ON! Juniper Bath Bombs: Why we are different from LUSH and other high street brands

When you think of bath bombs you may think of LUSH or other high street brands claiming organic, natural and/or ethical qualities.  Bright colours, glitter or a fragrance that you can smell well before you enter the store. If this is what you want, I’m sorry, we’re different. This isn’t what you’ll get at ON! Juniper. This is our promise!

At ON! Juniper, we formulate our bath bombs with the highest degree of organic, natural and ethically sourced ingredients that we can possibly manage. This means no synthetic colours, no mica, no glitter and no artificial fragrance. As a result, our bath bombs look and feel different from the standard (and won’t harm the environment!). In this blog, I’ll explain why we are careful in how we source our ingredients and hand-make our natural products for you and your children.

Good for the skin

If you have ordered from us, you know that the colour of our bath bombs are subtle hues of pink, green, yellow, blue or plain white. We use natural colourants, like kaolin clay. In addition to adding colour, kaolin clay also offers skin benefits from extracting impurities to nourishing your skin. Due to its qualities, it is fantastic on a variety of skin types from oily to sensitive skin. We don’t use synthetic colours for two further reasons: (i) we are committed to only using natural ingredients; and (ii) some studies have linked synthetic colours and additives with learning difficulties among children and health ailments. 

Mica-free

You may also be surprised to learn that many bath bombs that are bright and luminescent typically include mica. These bath bombs are indeed eye-catching and I understand their allure, especially with your kids. After careful research, we made a decision not to use mica (natural or synthetic) and here’s why. First, natural mica is often extracted in developing countries through methods that contravene international labour standards. Specifically, young children can be put to work in the mines, often in unsafe mining operations. This is not to say that all mica extraction operations contravene good international practices; however, without being able to control the source, ON! Juniper decided to produce mica-free products. Second, whilst some companies use synthetic mica, ON! Juniper has made a commitment to use only natural ingredients. Synthetic ingredients aren’t considered, period. It’s a pretty simple stance, but sometimes simple is best. 

Glittergate!

Glitter is often included to add a bit of fun and sparkle – and what child doesn’t like a bit of sparkle!? As a result, some of our customers have requested that we add this; however, we don’t use glitter. Why? Glitter is typically made with micro-plastics and they are deadly to fish and aquatic life. Recently, a company developed 100% biodegradable glitter. In this sense the plastic conundrum has been solved, but this glitter still includes aluminium (a product of bauxite mining). Given the negative environmental (and socio-economic) footprint associated with bauxite mining, we feel that it’s important to abstain from using any form of glitter to give you a truly green, sustainable and ethical product. 

Natural aromas

Aroma is the legally correct term for an ingredient which adds flavour and a smell to a product. The aromas we use are certified organic and 100% natural. They are made from fruit extracts and/or essential oils. Many conventional bath bombs made for children use synthetic fragrance or parfum (a collection of artificial fragrances that do not have to be disclosed). These have been linked to endocrine disruption, skin sensitivities and allergies. 

Our promise to you

The reason behind our strict policy of organic and natural ingredients comes from a belief that they are healthier for the skin and body. As a mum, I want the best for my kids. When I draw them a bath during the evening, it is a time of relaxation and renewal. This is best achieved using products that provide enjoyment, are made with integrity and provide benefit to the skin. 

At ON! Juniper we have developed the shh…promise. This is our commitment to provide products and messaging (e.g.: this blog) that helps you, our consumer, be more self-aware about what you are putting on your body and be happier and healthier from the use of our products. 

Comments or questions about this blog, or ON! Juniper? Contact us! We’d love to hear from you and keep the conversation going. 

Tess

Chapped Lips: Organic and Natural Ingredients Heal and Moisturise

As the colder and wetter weather descends, so do dry, chapped lips. Many of us buy lip balm to heal or keep chapped lips at bay. In the UK sales for lip balms reached £61.3 million in 2017. (from www.statista.com) There are a lot of factors that determine what we buy. The smell; the price; the use of organic and natural ingredients; trust in a specific brand; or the shape of the lip balm tube, for example.

As you may know, at ON! Juniper we make lip balms, specifically for children. That said, many adults (me included) use them too! When developing our formula, we chose ingredients for specific reasons. Our lip balms were developed to be fun and to benefit the skin, making them a fantastic choice this season for your child’s lips, and yours if you are feeling a little evergreen!

