homeschool during lockdown

Enjoying ‘homeschool’ with your treasures, during Lockdown.

Homeschool during Lockdown?

Many of us are parents, and we are facing weeks at home with our children.  And we feel we are facing ‘homeschool’ during lockdown.  We’ve all be plunged into a situation we thought inconceivable not very long ago.  I don’t want to use the word, ‘surviving’, and ‘thriving’ is laced with hard work, so I’m going to focus on ‘enjoying’ this unique time with our tamariki.  

When level 4 restrictions, including school closures, were announced, I saw a flurry of online whispers and exclamations around ‘homeschool’.  I even saw one post where a parent proudly posted her children’s STRICT timetable which included a 9-4.30pm schedule! I strongly disagree that now is the time to enforce social and educational expectations on our children.  We don’t even know what we are educating them for, the post Covid19 world may look different to the one we’ve been occupying.

Think Differently

I am not a trained education specialist, and I’m speaking from a place where knowledge and wisdom, plus gut instinct intersect.   I have been gifted with three boys who are all dyslexic – and between them also have the added bonuses of ADHD, processing issues and giftedness. These profound differences in how they learn have forced me to look at the world of education differently.  Because they think different.  So, I had to. They run on feelings, they ask questions, they have incredible insights that when laid bare, are so damn simple. So, from my experience of parenting, ‘homeschooling’ and hours of research to find answers, here’s my enjoyment guide for emjoying your children in lockdown: homeschool during lockdown

  • Have a family schedule – plan your days – write it up on a big piece of paper.  Use as a guide to get towards the end of every day. It could focus on household chore time, exercise/outing time and time for some focused kids activities. As well as Freeplay!  Use it as a guide, and don’t be to strict about it. 


  • Embrace ‘freeplay’. There is clear scientific evidence that promotes freeplay as the best way for kids to learn and grow – as well as gain the skills they need to become successful world citizens – and by successful, we’re talking, developing resilience, team work, kindness, sharing, collaboration.  Letting the imagination run free has countless benefits on brain development.  


  • Get the kids involved in DYI – those projects you never got a chance to complete – now is the time to teach the kids practical skills – start with basic things such as sanding, painting or even just cleaning up around the section.  


  • Now is also a fantastic time for getting into the backyard (if you are lucky enough to have one)  and be with the kids. Teach them about soil (use You Tube vids like this one to help), planting and pruning.  If you can’t access veggie seedlings, just prepare the bed for planting, and if you don’t have a veggie patch yet, start one!  Dig and look at ways to cultivate the soil. The gift of gardening skills, will last a lifetime and is fundamental to their futures.  
  • Exercise!  Grab those rusty bikes and get on them, do kids yoga, walk around the block and find leaves.  


  • Cook!  If you have older kids, now is the time for them to step up and do some family meals.  And younger ones, there’s baking and then the science of baking. There are so many videos online, such as this one that will support you in developing their knowledge!
  • Now is the time to seize your children strengths!  What are they interested in? How many cool videos can you find to watch their interests?  Can you do a passion project about their interests – draw up a pictogram and answer the WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHO AND HOW questions.  


Anything you do with your kids now, from board games to cooking to walking the block is increasing their experience of this world – they are naturally doing maths, literacy and science as they go.  And some days – nothing will go to plan and they will amble around all day, or have far too much screen time.  This is especially true if you also have a paid job to do at home now too!   Make time for yourself to do your job – don’t forget about a bit of self care too.   Now, isn’t the time to worry about too many screens or reading levels. Now is the time to protect them from the scary happenings in the world and to cuddle, talk and embrace.  They may have set schoolwork, make a time each day to devote to this, and if it doesn’t go as planned, help them, sit and do it with them. I don’t think it is wise to stress about it, and I’m sure educators want calm, happy children back after lockdown, and would prefer you to be kind in your expectations.  Every child in Aotearoa is affected right now and it’s not the time to be too obsessed with academic scores.  Some days we will feel like we are failing, like nothing went to plan – but take a breath and go back over the day – you’ll be surprised at the little opportunities and time yo are giving to their development.  And never forget, Happy Parents, Happy Children, so take the pressure off yourself, we have have enough to deal with right now.  

homeschool in lockdown

Jo Broughton 2014 at Tongaporutu Beach, Taranaki.


Home is a place to be nurtured.  It is not a school. We are our children’s most valuable educational assets, and it’s our job to empower them to learn, to ask questions, and to develop soft skills (such as problem solving, team work, creativity, adaptability and resilience). We need to send them into the world prepared.  This lockdown shouldn’t change that.  Home is safety, security and comfort, not timetables, and expectations. They won’t be disadvantaged for a few weeks being wrapped up at home.  Now is not the time to   

Finally, check out this awesome advice from Psychologist, Nigel Latta – he will set your mind at ease for coping for the next few weeks.  homeschool during lockdown.

handwashing with soap

How to Protect Your Family from Covid19

Coronovirus, or COVID-19, is coming. It’s going to affect you. It’s going to affect your children and your wider family. People will possibly die in their thousands. The very fabric of our existence is going to be ripped to shreds?!? So, How to Protect Your Family from Covid19?

Suddenly all those apocalypse movies you watched have an educational benefit – you know what to do right? Isolate yourself and your family. Stockpile supplies. Arm yourself against intruders. And wait for some clever scientists somewhere in a lab to create the vaccine that will save us all.
Our newsfeeds show us empty supermarket shelves, desperate people fighting over toilet paper, people wearing hospital grade masks and the ever increasing number of those infected. The panic button has been hit good and proper. And panic is what we should do…. Or is it?

What if there was a simple solution to controlling this epidemic? What if you (yes, YOU) could protect your children, your family, your community?

What if we literally held the answer to the future existence of the human race in the palm of our hand?  

Soap and Water Saves Lives

Soap and water is your best defense against any viral illness.




That’s it.


Just soap.


Oh, and a bit of water.


Proper Handwashing is the best protection against most contagious illnesses.


Yes, Handwashing Saves Lives!

You got it – washing your hands regularly and ensuring those around you do the same is the single most effective way of stopping COVID-19 in its tracks.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that at any one time, only 20% of people at an airport have clean hands. If that number could be increased to 60% the worldwide spread of coronovirus could be reduced by 70%. 70% percent!!!

Just by people washing their hands!!

Even if that figure was achieved at just the top ten key airports, transmission could be cut by nearly 40%.

The COVID-19 virus is spread through respiratory secretions – saliva and mucus, essentially. An infected person touching their face transfers the virus onto their hands. That can end up on surfaces (supermarket trolley handles, for example) or directly onto someone else’s hands, they touch their face and bingo – another one to add to the tally.

But this chain reaction can be broken by just 20 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water, reducing any bacterial presence by 92%,. And it doesn’t even have to be antibacterial soap. In fact, studies have shown that antibacterial soaps don’t provide any more significant protection against germs and may even be causing us harm. (

In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, ‘Handwashing is like a do-it-yourself vaccine’.

So, we don’t have to wait for the men in white coats to do their thing after all!

There is a right and wrong way of washing your hands – check out this link where microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles from the University of Auckland demonstrates the best technique. Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice is an essential part of the process (although the chorus from ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is also popular and good practice for when you need to carry out CPR. One song, two vital health uses!)

And if you, suffer from dry skin and sore hands washing with commercial products, try one of our natural soaps. They are great for frequent washing as they don’t strip the natural oils from the skin while still removing all manner of dirt and germs. They are also easily broken down in water treatment systems (so you are saving the environment, as well as mankind) AND you’ll be supporting a small, NZ-based business.  The liquid soaps are especially good for frequent handwashing and contain natural germ fighting essential oils.  Just use in a foaming bottle and they will last you ages!

It’s a win:win:win.

So take that, COVID-19.  You now know the most effective way of how to protect your family from covid19.

This is a very cool TED Talk that really brings home how important washing your hands is to protect us from all sorts of nasties.

liquid castile soap

All New Line Up!

Welcome to the our Liquid Castile Soap Line Up!

We’ve worked with Razz Print, a local Taranaki business to bring a new fresh look to our old favourites, and some new exciting products.  We love the new labels in the glass flagons!  We chose the flagons because they will be sent back to us for refills!  Yay for zero waste!

We are encouraging people to buy a glass bottle of soap – along with a foaming bottle – which you can refill again and again.  Eventually, we will have listings on our website for refills of the glass flagons too!  In the meantime, check out the new household range of pure, safe, simple natural liquid soaps.

Sweet Orange and Lavender

Lime and Peppermint


Household Cleaning Soap – Peppermint & Eucalyptus.

It’s All Good

There’s nothing in our liquid soap that you wouldn’t want touching your skin, and everything you do! Handmade in small batches, we use our secret family recipe to make the purest natural castile soap you’ll ever use. Made with only the highest quality ingredients we source personally, your skin will fall in love with you all over again.

Our family soap making business uses organic ingredients where possible, and we’re proud to say you’ll never find palm oil or toxic ingredients in our soaps.

Clean, Smooth & Buttery Soft Skin

To achieve the skin of your dreams is easy with Be Natural Liquid Soap. The added coconut and avocado oils provide the effective yet gentle cleaning your skin deserves. The antioxidants, along with Vitamins A & E deliver your skin a conditioning treatment so gorgeous, it’ll beg for more!

