Say “No” to Plastic Microbeads

plastic microbeads ban

Microbeads are tiny plastic particles smaller than 5mm that are frequently used in cosmetic products, such as face and body scrubs and even toothpastes, for their exfoliating qualities. They are designed to buff away dead skin cells and grime from the teeth, and are relatively gentle on the skin surface.

In one product there can be over 100,000 tiny beads, which pass down the drain, unable to be filtered, and into the ocean. This becomes micro marine litter that is impossible to remove. Micro-plastic can also be created by larger plastic items breaking into smaller pieces in the ocean. These can come from plastic bags, polystyrene, synthetic clothing, and tyres. Approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the ocean every year.

Once in the ocean, microbeads travel large distances. Because these micro-plastics aren’t biodegradable, they accumulate in the water and are often mistaken for food by sea animals and sea birds, posing a great threat to all marine life. Fortunately, there are many options available that are environmentally friendly and great for exfoliating both the face and body, but first, we think you should know what to look out for.

Here’s What to Look Out for in Your Products

There are over 67 names for plastics used in microbeads, but some of the most common names we have listed below. Look out for these names on the ingredients panel of your product, and if one or more are there, you know it’s not an environmentally friendly option.

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • Nylon (PA)

Look for Natural Alternatives

There are many environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic microbeads – some with more exfoliating power than others, designed for different areas of the body. The skin on the face for example, should be exfoliated regularly to assist a healthy clear complexion, but the ingredient shouldn’t be too rough. For the face, look for:

  • Jojoba ‘beads’ (don’t worry, it’s just the waxy component of Jojoba oil, known for its nourishing qualities)
  • Bentonite clay
  • Bamboo powder
  • Pumice powder

For other parts of the body needing more exfoliating power, look for:

  • Ground walnut shells
  • Coffee
  • Sea Salt
  • Sugar
  • Ground seeds

Your Good Ingredients Guide - Plastic Mircobead Free

Other Ways You Can Help Our Oceans

There are many other ways you can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the ocean. These include:

  • Recycle. Both hard and soft plastic can be recycled. Ask your council for more information about what can be recycled
  • Pick up rubbish when you see it, particularly on beaches or near drains
  • Reduce your purchase of plastic, and take fabric bags with you when you shop
  • Re-think craft. Glitter is microplastic too.
  • Purchase natural fibre clothing, rather than synthetic fibre.

The use of micro-plastics is coming to an end in New Zealand, thank goodness, and if you can avoid them earlier, do so. Our Good Ingredient Promise means that every product that HealthPost sells has gone through a rigorous ingredient review. We can confidently say that none of our products contain microbeads. You can shop free of worry, knowing that our exfoliants aren’t damaging aquatic life.

Check out some recommendations from our customers below:

antipodes reincarnation pure facial exfoliator
Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This beautifully effective and gentle facial exfoliator uses avocado oil and jojoba beads to lift away lifeless skin, leaving a fresh and glowing complexion.

“This is the best Exfoliater I have used love this range. I have a mature super senstive skin this product leaves skin feeling very clean and refreshed”. – Kerry

weleda birch body scrub
Weleda Birch Body Scrub⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Natural plant wax pearls and pure plant oils gently massage the skin, supporting cell renewal without drying or disturbing the skins balance.

“Personally I think this is the best scrub ever, it’s creamy and not at all harsh, it really does leave your skin soft and moist. Best of all, little goes a long way.” – Leanne

Evolu Renewing Facial Exfoliator
Evolu Renewing Facial Exfoliator⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Natural clarifiers of jojoba beads and papaya extract work to gentle buff away impurities and assist cell renewal.

I absolutely LOVE this Exfoliator! It leaves my skin feeling so fresh and clean, without scratching or agitating my skin. I can’t wait to use it each time, and love how soft my skin always feels after using it.” – Rachel 

trilogy exfoliating body balm
Trilogy Exfoliating Body Balm⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Finely ground rosehip seeds gently buff and refine the skins texture without compromising the skin’s natural barrier function.