Five of our six lip balms include the same fabulous base ingredients. I thought I’d share why we think they are so fantastic and the benefits they offer.

First, Certified Organic Beeswax has a tonne of natural antibacterial properties. (from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1995764516301407) When lips chap, ingredients with proven antibacterial properties can aid in fending off bacterial growth and can help in the healing process. We want lip balm to help our lips get better, not worse! Further, beeswax is very effective in sealing in moisture, keeping your lips supple and moisturised.

With the increased focus on veganism, many people are turning their backs to beeswax. I want to underscore that we only use certified organic beeswax. By doing so we know the beeswax is collected in a sustainable manner and doesn’t harm the livelihoods or environments of bees. With this in mind, I believe that we are helping bee colonies by supporting an industry that helps them flourish.

Another ingredient with fabulous anti-bacterial properties is coconut oil. The Certified Organic Coconut Oil we use is pure and extracted from a cold-pressed method. Through this process, the oil keeps the rich fatty oils and vitamins inherently found within. Why is this important? High levels of caprylic/capric acid in coconut oil has been shown to help prevent the growth of bacteria as well as moisturise and condition the skin. Vitamins A and E both aid in improving skin elasticity and overall appearance. These are all excellent properties to help alleviate sore, chapped lips.

Mango Butter, I think, is one of the most underrated kinds of butter. I absolutely love it and am perfectly happy to rub a bit onto my hands when I make our lip balms! Why is it so great? It has a non-waxy consistency making it a fabulous emollient, locking in moisture and making the skin feel soft and nourished. Our Certified Organic Mango Butter is very high in 3 essential fatty acids – oleic, palmitic, and stearic – known to nourish the skin and provide anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also high in caffeic acid, which can help reduce redness and inflammation, symptoms commonly associated with chapped and sore lips. Mango butter is particularly good for lip balms given the concentration of vitamins A, C, and E, which help the skin to heal from excessive sun and windburn.

If you’ve used our lip balms, you may agree that they smell delicious! I believe this is due to the use of Certified Organic Aromas – containing only natural ingredients – to fragrance our products. Our cherry lip balm, for example, is fragranced with cherry extract and that is it! Not only do the aromas we use to add a delicious smell, but they also offer beneficial vitamins and antioxidants to the skin. Cherry extract is a potent antioxidant offering protection against day-to-day skin-damaging elements, like pollution and UV rays.

A couple of years ago a customer told me that our lip balm seemed to clear a sore on her daughter’s lips. The sore had been there for months and other medications had not worked. After using our lip balm, it vanished. If it was indeed our lip balm that had a helping hand, I would attribute it to the fantastic, high-quality ingredients we use and their inherent qualities to inhibit bacterial growth as well as heal and restore the skin.

So, the next time you reach for a lip balm has a good look at the ingredient list. What’s in it? Everything we put on our lips enters our body, either through transdermal adsorption or digestion (as we lick our lips, eat or drink). Will the ingredients benefit you or the person you are buying for? If they don’t, will you still buy it?

Why I’ve Committed to Buy From Businesses (and Run a Company) that are Sustainable and Ethical

Every time you spend money you are making a statement. It’s your personal purchasing power. We all have it and we have far more power than we realise. It can be fantastic. Just look at the reduction in plastic over the past few years with people saying no to items wrapped in single-use plastic.

What factors determine the way you purchase items? Maybe price? What about the quality or the use of environmentally friendly packaging? What about company values or the product’s carbon footprint?

For convenience, our family has purchased from large on-line retailers/distributors like Amazon. We even signed up for a special account, which offered benefits including expedited and cheaper shipping options. You can find practically anything on Amazon and even find competing prices for the same product. Simply put – Amazon’s format is easy and in a hectic world, I look for ways to make life easier so I can focus on priorities – my family and I are slowly realising, myself.

ON! Juniper is still a small business. I still buy a lot of ingredients in small quantities. I’ve bought ingredients for ON! Juniper with Amazon as it provided a good range of certified organic products from trusted and recognisable companies. I liked this. This good standing with Amazon resulted in an application to Amazon Handmade. I tried the regular Amazon route, but the monthly fees weren’t practical for a small, independent business trying to gain a foothold and grow a customer base. For the time, Amazon Handmade was free to use – I only had to pay a percentage of my sales.