You can use your Be Natural Liquid Soap as a hand or body soap, dispersed through a foaming dispenser. It can also be used as a cleaner, either neat or diluted in hot water around your home. Or to give your clothes a treat, add 1-2 tablespoons into the washing machine.


New Zealand Suicide

Why Are We Failing with Suicide?

This is not your everyday small soap business blog.  I’ve decided to publish it here so that it can be read by people.  It is a social issue affecting us all – and my own mental health is one of the reasons I’ve decided to pursue this little business over other options available to me.  My whanau is the most important thing in my world, hands down, and I can balance my own passions and my tamariki through Be Natural.  I think its time we sat and reflected on what drives us as individuals, and as communities and look into where we could get off the roundabout, seek practical solutions and move forward as happier people.  We cannot continue to ignore this epidemic and we have a collective responsibility to face up to our demons in this country.

New Zealand Leading the World in our Suicide Stats

Not long ago I learned that New Zealand’s suicide rate had increased.  It is now at its highest since records began 12 years ago.  We also still hold the title of highest Youth Suicide in the OECD.  I was shocked and appalled that in our small country, we had nearly 700 people who couldn’t see the point in life anymore. 

But wait, haven’t we been having a conversation about suicide for years now?  Don’t we all know that we need to urgently work towards ensuring the rate comes down?  Why has nothing changed?  Why the hell has it got worse?

Radio pundits were discussing this problem on the radio as I cooked tea.  Time and again they referred to the ‘suicide prevention office’ set up by the government and the underfunding of mental health services.  They discussed the mental health budget and recent increases to this.  They discussed money and where its spent.  The discussed pressure on youth.  They discussed other countries who have ‘suicide prevention’ government ministers.  But there was so much they didn’t damn well discuss. 

They didn’t acknowledge that no amount of money will provide a big enough band aid to stop people committing suicide.  They didn’t discuss that you can’t simply throw money into clinical services, encased in concrete and steel buildings, placed far away from peoples home, and expect that to save lives.  Why are we even letting people get so ill that they need this dehumanized and clinical approach?

Up to 20% of Kiwis will experience mental distress and will seek professional intervention or support. Of this, 5% suffer from a serious mental disorder. 

Can the ‘mental health crisis’ that leads to suicide ever be dealt with by clinical services in flash buildings.  So far, its failed.  So far it ignores people.  Only the clinicians and the academics are getting any airtime on this terrible epidemic.

We need to take a good look at how we live as New Zealanders.  We have so much work to do, in all areas of our economy, communitites and government to overcome the appalling rates of mental distress.

Why has it got this bad?

We’ve designed a society which doesn’t cater for our human needs.  Things are shaped around productivity, achievement and a blurred representation of ‘success’.  We’ve ignored not only ourselves, but the precious environment we inhabit.  We’ve forgotten that we are part of a whole ecosystem, and it that needs resilience at its core to thrive and to be healthy.  Without resilience, we have nothing.

Are we too busy?

We throw our tamariki into childcare from young ages, ignoring their needs for attachment and security.  This can have lifelong detrimental effects on health and wellbeing, for both parents and children.  The research on this is clear and unequivocal.  Babies needs their main caregiver for the first 1000 days for their brains to develop into healthy brains.  So many of our tamariki do not get this.  We stay busy while raising our children, always on the go, with money to earn and activities to complete.  Do we have enough time to just be with our children?

We like compliance

Our children are forced into square holes, even when they are round.  The needs of a myriad of children in our education system are ignored. Especially children with neurodiverse conditions (ADHD etc) who constantly hear things from a perspective that doesn’t resonate with them.  We tell them, you’re flawed, get in that hole, act different, conform!  And they can’t, we haven’t given them the tools or the environment to do that.  We need to adapt the system to cater to their needs. Their wonderful qualities should be embraced, but in fact, we haven’t given them the tools to thrive.  We ignore them because its too hard, too expensive.  Schools are left hanging, finding inventive and cost free ways to deal with these kids.  Many leave school leave school early with little to no education. 

We tell kids that success is in competition, and we turn every aspect of their week into a competition.  From the constant testing and spelling bee mentality in school, to parents yelling from the sport sideline every weekend, kids learn that competition is important and that it’s healthy to beat down your fellow competitor. Kids learn that going faster, being stronger, and getting straight A’s will give you success.  This distorts success from a notion of contentment to one of attainment.

We Don’t know Ourselves

In New Zealand we have never told our youth our honest story.  We glide through childhood and adulthood with a disconnect from our shared history.  We haven’t faced up to the good, the bad and the ugly of colonisation.  We ignore the terrible impact this has on Maori.  Pakeha glide through with their blinkers shading their vision, keeping things settled and comfortable.  While Maori face the stark realities of colonisation, which include loss of language, loss of land, poverty of economic base, poverty of spirit.  We don’t face up to our past.  We ignore it.  Because that easier for some of us.  And those left over?  Well, they just need to move on don’t they?

Imagine suffering the effects of colonisation, not fitting in at school because you have dyslexia and being disconnected from your caregiver because they have to work three jobs to pay the bills?  The future ain’t looking that bright is it?

Our Justice System is flawed

We shove people in jail in this country with no plan to turn them out healed.  The prison system is still based on punishment rather than rehabilitation and we don’t even let Maori self determine their own way of dealing with offenders.  This means our prison rate will never go down.  And as our population increases, we will need to keep building prisons.  This impacts all of us and contributes to our resilience and wellness.

The economy only serves those at the Top.

We’ve also created an economy based on greed.  We’ve invented a system of ME instead of WE.  We prize growth over all else, which has destructive consequences for papatuanuku.  We’ve lost the connection to the land, plants and animals that surround us – that breath life into us – because we’re all too busy chasing ‘success’.   Economics indicators are easy to measure and apparently they tell us how well we are doing.  Wellness indicators are left off – it’s too expensive and too hard to measure.

Our economy is based on competition and is now so unequal that even with hard work and determination, it is still your birth situation that impacts more than anything on your life.  As the rich have become richer, society has become more unequal, and everyone knows that unequal societies do not create wellness.  Inequality causes deprivation and debt which can increase suicide risk.  Financial instability and poverty means suicide is a major inequality issue.  We know this, but we don’t deal it with.  

There are a multitude of other complex issues at play here – the ones listed are just the tip of the iceberg.  We have so much to face up to as a nation.  

Mental Wellness is achievable!

So, is Suicide a Mental Health Issue?  Yes it is – but it’s also so much more!  We’ve got it wrong. We’ve missed the boat as humans living alongside each other.  Our suicide rate is our temperature gauge telling us how we are doing.  Guess what?  Its red hot.  It’s telling us to cool down.  It’s telling us to stop, examine, and find ways to fundamentally and thoroughly change our system. 

Why do we force ourselves into pressure cooker situations of growth and success based on competition, when we could choose to slowly and carefully curate a society based on fairness and trust.  A society that embraces equality, and gives everyone a chance to fit in.  A society where we have an economy that pays our government to look after us.  We are tettering on the edge of massive technological shifts in the way we live our lives, its time to shake off the old ways and go forward with a new vision.  What we’ve been doing isn’t working.  Our increasing suicide rate tells us this.  It’s time to stop talking about money and mental health and start talking about the essential changes needed to increase wellness in all forms, across our population.  We’ve missed the boat.  Let us build a new Waka. 

Our Zero Waste Journey

Is there such a thing as Zero Waste?  What is zero waste anyway?

Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages reusing all products.  The goal is for no rubbish to be sent to landfillsincinerators, or the ocean.

Zero Waste compliments our drive to provide natural and safe soap products to our customers – so its something we’ve been looking into for years.  When we first started we made the conscious decision to use only paper labels for our solid soap.   Once we started using paper tape (from Wishy Washi) our solid soaps became zero waste – as you can compost the label and tape.  We only buy tape that has a cardboard centre, so even that gets composted. 

Of course, the act of making soap means there is going to be production waste – and this compromises our soaps being zero waste – so what do we do to try to counter this?

  • We reuse boxes sent to us by our suppliers, using them to resend soap or in the compost.
  • We wash and giveaway food safe gerry cans to workplaces, individuals and other businesses.
  • We use metal olive oil containers as planter boxes – and we give away or recycle the rest.
  • We only use paper towels or teatowels in the soap kitchen and these get composted or washed.
  • We shop at op-shops to buy soap making equipment and only buy new when necessary.
  • We always write notes to our suppliers asking for no plastic wrapping where possible.
  • We wash out and reuse bottles for bottling liquid soap.
  • We take packaging from other businesses and reuse it to send out our shipments.
  • We use rainwater from our very own rainwater tank in production.

Of course, there is some waste we can’t reuse – so we recycle that.  The very few plastic bottles we do end up with are washed and recycled.  Occasionally we also need to recycle glass bottles where we can’t find homes for them.  Our recycling means we are not strictly a zero waste business, but we are well on the way and determined to work harder towards ensuring we are as sustainable as possible. 

Currently we are looking at additional ways to become zero waste:  Our liquid soap brand is getting a new look and along with that we are finding ways of doing way with plastic. We have shifted all of our liquid soap bottles to 1 litre glass refills.   We are also hoping to stock stainless steel foaming soap dispensers which means it should last years not months. 

