Mara Botanical – Our Story
Located in the midst of native bush in the beautiful seaside village of Kuaotunu on the Coromandel Peninsula in Aotearoa, New Zealand, we live close to nature. Beauty and nature are inseparable. Sustainability and the love of nature, its flora and its fragility, is at the heart of Mara Botanical.
With a strong interest in exploring the healing properties of herbs and plants, as well as the physical and mental benefits of essential oils, I carefully handcraft small batches of hair-care and cosmetic products made from plant and bee derived raw materials only.
Over the years, I’ve acquired a solid knowledge base for inventing new recipes or improving existing ones. I believe that cosmetic products should not only be safe to use, they should also be safe for the environment. Simply said, they should be safe enough to eat.
I’m intrigued by the healing power of New Zealand native plants, in particular the golden Kumerahou flower, which is not only rich in cleansing saponins, but also very beneficial for the skin.
I’m also a long-time fan of kombucha, which is so much more than a healthy drink made from tea. Not everyone knows that this magical brew has great benefits when applied to your skin and hair.
One day, a friend gave me a book about all the many remarkable uses of kombucha, and that’s how I learned that a shampoo made with fermented tea can give incredible results. It inspired me to make my own.
Looking at some of the DIY recipes on the internet, I learned that it’s not easy to make an all-natural shampoo that both works and keeps well without using any chemical preservatives. Some in-depth research into shampoo making, and especially into ingredients that are safe and suitable for natural products, was needed before I could reinvent the forgotten special shampoo from the book.
Our local hairdresser, who shares my beliefs around using products that are natural and harmless for the user and the environment, helped me to evaluate the different formulations during the trial and error period. I wanted to create a product without chemical preservatives, with the exactly right PH, to be healthy for skin and hair.
Eventually, I found a way that seemed feasible and after some very useful feedback, our testing team said: “Don’t change the recipe anymore! This one works perfectly and smells fantastic."
As it turned out, our shampoo does more than a fabulous job on the hair. Especially people with a sensitive scalp have said that the improvement of their condition has been huge since using our kombucha hair-care products. It is also incredibly mild and doesn't sting in the eyes.
Mara Botanical currently has 3 hair products in the range. The original shampoo for normal or strong hair, a shampoo for fine hair, and a conditioner for long, dry or damaged hair. Another great natural product available for purchase is the herbal deodorant sticks in a biodegradable paper push-up tube.
When friends complained they couldn’t find a natural deodorant that worked for them, I decided to make something they would love. First, I did lots of research into natural deodorant recipes to find out why it wasn’t right for my friends. I found there was a problem with baking soda in leave-on products. It is too alkaline, which irritates the skin, stains clothes, and only works for a few hours.
I had studied the medicinal properties of essential oils for some time, and felt that the solution could be found there. I just had to find the right oils, the right combination, the right ratios and the right concentration. It had to be safe, efficient and also smell good.
The result was beyond all expectations. One application works for more than 24 hours, and the scent is just beautiful. It even works with body odor already present or when it's sometimes not possible to have a shower, although too much hair can lessen the effect a little bit.
Next, I had to find sustainable packaging, because I wanted a zero waste solution to avoid using plastic, so I finally got custom made tubes in excellent quality.
One stick will last you for 6-10 months, and the product is made from nothing but organic shea butter, liquid coconut oil, beeswax and pure essential oils.
It makes me happy to see that my products bring so much relief to so many people who suffered damage from the chemical ingredients in conventional products. It gives me a sense of purpose and direction, I'm here to help!
With love ~ Mara