“Totally rate this product. I’d been looking for a body exfoliator for some time and came across this. It’s so smoothing. What’s more when you get out of the shower your skin is left hydrated and ready to go! Totally recommend.” – Kijaco

Shop our full range of natural exfoliators and scrubs now on our secure online store.

Print Friendly


Say “No” to Parabens

what are parabens?

With a load of big words on the back of your skincare products, it can be really hard to decipher what’s what! As more people become interested in natural beauty and skincare, “Paraben free” is something to keep an eye out for. But what exactly are parabens and why should they be avoided?

What are Parabens?

Parabens are a group of chemicals (p-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) esters) which are used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. This basically means that they help the product last for a longer time and prevents spoiling.

The parabens group includes Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Benzylparaben. Parabens are frequently found in moisturisers, hair care products, shaving products, make up and even food. They are only allowed to be used in cosmetics in very low concentrations, but because of the wide range of products they can be found in, it’s estimated that daily use can exceed 17gm for adults. To give some context to this, parabens are often restricted to 4-8 grams per kilogram of product.

Why should we go Paraben free?

In recent years, people are increasingly concerned about the adverse effects of not just a single chemical, but the combination of many chemicals in the skin care products they are using. As we know, whatever we put on our skin is eventually absorbed into our bloodstream. This is no different for parabens, which can absorb through our skin layers and enter our circulation.

Parabens have been found to have estrogenic activity within the body, including in breast, ovarian and testicular tissue, potentially contributing to lowered sperm counts and altered sperm motility. Parabens have also been detected in human urine, blood, fat tissue, amniotic fluid, placenta, and even in breast cancer tissue.

The effects on the body isn’t the only problem with parabens. Because of their widespread use, they are found in high concentrations in waste water treatment plants and require time to degrade. Even though there are methods in place to capture these molecules, parabens have been found in fish, marine mammals, marine birds, and even more remotely in polar bears.

Say no to parabens

What to Look Out for in Your Products

Have a hunt in the ingredients list to make sure you’re avoiding parabens in your products. At first glance they may seem like long and scary words, but simply hunt for “paraben” at the end of each ingredient.

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Benzylparaben

Our hormone balance is delicate! Avoiding hormone disrupting chemicals like parabens is an important part of maintaining overall wellness throughout life. It’s essential to make sure products are properly preserved so that bacteria, fungi and other microbes don’t grow. The type of preservative however, should be chosen carefully by manufacturers, for both efficacy as well as safety reasons. Fortunately, there are natural options to preserve products, many of which are derived from plants.

We believe that endocrine disrupting chemicals like parabens have no place in cosmetics, which is why parabens and other chemicals are on our Red List. Thanks to our Good Ingredients Promise, you can shop worry-free knowing our products are not only free from nasty chemicals, but environmental pollutants and animal testing too.

Shop our paraben free natural skin care, body carehair care, and natural makeup range now.

Print Friendly


Say “NO” to Petroleum

say no to petroleum

Petroleum is found in numerous skincare and cosmetic products and has been used in the industry for decades. From lip balm to lubricants, an array of petroleum-based ingredients can be found lurking in commercial products. Unfortunately, these ingredients pose a risk to our health and our environment. We explain what ingredients to look out for, why to avoid them, and the best natural alternatives you can use.

What is Petroleum?

Petroleum is a thick, yellow-to-black liquid which is formed deep within the Earth’s crust. It is a fossil fuel formed naturally when large amounts of dead organisms are exposed to extremely high pressures and temperatures beneath the Earth’s surface. The crude oil produced is then drilled out of the ground and goes through a number of refining processes before it can be used. After refining, it can then be used to produce petrol as well as petrochemicals used in the production of plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and skincare.

