Santosa Natural Products


When Katie Higgins’ friends threw her a baby shower just over a year ago, she was happy to receive several gifts of eco-friendly baby products. But when she turned over the bottles, she discovered each one had a long list of ingredients she couldn’t pronounce. “I’d been interested in natural living and detoxifying life for quite a few years, but becoming a Mum made me very conscious of what we are breathing in and putting on our skin,” says Katie. “I wanted to be able to look at the ingredient list and understand it.

“Lots of natural products are positioned at being good for environment. I wanted products that were good for me and the people I love, as well as being good for the environment.”

Katie, a former health coach, had been “tinkering around” with her own lotions and potions for years, concocting homemade beauty products, soaps and an all-purpose cleaning spray. “Friends would come over and say ‘Mmm something smells nice.’”

So when baby Cohen was just eight weeks old, she decided it was time to get to work. She whipped up batches of all her all-purpose cleaning spray and foaming hand soap in the kitchen of the family bach at Omaha and booked a stall at the Matakana Vintage Markets.

Santosa (pronounce san-toe-sha) is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘contentment’. It’s a key element of both the Ashtanga yoga system and Katie’s personal philosophy. “It’s about being content with you who you are and where you are.”

That’s why Santosa bottles bear inspirational labels designed by Katie’s sister Grace O’Hara. One reminds the user to “Surrender to what is, release what was”; another that “You are capable of incredible things”.

“I wanted the bottles to be pretty enough to live on the kitchen windowsill, just like a candle or a room spray,” says Katie. “The quotes on the bottles are designed to encourage you to slow down and appreciate the small things in life.”

The words also relate to what’s in the bottle: specific blends of essential oils, witch hazel, filtered water, and Castile soap to lift dirt and cut through grease.

“The oils have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, as well as nourishing qualities. One of our multi-purpose cleaning sprays uses lavender oil, which is calming and grapefruit oil, which is cleansing and uplifting. ”

Does this mean cleaning my kitchen could actually be good for me? Katie laughs. “Yes!”

Katie explains that even when we don’t apply products to our bodies, ingredients can still enter the bloodstream through our skin and our lungs. The chemicals contained in many cleaning products can “linger in the air and get breathed in.”

So what’s next for Katie and Santosa? She has a few new products in mind and she’ll be continuing with the markets. She’s also exploring retail, with Santosa products now stocked by Matakana’s Tea & Tonic.

She’s mindful though, that it’s still early days. She’s proceeding carefully, in keeping with the Santosa philosophy and her other primary focus – self-care.

“It’s so important to take the time to slow down and nourish yourself,” says Katie. “Take care of your health is vital, so put yourself first. It’s worth the extra little investment.”