It’s a competitive marketplace however and there are a lot of bath bombs and lip balms advertised on Amazon. Some of the advertising isn’t always straightforward either. Bath bombs being advertised as organic or natural for example often still contain synthetic fragrances and artificial colours. Ditto for lip balms, especially those for children!

As a result, I had to look for ways to get noticed. Offering customers lower shipping fees and PRIME benefits was one way. As a small company, there are times when I take a loss, but overall there was still a buffer in there to make a wee bit. More importantly, the ability to get noticed on Amazon was a good marketing option. You can make the best products in the world, but if people don’t know you exist, then it’s difficult to sell!

In January 2019 I started selling on Amazon Handmade, offering lower to no shipping fees and PRIME delivery times (for premade items). (The price per product, of course, was higher than the retail price on my website and many businesses selling on Amazon do this). The result? I saw an increase in customers and I started to feel good about it. Amazon wasn’t so bad I thought.

On my last order received for ON! Juniper organic and natural lip balm a rather bold notice came from Amazon – you must ship with Amazon Shipping. I hadn’t noticed this before, but at that point realised that in order to qualify for all the extra exposure with PRIME, I had to buy shipping through Amazon.

I tried and I was shocked at the result. The ON! Juniper lip balm, including packaging, weighed 31 grams and cost around £1.03 to ship with Royal Mail. To ship via Amazon with Royal Mail the total was £6.48! I could not believe it! This was more than the cost of the lip balm itself. This was not a loss I could absorb. I had to, unfortunately, cancel the sale and hoped that the customer would buy directly from my website. He didn’t.

I realise Amazon is a business too and has to make money. Charging a postage rate that exceeds the price of a product is not acceptable in my mind. This is especially applicable given the platform I was selling from – Amazon Handmade – which caters to small, independent shops who rely on profits made from each sale to cover operational expenses.

This experience has made me more vigilant in where and with whom I spend my money. Every time I spend money I’m making a statement, supporting a cause and/or legitimising a business. As a consumer, I am powerful and I exercise this every day. As a business owner, I have the opportunity to provide you, the customer, with an opportunity to support a business that puts customers ahead of profit. That’s why everything we do from product development to corporate structure, ethics and sustainability (environmental, social and economic impact) receive a higher priority than profit margins.

Support local, independent shops and those larger ones that truly place ethics at the heart of their business. I’m not saying no to all the large corporations. I’m simply saying no to corporations who focus on financial gain and don’t operate with a clear and legitimate ethical, social and environmental business lines.

Two More Natural Beauty Awards Won in Bath & Body and Cosmetics Categories

ON! Juniper has won two awards with the 2019 The Green Parent Magazine Awards. Our organic and natural lip balm won in the makeup or cosmetic category and our innovative bath bombs have both won in the bath and body category.

Bomb with a Hidden Surprise – Bronze Award, Body & Bath Category

Not only is this a fun bath bomb for children who can choose from a bracelet, charm or puzzle eraser, but due to the high quality organic and natural ingredients, many parents tell us our bath bombs are gentle on their children’s skin and don’t leave residue in the bath or clog drains! Available in five delicious flavours and made with the highest degree of organic + natural ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate*±, Citric Acid*±, Dead Sea Salt±^, Aroma (from fruit extracts and/or essential oils)*±^, Kaolin Clay±^, Sunflower Oil*±^.
* food safe
± natural origin
^ certified organic ingredient

Organic + Natural Lip Balm for Children – Best Buy Award, Make-Up Category

We proudly make our lip balms with 100% certified ingredients. We can definitely attest that ON! Juniper lip balms moisturise and soothe chapped lips and even some parents have been known to ‘borrow’ a tube or two from their children! Providing children the option of decorating their tube with their favourite mascot, our lip balms come in 6 flavours all with organic + natural Ingredients, including Coconut Oil±^*, Mango Butter±^, Beeswax±^, Cocoa Butter±^ and Aroma (from fruit extracts and/or essential oils)±^.
± natural origin
^ certified organic ingredient
* food safe

We are so pleased and happy to be able to finally announce what The Green Parent Magazine and their esteemed judges made up of beauty experts and Green parent Magazine readers tested all entrants last Spring. You can view all winners in The Green Parent Magazine’s August/September issue, available mid-July. The magazine is distributed to 150,000 parents and can be purchased from Waitrose, WH Smith, Books and all good newsagents. As winners, ON! Juniper will also be showcased on Social Media to their 30,000 followers.