We have also recently opened a Sustainable Home & Living section on our website, which gives you the choice to change everyday home and living objects from plastic to biodegradable options.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below – and watch this space for further improvements along the way to Zero Waste by Be Natural.

plastic free living

Plastic Problem?

Giving Up Plastic in The Home – Plastic Free Living

There’s a lot of concern about the use of plastic because we use so much of it. Here in Aotearoa , hundreds of thousands of plastic bags, trays, cups, wrappers and other single use items are used everyday! We use plastic in so many different products and all of this plastic is causing a lot of problems in our oceans, waterways, landfills, wildlife and environment. Ultimately, plastic pollution is coming back to haunt us as it enters our foodchain! We should all be concerned about the unabating use of plastic – and we all need to start taking measures to stop it in its tracks. Here are some ways that you can start to give up plastic in your home, so you are more environmentally friendly. Start plastic free living today!

Ditch shopping bags

Perhaps one of the easiest things you can do for plastic free living is to stop your use of plastic shopping bags. Thankfully, all major supermarkets have been banned from issuing free plastic bags. You still need to refuse plastic at other smaller retailers however! You can buy quality shopping bags at the store for just a few dollars and these will last a long time. Even better, use paper bags as often as possible. It doesn’t make much sense to use plastic bags when there’s so many other bags available that are more environmentally friendly. Just by giving up shopping bags, you take a huge amount of plastic out of landfills, waterways, and off the streets of our towns and cities. And dont forget to invest in some cloth vege bags while you’re at it!

plastic pollution

No Bottled Water

You can buy a high-quality water bottle that will last a long time. There’s no need to use plastic water bottles when you want a drink of water. Many locations are now offering fillable water at water fountains. This is a great way to reduce plastic in landfills and waterways because water bottles are another huge source of plastic pollution. You can also avoid the use of plastic by taking your own mug when you go out for a cup of coffee. More and more fast food restaurants will be more than happy to fill up your refillable cup as they get more on board with plastic free living.

Seek Alternatives!  Think about the options available….

Its time for us all to start thinking outside the box. By spending some time thinking about alternatives we can come up with plastic free solutions. For example, you can save a lot of plastic waste by no longer using disposable razors. Think of how many disposable razors you would use in any given year and how much you could save by buying one electric razor or one high-quality regular razor and then just buying razor blades for it. This is a simple but an effective way to reduce your own plastic footprint.

One really effective way of eliminating plastic bottles from the bathroom, is making the switch to a solid shampoo – there are dozens of suppliers and maker around – find a bar that suits your hair get into it. You will find more natural hair, that needs less washing and no waste! Plastic free living at its best!

solid shampoo bar

If you have little children in the house and babies. You go through a lot of nappies. It’s easy to switch to cloth nappies. The plastic ones are a huge source of pollution and you can easily reduce your plastic footprint by switching to cloth diapers.

Need a new dish brush or toilet brush? Don’t just buy a new one at the supermarket – look around and find a small business that sells a quality timber brush! We have a great range of timber brushware where at Be Natural – check it out!

If you head out for sushi – take your own containers – every little bit helps.

Rethink school lunches! Visit a wholesaler of packaging solutions and grab yourself 1000 small paper bags. Use them instead of wrap and plastic zip locks. They compost easily and do not linger in the environment.

How about investing in honey wraps instead of plastic containers and plastic wrap – which is a true curse on the environment! Checkout how this small business is revolutionising the way we store food! Beeswax wraps work really well in school lunch boxes, and to store bread, cheese and a host of other things.

Think Global, act in your own home!

You can look to other ways in your home to reduce your plastic footprint. We all should do our part to reduce our plastic usage because it is a catastrophic problem. It’s a huge source of lingering pollution that is going to take years to clean up! It’s time to rid ourselves of plastic and look to other alternatives because we need to protect and look after our environment. These are some simple ways to reduce your plastic footprint, so you can do your part in the preservation of our most sacred resources.

plastic free living
Taken by Sarah at Kaupokonui Beach Summer 2018
Are Natural Soaps better for you?

Are Natural Soaps better for you?

Are Natural Soaps better for you?

At home you use all sorts of beauty products, including soap. The main problem with these products is that they contain a lot of chemicals and additives which can impact on your skin. Overtime these products can accumulate in your body which can lead to problems with your health. Many people are turning to natural soap. Here at Be Natural, we are producing pure natural organic soaps, which are better for you and better for the planet.  Here’s a little bit more about why handcrafted natural soap is better for you.

Skin Problems

If you suffer from any sort of skin problem, you know how difficult this can be for you as well as frustrating. You may have tried all sorts of soap and other skin care products to try and treat your condition. The reason why you’re having so much difficulty with the soaps is that they contain so many additives and chemicals which react in a negative way to your skin. They may clean your skin quite well, but they do other things such as dry out your skin because they remove the natural oils in your skin. Natural soaps are a lot better for your skin and skin conditions.  This is because they are made with natural ingredients which aren’t as harmful to your skin – so your skin not only looks better, but it feels better too! Be Natural makes a wide range of soap to suit any need.  Read our article on why the glycerin in natural soap is so good for your skin.

Family Operated

When you deal with big companies, you’re dealing with market share, not customer satisfaction or customer care. These companies are far more concerned about their bottom line than your actual skin health.  They are constantly producing new products which in most cases don’t do anything different than the other product did they just have a fancy or name or a bigger container. Here at Be Natural we are a family-run company, so you know you’re dealing with people that actually care about you. We work to provide effective and healthy skin care products they are designed to help you. Our products are all organic and our soap will nourish your skin and help look after the planet. You want quality products that are made with natural ingredients because this is what is going to make your skin feel better. While some skin-care problems do require medications and other skin care products, you can get a lot of relief by using natural products because they work in the best way for your skin. There’s no harmful residue left by the skin care products, they don’t dry out your skin like other products tend to do and they are overall the best choice for your skin.


There is a a whole array of scientifically backed data on the negative impact that large scale commercial bathroom products are having on our environment.  This is because the toxic chemicals in the products, including soaps are flushing into waterways and impacting on our ecology.  Experts are even calling for two toxic chemicals to be banned from use in soaps in New Zealand. Scientists are clear that we all need to be looking at using safer alternatives that are not persistent and pose no risk to humans or ecosystems.  The two biggest chemicals of concern are triclosan and triclocarban – they are hormone disrupting and they having huge detrimental impact on aquatic life around the world!  You simply do not need them!

So, are natural soaps better for you?

Yes they are!  They are better for our economy as you support small local business.  Buying natural soap is better for you skin health and you will find yourself with less need for moisturiser or lotions.  Natural soap are also infinitely better for the environment.  If you are interested in seeing exactly what goes into your soaps, give us a call.  We host soap making demonstrations for group of up to 10.


are natural soaps better for you?

Natural Soaps are much better for the environment as they contain no persistent toxic chemicals.



skin absorption

How the Skin Absorbs Substances

How Substances Get Absorbed into the Bloodstream.


The primary way chemicals, toxins, and other substances enter our bloodstream is through our digestive system, which is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients and fuel for our bodies. But an equally important, way that substances enter our systems is through skin absorption.

Skin absorption occurs most often with personal care products, such as soaps, shampoos, body washes, lotions, moisturizers, sunscreens, facial creams, and so on. The effectiveness of the skin absorption depends on a variety of factors:

  • The concentration of the substance in question,
  • How much of it there is,
  • How long it’s in contact with your bare skin,

  • The solubility of the substance (also known for its ability to dissolve and absorbed), and
  • The condition of your skin at the time of contact (for example, if you have naturally sensitive skin or an open wound in that location, you are likely to absorb more of the substance than if your skin were more impermeable).

And while it is true that some chemicals cannot pass the protective barrier that is our skin, there are many more than can. Most chemicals have small enough particles and are soluble enough to pass through the outer layers of our skin and into our bloodstream. Some chemicals can even take a faster route to our bloodstream by slipping down along the fine hairs on our skin and into our hair follicles, which are typically rooted in the veins and capillaries of our vascular system for the sake of absorbing nutrients.  Our skin is our largest organ and had a remarkable ability to absorb substances.

Studies about skin absorption

There have even been studies done to assess how many chemicals on average a modern person has in their system; some results have shown patients with hundreds of chemicals lingering in their bodies and other studies have shown cases where there is evidence of many chemicals remaining in their bodies long after initial exposure or use. And most of those chemicals simply accumulated in their bodies over time from the use of seemingly harmless everyday products.

As mentioned earlier there are certain toxic products to be careful of; we need to be mindful about how long they linger on your skin and whether or not the ingredients they contain are potentially harmful over a long period of time. These toxic ingredients include carcinogens, reproductive toxins, pesticides and hormone disruptors. They are used in industrial settings for things like keeping concrete soft (plasticizers), taking grime off car parts (degreasers), and reducing surface tension in paint (surfactants).  They are also used in cosmetics and ‘skincare’ products.

How do you feel about using those types of products on your delicate skin? Even in small, cosmetics-sized doses, exposure to these toxic ingredients can become dangerous in the long-run.

