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Why We Don’t Use Flavour Oils

Have you ever wondered how some lip balms can have such delicious flavours? Such as butterscotch, marshmallow, cotton candy, and pumpkin spice – just to name a few.

They are made using flavour oils.

Flavour oils are essentially lip safe fragrances, synthetically made. They smell but do not taste, unless a sweetener is added, in which it then tricks your brain into thinking it’s tasting the flavour as you inhale the fragrance. Many commercial store-bought lip balms use these oils, which is fine as they may not be an all-natural brand.

But there’s a reason why we don’t use flavour oils.

The ingredients that make up the formulation of each flavour oil are actually Federally protected as proprietary formulations by regulating bodies. They are considered a “trade secret” by the manufacturer. The words “fragrance” or “flavour / natural flavour” is all that is required to be listed by them.

Because we can never find out exactly what goes into formulating these oils, we choose not to use them, even if they are marketed as organic or natural flavour oils. This may simply mean that some of the ingredients in their formulation are naturally derived, however it would still need to include synthetic ingredients to achieve the desired flavour.

Instead, we use essential oils to add a scent to our balms. In short, they are a natural oil, extracted from plants, typically through distillation. We combine essential oils with natural carrier oils and butters to produce different scents.

Whenever we brainstorm new lip balm flavours to add to our range, our options are limited to what we can source naturally. Limited, yes; but we’ve embraced the divine aromatic qualities essential oils possess and unique flavour combinations we can create using them 🙂

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Top 3 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Dearest Lips

My first full-time job was working for a small start-up business, where I was able to work on and experience business growth first hand. I started as the direct PA to the Director, and the lessons learned from the brains behind a small business has been invaluable. I’m a firm believer in constantly learning – even if it’s in an area of my expertise. You can never learn too much!

I’ve had people asking me how my journey has been so far since starting Dearest Lips, and what I’ve learned along the way as a small business owner starting from scratch. I figured it would be a good question to answer as a blog post too.

To keep things short and simple, I thought I’d share the top 3 key things I feel are important when running a business:

1. A Business Plan Is Absolutely Necessary

Although Dearest Lips started as a gateway to share my love of lip balms with others, a hobby and interest can’t be a successful business if you look at it as simply just that. For any business to strive, you need to look at it as one, and a business plan is crucial to ensure you’re on the right path. It’s not a long-winded document. It holds all the answers to reach your ultimate goal – whatever you decide that may be. You can download a simple business template here from the Business Gov page.

This isn’t to say you can’t experiment and see how things go, it’s ensuring that even during these times you stay true to the foundations of your business.

2. Work Hard But Think Smart

You need to put in the long hours when you initially set everything up. The countless hours of research, testing, succession planning, decision making, goal setting, production; just to name a few. But – you have the ability to choose how you go about these tasks.

Prioritise what is key to your business and have a strong focus on that. Find a way to either automate or delegate everything else. For example, can your inventory be updated automatically online once stock runs out? Instead of having to physically count stock yourself each time? Can items that require shipping be picked up by a courier instead of you requiring to duck to the post office each time?

These are just two examples, but I’m sure if you were to list everything down that you’re currently doing yourself within the business, a lot can be simplified or even eliminated.

3. Learn From The People Who Have Been There AKA The Gurus

Who are the industry leaders and icons in what you do? Who do you look up to? Do you know how they got to where they are now? Why not ask them? You can learn from their downfalls, gain from their wins, and soak in the knowledge from their experiences. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask them questions. Pay attention to what they share with you, take it all in and jot it down. The tips, advice and insight into their world is extremely useful.

We all start a business stemmed from a passion and idea. And who doesn’t want that initial spark to grow into something magical? 🙂

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Just For Mum – Rose Petal Bath Soak With Himalayan Pink Salt

With Mother’s Day around the corner, the kids and I decided to create a little something for all the special mums and mother figures in our lives. A natural, indulgent bath soak, free from any harmful toxins and harsh chemicals. It’s a simple recipe, suitable for all skin types, and can double as a foot soak! Makes for a perfect gift to pamper your loved ones.

How to make Himalayan Bath Soaks

Ingredients:

  1. Pink Himalayan salt (fine) – 1 cup
  2. Pink Himalayan salt (coarse) – 1 cup
  3. Dried rose petals – 3 tablespoons
  4. (Optional) Essential oil – 5 to 10 drops

Steps:

  1. Mix the fine and coarse Pink Himalayan salt together into a large bowl.
  2. Add essential oil of your choice (optional) and mix well. You can also use a combination of essential oils to get the aroma you prefer.
  3. Add the dried rose petals to the mixture.
  4. Store in an air tight container, glass jar, or Kraft pouches.

And that’s all there is to it!

To enjoy your bath salts, simply:

  1. Run a warm bath. The water should be at or just above body temperature. Himalayan bath salts are not made to be taken in very hot water.
  2. Add the salt to the bath while the water is running and stir.
  3. Sit back and enjoy your little personal indulgence!
Mixing the Pink Himalayan salts together into a large bowl.
The finished mixture with dried rose petals!
Packaging the mixture into Kraft pouches ready to be gifted!

Leftover mixture poured into a repurposed old coffee jar.
We used Kraft pouches for a natural look.
Perfection.
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Homemade Non-Toxic Herbal Kids Paint

It can be easy to buy a set of paints at the shops, but it’s a much more rewarding and exciting experience to mix and create the colours yourself, using absolutely non-toxic, simple ingredients. This is such a fun and easy activity to do with the kids – they’ll absolutely love it!

