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Microbeads Might Be Banned in New Zealand

NZ is putting pressure on Microbead products.

It’s official, New Zealand is on the bandwagon to ban the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads. A recent news article explains that Nick Smith (the NZ environment minister) and the National government has announced a proposal outlawing the sale of microbead products. Microbead products have already been banned in the US and Canada, while the UK is considering clamping down too. Overall this is great news for New Zealand and the environment as a whole!

The risk of microbeads relates to the damage they do once washed down the drain. Thousands of tiny beads of plastic are ending up in waterways and the ocean, ultimately harming plant and animal life. Fish and other creatures eat the plastic mistaking it for food. Certain shellfish are also at risk, as many species filter-feed indiscriminately and they can’t avoid microbeads. Not to mention that these plastic beads take decades to break down. All of this is causing significant damage to the environment and wildlife, and we’re all effected by in one way or another. It’s no wonder that microbeads have steadily attracted so much negative attention over the last few years.

Without such a ban, New Zealand risks becoming a dumping ground for large conglomerates who aren’t able to sell their microbead products in other larger markets. I for one am grateful that we’re taking action and upholding our responsibility to the earth!

Try our Coffee Body Scrub – 100% Microbead Free

Microbead Free Body Scrub
Our Coffee Body Scrubs are 100% natural and microbead-free!

We’ve offered our Coffee Body Scrubs for a long time now and they’ve proven super popular, remaining one of our top sellers. The best thing about these, apart from being 100% natural, they are completely microbead-free! We’ve formulated these to be the perfect combination of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ granules using coffee, salt and sugar. This means that the product is completely biodegradable and doesn’t have any lasting negative issues that traditional mass produced body scrubs have.

Click here to check them out and buy online, there are 3 great scents to choose from!


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What Does It Mean to Be Green?

Green beauty & natural skin care

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the “green beauty movement”. It’s a fairly new movement (as in the last 20 years or so), at least for the cosmetic industry. Though, the truth is that green beauty has been with us for thousands of years! Green beauty has its roots buried deep within the wisdom of herbal lore spanning centuries across many cultures, and it’s only recently becoming embraced at the industrial level thanks to modern day plant science.

Bringing Us Closer to Nature

Green beauty & natural skin care
Natural skin care puts us back in touch with nature…

For me personally it seems obvious that there is something special about green beauty. I believe that using plant-based materials is not only better for our skin, but it puts us back in touch with nature. It is a connection with our earth. Plant-based products heal our skin as we move through our days. It’s with us in the sun, rain, wind and snow. It supports our skin as we play, laugh and cry. It gives me the feeling that we’re part of a special and delicate system, and it helps feed our spirit. When we use plants for beautification we’re re-synchronizing ourselves with our earth.

Thousands of years ago our ancestors were using plants for beautification. There was no need to call it organic skin care. It simply was, by it’s very nature, organic – there wasn’t any other option. Using pure & natural plant-based products is how we make a return to the old ways of health and beauty, when things were natural and organic by their very nature.

Have you tried our 100% natural Body Butter? It’s the perfect example of plant-based goodness, it will make your skin feel amazing, and it’s hand crafted with love care & pride!

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What Is Normal Skin?

What Is Normal Skin
Natural Skin Care
At Little Olive Tree we believe that ‘normal’ skin doesn’t really exist, there are just too many people each with their own range of skin characteristics.

During normal everyday life, our skin is a pretty mundane thing. We treat it almost like a fabric; it’s flexible yet strong, soft yet resilient. Our fabrics undergo a daily washing routine, often been subjected to additional preparations if we’re heading out for the night. Like our fabrics, we desire our skin to always be spotless and fresh, often regardless of what it takes to achieve. We’d rather jump in a tanning bed and add some shimmery lotion to hide any imperfections, rather than simply treating out body and skin with respect. If any imperfections arise, we’re usually reactive instead of proactive. Above all else, we opt for quick results and convenience. In the modern age consumers are swamped with so many mass-produced skin care options, we’re trying so many products that we sometimes we don’t even remember what it’s like to have ‘normal’ skin.

What Is Normal Anyway?

That’s the beauty of it! We’ve been taught that ‘normal’ skin is a standard that we should all seek to achieve. At Little Olive Tree we believe that ‘normal’ skin doesn’t really exist. There a are just too many people, each with their own range of skin characteristics, to accurately define what normal is. Though, major cosmetic companies have spent billions over decades to teach us otherwise. We’re not saying that horrible/unhealthy skin is acceptable, but having a slight dryness, or a shiny T-zone (for example), is quite common and shouldn’t raise any alarm bells!

Love what’s normal for you and keep it simple,

Nicola from Little Olive Tree

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Melanoma Warning Signs

Melanoma Warning Signs

I’ve written before about my brush with melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It’s most commonly caused by skin damage resulting from UV (sun) exposure. Your skin and your health are too precious to neglect. Be aware of any suspicious moles on your body and take swift action! New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, it’s important to at least have a general idea of melanoma warning signs.

All information presented here is available online at the Skin Cancer Foundation, a great international organisation devoted to help.

Warning Signs

Science knows a lot about melanoma warning signs. Modern medicine uses the acronym ABCDE to help people quickly understand what warning signs they should look for.

