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A chat with Nicola James-Baird from Holistic Hair

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 7:22:20 PM Pacific/Auckland


Why did you start your business?  The first Holistic Hair products were developed in 2006 by our founder Nigel Russell, a qualified Trichologist. Back in 2006 hair care was largely synthetic based and Nigel wanted to offer his clients safer alternatives from a more natural & plant-based source. The Sensitive Shampoo & Conditioner along with the Scalp Treatment Oil were his first products, created for individuals with sensitive scalps, or scalp disorders. Holistic Hair has gradually grown to become a full range comprising cleansing, conditioning, extra care and styling products. My business partner Jodene Fendall and I, acquired the brand in October 2015. We both have a passion for natural products and are entrepreneurs at heart. We could see the opportunity to develop Holistic Hair further, into a strong local and international natural hair care brand. The market for natural products is growing and brands designed and manufactured in New Zealand with clear differentiation, a strong brand story and ongoing innovation have great potential.


Can you sum up the philosophy of your business?  The word Holistic in our name really sums up our philosophy. Our vision is to continue innovating and developing leading-edge natural hair care but in a truly holistic sense. We believe it is important to consider our customer's whole needs if we are to succeed in being the hair care brand of choice.  Our products have to be premium, safe, effective and offer health and wellbeing benefits. But equally important is how the brand achieves what it sets out to do. Customers are taking more of an interest and want to know more about the brand and products they are choosing.  Factors such as where ingredients are sourced, do we uphold fair trade & human rights, is the brand cruelty-free and do we practice respect for the environment to name a few. It’s important for us to genuinely incorporate all practices into our business that make a positive difference to the people and world we live in and in doing this we are honouring our holistic philosophy and name.


What are your best tips to achieving healthy hair? 

  1. Assess your scalp and hair needs separately when choosing a shampoo and conditioner. Shampoo is for cleansing the scalp and the conditioner is for treating the hair. You don’t always have to buy within a set, for instance you may have a sensitive scalp, but very dry hair, so buy a sensitive shampoo and a hydrating conditioner.
  2. Pay attention to your scalp don’t leave issues unattended which could lead to hair loss.
  3. Protect your scalp & hair at all times. Scalp conditions & hair damage can be prevented by using the correct products.
  4. Good nutrition is very important. Eat a balanced diet to allow the follicles to receive the nutrients they need to maintain normal healthy hair growth.
  5. Minimise stress and have the right amount of sleep. This will help to keep your hormone levels normal. Elevated stress hormones can trigger hair loss.
  6. You scalp is part of your skin and topically applied products can enter the body. Choose safe hair care products from natural origin to minimise your exposure to irritating synthetic chemicals.


What’s the easiest way for people to transition to natural haircare?  Holistic Hair have shampoo and conditioner sets in 50ml travel sizes for both the hydrating & sensitive ranges which are great for trial purposes.[shop Holistic Hair Travel Sets >>]  You can start with a shampoo and conditioner and then move on to extra care and styling products. 


What are you most proud of in your business?  Our passionate people and shared values. I think when you care about what you are doing, you are driven to go above and beyond to get it right and succeed.


What was the reason you made the switch to natural beauty/skincare?  I wanted to take responsibility for what I was using on my body.  I’m a compulsive researcher so I never stop looking for evidence, facts and science-based articles. Whilst everything is in essence made from chemicals my personal ethos is to choose the safest, most effective product and preferably from natural origin.


What’s your must have natural beauty product you just can’t do without? I love the Holistic Hair Herbal Finishing Rinse Concentrate. I use it after every shampoo & condition to maintain the health of my scalp and add shine to my hair.


What’s the best thing you do to take care of yourself?  I like to exercise and enjoy walking anywhere with lovely scenery. I also run a few times a week as it helps me to unwind.



0 Comments | Posted in Be Up To Date By Customer Care

Keen to green your beauty routine? Here's where to start...

Sunday, October 8, 2017 10:43:00 AM Pacific/Auckland


The start of Spring is a great time to refocus on health and wellbeing priorities after slower pace of winter.  In the same way you make choices about fresh food packed with natural, nourishing ingredients vs processed food high in preservatives you can do the same with your skincare and beauty products. 

And there’s generally 2 ways to green up your beauty routine:

1)     the 'everything goes' approach: - where you undertake a full overhaul and start from scratch replacing all of your beauty products with healthier alternatives OR

2)     the 'easy does it' approach - where you begin to replace your beauty products as they run out or expire.  This is easier on your wallet and is a good way to start trialling new brands you’re probably less familiar with. 

