Posted on Leave a comment

Reducing plastic waste

Since 2015 we have prided ourselves on wrapping and sending products in eco-friendly packaging and have implemented new, innovative options as they have become available.

We use glass jars, which now come with aluminum lids. You can recycle both, or reuse them around the home. We also provide a return option, which you can read about here.

Our soaps are wrapped in paper, with a paper label. Bath salts, coffee scrub and face mask refills all come in home compostable packaging made from plants.

For shipping we use cardboard boxes – these can be turned inside out to provide a clean box for you to reuse for postage or storage around the home. They are secured with paper tape and cellulose tape (made from plants). Depending on the size of your order we also sometimes use black, home-compostable mailer bags or just wrap in thick brown paper.

These options are usually more expensive for a business to use, but we think the planet is worth it!

Our suppliers are also getting on board with reducing waste, we are able reuse most packaging that comes in, except bubble wrap, which we pass on to be reused.

Posted on Leave a comment

Using our Dish Soap

Using a solid bar of dish soap effectively is a combination of three things – water, technique and product.


For best results use the hottest water you possibly can! If you don’t need to wear gloves, its probably not hot enough. If your hot water has been turned down, you may need to add a jug of boiling water to your wash.

Most of New Zealand has what is called soft water, this is the best for using soap. Soap will lather and perform well in soft water. If you have hard water, soap is always going to struggle over detergent.


Using a “Dish Swish” will easily create lots of bubbles in hot water, alternatively you can agitate the soap in a gloved hand near the surface of the water. About ten seconds of swishing is usually enough. Bubbles aren’t essential to clean, it takes a bit of getting used to not having a sink full of copious bubbles, but we think our special recipe is pretty good at creating and keeping bubbles. You may not see many bubbles if your water is hard. Shake/swish under the stream of water while filling, rather than a full sink.

If you are old enough, you may remember the dishwashing order of events in Home Economics classes. This is helpful when using a dish soap. First glassware, then mugs, plates/bowls, cutlery, serving bowls and lastly, pots/pans. Ensure anything “greasy” is pre-rinsed in hot water before you start.

Doing dishes in a washing up bowl placed inside the sink seems to produce better results with the soap – it uses less water and allows you to tip anything you forget is soaking down the drain. If you are from, or have lived in the UK, you’ll know all about this.


Aoraki Naturals’ castile dish soap’s olive oil formula is unique to us. Most solid dish soaps on the market will have coconut oil as their main ingredient. We tried several recipes over 12-months of testing back in 2017, but kept coming back to the olive oil. It requires a lengthy cure time of several months, but this ensures a nice hard, long-lasting bar. It is non-toxic, contains no synthetic ingredients and is vegan.

It is super important to care for your soap while in use. Allowing it to drain and dry as much as possible between uses will ensure you get the most from each bar. Keep it out of direct sunlight. If you want, you can have 2-3 bars on the go at any one time, switch between them and dry out between uses. If using a shaker, hang it up, or stand on a free-draining soap dish to allow airflow.

One bar should last approx 3 weeks, washing up twice a day, but that is dependent on the size of your washes, how much soap you are using, how you store it etc, so is just a guide.


Making the switch from a liquid dish wash detergent can take a little adjustment, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. You can rest assured you are doing the best for the planet by going plastic free and for your family, by using an all-natural product.


“Started using this soap as an alternative to buying plastic bottles and LOVE IT!! I suffer with eczema and use to get a rash under my wedding rings, but since having this in my kitchen my eczema has gone and so has my rash under my rings. Ohh and the planet loves me for it too”

“Absolute game-changer. I cannot recommend this Dish soap highly enough – works just as well as Dawn or Sunlight but without the myriad of unnecessary chemicals and plastic waste. Great for dishes and also surface cleaning. Now we won’t use anything else ..”

“We have been using the Castile dish soap bars for a few months now and we won’t be turning back! They are fantastic. Easy to use, last a long time, and dirty dishes come up sparkling clean.”

You can read more reviews here.

© Aoraki Naturals, Sept 2020.

Posted on Leave a comment

Shampoo Bars FAQs

Shampoo Bars

We answer some of your frequently asked questions

Will I have a transition period where my hair feels gross?

Some people do, some don’t. There is no difinitive answer to this question as everyone’s hair is different. Some people have fabulous results from day one, and for others it can take several weeks.

What can I do to help get through the transition stage?

There are a few things that can help – firstly, make sure you lather up well, use enough soap – get right down in there to the scalp, add more water to help boost lather as you wash. Then, rinse REALLY well, you’ll need to rinse more than you normally would with a commercial liquid shampoo. If your hair allows you can use a comb or brush during rinsing to separate the strands for better rinsing.

Sometimes using a vinegar rinse can help, especially if you have harder water – 1 tablespoon of white (or apple cider) vinegar in 1 cup of warm water – make it beforehand and pop at edge of your shower ….. rinse shampoo out thoroughly, then close your eyes and dump the lot over your head …. massage in gently and leave on for a minute or two …. then rinse out. Your hair will not smell of vinegar once it is dry.

Try to avoid using a conditioner of any kind during the transition phase, even our conditioner bar – you need your hair to re-adjust to its normal state.

Try and prolong the days between washes. When you use commercial shampoo and conditioner, you may have to wash your hair every two days or even more often – most people using a natural soap shampoo bar only need to wash their hair every 5-7 days.

When you wash your hair too often your scalp is stripped of natural oils which condition your hair and scalp, your scalp goes into overdrive thinking it needs to produce more and more so your hair goes greasy … it looks greasy so you wash it … it’s a vicious circle!

Which shampoo bar should I choose?

