Harakeke: NZ’s hydrating native flax

Harakeke is the Māori name for native New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax). We love this locally grown treasure, which is a key ingredient in our Hand and Body Washes.

Harakeke in traditional Māori culture

Harakeke, New Zealand’s most common flax, was essential to Māori, with each village tending its own plantation. Different varieties were planted and harvested based on their colour, softness, fibre strength and medicinal properties.

But it was the cool, clear gel from the long, strappy leaves that was prized in traditional Māori medicine to heal burns, cuts and skin infections, and it was eaten to treat diarrhoea.

The natural properties of Harakeke gel

A clear gel can be extracted from the lower half of the Harakeke leaf. This gel is super hydrating, packed with natural skin nutrients and beneficial plant sugars called polysaccharides. Harakeke’s slight astringency is great for controlling breakouts and excess oil production, without stripping, scrubbing or harsh detergents.

With potent active natural skin-conditioning compounds including humectant D-xylose, and pH-balancing D-glucuronic acid, Harakeke gel cools and calms skin in a similar way to aloe vera. It naturally soothes and hydrates, while reducing redness. The extract’s skin softening properties improve skin’s appearance by supporting normal cell turnover.

One of the reasons Harakeke feels so incredibly soothing is because it encourages healthy inflammation management. This naturally promotes recovery in skin damaged by irritation, environmental stresses and late nights.

Why we use Harakeke in our Body Wash and Hand Wash

Harakeke is the ingredient we use in ecostore Hand Wash and Body Wash ranges to make them extra soothing and hydrating. While it adds natural moisture, it’s also beneficial for acne-prone skin, with a gentle anti-microbial action that helps to reduce spot-causing bacteria all over the body.

For a fresh, gentle clean, each of our pH balanced formulations is made from a blend of plant-based ingredients that includes Harakeke extract, sustainably harvested in Northland. You can choose from natural essential oil fragrances or go fragrance free with our Ultra Sensitive range if you have allergies, asthma or sensitive skin.