Petroleum Derived Ingredients in Skincare

Common skincare ingredients derived from petroleum include petrolatum (commonly known as petroleum jelly), mineral oil and liquid paraffin. These ingredients are frequently used in skincare products such as moisturisers, balms, creams, lotions, ointments and oils. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), petrolatum is found in one out of every 14 cosmetic products and is found in over 40% of baby lotions, and 15% of lipsticks.

Why should we avoid Petroleum based products?

While petroleum-based skin care products are thought to moisturise the skin, they tend to work more as an occlusive moisturiser. This means that it traps moisture inside the skin by sealing off the skin like a barrier, rather than actually adding extra moisture. Due to its make-up, petroleum tends to just cover the pores, trapping in sweat and doesn’t add any nutrition to the skin.
Some petroleum-derived ingredients may also have gone through an incomplete refining process. This means they could potentially be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – or PAHs for short. PAHs are known to have negative effects on human health, such as endocrine disruption, allergies and skin irritation, and are a possible carcinogen. In fact, the European Union categorise petrolatum as a carcinogen and therefore restricts its use in cosmetics.

Environmental Effects

Unfortunately, petroleum derived ingredients and their processes are far from eco-friendly. Crude oil is a non-renewable resource, and the refining processes it undergoes cause toxins to be released into the atmosphere. This not only poses a threat to us, but also a threat to our ecosystem. Any oil spills that might occur during the drilling process, transport or use, also greatly affect our environment.

Petroleum free nappy cream

What You Should Look Out For

Keep an eye out for these common names on your product labels when trying to avoid petroleum-derived ingredients:

  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Liquid paraffin
  • Paraffin oil/wax
  • Petroleum jelly
  • White petroleum

Natural Alternatives

There are plenty of natural ingredients you can use to moisturise and soothe dry, cracked or irritated skin. Look for natural based products with ingredients such as beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba and calendula and sweet almond oil.

Our Good Ingredients Promise means you won’t find any petroleum-derived ingredients in any of our products. You can shop worry-free knowing our products are not only free from nasty chemicals, but environmental pollutants and animal testing too.

Shop our petroleum free beauty balms, baby barrier balmslip care, and natural lubricant range now.

Print Friendly


Goodbye Plastic! Our Journey to Sustainable Packaging for a Better World

HealthPost's journey to sustainable paper packaging

Packaging and our use of plastic has always been of concern to us. Each month we send more than 25,000 packages all over New Zealand and the world. This year we committed to eliminating outbound plastic from our supply chain, and over the last six months we’ve been working to make that reality (we’re kicking off a trial this week)… what an interesting journey it’s been! We know this is a long read, but we’re keen to share what we’ve discovered.

From day one, we’ve been aware of our impact on the world around us. Given we started doing business in the late 80s, we were well ahead of the wave – it’s a real pleasure to see other businesses waking up to sustainable practices!

Our belief that individual wellness and the wider world are linked led to the creation of our Better World donation programme. We’ve gifted more than one million dollars (NZD) to environmental and social charities, including almost $100K to the Farewell Wharariki HealthPost Nature Trust. As Trust directors and neighbours to Farewell Spit, we’re committed to protecting this precious part of Aotearoa.

For us, giving money to good causes is not enough. We’re mindful to minimise and mitigate our day-to-day impact as well. Each year we have an annual tree planting day, planting over 7,000 trees in total, and we’ve offset more than 600 tonnes of carbon through a range of initiatives.

Packaging was on the agenda for 2018. The first thing we found was that thoroughly evaluating the relative merits (and pitfalls) of different options was no simple task.

Compostable courier bags looked like a promising option initially, but then we discovered that less than half the bag is actually plant-based, the rest being petroleum! We just weren’t comfortable suggesting our customers put this in their compost or worm bin. By asking the right questions, we discovered that these products don’t break down easily in marine or landfill environments either.

We’re not bagging (no pun intended) other brands that use compostable – every little bit helps – but our discoveries meant compostable bags, however trendy, were not the option for us right now with current technologies.

