When you decide to take the switch from everyday beauty and body products to natural and organic products, the immediate response may not always be as positive as you had envisioned. Shampoos and conditioners that are laden with chemicals do indeed leave your hair feeling soft, silky and smooth. Lip balms and moisturisers that are filled with petrochemicals and parabens do remedy dry chapped lips and skin.
But at what cost?
They are less expensive indeed in a monetary sense, but all of the chemicals in these products directly enter into the blood stream via the skin. Harmful ingredients such as palm oil are destroying our natural land and endangering animal species worldwide. The excessive plastic packaging ends up in landfill and the by-products, the chemical residue, pollutes our waterways and poisons our agricultural land. In a nutshell, they are a toxic and environmental nightmare.
Natural and Organic products on the other hand are free from chemicals, artificial fragrances and synthetic ingredients and are instead made with oils, plants and substances derived from nature. Do they work as well as their artificial rivals? Well, not always. Do they require a second job to purchase? Well, sometimes.
Which is why I was so pleased to find Coconut Tree. Having just moved to the Sunshine Coast I made it a mission of mine to try the natural, locally made beauty and body products. I was encouraged to see that there were several on the market, representing the dominant shift that is evident up and down the coast as people gravitate towards more organic and natural ways of living.
Coconut Tree products are free from artificial colours, fragrances, preservatives, sulphates, parabens and mineral oils. They are made from high quality, natural or naturally derived ingredients and each product has been specially crafted to replenish, protect and care for all hair and skin types. The Coconut Tree products are gentle and suitable for everyday use by the whole family. The best part is, they are affordable and they really work!
Catherine, the creative mind behind the Coconut Tree range, has always had a vested interest in health and wellbeing. Raised in Perth and then relocating to the Sunshine Coast, she has also always been aware of the potentially harmful effects of the Australian sun. When Catherine made the switch to prioritizing natural and organic products for herself and her young family, it became obvious to her that there was an absence of good quality, affordable natural skincare on the market.
Pondering this conundrum with her father one day, they discovered that individually they had both spent a significant amount of time and money investing in various products that they hoped would deliver to them the quality they expected given the price they were paying. Exhausted and frustrated with the inability to find anything that suited their needs to a tee, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
While they had never worked together before, with Catherine’s background in tourism marketing and her father’s extensive experience as an entrepreneur and businessman, the partnership simply made sense, as Catherine recalls, “We were inspired to start this business together because of our common quest to find effective, affordable natural products for our naturally dry skin and hair. Always disappointed and with bulging cupboards of unwanted products, we discovered the natural benefits of coconut oil.”
After using coconut oil on her skin and hair for a period of time, Catherine witnessed first hand its natural power and ability to nurture and protect. Intrigued to find out more about the healing properties of coconut oil, Catherine began to deepen her research. While coconut oil has traditionally been used in coastal and tropical climates for food, medicine, cosmetic use and sun protection, only in the past few decades has western society really started to embrace coconut oil and its many healing properties.
Science has been quick to back the findings related to the benefits and properties of coconut oil and Catherine also discovered through her independent studies that coconut oil is indeed an excellent skin and hair conditioner, containing medium-chain triglycerides which deeply penetrate, moisturise and act as a protective barrier against the aging effects of environmental and free radical damage. “It’s also bursting with healthy vitamins and nutrients like lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid, Vitamin K and E, and iron,” explains Catherine, “Which provides a rich supply of antioxidants and healing goodies for skin, promotes skin elasticity and keeps it looking young, supple and radiant.”
As an added bonus, coconut oil also acts as natural sun protection, screening up to 20% of ultraviolet exposure. It is also healing and soothing for sunburn and rashes and its anti-microbial properties help heal skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
As a hair treatment, coconut oil is equally as beneficial; “The lauric acid in coconut oil helps to promote luxurious hair and a healthy scalp due to its powerful and potent anti-bacterial properties,” explains Catherine. These fatty acids combined with the essential nutrients naturally found in coconut oil also promote protein regrowth and prevent further damage, leaving hair stronger, thicker, fuller and shinier.
Committed to finding the best pure, raw, unrefined, cold pressed, certified organic coconut oil available, Catherine settled on a coconut oil made from mature fresh coconuts harvested in the pristine Solomon Islands. Catherine explains, “It is hand pressed and processed by Direct Micro Expelling Technology. Because the oil is untouched by heat or chemical treatment, every living enzyme and nutrient is left intact to nourish the skin and hair.”
Satisfied with this high quality coconut oil as a base, Catherine went on to research and discover a range of other natural ingredients that would enhance the nourishing and healing benefits of their products. Catherine very quickly discovered that there are very few regulations in place that govern what can and cannot be used as ingredients in skin care products. Aware of the fact that women apply a number of various beauty and body products on their skin on a daily basis, Catherine was concerned by what this “daily cocktail of toxic chemicals” was doing to women’s health in the long term; “When we use products containing a variety of chemical concoctions on our skin and hair every day, they directly enter the lymphatic and circulatory systems, and unlike digesting food and drinks, there is no “gate keeping” liver there to protect you from these chemicals entering rapidly into your body.”
Catherine stands by her belief that anything that you put on your skin, should be good enough to eat. Therefore the Coconut Tree products are all enhanced with lush blends of botanical extracts, essential oils, natural butters and vitamins, carefully selected for their deeply nurturing, restorative and protective qualities. Rosehip oil, argan oil, sea buckthorn and kakadu plum all feature prominently in the range, all well known and scientifically proven for their unique abilities to regenerate, restore, enliven, soothe, nourish and strengthen.
Thankfully, Catherine also acknowledges that people are indeed becoming more and more aware of what they are putting on their skin and consumers are acknowledging the necessity to become familiar with ingredients. As Catherine states, “People (especially women) read labels and know what to avoid. More and more they are seeking natural alternatives to all their personal care products as well as their food and cleaning products in order to protect themselves and their family as much as possible. Younger people too are informed and very focused on health and avoiding harmful toxins. It’s exciting times – things are changing fast.”
Coconut Tree is only in its very early stages. The initial range, which includes coconut body butter, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, a baby balm and a daily facial moisturizer with SPF, has just been launched into the public arena, and already, Catherine is receiving tremendous feedback. “Even with limited marketing or representation, the products are selling well in our local area. We have learnt a lot from this first production run and are encouraged to now extend the range a little and prepare for increasing our production.” With their sights set on new goals, this father daughter duo are taking coconut oil into a brand new arena of everyday use. As Catherine firmly believes, “Natural skincare shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a necessity that is affordable and accessible to everybody.”