It’s the third year in a row, ON! Juniper products have received awards for our organic and natural lip balms and bath bombs, including having received a previous 2017 Best Buy Award for our organic + natural lip balm!

The Green Parent Awards have become a respected source of information for quality products, made with natural and skin-loving ingredients. Judges used strict criteria to make their winning selections including checking ingredients for natural and organic factors, company ethics and packaging materials.

Thank you to the judging panel and readers of The Green Parent Magazine for selecting our organic and natural lip balms and bath bombs as winners! If you would like to view and try the range for yourself and/or your children, visit us at www.onjuniper.com or call us at 07739 517 877.

Sincerely,
Tess Ackland
Founder and Owner, ON! Juniper Ltd.

Five Ways to Decode Your Product’s Ingredient List

Reading and understanding a cosmetic ingredient label can be confusing and often difficult to understand. We’ve come up with five tips to help you navigate through and decipher your ingredient label.

1. All cosmetic ingredients must by law follow a European standardised scientific nomenclature listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI). For testing and regulatory purposes INCI creates continuity and transparency, but for those of us not familiar with the terms it can be completely baffling. Here’s how to determine which ingredients are natural: plant names are listed in their Latin names (always two words) with the common name in brackets. For example let’s look at sunflower oil. It would be listed as helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil. If it isn’t listed as such, then it probably isn’t a natural ingredient.

2. By law all ingredients are listed in order of concentration. If you are buying something because it contains a specific ingredient, check out where it falls within the ingredient list. Be aware that some companies will market their product containing a specific ingredient to make it more appealing and only include a small amount, placing it near the end of the ingredient list. This is legal, but what I and many consider an unethical practice, and commonly referred to as greenwashing.

3. When it says ‘organic’ and/or ‘natural’ don’t assume the product is entirely or highly organic and/or natural. Similar to above, it is completely legal for a company to market a product as natural or organic even if only a small percentage of the ingredient base comes from organic or natural sources. Here are some ways you can determine how much of the product is indeed organic and/or natural.
– Look for a percentage to qualify the claim. If a company markets that the product is 95% organic, 95% of the ingredients must be organic.
– If there is no percentage, look at the ingredients list to see what is asterixis as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ and where the ingredients fall within the list. If closer to the bottom, you can assume only a small percentage of the product is ‘organic’ or ‘natural’.
– Look for certification such as COSMOS ORGANIC, COSMOS NATURAL or certifications through The Soil Association. Although this makes your purchases process a little more transparent, I personally find requirements to achieve certification too flexible, providing opportunity to claim organic without being very organic. Further, there are many brands out there who don’t pursue certification. Our products for example are not certified and this is due to the costs associated with getting certified. If you don’t see certification symbols, revisit the first two points in this section.

4. If the item contains water, there is a preservative. As water breeds bacterial growth, a preservative is added to prolong a product’s shelf-life and ensure consumer safety. There are many natural preservatives commonly used and people have varying positions on the use of natural versus synthetic. I personally feel natural preservatives are far healthier and offer benefits in addition to preserving. Synthetic preservatives on the other hand have been linked to causing health problems like skin irritation and developmental delays. Some synthetic preservatives include: Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), Triclosan as well as Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben. How to avoid preservatives if you are confused? Don’t buy a product that contains water (aqua, in INCI terminology) or flower water, like rosewater (e.g.: Rosa Damascena Flower Water).

5. If you are buying a product with a fragrance, avoid those with the word parfum. Parfum is the INCI term for a variety of chemicals combined to produce a product’s fragrance. By law the chemicals that contribute to a parfum do not need to be listed, so you could be inhaling or placing on your skin a cornucopia of ingredients, including phthalates which have been scientifically linked to a number of health ailments like endocrine disruption, cancer and allergies. There are more dos and don’ts when it comes to the topic of product fragrance; however, I believe information on how to avoid phthalates is important, important enough that it warrants the spotlight.

I hope these five tips are useful. Before I sign off, one last thing. Please take note that that a full ingredient list is required on cosmetic product packaging, not on website listings. I want to underscore this as I’ve seen websites listing ‘active’ ingredients. In this instance, the active ingredients list may focus on the popular and omit the controversial ingredients. To see the full list, you need to see the actual product, and possibly the container. If you think the ingredient list is too short or too good to be true, Google the product or contact the company prior to purchase.