Melanoma warning signs
Red flag! This mole demonstrates all of the warning signs described below.

A – Asymmetry

Imagine drawing a line through the middle of a mole. If the two sides match in size & shape then it’s symmetrical. However, if the size & shape don’t match then it’s asymmetrical which is a warning sign for melanoma.

B – Border

A non-suspicious mole has smooth & even boarders. In a suspicious mole the borders are often uneven. For example, the edges might be notched, scalloped or otherwise show some variation.

C – Colour

Non-suspicious moles are usually all one colour, for example a single shade of brown. If a mole has a variety of colours, which might range from different shades of brown to black, or if it’s completely black, then this is a potential warning sign.

D – Diameter

Normal moles are usually fairly small compared to melanomas. Though sizes can always vary from person to person, a general rule of thumb is that if a mole is larger than the eraser on the end of a pencil (around 6mm) then you should probably consider having a closer look or even consulting your health practitioner.

E – Evolving

This is perhaps one of the most important things to look out for. Most normal moles look the same over time. Evolving refers to changes in a mole over time, such as a change in shape, size, colour or any other characteristic. Also, be mindful of other symptoms such as crusting, itching or bleeding moles – all signs that you should see your doctor.

Prevention Guidelines

We know a lot more about melanoma today than we did even a couple of decades ago. The modern advice to reduce melanoma risk factors is:

  • Examine your skin frequently
  • See your doctor immediately if you find anything suspicious, early detection & treatment is always better
  • Never get sun burned
  • Seek the shade, especially between 10am and 4pm
  • Cover up exposed skin with appropriate clothing
  • Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds
  • Use a good quality sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
  • Apply sunscreen to your body 30 minutes before heading outside & reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating


Be aware of melanoma warning signs. Melanoma is horrible! Please stay mindful of your skin & body, it’s important to follow up anything suspicious with your doctor ASAP. Don’t forget you can help us fight back by including a contribution with your order (thanks!).

Stay healthy,

Nicola from Little Olive Tree

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My Brush with Melanoma

Melanoma Skin Cancer

My name is Nicola, the founder of Little Olive Tree, I’m a survivor of melanoma and this is my story.

In 2009 I was a fairly typical woman. I’d been living in New Zealand for about 3 years, I did my fair share of partying and I worked a 9 – 5 job at a call centre for a large energy company. My life was completely normal in all regards.

Melanoma Skin Cancer
Probably one of the scariest words ever.

My life was certainly care free, but at some stage I noticed a mole appear on my shoulder. Looking back now it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how it all actually came about. Did it spend a long time living on my shoulder, quietly avoiding my gaze? Or did it arrive with a fuss and appear with a bang? Perhaps I knew it was there for a long time but kept brushing it off as nothing major. However it went, one thing for sure is at some stage it got large enough for me to really start paying attention. This thing was ugly; it was black, raised and about the size of my pinkie finger nail.

I eventually got into the doctors office to ask about getting it cut out. At this stage, perhaps naively so, I wanted this removed mainly for the peace of mind of not have a huge ugly mole on my shoulder. Melanoma certainly hadn’t even crossed my mind. It was during this initial doctor visit that it started to dawn on me that perhaps I should have been a little more concerned. My doctor didn’t outright say I was in trouble, but she strongly hinted that I consider preparing for bad test results (they send away any removed and suspicious moles for further testing). I left feeling a little shaken but otherwise life continued on as normal for the next few days. I was told that the tests would take up to 2 – 3 weeks so I concentrated on living as I always had.

Imagine my surprise then, when just 24 hours later during my shift at work, the nurse phoned me and said that I should come into the office to receive my results. On top of this she recommended that I bring a support person. I remember feeling sick immediately, this sinking feeling in my stomach began to eat away at me during the phone call, it became clear straight away that something was pretty wrong.

All the details about what happened next are non-existent. I guess in many ways my mind sort of filtered everything out. I don’t really have any distinct memories at all after that phone call. The initial test results that were carried out reported that the mole I had was thick. Suffice to say that this was rather bad news.

After my initial diagnostic I was quickly put through the medical system. I went into the plastics unit at Waikato hospital where I had surgery to remove a large portion of skin tissue which surrounded the original mole. I also had a bunch of other small moles plus some lymph nodes removed and sent away for more tests. (Melanoma often spreads cancer around the body, starting with the lymph nodes.) Luckily nothing was detected in any other moles nor where my lymph nodes infected with the disease.

After weeks of recovery and still to this day I’m left with a large scar on my shoulder and a bundle of smaller scars around my body. The main thing is though, that I’ve remained cancer free. I’m truly grateful for the amazing support I received from friends and family.

In my case I was extremely lucky. Doctors later informed me that the malignant mole from my shoulder had grown upward away from my body and away from my bloodstream, which likely saved my life. If it had grown down into my bloodstream and body then today would be very different.

Help Fight Melanoma

My experience with melanoma has impacted me greatly. If you’re buying from us (thanks!) then please consider including a contribution to help research and fight melanoma.

More Information


Take my word for it, having melanoma sucks! Make sure you’re aware of the warning signs and be mindful of anything suspicious. Please help us donate to the cause and seek more information from your doctor should you need to.

Stay healthy,

Nicola from Little Olive Tree