So if you’re keen to make the switch to greener beauty and are not sure where to start here’s what’s on our list:


SUNSCREEN: this is high up the list because sunscreen usually stays on your skin all day and covers a large part your body over the hotter months.  As a priority look for sunscreens free from oxybenzone.  This is one of the most common ingredients found in mainstream sunscreen and the #1 chemical sunscreen ingredient to avoid according to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), who study hundreds of sunscreens each year and make recommendations on ingredient safety. 

Studies have raised concerns that oxybenzone, which is estimated to be included in up to 70% of non-mineral sunscreens, may be a potential hormone disruptor which has also been linked to skin allergies. This is a worry considering how often sunscreen is applied over the Spring & Summer months.  In fact according The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, oxybenzone has been detected in more than 96 percent of the American population, based on a representative sampling of children and adults. Because oxybenzone penetrates the skin and can enter the bloodstream there are concerns it may then act like oestrogen in the body. While it’s early days in studying the long term effects of oxybenzone, a number of studies have found links between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and potential health concerns.

And if that’s not enough there’s also links to oxybenzone damaging the coral reefs due to its toxicity.

Instead look for mineral sunscreens such which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that EWG give better safety ratings too.  Mineral sunscreen agents sit on the top of the skin and are classified as ‘physical sunscreens’ so are generally not absorbed into the bloodstream. shop mineral sunscreens >>

extra read: what to look out for in your sunscreens >>

extra read: what’s the difference between chemical & physical sunscreens >>


PERFUME as infatuating as a beautiful bottle of fragrance is, it can also be a cocktail of synthetic ingredients linked to headaches, hormone disruption, allergic reactions and respiratory problems.   It’s definitely worth avoiding if you’re prone to allergies and skin sensitivities.  And because perfume companies don’t have to disclose the full list of ingredients (so as to protect their trade secrets), it’s difficult to actually know what you’re applying to your skin, body and inhaling. 

Instead look for a natural perfume that has an essential oil base.  There’s been a recent surge of natural perfumes to hit the market, with the sophistication of many of the main stream alternatives.  shop natural perfumes >>


DEODORANT: while this can be one of the hardest products to switch, the hassle is definitely worth it once you find the perfect natural alternative. 

One of the most common questions we get asked is if a natural deodorant will stop the sweating…no it won’t.  Somewhere along the line it’s been conditioned into most of us that sweating is bad, and therefore you need an antiperspirant to stop the sweat.  In fact sweating is an important function for our bodies, as it helps to aid in cooling your body.  So a natural deodorant actually works to help to neutralise that funky odour, while still supporting the body’s natural functions.  Natural deodorants are free from aluminium and all sorts of other ingredients that have been linked to health concerns, and there’s some really great options available now.  shop natural deodorants >>

extra read: is going natural with your deodorant worth the sweat >>

extra read: why this is our top selling deodorant >>

extra read: what’s the best natural deodorant for you >>


LIPSTICKS: Conventional lipsticks can include a mix of ingredients including synthetic dyes, parabens and mineral oil. And because they’re reapplied a number of times throughout the day and can be ingested it’s a good option to switch early on.  There’s plenty of gorgeous natural & vegan lipsticks available these days that have the staying power and colour options of the mainstream lippies, but instead are made from plant based ingredients and natural colourants.  shop natural lipsticks >> 

extra read: how to go clean with your lipstick >>


From here just continue to switch out products as they run out, with the focus on the products you use most often, you wear the longest during the day and those that cover the largest part of your skin. 

In terms of what brands to switch to, beware of every product that flashes ‘paraben free’ or ‘includes natural ingredients’ on the front of the packaging.  Instead seek out brands that have built their reputation around being transparent and more holistic in their natural beauty approach.  Also be sure to visit our store - we specialise in the best of green beauty, so you can look and feel your best without the unhealthy ingredients. shop now>>

If you’d like any recommendations or want to chat to us about switching your beauty products just email us, we’d love to hear from you >>



0 Comments | Posted in Be Gorgeous Be Natural By Customer Care

Why This Is Our Most Loved & Reviewed Natural Deodorant

Thursday, August 31, 2017 6:14:00 PM Pacific/Auckland

As many of you will no doubt have experienced, finding the perfect natural deodorant can be a frustrating case of trial and rather odorous error.  But once you find it you’ll feel like you’ve won the jackpot!


