, in my case from household mould and chemicals.
I made the conscious decision to go chemical-free to give my body a fighting chance to detox but found all the fake tans available were full of chemicals. Eventually I found one, but it was sticky and had a strong smell. I thought, ‘If this is the only organic self-tan out there, I’ll make my own!’
Five years on, we’ve been featured in some of the biggest publications, people love it and we’re heading to where we want it to be as a global leader in organic tanning - reformulating the industry and shifting collective awareness to be conscious of what you put on our skin while still enjoying an amazing tan.Tell us more about your clean beauty philosophy. How does this ethos guide your brand and product development?
Three Warriors is uniquely inspired by Tasmania (my origin state), as such our organic self-tan is it’s own living breathing entity that embodies the clean beauty movement with its plant-based formulation connected to the clean, pristine Tasmanian landscape and shores.Can you talk about the ingredients and where you source them from?
Absolutely, our ingredients are fundamental to our brand’s DNA. Derived from Tasmania, home to sandy beaches, cloaked forest mountain tops and clean air, it’s a perfect eco-environment for organic ingredients.
One of our powerhouse plant-based ingredients is the Tasmanian olive oil, sourced from Flinders Island (a little island off Tasmania). Produced by two beautiful women in their 70s who hand-press the olives for us, it is among the most pure, lovingly created olive oil on the planet.
Other nourishing ingredients include - aloe vera, avocado oil, chamomile extract, rose oil and Tasmanian sand, all designed to soothe, soften, destress and revitalise the skin.
This is a really interesting space to be in at the moment. Sustainable and ethical practices are definitely at the heart of what we do at Three Warriors.
In terms of our ingredients, all suppliers are governed by the Organic Food Chain along with Safe Cosmetics Australia, Cruelty-Free, Vegan and Australian Made organisations. This means we engage with leading bodies that help us uphold practices that positively impact the environment, something we value as a small business - along with transparency.
We’ve also become more sustainable with packaging, using recyclable boxes rather than Australian post bags and are currently working with a leader in the sustainable space so stay tuned!What changes have you seen in the Australian beauty industry and ‘A-beauty’ category in recent times?
The biggest change is the shift in conscious consumerism. People now pick up products to see what they are putting on their skin, asking- ‘Are they certified natural, vegan, organic toxin-free?’ They even research chemical names, what they stand for and where they are from. We’re finding it crazy but awesome!
The other side is the kind beauty aspect. It’s no longer about brands saying, ‘You need to buy me because I am an elite brand,’ consumers now want to know, ‘What’s in it for them? What ethical and environmental footprint is the brand leaving?’ So we now educate people on how we practice kind, sustainable beauty.What excites you about the future of Australian-made beauty and skincare?
That young people are becoming educated in beauty and wellness at a younger age! My friend's child is 14 and is already choosing to ditch chemical tans and makeup for organic products which is amazing.
As a brand we’re also excited about focusing more on self-care and education, promoting that if you look after yourself, everything falls into place. There are so many people with eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, hormonal problems - all health issues linked to chemical compounds. By lowering your exposure, you will see a decrease in all of these things.
We’re also finding people are becoming more confident tanning at home and don’t want to go to the salon to get a spray tan. The COVID-19 lockdown period was huge for us. We grew so much as a brand, so it’s exciting to see that shift. We’re right in the middle of the clean beauty movement, it’s amazing.What is your personal beauty regimen?
Health and wellbeing is so important to me, so I drink at least two litres of water a day to support my skin and alleviate toxins from my body. I also love to run cold water at the end of my shower for two minutes to renew blood circulation.
As for tanning products, I use Three Warriors Tasmanian Sand Scrub three times a week to prep skin and then use the Three Warriors Self-Tan Mousse. I love it because I can leave it on for three hours and get a glow that lasts six days.What is the one product you always recommend from your range?
Either the face tan or gradual tan. The Three Warriors Aqua Mist Face tan gives you a bit of a boost and tends to be a big seller in winter. It makes your eyes pop and you don’t have to wear makeup.
Alternatively, the Three Warriors Gradual Tan is so easy to use, nourishing for skin, won’t stain clothes or smell, can be used on the whole body, suits all skin tones and gives you a year round tan.What has been the most rewarding part and the most challenging part of being a business owner?
The most rewarding part is making people feel confident in their own skin! There’s nothing better than someone you’ve never met saying, ‘I’ve been tanning for ten years but now react to every single tan and have had the worst dermatitis, but now thanks to your tan I can tan again!’
As for the most challenging… definitely the hard work and trying to balance a social life while running a company all by yourself. You can’t shut off. It really is a 24/7 job. But I love it! The brand is my baby and I am utterly obsessed with it.