Single Use Plastic and How You Can Make a Difference

Plastic has become a dirty word, and rightly so. With David Attenborough’s Blue Planet bringing the plight of plastic pollution into the common household, we as a society are now rethinking the products that we purchase. The loved single-use plastic straw is one item under scrutiny.

Kids love straws. They bring a sense of wonderment and experimentation at the dinner table that you otherwise wouldn’t get away with. There is a slight cheekiness sipping through a straw whilst trying to avoid the last noisy slurp rather than politely drinking from a cup. There are also the mini science experiments – children bending straws to determine at what angle the liquid uptake would stop. And then there is the fun of trying to pick items up with a straw (no our children NEVER do this in public…)

But the thing with straws is, they are bad, really bad for the environment. It’s nothing new. We are now more aware of the impact of single-use plastic on our environment and wildlife. It’s not just adults that are taking notice either. My children were quite pleased when they learned that the UK government will ban the sale of single-use plastic straws in 2020.

In fact, we went to a restaurant a couple of weeks ago where my daughters ordered drinks. The drinks came with straws. They were colourful and fancy straws that would have normally brought oodles of excitement, but they didn’t on this occasion because they were made from single-use plastic. What were the first words that came out of my 8 year old? “Why are they using plastic straws and not paper straws? Plastic straws are so bad for the environment.” Then my 10 year old seconded that statement with a resounding, “What are they thinking?”

They are right, plastic straws rank #8 on the ocean trash list. In their Planet or Plastic series, the National Geographic reported that an estimated 4.4 billion straws are thrown away annually. Then there is a video that went viral of a tortoise that had a plastic straw stuck in its nostril. Link: (please be advised there is some swearing):

Children are tuned in about the state of our world Our children are becoming more involved and being more vocal about the environment they are inheriting. This year we’ve seen school children stage climate strikes, walking out on school with the hopes of placing pressure on the government to do more to stop climate change.

Although we as the adults and parents are making the rules and purchasing power, children are standing up and demanding more sustainable products. They really are full of honest-to-good richness, a richness that is often overlooked in our overly complicated world. They see the bad (plastics) and the good (biodegradable options). They aren’t confused by the greyness which can muddle and confuse decisions. Sometimes looking at things through black and white glasses helps to simplify things and make decisions so much more obvious.

Having a positive impact on our earth can seem overwhelming, especially if you believe that climate change is irreversible. That said, many feel that we still have time – 11 or 12 years to reverse the damage we’ve instilled on the earth. Changing from single-use plastic straws to paper straws is one way to lighten your footprint. How else? It can seem overwhelming, but change can occur, even if we all do a little bit every day.

There is a common element among successful leaders and trailblazers who achieve change. They identify a long-term objective. To achieve that objective, they identify daily or weekly goals. The goals don’t have to be huge, but they do need to line up with that long-term strategy. This is something we can all do and we can all start now by removing single-use plastics from our lives. Our actions and decisions today will shape our tomorrow.

You’re Making An Impact by Shopping Organic and Natural

You’ve made an impact. We are all making a difference with the cleaner choices we are making to reduce our carbon and environmental footprint. In choosing sustainably sourced organic and natural bath and body products we are decreasing the entry of many polluting substances into our environment like glitter, artificial pesticides and phthalates. It is amazing and empowering once we realise how our everyday purchases can matter.

As a member of ON! Juniper you’ve used your voice to support sustainable, organic and natural options and I’m so glad that you have. The 1980s, during my teen years, I started to support environmental and sustainable causes when I could, from the items I purchased to the subjects I studied in school. Ethically, the decision to start ON! Juniper made sense, but building the brand and the business has not come easily. I’m not a trained entrepreneur. I don’t have an accounting, a business or a marketing background.

ON! Juniper turned 4 on May 19th. As I do with milestones, I reflect. In doing so I’ve realised the things that I’ve gained over the last four years are applicable to pretty much anyone, no matter your age or situation. I wanted to take the opportunity in this blog to celebrate turning four (30% of businesses fail in the first two years). I also wanted to share these reflections with you because I think they are relevant to daily life.