And that's why I was so excited when I discovered Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste.  I'd seen how popular it was in Australia, tried it myself and loved it sooooooooooooo much I knew I had to add it to the store for everyone who had nearly given up the search for a natural deodorant that worked.  Ever since, we've been continually stocking up as it flies off the shelves almost as soon as it arrives back in! 


So why is Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste so fabulous and popular?  Because it's 100% natural, free from toxic chemicals…and most importantly IT WORKS to keep you fresh all day!  It's been specially formulated to neutralise your underarm odour instantly and keep you fresh without inhibiting your sweat glands ability to dispel toxins.  This means your body can continue to do what it does naturally without smelling funky.


Yes, it is a paste, and it's super easy to apply.  In fact it's just like moisturising your armpits! You just grab a pea sized amount with your finger and gently rub it into your armpits until it warms and dissolves. Simple!



Here’s just a few of the reviews from our customers who are raving about it too:

“My friend put me onto this awesome product after I was talking about my sweating and odour issues, esp with certain tops.  I was having trouble with it before I even got out the door in the morning.  This has made a massive difference.  NO nasty smells, even wearing those certain tops. Yayee :-)  Highly recommend”   Review by Carla


“Gosh this stuff is good! Lasts all day, smells nice and you only need a tiny amount. Total winner!”  Review by Annika


“I've been using this deodorant for a month or so and love the fact that I can rely on it to keep me smelling fresh - there's never a time I've smelt any odour as with other natural deodorants. I've recommended it to lots of people.”  Review by Janette


“I suffer from really bad body odour, I couldn't wear certain materials and had to wear deodorant 24/7..... I had tried everything. One day a friend told me about Black Chicken so I ordered some. I was unsure this product would solve my problem I have had for years...... But to my amazement it did! It is absolutely amazing no smell anymore!!!!! Thank you Black Chicken for making my smell go away!”  Review by Steph


Read more reviews on Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste >>

Shop Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste >> 




0 Comments | Posted in Be Up To Date Be Gorgeous Be Natural By Jo | Vanilla Bloom

Why You Should Start Dry Body Brushing

Monday, July 24, 2017 10:33:00 AM Pacific/Auckland


Dry body brushing has become increasingly popular due to its health & beauty benefits.  However, as most people's morning routines are already packed full and time short, is adding 'another thing in' worth the effort?  YES is most definitely our answer – the 5 minutes you spend each morning will be worth the investment of your time. 

Your skin is your largest organ and plays a role in the detoxification of your overall body; and as a result can be the first to show signs of imbalance.  By giving it a ‘morning wake up’ each day the benefits can be numerous:

- You get rid of the dry dead skin cells and in turn encourage cell renewal – the same way an exfoliant does for your face.  As a result your skin tone is improved, also allowing the body products you apply to better work their magic.

- Dry brushing your body can have a similar effect as massage, so by gently applying light pressure it can help move your lymphatic fluid through your body assisting with the elimination of waste.  Your body does this naturally, however body brushing can just speed things up while also helping to improve circulation and encouraging your body to operate more effectively.

- It has been suggested that by increasing the circulation you start to break down the unwanted toxins which include cellulite.

- By giving your skin a good brush each morning you’re also helping to give your body a wake up and shot of energy to start your day.


How to do it:

- Start with dry skin.

- In a gentle circular direction move up from your feet in long, slow strokes – this follows the flow of lymphatic fluid through the body back up towards the heart so you want to head in the same direction.

- Move up your body taking special care of softer, more fragile skin areas such as your chest and breasts  – and avoid areas such as your neck, face and any broken or inflamed skin (including skin cancers).

- Once you’ve finished going over your body with the brush enjoy a shower and wash away the dead skin cells.

- After showering nourish your skin with a beautiful moisturising natural body cream or oil. 

- Your skin should be pink after brushing – not red.


A few other tips:

- If you're a beginner just take it easy to begin with - the Hard Dry Body Brush can be a bit firm to start but within no time you'll start to feel the benefits.  

- Look for more natural bristle brushes which are usually cactus or vegetable derived.  Hydrea London Dry Body Brushes are made with FSC certified beechwood and are designed for easy home use.

- If you have particularly sensitive or fragile skin, just exercise caution – and make sure you use a softer brush and a super light hand.


Give it a try each day for the next 30 days and see the results for yourself!