What you will need:

  1. Powdered herbs in your choice of colours – 2 tbs
  2. Clay (preferably kaolin/white cosmetic clay) – 2 tbs
  3. Water – 4 tbs

For this example, we’ve used beetroot powder as our colour of choice and pink french clay as it’s quite light, and we already had some handy. Kaolin clay is still preferred, as it won’t change the colour of your paints. It’s also an affordable option.

We’ve also opted for water as the liquid base, to produce more of a water colour type paint. You can substitute this for egg whites or glycerin. Water of course, is the easiest to source.

When choosing powdered herbs, go for ones that are coloured, such as the following:

  • Turmeric – orange
  • Spirulina – dark green
  • Beetroot – red
  • Activated charcoal – black
  • Arrowroot – white
  • Annatto – red/orange
  • Hibiscus – purple

Using herbs means you don’t have to worry about having any toxic pigments in your paint that can be harmful to kids.

Steps:

  1. Gather all your ingredients.
  2. Mix your powdered herb with the clay.
  3. Add in a small amount of water, about 1 tsp at a time, and stir. If your paint is too thick, just add more water. If it’s too thin, add more herbs and clay.
  4. Once thoroughly mixed, your paint is ready for use! Super quick and easy.
  5. Pour any leftover paint into a sealed jar. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (if using water as the liquid), since water grows bacteria.

Here are some photos from our paint making session! The way arts and crafts should be 😀

Gather your ingredients.
Mix the powdered herb with the clay.
Add some water at room temperature.
Stir away!
Add water or more powder/clay until you get the paint consistency you want.
Pour the mixture into a glass jar so it can be stored in the refrigerator after use. Grab a paint brush (or use your hands!) and start painting away. The girls are painting some clay models they made.
Let it dry. End result – your very own masterpiece!

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The Difference Between Cruelty-free & Vegan In Cosmetics

You may have read my post the other day about how a product can be vegan but not cruelty-free, or vice versa. Admittedly, these were terms I once used interchangeably. After learning more about the two, it’s been an eye opener when buying cosmetics over the last couple of years.

Cruelty-free

This means that the ingredients and final manufactured product have not been tested on animals.

Vegan

This means that a product does not contain any animal products or animal-derived ingredients.

Why can a product be labeled cruelty-free but not vegan?

A product that is cruelty-free but not vegan, has not been tested on animals but contain animal derived ingredients such as honey, beeswax, lanolin, carmine etc.

On the other hand, some products may not contain animal ingredients, however the ingredients individually or the finished product may have been tested on animals. This makes the final product cruelty-free, but not vegan.

Referring to the full ingredients list of any cosmetic product should be the first thing you do. Online stores in particular should be disclosing their full ingredients list for each product. If this information is unavailable, it’s something to question.

What to consider

Even if a product is labeled as vegan and cruelty-free, it doesn’t mean it is also natural or safe. You should still read the ingredients list to ensure you aren’t applying any harsh chemicals onto your body.

If supporting vegan and cruelty-free products is important to you, then also consider the packaging. Is it recyclable? Compostable? Reusable? Or will it end up in landfill waste or harming our animals in the oceans?

I hope I’ve left you with a few things to think about 🙂

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Hiking With Kids

Four years ago, it would be as simple as choosing a hiking location, packing our bags, and then wandering off into the wilderness. It was a weekend routine that just fell into place so easily. Fast forward time to the present day, and it definitely takes more than just that with two young kids in tow.

Exploring the outdoors shouldn’t be limited by your age. It’s a time to be in touch with mother nature, an experience to bond as a family, and a way to breathe in the fresh air and breathe out all your worries. What’s not to love?

Here are a few tips to make a family hiking adventure a FUN experience for everyone!

Pick your location and distance

  • Check that the track you choose is suitable for all ages, not just for an experienced hiker.
  • Check what time of the year the track is suited to. Some tracks are best to be avoided during the summer period as they have limited shaded areas, whereas others are perfectly fine.
  • Check what the track entails. Some tracks have hundreds of steep steps to climb up and down, so it may not be the best choice if you’re going with kids. Others may have way too many descending and ascending slopes, or streams that need to be crossed. Best to stick to simple tracks first!
  • Always check that there is an actual track too, as there are locations that require you to self-navigate.
  • How long is the track in kilometres? Think of your own abilities, as well as your kids’ and ask yourself, is the track’s distance too long? If it’s your first hike with a child, start off with a super short track, and you can gauge from there whether they can do a longer hike next time.
  • Double the time it would normally take you to do a hike as kids tend to need longer breaks in between, especially if you’ve got little feet wanting to walk parts of the hike instead of being in a carrier. Always overestimate the time to complete the track.

Get the kids involved

  • Yes! Get them excited about hiking. This means getting them involved in the planning stages too. Show them potential hiking spots and ask them for their feedback; do you like the look of this track? Would you prefer to see waterfalls or native flowers? What snacks do you want to bring? etc.
  • When you’re hiking, get them involved there too. Ask them to check where you are on the map, how far along the track you are, which turns to make to get to a lookout/attraction etc.
  • Kids love to be involved. Let them be a part of the entire experience.

Look at the world through their eyes

  • As adults, it’s so easy to forget how differently kids view their surroundings. Get down to their eye level and see what they see and be excited about it! Point at interesting plants and trees, look into the distance with them, look at the creepy crawly that just passed their little hiking boots, be amazed at what grabs their attention.
  • Kids love excitement. Help them see what you see too. Lift them up and show them a view from above.
  • Show them that they are surrounded by the beauty of nature.

If you’ve been hiking with kids before, your tips and experiences are most welcome to be shared! If you haven’t yet, it’s definitely something to add to your to do list – you won’t regret it 😊