1. Identify your niche and why you’re the best. When times get rough this provides the foundation on why you need to triumph and see another day.
2. Go with your gut instinct; It’s usually right.
3. Focus.
4. Be confident. If you aren’t confident, people aren’t going to believe in you and what you are selling.
5. Be yourself. Everything you do is an extension of yourself.
6. Be creative. If someone tells you no, find another avenue to get to yes.
7. Think about how your spending will benefit your short-term and long-term goals. People are always willing to take your money, be wise in how you spend it.
8. Take help and guidance from friends and always make sure they know you are appreciative of their generosity.
9. Don’t be afraid to fail or receive negative feedback. This provides the basis for reflection and positive change.
10. Your client is the most important person in your business plan. If they aren’t happy your business isn’t going anywhere.

The last point is seriously important. I have and still find myself at times as a customer not receiving satisfactory service. As human beings, we all want to be valued and this is no less important in commerce.

In signing up to and being a consumer of ON! Juniper, you’re with a company that cares. We care about the impact our products have on the environment and you, the customer. I want you to feel engaged and happy. Sure, we don’t always get it right. If we don’t, please do get in touch. If we do get it right, we’d love to hear that too!

If you haven’t purchased from us yet, please don’t forget that you can receive 10% off your first purchase. If you’ve purchased from us in the past, prior to this coupon being available, please do contact me. We can work out a 10% discount for you too!

10% off your first purchase. COUPON CODE: Organic19

Why Organic and Natural Lip Balm is Best, Especially for Children

I attend a lot of fairs selling our products directly to customers. Our lip balms are very popular with kids and parents. From time-to-time however, I do hear hesitation, such as. “My daughter has a stockpile at home” or “I can buy less expensive lip balm at the pharmacy.” With two daughters of my own, I get it – we need to put a limit somewhere and kids can be expensive!

What I want to ask though – but I don’t as I don’t want to put anyone on the spot, do you know what ingredients are in your lip balms?

The impetus to start ON! Juniper culminated when I started looking more closely at the ingredient list of my children’s lip balms, which was not an easy task: either the tube didn’t list the ingredients (it was on the accompanying packaging that had been thrown out a long time ago), or the lip balms included ingredients that I did not want on my daughters’ lips. Before stopping to look at these ingredients, I had fallen into a false sense of security because the lip balms were being marketed for kids. They had to be made with the best ingredients possible, right?! Well, wrong!

These are some of the ingredients that I found*:
Formaldehyde – carcinogenic, skin allergen, may impact the immune system.
Fragrance, perfume, scent – umbrella term which can include – and not disclose – ingredients that are allergens, carcinogenic, hormone disruptors and reproductive toxins.
Colour (e.g.: blue lake, red lake 28, titanium dioxide, iron oxides) – synthetic colours or those derived from petroleum or coal tar. Suspected carcinogen, skin irritant and linked to learning disorders like ADHD and hyperactivity.
Mica – natural mineral for which extraction has been linked to child labour in some countries.
Parabens (including methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, and ethyl-paraben) – hormone disruptor linked to the growth of breast cancer cells, allergen and skin irritant linked to contact dermatitis.
Polybutene – interferes with the body’s natural moisturizing mechanism leading to drier, chapped skin.
Propylene Glycol (PG) and Polypropylene glycol (PEG) – skin sensitivity and allergies
Synthetic Wax – again another umbrella term for a combination of synthetic and possibly natural waxes: if you don’t know what it contains, you won’t know the possible side-effects.

In addition to what I found, I also want to mention, what I didn’t find. I didn’t find organic ingredients listed ANYWHERE! Why is this important? As you may notice in my previous blogs, the environment plays an integral role in defining ON! Juniper products and establishing our ethos. Organic is more sustainable, friendlier to the environment and includes better animal welfare. For those wanting to decrease their environmental footprint, supporting organic products is definitely important.

I completely understand that analysing the ingredient base on any product let alone children’s lip balms can be overwhelming. Make it easy on yourself. Buy products that are 100% natural, 100% organic and ethically sourced (no mica or palm oil)! This is ON! Juniper.

Why Organic and Natural is Important

Understanding the “ins and outs” of the organic industry can be complicated. There is a lot of greenwashing and variables that come into play. My children have asked me why I want to buy organic and natural products and why I started ON! Juniper. The explanation that I give my children is simple yet logical (at least to me). Our bodies – and the environment – are naturally equipped to process or absorb natural ingredients. Understanding how foreign elements like artificial pesticides or synthetic preservatives interact with these same receptors is less clear.