0 Comments | Posted in Be Gorgeous Be Natural By Customer Care

A chat with makeup artist Meagan Rawlings

Thursday, June 29, 2017 4:51:11 PM Pacific/Auckland


As a well loved & respected Makeup Artist (plus Beauty Blogger) Meagan Rawlings recently made the switch to natural and organic beauty.  So we caught up with her to find out more about why she decided to make the swap after years of using mainstream cosmetics, and what she's loving. 

Why did you iniitally start your business? I decided to go out on my own as a makeup artist because working Tuesday-Saturday meant it was impossible to take on weddings which I initially wanted to do more of. Now that I work for myself and have much more flexibility I do a range of work from photos shoots to weddings to special occasion clients. I also started up my blog to reach a wider audience in the hope my readers might find the tips and tricks that I had learnt from working in the industry for the past 9 years helpful. 


What was the reason you made the switch to natural beauty/skincare? It was actually after watching a documentary called The True Cost which is nothing to do with beauty but is about the behind the scenes of the Fast fashion industry. One of the biggest things that stuck with me from that was how unethical it was right from the growing of the cotton and the amount of pesticides that the farmers are exposed to, then the dying of the clothes with toxic dyes which those workers are exposed to and right through to the sewing of the clothes which can often be made in poor conditions. It got me thinking about ingredients in beauty products and where they come from, where are they grown? Who grows them? Where are they made? And what effect does this have on the people in the supply chain, the environment and also us the consumer. Once I started to research ingredients it was mind blowingly shocking just how toxic many of these ingredients were, I honestly had no idea and it had never once crossed my mind before that. 


What’s been the trickiest part about your transition to natural beauty products? The hardest thing for me being a professional Makeup Artist is that I still need to be able to do my job with products that perform and that I can rely on. There are some beautiful natural makeup brands out there but it takes time to trial products and it’s also very costly to change every single product in my kit in one go. As I discover something that I love such as the W3LL PEOPLE Mascara, then I will switch that out. It’s a slow process but this ensures that the level of quality stays the same.


What’s the best thing you do to take care of yourself?  I took up yoga a few months ago and it has been the best thing ever. I swear no one talks about how bloody hard it is but it’s awesome when you can finally see progress, plus I always feel super relaxed afterwards. 


What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time? Reading or chilling out in the sun. I’m def not an active relaxer  - haha, I’m 100% sure I was a cat in a former life!


What are you reading right now? Not Just A Pretty Face - The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan, wow this is an eye opening read. Everyone should read this!


Who’s the woman you admire most & why?  At this moment in time it’s Emma Watson. She recently started up @the_press_tour on instagram and writes details about the outfit she is wearing and the makeup used to create the look. She always wears ethically produced dresses and organic and natural makeup. If only more celebs who have huge followings could calm the ego down and use their influence to make a positive difference and create awareness on real issues, oh what a different world this would be. 


Meagan's top picks

Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer Molly CoddledI  get so many comments on this colour and it doesn’t chip! But best of all it is made without 8 of the nastiest chemicals usually contained in nail polish.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Natural; I can’t get enough of this! It’s super hydrating and doesn’t disappear off your lips within 5 minutes. It smells amazing too.

Inika Organic Certified Organic Makeup RemoverI used to use the Bi-Phase makeup removers previously which are made from toxic petrochemicals so I was stoked to come across this beauty. It works even better than the other versions at getting off eye makeup, especially waterproof mascara.

- Inika Micellar Cleansing Rosewater; I use a Micellar Water to prep every clients face and this is my new go-to. It gently cleanses and removes makeup without drying the skin.


Meagan's best makeup tip

Match your foundation to your chest and not your neck. When someone is looking at you they are looking at the whole you not just your neck and face. Everyones neck is paler than their chest so use a bronzer to even the colour out, the Inika Baked Mineral Bronzer is amazing.


0 Comments | Posted in Be Up To Date Be Gorgeous Be Natural By Customer Care

Vanilla Bloom Natural Beauty Boutique is the gorgeous online store focused entirely on exceptional healthy, natural and organic beauty products from New Zealand and around the world; including natural skincare, natural sunscreen, natural deodorant, organic makeup & cosmetics, natural fragrance and haircare.  In order to be stocked, the natural beauty products we range need to be free from unnecessary synthetic ingredients & potential toxins such as parabens, petrochemicals, SLS, oxybenzone and sulphates; and instead embrace the spirit of a cleaner, greener, natural approach to beauty. 

Our promise to you includes free delivery within New Zealand for all orders over $59.00, free samples and complimentary gift wrapping.