Another consideration was whether we could organise soft plastic recycling in the Golden Bay area. We know this is common in bigger centres, but there is no option in our ‘hood’. Again, we were close to a partnership with the local supermarket to offer this. However, this fell through due to the end recyclers struggling to find solutions for the soft plastics already being recycled. There is a limited market for the recycled plastic products they’re producing, and destinations abroad are reluctant to take NZ soft plastics.

After many conversations, and investigating a range of options, we’ve settled on an all-paper solution for now. From late October, we’ll run a trial replacing some sizes of our plastic bags and bubble wrap bags with paper Jiffy bags. Jiffy bags are made of paper and are stuffed with recycled post-consumer paper for padding. We’ve had fun leaving these in the rain and throwing them around our dispatch department to test their strength! The Jiffys will join our paper box and paper wrapping range. Customers can expect to see paper Jiffys from late October – we’re testing a few different sizes.

Your part in all this? Well, firstly we’d love feedback on how the paper Jiffys are working for you, especially if you have experienced any breakages or damaged bags. And once you’ve received any of our paper packaging, you can re-use it, or simply pop it into your curbside recycling. Being completely transparent, we don’t recommend you compost our packaging, as our inks are not vegetable based, and we can’t be sure what inks have been used on the post-consumer paper stuffing in the Jiffys (think magazines, newspapers etc).

All going well, and the trial being a success, you can look forward to new bags carrying our logo in early 2019. We’ll be continuing to assess our packaging next year and beyond, including looking into more sustainable printing and vegetable ink options.

We’re also taking steps to tackle inbound plastic. As a business, we’re far from plastic-free, but we’re making progress. We’ll continue to share our journey, and welcome any feedback.

Lucy Butler
Executive Director

Print Friendly


It’s Official. Our paper Jiffy bags are here to stay!

Goodbye plastic. Our paper Jiffy bags are here to stay

During November 2018, we shared the start of our journey to sustainable packaging. For the last two months, we’ve been trialling the use of paper Jiffy courier bags to replace our plastic courier bags.

We’re delighted to say this has been a success. The response has been really positive with very few customer issues. You’ve told us, loud and clear, that you support our desire to work towards minimising the use of plastic in our business. It’s lovely to see that our values and our customers’ values are so aligned.

What’s next? By February 2019 we expect to be plastic bag free in our outbound supply chain. And you’ll start to see new paper Jiffy bags carrying our logo turning up on your doorstep, alongside our paper boxes that we’ve had for a number of years.

Then what? This is just the start of our journey to minimise plastic in our supply chain overall. We’re still deeply concerned by the amount of plastic coming into our business, and we’re talking to our suppliers about how we can change this too.

What do you need to do? Nothing. When you shop with us you can rest assured knowing that you’ll not be adding more plastic into the environment with your order delivery. Just remember, to open the Jiffy bags, use the pull tab on the back, or cut the bag along the fold at the top (so the post-consumer recycled paper inside stays where it should!).

Here are a few comments from our lovely customers – it’s always great to get feedback on the things we’re doing.

“I’ve just read your info about your new paper packaging. I haven’t yet received it, but I just want to say very well done in taking this step. I’m right behind you in this initiative and very happy that you and other similar businesses, who are awake enough to realise that humanity, the planet and its inhabitants can’t survive the plastic onslaught, are taking constructive action. Keep it up!!” – A.

“This is so fantastic healthpost. Great to see you did the research and found the best solution for your values and relevant to your district. If more businesses operated in such a way when selecting packaging choices we would be sorted! Well done.” – Kim

“This is fantastic! Go HealthPost!!!!” – Jasmin

“Once again you have proved that there are still companies providing excellence in customer service! My latest order was easy to make on your user friendly website, I was kept well informed of the order’s progress all along the way and delivery was very fast. I also appreciate your efforts to stop the use of plastics in your packaging. Thanks for being one of the best companies I have shopped with world-wide. That’s why I keep coming back. Keep up the great work!” – Kathy

“Well done I love the thoughtful way you have approached this problem.” – Jenny

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to more of your feedback.

Print Friendly