We have two base formulas with three “flavours” in each

  1. Apple cider vinegar base – Sensitive, Tea Tree, Henna
  2. Olive oil base – Rosemary & Mint, Lemon, Vanilla

The following are not hard and fast rules, but guidelines from feedback we have received over the years. We suggest trying a bar from each base to start with to see which your hair prefers.

Sensitive skin/scalp, children under 5 – Sensitive

Dry, damaged hair – any bar – Henna bar is quite conditioning. You can use our Nourishing Hair Oil as a pre-wash treatment, or a drop or two on ends, or use conditioner bar to follow. Some people also like to add a few drops of hair oil to the lather when they are shampooing – if you add oil, make sure you rinse well. You may need to experiment a little.

Itchy, flaky scalp – Rosemary & Mint (mint is anti-itch) or Tea Tree

Oily hair – any bar, but Lemon or Tea Tree seem popular. See information above about stretching out time between washes. May benefit from vinegar rinse.

Flyaway/curly/frizzy hair – any bar + conditioner and/or a few drops of hair oil to smooth down frizz or define curls.

Dull hair – a final rinse of 1T of apple cider (or white) vinegar in a cup of warm water can add shine.

Normal hair – lucky you! Any bar and once it’s working well, you may like to try the conditioner bar or vinegar rinse.

More Help

Some people find that soap-based shampoo bars just don’t work for them. This can be due to your household water supply. Soap has a hard time working in hard water, so detergents will work best.

A few people, whose transition phase drags on, give up a bit too soon … try at least 8 weeks before giving up completely. It’s hard when you feel your hair isn’t looking its best, we get it!

Once adjusted, your hair will feel a bit different than it used to, a little heavier and perhaps less “silky” this is because commercial shampoos contain chemicals like silicones to make your hair feel like this …it’s not a natural state for hair. The way your hair feels after transitioning becomes your new “normal” in no time.

Once your hair is used to using a bar, don’t be afraid to change bars and mix it up a bit.

You can always use our shampoo bars as body or hand wash, so there is nothing to lose in trying.

We’d love to hear your experiences or tips about Aoraki Naturals’ shampoo bars, feel free to comment below.

© Aoraki Naturals, Nov 2019.

Posted on Leave a comment

Soap needs love too!

Tips to get the most out of your handmade soap

Use it!  

Aoraki Naturals’ soaps are formulated to be used.  Your newly purchased soap is ready to go, and will stay nice and fresh for a few months and up to a year depending on the make up of the actual soap and correct care.

Unlike supermarket “soap” which can be stored for years due to hardeners and synthetic ingredients, handmade soaps do have a shelf life.   Delicate essential oil fragrances can deteriorate over time, and oils can, just like the oils you cook with, go rancid.  Correct storage can prolong the life of a soap.

So how do I store my soap?

The best place is in a cool, dry spot in a cardboard box which allows air to circulate.  A bedroom drawer is ideal.  Soaps left out, unwrapped on a shelf will fade quickly and lose their scent after a while.

How to I make my soap last longer?

Using a shower puff  or washcloth instead of rubbing the soap directly on your body will help your soap last longer as you use less to get a great lather.

Allow time for your soap to dry out between uses.  Cut your bar in half and use on alternate days, or if you have more than one soap, rotate them.

You don’t want your soap  sitting in water, or getting wet from the shower’s stream – it will melt to nothing very quickly due to the high natural glycerine content.

A well draining soap dish is essential and a good investment if you are going to switch to handmade soap.

You can purchase one of our wooden soap dishes HERE

Our wooden soap dishes enable your soap to stay drier between uses.

These are also ideal –

chrome-shower-soap-holder-3169 soap dish

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.33.43 AM

***  Have a tip to share?   comment below.   🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

Natural & affordable

Some of our handmade soaps.

In the business development stage of Aoraki Naturals I needed to decide what we were going to be, and who our market was.  I have always been frustrated at the lack of natural body products available in stores and have,  over the years, shied away from most supermarket brands, or found  “natural” brands price prohibitive.

So, there it was – natural AND affordable.    I started knowing this won’t make me rich as the quality ingredients and essential oils I use aren’t cheap, but I create products I would be happy to purchase and use myself.  I love what I do, and am enjoying building relationships with my customers knowing I am delivering safe, eco-friendly, body-friendly products that work.

Aoraki Naturals’ products have –

  • No synthetic fragrance oils
  • No synthetic colourants
  • No animal fats
  • No palm oil

What we do use –

  • A range of natural plant oils and butters
  • Pure essential oils
  • Herbs, spices, botanicals
  • Clays

Our products are designed to be used and enjoyed every day by the whole family.

Throw everything you have heard about “not using soap on your face” out of the window and try our products today!

Posted on Leave a comment

Would I lye to you?

A lot of people ask me “How can homemade soap be gentle and good for your skin if it’s made with lye.” “Isn’t that caustic soda? .. The stuff you clean drains with?”

Yes it is!  BUT it is impossible to make real soap without it.

First off, I want to give you a brief overview of exactly what soap is.

Soap is an alkali (like lye, aka sodium hydroxide) combined with fats. Together they go through a reaction called “saponification”, and the end result is soap. So, by the very definition of “soap”, you cannot have soap without lye.

Every oil needs a certain amount of lye to turn it into soap, all Aoraki Naturals’ soaps use more oil than is required, which means some of the oils are left behind and all of the lye is well and truly used up. This process is called “superfatting”. It ensures a skin-safe, gentle product and your skin benefits from the moisturising properties of the “unused” oils.

So why does “lye soap” have a reputation of being harsh? In days past, homemakers made soap using lye made from wood ash. Sophisticated scales for measuring were not available and often too much lye was used. When saponification occurred, some lye was left in the soap, making it harsh on the skin.

Hopefully that helps ease any worries you have with lye as an ingredient – remember every bar of soap you’ve used in your life started with a lye solution.