These high-risk substances include:

  1. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluen)
  2. Coal Tar Dyes
  3. DEA (Diethanolamine)
  4. DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)
  5. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
  6. Parabens
  7. Parfum (or Fragrance)
  8. PEG Compounds
  9. Petrolatum
  10. Siloxanes
  11. SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
  12. Triclosan

These substances are known as the “Dirty Dozen” – please read about them in this excellent article.

Products to be mindful of

Some products to be mindful of include (but are not limited to) soaps and deodorants (due to frequent and often prolonged contact with your skin), shampoos and body washes (for the same reason as soaps), as well as moisturisers, face creams, oils, and lotions (these are specifically designed to be absorbed into your skin, so be extra diligent about checking ingredients).

It’s also an excellent idea to pay attention to your makeup.  This is because it often sits on your skin for hours at a time and (depending on the chemical composition) can be absorbed through your skin. Also, try to avoid any product with formaldehyde as an ingredient; it may be an effective preservative, but in its liquid form it can be absorbed through your skin very easily and cause an allergic reaction.

Be Natural

All of Be Naturals Products are made to the highest standard in a regular kitchen environment.  We do not use any toxic chemicals that will end up on your skin.  Our soaps and balms will actually feed your skin as they contain nutrients in the beautiful oils we use, such as Organic Cocoa and Shea Butter.  Less is definitely better when it comes to skin.  Treat it well and you’ll be rewarded with great health, inside and out.  As the saying goes, if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin!

castile soap

Natural, Plant Based Ingredients are the safest way to go when it comes to Skin Health and Skin Absorption.

antibacterial soap

Antibacterial soap – Skip It!

Why You Should Stay Away From Antibacterial Soap (And Use Natural Soap Instead)

We all want to live safe and healthy lives, and the personal hygiene and cleaning products we select for ourselves and our loved ones indisputably play a role in that. But sometimes certain products, like antibacterial soap and even some hand sanitizers, can do more harm than good. In many cases, traditional soap is proven to be more effective than antibacterial soaps.

And while antibacterial soap sounds like a good idea at first, especially with its reputation for killing germs, it might actually be putting you more at risk.

One relatively simple (but still very dangerous) risk involves a key ingredient that can be found in much antibacterial soap: triclosan. Triclosan has been considered potentially hazardous by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration of the United States) since the late 1970s, due in no small part to the fact that when triclosan comes into contact with chlorinated water (which can be found in a wide variety of places these days) it has a chemical reaction that produces chloroform, a compound that is considered a carcinogen and known to be toxic and dangerous. In fact, the FDA has enacted a ban on triclosan in recent years, forbidding its use in many products such as hand soaps and body washes due to all the potential hazards it presents. Unfortunately, this ban is not universal and some products still contain triclosan.

Antibiotic resistance – Scary!

Another main risk factor (and perhaps the most concerning one) associated with antibacterial soaps is one that is becoming increasingly more important and talked about, and that is the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

It’s becoming more widely known that the overuse or improper use of antibiotic medicine (and any product with antibacterial or anti-fungal properties) can result in the creation and evolution of more resilient bacteria. These bacteria, commonly called “super-bugs”, have adapted to be resistant to antibiotics and anti-bacterial products. In many cases, these mutated super-bugs are resistant to triclosan specifically. In general, this resistance to antibiotics means that some bacteria remain alive and unharmed by antibacterial products including it even while other more susceptible germs are killed.

And because these antibiotic-resistant bacteria are usually the primary survivors, that resistance grows and spreads, causing an increased risk for illnesses that cannot be treated with antibiotics. And if an illness cannot be treated in a timely manner (or treated at all, in some cases) the patient’s condition will only grow worse over time, both from the original illness as well as from the myriad of complications that can follow.


Some bacteria, such as the notorious MRSA (which has the full designation of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have even become resistant to numerous types of antibiotics, making it a bacterial strain that is incredibly difficult to treat.

In some cases, MRSA can lead to infections of the bloodstream, pneumonia, sepsis, and even death. And while accurately tracking the number of MRSA cases is currently quite difficult, it’s estimated that over a million people in the United States contract MRSA per year. The number of fatal cases has decreased recently due to efforts made by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization) but antibiotic-resistant bacteria remain a serious problem that is enabled by products like antibacterial soaps and washes. Therefore, it’s important to not become over-reliant on these types of products; they must be used cautiously and in moderation.

Natural Soaps have benefits

Additionally, natural soaps are actually quite beneficial to you. Handmade soaps, in particular, can be very hydrating for your skin, thanks to the glycerin they contain (which is a byproduct of the soap-making process). This glycerin can also result in softer and smoother skin. Read our previous blog on this topic!

Normal non-antibacterial soap is also better for you because they contain fewer artificial ingredients. Many artificial chemicals that can be found in certain soaps (especially antibacterial ones) are potentially harmful to not just your skin but your overall health as well; some of these chemicals can even aggravate existing allergic conditions or cause skin conditions like rashes or eczema, making more natural soaps a much better option by comparison.

All in all, while the decision for whether or not to use antibacterial soaps is ultimately up to you, we sincerely hope that you consider the information we’ve shared here with you.

glycerine natural soap

What is Glycerin? Why it’s in Natural Soap.

What is Glycerin and Why it’s in Natural Soap

Finding natural solutions for beauty products, especially soap, can be very tricky if you do not know what you should be looking for. When choosing soaps, it is highly recommended that you choose an option that contains glycerin. Why is glycerin in natural soap? It may sound like a synthetic product, but it is a product that is naturally occurring. This will help you to not only understand what glycerin is but to also know why you find glycerin in natural soap.

Glycerin is actually a product that naturally occurs when you make soap. When natural oils and lye come together, glycerin is the end result of that combination. Commercial soaps sometimes take out this naturally occurring ingredient so that they can use it in other products. There are also some soaps that have the glycerin in them from when the soap was made but they also added more glycerin in them to give the user more of the benefit that you get from using glycerin. You will find that there are quite a few different types of glycerin soap, so you may take some trial and error before you find the perfect blend of ingredients for your skin.

Is Glycerin in natural soap good?

Now you know what glycerin is and why it is found in natural soaps, but you should also know what benefits you get from using products with glycerin in it. One benefit is that glycerin is very gentle on skin, which makes it an excellent choice for those who have sensitive skin or skin that is really dry. Some studies show that glycerin in natural soap also has a lower pH than other types of soaps. This is a big benefit because it allows your skin to retain any natural moisture that it has.


These are all important benefits because a good skincare routine requires you to have well-moisturized skin. When you have skin that is adequately moisturized, you will have healthy skin. This can prevent issues like tears in your skin, stretchmarks, and wrinkles. It is also great for your face because it can moisturize your skin while cleaning it, without clogging your pores. Clogged pores lead to problems like acne and blackheads, so finding a high-quality soap that nourishes your facial skin and moisturizes it will be your best step in prevention.

Dermatologists recommend that people use soap with glycerin in it to give your skin the moisture and clean that it needs. Handmade soaps give you natural glycerin as well as using only the most natural of ingredients, which is such an important consideration when people are looking for soap. Natural soap is a great solution for people who have dry or sensitive skin or have various skin conditions that can be made worse by using the wrong type of soap. Next time you are trying to find the perfect bar of soap, a natural soap can give you amazing results. Natural soap can often far exceed the results of the more name brand options that you are familiar with.  And of course, Be Natural’s entire range of liquid and solid soaps all contain glycerin!


glycerin in natural soap

apple cider vinegar hair conditioner

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Natural Hair Conditioner?

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Natural Hair Conditioner

We are often asked about a solid natural hair conditioner to go with our solid shampoos.  Solid conditioners are similar to the shampoos – you just rub between your hands with water and then apply to your hair.  Solid conditioners use less plastic and generally, contain less nasties than liquid conditioners.  We thought about developing our own solid natural hair conditioner, but after research, we concluded that we would have to use some ingredients that we wouldn’t like to endorse.  These ingredients would make the bar easier to use and apply and less likely to leave a greasy film on the hair.

However, we are BE NATURAL and will never use ingredients such as Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol Fragrance , Behentrimonium methosulphate or benzyl alcohol (among many others).  Many solid conditioners are actually not as natural as they would seem, and contain some synthetic chemicals that aren’t entirely safe.

So we looked into a natural conditioner bar with no nasties.  One that contained just organic butters and essential oils.  We trialed some recipes and discovered that they worked well on some hair types but left others dull and greasy.   We couldn’t market a product that was so hit and miss so we looked further into what could make a good detangler and conditioner.

What we discovered that was simple Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) was the best solution.  Its sounds strange – after all ACV is a thin liquid, an acid, and doesn’t really smell that great!  How could it work?  It works because it is a wonder tonic, packed with raw enzymes and beneficial bacteria!   On top of that it also:

Balances hair and sebum pH

Many shampoos disrupt our natural hair pH which can affect the cuticles of the hair and the condition of the scalp.

Apple cider vinegar is naturally high in acetic acid and has a pH level close to human hair. Regularly rinsing with this vinegar can help bring your scalp and hair to its ideal acidity.

It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties

ACV contains potent antimicrobial agents which can kill bacteria and fungus, common underlying causes of dandruff and hair loss, making it a fantastic natural cure.

It cleanses and clarifies

apple cider vinegar hair conditioner

Serums, gels, sprays, and masks – lead to product build-up in your hair. All this sticky residue can leave the hair looking flat, dull and lifeless.  One of the easiest ways to get rid of this accumulation and restore life to your locks is by using ACV.

