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.

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

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.  🙂


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.





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!

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