In an effort to decrease these foreign elements within our lives, I’ve chosen to integrate as much organic and natural products within my family’s lifestyle. I also started ON! Juniper to provide this to other people who feel the same way – I can’t be the only one wanting this for my kids?! After all, people wanting to live an organic and more sustainable lifestyle is on the rise, right?!

An interesting 2018 study suggested that organic farming is less sustainable than conventional farming. This study looked at output, or the amount of product cultivated. I have to agree with the authors, they make a good point. Conventional farming can be more economically viable than organic farming. However, their argument only looks at economics. If we are talking about sustainability, we need to talk about the 2 other sustainability pillars: the environment and society.

I have to argue that conventional farming isn’t more sustainable from an environmental perspective – synthetic fertilisers and artificial pesticides that enter our soil and watercourses can lead to long-term impacts to soil quality and productivity. From a social perspective, we also need to consider the societal impacts (e.g.: studies linking lower cancer rates among those eating high organic diets). Some debate the validity of these studies. My thoughts? As I do with my children, I strip the information back to the basics and when I do this, organic farming and organic crops win every time.

So, what exactly is organic farming and how is it different from conventional farming? The Soil Association, the United Kingdom’s organic accrediting agency says, “Organic farming encourages wildlife and cuts the use of pesticides and antibiotics. Strict regulations, known as ‘organic standards’, define what organic farmers can and cannot do – and place a strong emphasis on the protection of wildlife and the environment.”

Organic farming supports healthier ecosystems through strict regulations known in the UK as ‘organic standards’. There are circumstances where these standards may be softened, but for the most part, they explain the approach used within the UK’s organic farming industry. The benefits of organic farming include:

o Soil enriched by growing and rotating a mixture of crops, adding organic matter (e.g.: compost, manure) and using clover to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Artificial chemicals are not allowed.
o Wildlife is used to control pests and disease and the use of pesticides is severely restricted.
o Free-range life for farm animals is guaranteed, ensuring animal welfare.
o Mixed crops and rotating farmland throughout the seasons. This helps to break the cycle of pests and disease and allows the soil to be more fertile.
o Moving animals to fresh pastures and keeping smaller herds and flock sizes help prevent disease and it’s spread. Routine use of drugs, antibiotics, and wormers is banned.
o Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are banned.

These are the fundamentals of organic farming. To me, they align with a more natural lifestyle and support a symbiotic relationship with our environment. Injecting foreign elements into our bodies and our ecosystems is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They don’t fit and if we force them together, we damage the peg and the hole.

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Find your Organic + Natural in 2019 with ON! Juniper

In looking back over 2018 I have to admit I’ve not done ON! Juniper or you as a consumer and/or member justice. All good intentions aside, I’ve not kept up with blogs and doing a less than stellar job on social media.

 

The truth is I find social media one of the hardest and most awkward elements of running a business. Why? I’m an introvert. I’m more comfortable with face-to-face conversations with a handful of friends. This is not what the world wide web and social media or blogs entail! Sharing personal information with tonnes of people, some I may and may not know is completely foreign and every bone in my body screams a gut-retching and resounding NO!

 

This said, I love ON! Juniper and I am truly passionate about the organic + natural products I make. The kind words I hear from those of you who have purchased and the many bloggers out there who graciously included ON! Juniper in their Christmas Gift Guides keeps me going. It also makes me realise that I’m not alone in my thinking that organic + natural is better. I want to share ON! Juniper more readily with you and the growing number of people looking to buy organic and natural products for their kids.

 

So, for 2019, my resolution to myself and you as members of the ON! Juniper family is to bite the bullet, pull up my socks and be a little more vocal, sharing with everyone and anyone who wants to join in on the conversation. This includes a bi-weekly blog on the first and 3rdTuesday of each month, posting on social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) and sending out to members, a montly newsletter.

Withineach blog and newsletter I’ll be including tried and tested tips our family uses to lead a more organic + natural lifestyle. Here’s Tip# 1 for 2019:

 

Please do drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on anything related from tips you use to lead a more organic + natural lifestyle to thoughts about ON! Juniper products. There are multiple ways to engage:

 

I look forward to getting to know you better in 2019.

 

Sincerely,

Tess

 

Tess is owner and founder of ON! Juniper, a British business handcrafting organic + natural bath and body products for kids out of Surrey, England.