It adds natural body & define curls

ACV won’t weigh down the individual strands of hair (like shampoos and conditioners do), meaning you can enjoy more movement and natural body to your hairstyle. You may even find you don’t need to use heating and styling products after a vinegar rinse, saving your hair from further damage.

It detangles, adds shine and reduces frizz!!

A fantastic natural detangler, apple cider vinegar is usually used as an alternative to conditioner in the popular no ‘poo movement.

The natural acidity of ACV helps to smoothen down the cuticle – encouraging knots and tangles to slip out and allowing a brush to glide through more easily. ADD PICTURE

It stimulates hair growth & prevents hair loss

Apple cider vinegar stimulates better blood circulation to the hair follicles – something that is vital for encouraging hair growth and preventing hair loss. Furthermore, this blood carries essential nutrients to the hair follicle cells, strengthening the roots and promoting growth.

How to use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Natural Hair Conditioner

It is very simple to make your own cost effective natural hair conditioner!  You simply dilute the vinegar to half with water, pop it in a spray bottle and spray through your hair after washing with a solid shampoo.   Leave for 1 minute, then rinse.  You may repeat this is if you have lots of product you want to wash out.   You can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the dilution – or leave it plain.  There is no lingering vinegar smell in your hair once rinsed, but you will find your locks in a healthy shiny state!


shea butter soap

All About Shea Butter!

Shea Butter 101

Shea Butter is becoming more widely known as a fantastic addition to soap and body balms.  This is because of the calming and nourishing effect it has on problem skin.  It can even be used alone, simply rubbed onto dry or sensitive skin.  Lets find out a little more about this amazing natural vegetable butter.

Shea has had a long history as a precious commodity that can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, where it continues to be used to protect the hair and skin in the fierce sun and the hot dry winds of African deserts.  Nuts from shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa) are the source of shea butter, and they grow in a narrow belt of fertile soils in the savannah stretching from West Africa to East Africa.  The trees become fertile at around 20 years and keep producing for up to 200 years!

soap shea butterThe best shea butter to buy is unrefined, fair trade and organic if possible.  This means that the farmers have been paid a fair price for the work involved in producing shea.  If you buy organic then the farmers are far less likely to have been exposed to nasty toxic chemicals and sprays.

How is shea butter made?

The shea butter is extracted by cracking the nuts and pounding them into small pieces.  The small pieces are then slowly roasted, water is added and the paste is then whipped.  The paste is then purified over fire, so that the fats rise to the top, and the oil settles below.  The final step is to skim off the fat and let the oil settle at the bottom.  The final stage involves slowly boiling the fat and squeezing out of any remaining water.

Shea butter in Soap

Shea  is excellent in soap – as it has many skin healing and care properties.  In addition to this, the butter is a complex fat that is mostly nonsaponfiable.  When soap is made, fats and oils are mixed with a strong alkaline which in turn saponifies the fats and oils and turns them into soap.  Shea however, cannot be fully converted into soap (the other oils in the soap will be saponified however), because of its acid profile.  To cut a long story short, this means that a soap with shea butter will be ‘super fatted’, meaning you’ll find the soap incredibly moisturising and nourishing.

handmade organic soap shea butterWhy is shea butter great for our skin?

Shea butter is a skin superfood.  This is because it is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F.  Amazingly, it offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6 – often found in natural sunscreens) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids necessary for collagen production. Shea butter has been used in Africa for years to improve skin and hair.  The benefits of shea include:

**  Moisturising – the natural fatty acids and vitamins are readily and easily absorbed by the skin.  Shea helps protect dry skin.

**  Reduces Inflammation – studies have concluded that shea butter can reduce skin inflammation and even help with skin mutations.  It is great for people with acne.

**  Skin soothing – long term use helps with skin softening, and strengthening as well as wrinkle reduction (:-0)

Be Natural Shea Butter Soap Line Up

Two of our own soaps contain a proportion of shea butter.  Be Rosy is one of our most popular soaps – it is hard and long lasting and is packed full of real red rose petals.  It has a large proportion of shea – in addition to coconut, olive, rice bran and alomond oils.   Be Divine remind people of perfume!  It is loaded with essential oils of Ylang Ylang, Jasmine and Neroli and also has a high proportion of shea butter!  recently, we’ve also added shea to our Be Lathered Beer and Honey Soap.  Check these soaps out in our online soap

We also custom make healing balms and include shea in those.  The shea butter we use is organic – have a look at Lotus Oils – that’s where we purchase it.  You can purchase it in small quantities and make your own balms, or even just use it straight on your tired skin.  Shea butter has also been heralded as being excellent for treating eczema.

So there you have it – that’s why we use this amazing nutritious butter in our soapmaking.  Try one of the shea soaps today and discover the difference!



Why you should be looking to ‘shop small’ this Christmas.

Christmas gifts – time for a rethink?

Christmas is almost upon us – time to think about all the little christmas gifts you need for family, friends, co-workers and your great aunt.  We have all spent time driving to the mall, scouting for a car park along with hundreds of others, and then spent the next three hours desperately trying to find a long list of christmas gifts for family and friends.  This is fine if you want generic gifts over-wrapped in plastic and cellophane – but what if you are looking for something just a bit different?  Have you thought about how your purchasing impacts on our landfills, or our precious sea-life?  Maybe this year, think just a bit out of the box and try to ‘shop small’.

christmas gifts

Mass consumerism is characterised by plastic, mega corporations and more plastic.  But, have a think about the multitude of small local businesses around you.  These small business located in homes, and in small high street shops make a small profit every time you purchase something from them (and some small business owners even do a little happy dance every time they make a sale!).  That profit goes straight back into their back pocket – not the pocket of shareholders living in the south of France, but into the pocket of a mum hoping to take her kids to Kelly Taltons after the Christmas rush.  Shops in amongst our small towns and suburbs are the life blood of the economy and help create a vibrant healthy place for us all to live.

christmas gift

Be Natural orders can be picked up, delivered locally or sent by post!

Let’s consider some of the benefits you bring when you ‘shop small’ for christmas gifts.

You’ll help the local and ‘small’ economy

When you buy small and local, more money stays in the community. Studies have found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains, while only $43 of $100 remains locally if spent at a large or multinational retailer.  Local businesses also tend to work together and support one another, making the whole community more resilient.

You’ll discover the real people behind the product or service!

Small shops have actual real people behind them.  Many of the products are services are the brainchildren of our small shop owners.  Often they are unique and you can enjoy a connection with not only everyday products, but the uniqueness of the people behind the business.

You’ll help keep your community and New Zealand/Aotearoa unique!

Shopping small and local helps give a community its flavour. Towns across New Zealand have similar restaurants, grocery and retail stores but your local fish and chip restaurant or soap manufacturer is unique and brings flavour. The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other place in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of larger chain stores, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.

Finally, you will receive great personalised customer service and a quality product or service.

Small local shops and services usually have a high degree of customer service, and subsequent satisfaction.  When you shop small and local, there is more emphasis on the business owner to get it right and if you are not satisfied, it is much easier to get things rectified.  Often, products are handmade and are better quality than mass produced items.  Small and local businesses often take time to provide fair-trade, organic or ethical options, meaning your purchase is better for you and the earth.  I know, as a small soap manufacturer, we want to get it right 100% of the time, and if we don’t, we always make it up to our customers!

So this Christmas, consider the multitude of small shops around you, online, on the main street and tucked away down cul-de-sacs.  By spending some time visiting workshops, studios and small online stores, you will cut down on waste, meet new people and collect some unique meaningful Christmas gifts along the way!  You can start your journey by having a look at the great selection of christmas gifts we have on offer at BE NATURAL SOAP!  We will post fully gift wrapped and ready to pop under the tree. X

liquid castile soap

What is Castile Soap?

Find out about Castile Soap

Castile soap is a household essential for people who care what they are putting on their bodies, into their homes and into the environment.  Castile soap is a fantastic environmentally conscious choice for everything from a household cleaner through to personal care.  It is environmentally conscious because it is made from pure natural ingredients (fats and oils) and is fully biodegradable. These natural ingredients are combined with a strong alkaline, which is made using pure rainwater.  The byproduct of this is natural soap.  Castile is marked apart from other soaps, in that it contains few ingredients and it NEVER contains animal fats or oils.  Castile soap can also be either a solid or liquid soap.

Most castile soap is marketed as containing olive oil but any vegetable oil can be used to make a pure castile.  Castile soap is said to have gained its label from the Kingdom of Castilla, now a part of Spain.  Apparently the King of France insisted upon the finest soap made from extra virgin olive oil, and hence the name Castile was born. 

Natural castile soap is known to be a long lasting, effective and potent.  It can be used for a variety of applications, from washing your face through to a dog and pet wash.  This pure soap can be used safely and effectively used in the laundry and is really popular among vegetarians and vegans as it contains no animal products.  It is also great to use with kids, as its pure natural effectiveness washes away grime and dirt without stripping their sensitive skin.

All of Be Natural’s soap range is castile soap.  This is because we only use top quality vegetable oils and butters and we keep ingredients lists pure and natural.

