Meet the Maker: 30 Years of Living Nature

Meet the Maker: 30 Years of Living Nature

Living Nature was founded in 1987 by Suzanne Hall, who was inspired by the healing properties of New Zealand’s native plants to remedy her own skin conditions. We caught up with Living Nature to find out what has kept them at the top of their game in the natural beauty industry for 30 years, and why the ingredients they use are so effective.

Happy 30th Anniversary! Why do you think Living Nature has had such longevity in the beauty industry?

Living Nature has stayed true to its core values throughout its 30 years, providing 100% natural safe skincare that works!  In 1987 this concept was unusual but Living Nature was visionary and ahead of its time.  Living Nature created a range of products that utilised the remedial benefits of Manuka Honey and other New Zealand botanicals, and avoided using the common chemical preservatives and ingredients, instead striving for a range without nasty chemicals. Living Nature really did lead the way in natural skincare innovation and was the first New Zealand Manuka Honey skincare brand to be certified natural by BDIH Germany.

Living Nature hasn’t rested on its laurels though!  From humble beginnings, we’ve grown into a global leader in the Manuka Honey skincare market.  Over the years, Living Nature has added to the skincare range, launching new products year on year and also adding a highly popular mineral cosmetics line.  Today, Living Nature has an international presence in over 14 countries but still manufactures its own products and remains true to the company’s roots of creating 100% natural, safe skincare.

What was the hardest part of being a pioneer for natural skincare 30 years ago?

Leading the way and using new and innovative ingredients has always been difficult, especially 30 years ago.  Finding natural alternatives to the common chemical ingredients used in skincare products meant Living Nature had to invest heavily in developing unique formulations with natural preservatives. This was ground-breaking at the time. In order to be 100% natural, Living Nature also committed to developing their own manufacturing facility in the beautiful Bay of Islands in New Zealand and working with local suppliers to ensure their ingredients were ethically sourced and wild harvested.

It is now much easier to source quality organic and wild harvested ingredients and there are so many more natural alternatives to use in skincare products.  It is companies like Living Nature that have persevered in finding ethical suppliers and pushing for clean green ingredients in skincare products that have driven this change.


As a world leader in natural, effective & safe skincare, does it frustrate you that there are not stricter controls on the labelling of skincare that proposes to be natural or organic but isn’t?

It’s actually a real concern!  Sadly, greenwashing i.e. promoting the perception that products are natural, organic or environmentally friendly when closer scrutiny reveals that they are not or only partially, is widespread.  It confuses the consumer and makes them cynical to true natural and organic claims, and that’s not good for the credibility of the beauty industry as a whole.  Tighter guidelines and regulations around natural and organic claims are desperately needed.

Living Nature advocates certification as it’s a good indicator of a brands authenticity.  Although certification is voluntary, those companies that have gained certification are providing reassurance that their product range is actually natural and/or organic.The entire Living Nature range is certified natural by BDIH Germany or certified organic by COSMOS. Living Nature is also proud of the fact that all products have a low, safe rating on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which rates products on their purity and naturalness.

Active Manuka Honey is one of your key ingredients. What makes it so special & how is it harvested?

30 years ago little was known about any of New Zealand’s native botanicals.  Back in 1987, Suzanne Hall, Living Nature’s founder, pioneered the use of Manuka Honey in skincare as well as skincare that was 100% natural. Suzanne initially created products in her kitchen to help ease her own skin conditions.  Then driven by the improvement in her skin and a desire to produce a natural remedial range that everyone could benefit from, Living Nature was born.  It’s hard to believe that from such humble beginnings, the benefits of Manuka Honey are so well known today.

Manuka Honey is produced by bees feeding on the nectar of Manuka flowers.  What makes it special and sets this honey apart from other kinds of honey is its unique ‘active’ property, described as the ‘Manuka Factor’.  This is why Active Manuka Honey is globally renowned as it provides potent antimicrobial and healing properties, which are so beneficial for skin. It’s also extremely good at hydrating, moisturising and nourishing the skin.

Living Nature sources Active Manuka Honey from beekeepers local to the area in the Far North region of New Zealand.  It’s a remote area, free of pesticides, with Manuka trees or bushes growing all over the hillsides. When in flower, hives are placed within the Manuka forests and the honey frames removed once flowering finishes, leaving enough for the bees to live on.  We are very lucky in New Zealand as we have a long summer season and so much flowering flora.

Living Nature honey is ‘wild crafted’ and harvested using industry best-practice methods which are strictly cruelty-free.   It is also independently tested for activity and authenticity to ensure it is true Manuka.


What about the other unique ingredients used in Living Nature products?

Living Nature has always used unique ingredients and draws on ancient Maori knowledge of the healing properties of New Zealand’s native botanicals.  Growing in the geographically isolated, unpolluted environment of New Zealand, more than 80% of native plants are indigenous and many have remarkable bioactive properties.   Living Nature’s active ingredients come from the most potent of these plants, chosen for their powerful healing, purifying and nourishing qualities.

Living Nature’s philosophy has always been and continues to be ‘nature works’ and is the basis for developing skincare products that work in harmony with the skin.  The astonishing properties of these active ingredients are that they work with skin’s natural function to protect, repair and nourish, without the side effects of harsh, dangerous or damaging chemicals. When combined they create some of the safest, purest and most effective certified natural skincare in the world.

These are Living Nature’s other hero ingredients:

Manuka Oil: this pure essential oil possesses potent antimicrobial properties that combat skin irritations and infections, including the bacteria that cause acne.  Research confirms Manuka Oil is up to 33 times stronger than Tea Tree oil for protecting against certain bacteria strains.  It’s also effective against MRSA bacteria, which is resistant to normal antibiotics.

Kumerahou: often described as nature’s soap, Kumerahou possesses the remarkable ability to lather due to natural surfactants (saponins), which gently and effectively cleanse without damaging the skin’s moisture barrier.  Saponins also possess the natural ability to protect skin from microbial attack helping to keep skin clean and clear.  A natural alternative to SLS & SLES.

Harakeke Flax Gel: very similar to Aloe Vera, Harakeke has amazing rehydrating properties and helps soothe, cool and calm skin.  It’s also a natural antiseptic and provides healing benefits, especially if the skin is sore or irritated.

Totarol: 3 times stronger than Vitamin E, Totarol is nature’s super antioxidant and a potent force in neutralising free radicals linked to skin ageing.  As well as providing anti-ageing benefits, it has powerful antimicrobial properties.

Halloysite Clay: one of the world’s finest, purest clays with a potent purifying action.  Its fine particle structure and freedom from mineral contaminants common in other clay deposits make Halloysite Clay remarkably effective at gently absorbing toxins and impurities.  It also exfoliates, removing dead cells to leave skin fresh and accessible to nutrient underneath and helps refine pores.


Where do you see the natural beauty industry in another 30 years time?

With current forecasts confirming continued growth in the natural and organic skincare market and with increased demand for skincare with natural active ingredients, all indications are that natural skincare should become mainstream.  This is Living Nature’s vision for the future.  Increased consumer awareness of the many benefits of certified natural and organic skincare and stricter controls to eradicate greenwashing and provide the consumer with reassurance and protection.  With increased competition in the natural beauty market and greater investment in research, we should also see more innovative natural ingredients included in our skincare products in 30 years’ time.

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