Top Ten uses for Castile Soap

Here are my top ten uses for using Be Natural’s range of castile soaps in my own home:

  • As a facial cleanser. (I use Be Smooth with Pink Clay – divine and last forever)
  • As a yummy body wash!  Both solid and liquid! (the kids use our liquid Sweet Orange and Lavender soap as an all over hair and body wash)
  • Shampoo!  We make a fantastic solid shampoo bar!
  • As a great shaving soap!  Looks after sensitive skin and prolongs shaving blades life! (My hubby is stoked that he doesn’t have to shell out so much for expensive blades!!!)
  • As a dishwash – apply the liquid castile directly to roasting dishes and baking tins.
  • Use the liquid castile cleaning soap as a bathroom cleaner, including showers and toilets. (Yes, I use the same soap we clean the kids with!)
  • Add the liquid castile (or some grated solid bar) to the washing machine!  Also makes great laundry handwash (is very kind to my skin too!)
  • Use the liquid castile to help clean windows, apply a squirt directly and clean with a microcloth.
  • Use the liquid castile to mop floors, brings a natural and clean scent to the room.
  • Use the liquid castile in the windscreen wiper cleaner dispenser in the car.

All Purpose

Castile soap can be used anytime you need an all purpose cleaner – it is proven to be very effective  – and can not only save you dollars but will help declutter your shelves of the multitude of different products (that you don’t really need).  It is also really good for people with sensitive skin as it cuts out contact with other nasty chemicals.  Be Natural sells our liquid castile in bulk – please contact us for prices and delivery.

So why not ditch the toxic chemicals, and try some pure castile today?  Your household, your body and the environment will thank you for it.  You can purchase directly from us here or from one of our retailers nationwide – contact us on and we can tell you where your closest retailer is.

Please note:  We produce unscented liquid soap in 5 litre cans.   Unscented castile is great as you can add your fragrances/essential oils or use as is for a variety of purposes.

All about our Eco Shampoo – Be Silky

Be Natural originally made its first solid shampoo 4 years ago as part of its first product line up.  However, solid shampoo wasn’t as popular ‘back in the old days’ so it didn’t sell that well.  Fast forward to 2017 and we have relaunched the shampoo soap due to popular demand!   Solid Shampoo is a fantastic way to ‘lose your bottle’.  We don’t actually need the plastic clad synthetic liquid concoctions labelled as shampoos to have healthy beautiful hair.  These thick liquid shampoos are full of plastics, petroleum based oils and synthetic silicons and waxes that are designed to mimic healthy hair, rather than deliver healthy hair.  The shampoo strips the hair of natural oils needed for hair health and the conditioner puts it all back again artificially.  This creates a dependency on reusing these toxic brews time and again.

Lets have a look at how you can change the your hair health for the better by choosing a solid shampoo bar.  Firstly, What’s in it?

What’s in our Eco Shampoo?

Olive oil is fantastic for skin and hair health!

We use pure, natural raw ingredients to handcraft our solid eco shampoo.  The primary ingredient is organic coconut oil, which we have sourced from a fairtrade cooperative in Sri Lanka.  We couple that with Italian olive oil, Thai rice bran oil and castor oil.  The coconut oil produces a harder bar, while the soft oils act to condition the hair.  Castor oil has known benefits for hair health, assisting with hair loss whilst being incredibly conditioning.  We use a selection of essential oils for both cleansing and scent purposes.  Rosemary oil is known is help with hair loss and even promote growth.  Camomile and Lavender are both calming and relaxing to use whilst also help cleanse away grime and bacteria.

How do we make our Eco Shampoo?

Be Natural adheres to the traditional soap making techniques known as cold processed soapmaking.  This techniques was developed centuries ago by mixing animal fats and wood ash.  Today we are more refined, and use high quality oils and butters with a strong aklaline known as lye.  We gently heat the butters and oils to a certain temperature then add rainwater lye at a certain temperature (it’s a bit like cheese making!).  The rainwater ensures ensures no contaminants hinder the soap making process.  We work the two substances together quickly, and the mixture immediately starts to ‘saponify’, which is the process of the oils and butters (acid) and lye (aklaline) neutralising each other.  When the mixture reaches a point called ‘trace’ it is poured into molds and enters ‘gel phase’.  After 24 hours, it has heated itself, cooled itself and returned to normal room temperature.  We then turn the soap out of the mold and cut it.  It is then ‘cured’ for a minimum of 4 weeks, after which it is wrapped and sold.

How to Use:

Wet the bar, your hair and your hands.  Lather the soap in your hands and apply to the hair from root to tips.  You can also apply the soap directly to hair.  The foam will lather – wash your hair.  Rinse and repeat as necessary.  To detangle long hair, spray in diluted white or apple cider vinegar and rinse.  I find the shampoo has given my hair a lovely healthy look – it effectively cleans out grime and dirt but conditions the hair and head at the same time.  If I repeat the wash, the soap foams up beautifully!

How to look after your Eco Shampoo.

Using our shampoo soap means there is no bottle to throw away afterwards.   The pure natural bars attract water and can become gooey if left to wallow in water.  How long a bar will last depends on how many people are using it and how often you wash your hair.  Here are some tips:

  • Don’t let your eco shampoo sit in water
  • Store soap on a good quality soap rack, such as our macrocarpa handmade timber rack
  • Allow soap plenty of fresh air to dry between uses
  • If your bar ever gets waterlogged and becomes gooey, simply set it on a soap rack for a few days and let it dry out thoroughly
  • Don’t let the kids use it in the bath! In fact, store it up high where prying little hands cannot get hold of it!!

Author Sarah, after 4 weeks of using Be Silky.

You might be surprised how your hair responds to simply natural care – we have become so used to heavily fragranced chemical concoctions.  At the end of the day we don’t need the extra chemicals in the retail shampoos, they don’t improve our health and may actually harm us after years of accumulated use.  This article looks into the idea that you can train your hair to need less shampooing, which is better for you, and the environment.  It’s a great article that outlines how to ditch shampoo and how some of the common chemicals in retail shampoo can harm us.

Our Eco Shampoo bars contain no artificial fragrance, colour, preservatives, detergents, alcohol, sodium laurel sulfate, DEA, propylene glycol – or any of the other synthetic hair care additives.  Join the ‘no-poo’ movement and see how your hair loves you.  🙂


make up brush cleaner

How to clean make up brushes

Be Natural has just launched its new solid make up brush cleaner – Be Conditioned.  Why is it so important to keep your make up brushes clean though?  And why should you care about what kind of cleanser you use on your brushes?  And lastly, how should you clean your make up brushes?

Well, really gross things happen if you don’t clean your brushes.  Let’s get the gross part over and done with first.  You wouldn’t neglect to wash your face, because otherwise it gets a build of oils and grime – and it’s the same for your brushes!  They need the same attention in some ways.  Rule of thumb – wash your brushes at least weekly, if not more often if you are a regular user of make up.  Here’s why:

Regular make up brush cleaning will help avoid:

  • Bacteria Build Up – eeeeeww.  Bacteria from our skin will form a build up which, if left, can lead to microbe colonies getting out of hand.
  • Breakouts – yes, dirty brushes can lead to breakouts caused by an overload of microbes on the skin.
  • Skin irritation – dirty brushes can irritate skin due to not being conditioned and constantly reapplying bacteria.
  • Clogged pores from old oils on the brushes. Another eeewwwwww.
  • Viral infections – yes, gross but true.  Dirty brushes which have been shared can lead to some unpleasant viral infections such as more breakouts and pink eye.
  • Bug infestations – yes!  Double eeewwwww!
  • Damaged Bristles – regular cleaning takes care of the bristles and prolongs the life of a brush.

Ok, so you are now convinced that regular brush cleaning is the way to go.  Good.  Go grab some brush cleaner from Be Natural!

If you do decide to use a natural cleaner such as Be Condtioned, you are doing yourself and the environment a favour.   Itis important to look after your skin by using as little toxic chemical as possible – our skin absorbs substances and sends these substances straight to our blood, which over time does accumulate and can lead to sluggish physical health.  While washing brushes your skin comes into contact with the cleaner, and it will leave your skin as soft and supple as your bristles, so nothing to worry about there.

How should I use a solid make up brush cleaner?

Firstly, run your brushes under tepid water.

Secondly, Swirl the brush around in the tin or on the solid cleaner to create a foam.

Thirdly, Use the palm of your hand or a make up brush cleaner pad or our timber rack to clean the brush thoroughly.

Forthly, rinse the brush in tepid water, gently squeeze out excess water and lay out to dry.

Lastly, rinse the solid cleaner with water and leave to dry before replacing lid.

make up brush cleaner

With a routine like this, your brushes should last a lifetime and your make up will also become more long lasting.



baby soap

Babies, Skin and Soap

Young Skin – how to avoid chemical overload.

Did you know that a babies skin and children’s skin is more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults?  This is because their immune systems and central nervous system are still developing, which results in less elimination of chemical toxins than adults.  On top of this, young babies and children have nearly double the skin surface per unit of body weight than adults!  This means that a child can proportionally absorb more chemicals.  That’s why it is so important to think about what products you are using on your babies and children.

Mum and I made our first every batch of soap when I was pregnant with my third child Joseph.  I had been buying natural soaps (some actually not so natural) for the household and the older babies, but I really wanted a pared back soap for my new baby, something with no chemicals, no fragrance, no colours.  Our first batch of soap was an organic honey and oat – and Baby Jo got the use the whole batch with us.  That’s when we started making soap for others and Be Natural was born.  Our mission is to produce great effective products that use only natural ingredients.  In fact most of our ingredients you can eat!

Babies Skin is Special!

baby soap

A natural gentle soap will gently cleanse and nourish your babies skin.

Back to babies though!  It is important that firstly, you don’t over wash them!  Babies do not need much cleaning – usually only 2-3 times per week, otherwise you risk drying out their skin.  Use a natural soap, preferably organic and plain water.  There is no need for expensive petroleum based bottled baby washes or bubble bath.  Likewise, with baby balms and lotions.  Choose natural oils such as avocado, olive, cocoa butter or shea butter and use directly on baby.  These oils are all available at the supermarket or online, are cost effective and go a long way.  By using them, along with a natural soap you are considerably reducing your childs exposure to damaging chemical such as parabens and phthalates — dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP) and diethyl phthalate (DEP).  I read that some laboratory studies have found evidence that phthalates and parabens have the potential to alter hormone levels in the body.  This means they could interfere with normal development, when they are absorbed through the babies skin.

As the children get older, it is important to keep using the natural soap.  This not only reduces their chemical load but also encourages them to use natural products of their own choosing as adults.  A lifelong habit of natural products will hopefully be born – which over their lifetime, may help in reducing chemical toxicity in their bodies.  And remember – using natural product is also better for the planet!

Be Natural has a great line of soap products which are all safe to use on babies skin.  We also have a lovely baby soap – Be Gentle – made with avocado and lavender oils.  Whatever, you choose, make sure it is 100% natural, our childrens health depends on it.





Why we avoid Palm Oil

Palm Oil in Soapmaking

FACT:  Palm oil makes great soap.  FACT:  Be Natural does not and will never use Palm Oil in soapmaking.

Lets look into this a bit further.

Palm Oil needs land to grow.  Much of the best growing regions for palm oil are in the Asia region, where precious rainforest is still being cut down to make way for palm plantations.  Palm oil led de-forestation is the single biggest human induced cause of climate change.   This is because palm oil plantations have cleared the way through carbon capturing ancient forests – the lungs of the earth.  Deforestation has a massive impact on soaring global temperatures.

One organisation, Say No To Palm Oil, estimates that every single hour, the area of the size of 300 football fields is being cleared in Indonesia and Malaysia.  Of course, this ALSO causes huge amounts of damage to the endangered species that live in these areas.

The orangutan is under serious threat – and could become extinct within the next 50 years – as a direct result of the palm oil industry.  That is not cool – why would you choose to use products with palm oil in it knowing this?

There is also numerous and widespread human right abuses in the palm oil industry.  These abuses include child labourers being exploited and human trafficking.  Read more about this topic here.

Here at Be Natural we spent time investigating the Responsible Roundtable on Palm Oil Production, which is an organisation that business can sign up to in order to say they use “sustainable palm oil”.  However, after our investigation, we discovered that there is no way of knowing that palm oil is sustainable – as the criteria is so weak and enforcement so lax that “sustainable” has no meaning.  So when you read that a country uses sustainable palm oil – don’t be fooled, it may not be sustainable at all.

There are numerous other amazing oils that can be used in soapmaking – coconut oil, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, shea butter, rice bran oil – the list goes on.  All of these oils have fantastic skin food qualities and make beautiful hard soap with great lather.  And by using a Be Natural Soap, you are not contributing to the terrible impact of palm oil production.


natural lip balm

Natural Lip Balm Benefits

Natural Organic Lip Balm

Here at Be Natural, we are pretty particular about what we put on our own skin, and therefore only make products which contain the best quality organic ingredients.  Many people started asking us about organic lip balm and after some experimenting, we settled on a formula which nourishes and repairs lips, without introducing nasty chemical or petroleum.

Why use a natural organic lip balm?

If it is going on your lips, you are going to consume it.  Would you eat synthetic waxes, petrochemicals, silicon dioxide, and other manufactured chemicals?  Probably not right?  So make sure when you buy a lip balm, it only contains edible ingredients.  More and more research is backing wisdom that if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin.  Everything applied to the skin, enters the bloodstream within minutes.  Purity and quality are the most important factors in choosing how to nourish your  skin and lips.

A truly natural lip balm will be devoid of any nasty synthetic chemicals.  Here at Be Natural, we choose to include Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Taranaki Beeswax, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Taranaki Manuka Honey and Organic Essential Oils in our lip balms.  All of these ingredients are not only safe to consume, they are good for you too!

The Organic Cocoa Butter provides moisturising healing effects and a tasty fragrance.  We included Organic Jojoba oil as it is the super oil for skin care – it closely resemnatural lip balmbles sebum, the waxy substance produced by our own bodies, and it is an amazing skin protectant.  Perfect for lips in the New Zealand summer.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful supply of locally harvested Manuka honey and beeswax.  We include beeswax in our lip balms, as it ensures a long lasting application, while the Manuka honey heals, is antibacterial and soothing.  A truly wonderful natural ingredient, which also gives the lip balm a lovely sweet aroma and taste.

Sweet almond oil is well renowned for its incredible properties – It owes its benefits to the generous amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, potassium, proteins, zinc, and a number of other vitamins and minerals.  Perfect yet again as an ingredient for protective natural lip balm.

So, always read the labels when it comes to lip balm and if you wouldnt eat it, don’t put it on your lips!  x


Ps, go check out our amazing lip balms while you’re here!  🙂


honey soap

Be Natural’s Natural Additives

Be Natural’s soap making additives

Normally, the word additives conjures up thoughts of artificial substances added to food for various reasons.  In the world of natural soap making however, additives are an integral part of the soap being produced and often form the therapeutic and medicinal benefits held within the soap.  Be Natural Uses a range of lovely natural soap making additives and I wanted to highlight a few of those and how they are beneficial as skin food.

Our signature soap, Be Relaxed has generous amount of organic lavender essential oil added to it.  We source the oil locally whenever we can.  Lavender oil has many benefits when used in a soap from stress relief, helping sleep, antibacterial and antiseptic and sweetly fragranced.

Be Smooth contains the wonderful Pick Clay or Kaolin, as it is also known.  Pink Clay improves skin softness and is ideal for all skin types. It is very soft and can be used on fragile, dehydrated or sensitive skin. It is fantastic to use on mature skin, lined or wrinkled skin.

Taranaki Honey is used in two of our soaps – Be Clean and Be Lathered.  Honey makes a fantastic soap additive as it extremely moisturising and helps keep moisture locked in the skin. This moisture and elasticity helps to give the skin it’s natural glow and healthy “look.” Antioxidants means slower aging, less wrinkles, less damage from free-radicles.

Coffee grinds are used in our Be Fresh soap – but why?  Because coffee grounds are a perfect ingredient for removing disagreeable scents from your hands after, say, you’ve been cooking with a lot of garlic or fish, working on your car, or fixing the lawnmower.  Because coffee is a diuretic, soaps containing coffee have been known to visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite by drawing fluid away from fat cells, essentially dehydrating the fat cells.  This shrinks their size, resulting in a tightening effect from the outside.   Coffee contains antioxidants that are amazing for overall skin health. Antioxidants fight premature ageing of the skin due to heat, light, pollution, and damaging free radicals. Coffee’s antioxidant power, flavonoids, are released when brewed, and are captured in the hand soap.


And lets not forget natural soap making additives are also there to prolong the shelf life of the soap!  Mass produced soap (which is basically solid detergent, not soap at all) contain nasty chemicals to prolong shelf life, not because they are good for your skin! Many of the additives we use however, help to keep the soap for months, whilst sitting waiting for the perfect customer!  We use grapefruit seed extract as a natural preservative, which prolongs shelf life and keeps the soap smelling beautiful.

What are some other additives we use?  How about, pumice, poppy seeds, vanilla paste, calendula petals, rose petals and essential oils.  All of these wonderful natural ingredients provide fantastic fragrance along with benefits for healthy skin.  Our clients have been reporting fantastic feedback recently – many clients find they prefer one soap over all others as it suits their skin type.  So, have a browse, and see if you can discover a perfect match for your skin!

coffee soap

All About Our Labelling!

A mother-daughter duo are travelling back in time to make old machinery relevant in today’s world.  Be Natural soap owners Sarah and Susan Lucas believe in the reduction of waste, so much so that they have their labels printed from a 1940s machine.

The Taranaki Aviation Transportation and Technology Museum (TATATM) in New Plymouth is a working museum that produces prints using heavy machinery that dates back to the 1800s.
Brittany Baker

Sarah and Susan Lucas own and operate an organic soap business and believe in reducing waste.


Sarah says the soap business began while she was pregnant with her third child.

“I did a lot of research on toxins and I was really conscious about what I was putting on my skin,” she says.


Alan Penfold said this German machine carries its weight by producing 7000 printed sheets an hour.

She approached her mother, Susan, who was looking for something to do.

“The two of us made our first batch and people really loved it and asked, ‘Can we have some’?”


The labels for Be Natural are printed on an old, letterpress machine at TATATM.

The women’s soap business stays squeaky clean by sourcing materials that may otherwise be thrown away or forgotten.

“This used to be an old garage,” Sarah says as she opens her arms to show off where the soap is made.

Sarah says she had the idea for the soap labels when she spotted some print work at a restaurant.

“I saw these beer mats that said, ‘Printed by TATATM’. So, I rang them and we went over some proofs and they printed 15,000 labels,” Sarah says.

“The guys also avoid waste and reuse the lead needed for prints. This lovely stamp is from the 1880s.”

TATATM volunteers Alan Penfold and Terry Foster dedicate their time piecing together parts from the past to create classic prints.

The volunteers use the Heidleberg Platen – a German machine made in the 1940s.

“It’s a great piece of machinery that was donated by Taranaki Newspapers,” Penfold says.

He says he puts together all the letters, punctuation, and spacing.

“I love hand-setting and design. I place it all together in what we call a ‘printer’s pie’,” Penfold says.

He is enthusiastic about the old letterpressing machines.

“It’s going back to our old trade, before we were superseded by technology. Some of these letters or stamps are nowhere else in the world.

“It’s recycling before recycling was a term.”

foaming castile soap

Natural Liquid Soap – why is it beneficial?

Natural Liquid Soap


Be Natural’s Organic Liquid Soap is a pure castile natural liquid soap that you can use in many different ways, including as a hand soap.  It is made with organic oils of coconut, New Zealand Avocado and essential oils of Sweet Orange and Lavender – which makes a rich lather and prevents drying the skin. As for preservatives, we use none – the essential oils maintain the self life of the soap. Be Natural Liquid Soap is highly concentrated, which makes it great value.  Make sure that you use this natural liquid soap in a foaming dispenser; otherwise, it will be really hard to use and you will waste a lot of soap.  The number one reason to use a natural liquid soap is to lessen your exposure to nasty toxic chemicals that are in many of the supermarket branded liquid soaps.  Marketed as soap, these concoctions are in fact detergents, and contain thickeners, colours and parabens.  Most of the ingredients in these so called soaps are not even there to help clean you – they are there to maintain shelf life, colour the product and thicken it.  Our soap is pure soap – and every drop of it will cleanse and nourish your skin.  Did you know that when you apply something to your skin, that it is absorbed to your blood stream within 30 seconds?  If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth – don’t put it on your skin!

Being organic and pure, it won’t strip the skin of vital oils, and leaves it soft and clean.  It can be used as a top to toe wash – great for hair, body and face.  Kids love it as it foams and they can easily wash themselves.  It is septic tank friendly, easily breaking down in both regular and eco systems.  Our soap can be used for a variety of purposes too!  I use it as a window cleaner, floor cleaner, spot cleaner, vanity and shower cleaner, foot soak, car wash, laundry handwash and sometimes I add it to the washing machine and dishwasher dispensers!  My husband even uses it as a shaving foam!  Be Natural has recently released 1 and 2 litre containers, available through the website or through direct contact, use these to top up your existing foaming soap dispensers!  Make sure that you use this natural liquid soap in a foaming dispenser; otherwise, it will be really hard to use and you will waste a lot of soap.Great value, less chemicals!  Shop online today for this fantastic product at

Organic Sweet Orange & Lavender Liquid Castile Soap


In our next blog we’ll show you some photos of our liquid soap production process, then you can see clearly the natural and pure ingredients that go into our soap!

kids dirty hands

Children and the Toxic Load

For some time I have been aware of the damaging affects that chemicals in everyday products can have on our children.  Clever and powerful marketing combined with busy lives means often we reach for the nearest and easiest solution to cleaning, protecting and treating our children.  But with a bit of time, you can make some simple changes and dramatically reduce your childs toxic load.

Children are particularly vulnerable to toxic chemical as their vital organs are still developing, any damage can be long lasting. They are smaller in size than adults and their developing organs are at greater risk of being affected by toxins. They also have a reduced ability to eliminate toxins from their developing bodies.  Their skin is thinner than adult skin and absorbs everything put on it – within seconds, the chemical enter the blood stream.

There are alternatives, and often they are more cost effective and just as easy.  Here’s some simple tips:


  • Use natural sunscreens, or at least those with most nasties taken out – there is an ever increasing range of great products on the market.
  • Stick to natural soaps for body and handwashing.  Research clearly indicates that a bar of natural soap is just as effective at cleaning hands as antibacterial handwash.  There is nothing wrong with washing your childs hair with natural soap either, works a treat.
  • Buy eco, plant based detergents for the dishes – every time you use a plate, there are traces of whatever chemical you previously used – this enters our children.
  • Keep a supply of liquid castille soap in the cupboard for cleaning windows, floors, cars, table tops etc etc.  This negates the need for a cocktail assortment of different products.  (Be reminded that Be Natural produces bulk bottles of castille soap).
  • Remind caregivers, schools and child care agencies of the importance of reducing our children’s exposure to nasty chemicals.
  • Eat organic where-ever possible.

By keeping life simple, you will naturally see the nasty chemicals become eliminated from your life.


kids dirty hands





Why we are Committed to Remaining Palm Oil Free

Thankfully, more and more people are becoming aware of the danger involved in the pursuit of palm oil.  Yes, Palm Oil is a healthy fat with health benefits, but hey, there are many other sources of fat which are equally good for us.

Why you don’t want to consume or purchase palm oil can be summed up by the three big ethical categories: environmental, animal, and humanitarian reasons.

As WWF global reports on the environmental and social impacts of palm oil production: “Large areas of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make room for vast monoculture oil palm plantations.”

Establishing this monoculture has some serious negative impacts on our environment on both local and global scales, such as soil erosion, air pollution, water pollution, and aiding in our man-made negative impact on climate change.

As for the social angle, palm oil plantations can pose disastrous consequences for the rights and livelihoods of local communities, their personhood often being ignored for expansion of the palm oil industry.

And lastly, animal wildlife suffers greatly as they are injured, killed, and displaced during deforestation. Orangutans have become some of the biggest victims of palm oil, and are killed with guns or machetes during implementation and harvesting.

It’s estimated that “over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades”, with countless other animals alongside them. With the sort of sacrifices we make and lives we take from both human and animal kind in order to obtain this substance, if you didn’t know any better you’d think that our very lives depended on palm oil.


I’ll leave it up to you whether you choose to consume it.

Combining Science and Creativity…

Soapmaking really is a science, but lucky for us, it is also a great way to unleash some creative flair whilst creating a useful and unique product. Soapmaking requires the exact measurement of fats and alkalines, combined at exact temperatures. But once the science is taken care of – it is time to conjure up the therapeutic scents and qualities which is added through the use of different fats and essential oils. Such fun! Each fat has a different constituent of fatty acids and has particular benefits. Coconut oil for example is light and non greasy, is highly moisturising, conditioning and protecting. We use rice bran oil in some of our soaps and its make up means it is fantastic for mature, delicate or sensitive skin.

We hope that you can find something you love in the Be Natural Soap range – maybe Be Indulged for a yummy shower before you head out for the evening, or the soothing scent of Be Relaxed Lavender Body soap which is fantastic to use before bed.

Through this blog, we will share our soapmaking adventures. From hauling buckets of coconut oil into our soapmaking kitchen to unwrapping our precious essential oil orders, we love every part of the process, especially cutting up a great new batch of delicious smelling soap. Please feel free to leave comments and questions, and we will endeavour to answer them.

benefits of natural soap

Benefits of Organic Handmade Soap

What are the benefits of natural soap?

Natural soap is produced using the same methods that were developed hundreds of years.  We have refined the ingredients and have many more beautiful natural additives that we can now use, but the process is still the same.  True soap is always natural – supermarket soap is actually solid chemical detergent – it contains natural oils and butters, either animal of plant derived.  Natural soap is saponified using a strong alkaline which is neutralised by the oils and butters and produces a hard bar of soap.  There are many benefits of natural soap, some of which are explained below.  The biggest benefit however, is that using natural soap can reduce the chemical load that your body is exposed to.  Unlike commercial soaps which contains synthetic lather elements, artificial colors and harsh chemicals, handmade natural soaps usually contain only plant derived substances.  These substances are so much less likely to cause irritation of rednedd when being used.  Our skin is very absorbent.  The skin obsorbs everything put on it – usually within seconds.  So, if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin.

It doesn’t end there though – check out these benefits of natural soap.

  • In the making of natural soap, glycerine, which moisturises or skin naturally, is preserved, not separated out like commercial soaps.  Glycerine moisturises and hydrates our skin and helps us to avoid dry and rough skin.
  • As our natural soap is made from vegetable oils, it maintains the natural oil of your skin, which protects your skin from harmful effects of wind, sun and even bacteria.
  • Natural soap is feeds your skin your skin the fatty acids it needs to stay healthy – AND it is also good for Aotearoa and our planet Earth.
  • As natural soap is chemical free, it may help skin problems like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
  • Natural soap has anti-oxidant nutrients. The anti-oxidant nutrients provides long life to skin cell.
  • Natural soap helps you to balance your skin complexion.
  • This soap is not only good skin, organic soap also gives wonderful aromatic smell.

Be Natural Soap has a large range of soaps, made here in New Zealand.  Their is a soap for everyone – from facial bars through to hand scrubs.  Go over and have a browse – worldwide shipping is available.


benefits of natural soap