Organic + Natural lifestyle for kids with ON! Juniper

Organic + Natural lifestyle for kids with ON! Juniper

In looking back over 2018 I have to admit I’ve not done ON! Juniper or you as a member justice. All good intentions aside, I’ve not kept up with blogs and have done a less than stellar job on social media.

The truth is I find social media one of the hardest and most awkward elements of running a business. Why? I’m an introvert. I’m more comfortable with face-to-face conversations with a small group of people. This is not what the world wide web and social media or blogs entail! Sharing personal information with numerous people, some I may or may not know is completely foreign. Every bone in my body screams a gut-retching and resounding NO, DON’T DO IT!

This said, I love ON! Juniper and I am truly passionate about the organic + natural products that we handcraft. The kind words I hear from those of you who have purchased and the many bloggers out there who graciously included ON! Juniper in their Christmas Gift Guides keeps me going. It also makes me realise that I’m not alone in my thinking that organic + natural is better. I want to share ON! Juniper more readily with you and the growing number of people looking to buy organic and natural products for kids.

So, for 2019, my resolution to myself and you as members of the ON! Juniper family is to bite the bullet, pull up my socks and be a little more vocal, sharing with everyone and anyone who wants to join in on the conversation. This includes a bi-weekly blog on the first and 3rdTuesday of each month, posting on social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) and sending out to members, a monthly newsletter.

Within each blog and newsletter I’ll be including tried and tested tips our family uses to lead a more organic + natural lifestyle.

Here’s Tip# 1 for 2019:

Please do drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on anything related from tips you use to lead a more organic + natural lifestyle to comments about ON! Juniper products. There are multiple ways to engage:

I look forward to getting to know you better in 2019.

Sincerely,

Tess

Tess is owner and founder of ON! Juniper, an award-winning British business handcrafting organic + natural bath and body products for kids out of Surrey, England.

Journey from Motherhood to Mumpreneur – Making Organic and Natural Lip Balms and Bath Bombs for Children

If you live in the UK, you probably know last Sunday was Mother’s Day. I am lucky enough to be a mum of two amazing girls, aged 8 and 10. The greatest thing about Mother’s Day wasn’t the gifts, but the reminder of how lucky I am to be a mum and the amazing new journeys it has taken me on. From adjusting to the demands of babies and children to taking on a new challenge – handmaking organic + natural lip balms and bath bombs for kids – I’ve grown as an individual and realise the love for my children is never-ending.

To be completely honest, the decision to have kids was never really straightforward for me. Early on, I didn’t see a life with children. I was completely focused on my career. Then at 35, for a variety of reasons, I decided to have children. Luckily I didn’t run into problems, had two girls and have been on the most profound journey ever since.

Last Sunday I received cards from each of my daughters – a true window into who they are and our relationship. My eldest spent some precious free-time at school (time which doesn’t happen very often) to make me a Mother’s Day card. For her to selflessly use her time was a tribute to how loving, caring and generous she is. My other daughter, our youngest wrote me two loving poems on why she loves me. I’m a ‘loving machine’ she said. I laughed. You can’t make this stuff up. It is honest, genuine and completely adorable.

Motherhood is a spectacular journey for which I am grateful. With all of the joys and experiences that my children bring into my life, I can’t imagine my life without them. Like most mums, there are however times amidst the tantrums and drama (and believe me with two girls there is DRAMA), that I do think about what my life would be like without children. But I keep coming back to what my children have taught me –love, adventure and the need for society to empower our children.

My children are the reason I started ON! Juniper. Had I not had them, I wouldn’t have realised the lack of organic and natural bath and body products for children. My journey would be completely different from what it is. I would have never had the opportunity to call myself a mumpreneur! I love this journey and I look forward to it continuing it, including all the Mother’s Days that lie ahead.

Join ON! Juniper on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Receive information, including links to our blog. You can sign up via our website to become an ON! Juniper member, which means you’ll never miss a blog and be eligible for member-only promotions and giveaways.

Surrey Life Magazine Loves

Surrey Life Magazine Loves: Sick of only finding products for your kids packed with synthetic fragrances, petroleum by-products and artificial colorants? Check out ON! Juniper. Developed by Horsell mum, Tess Ackland, after she struggled to find truly organic and natural products for her young daughters. The range includes an organic lip balm, which kids can personalize with one of six characters, and bath bombs that turn the water different colors, providing endless fun at bath time!

Why I Buy Organic Cosmetic & Personal Care Products – Visit Us at Natural & Organic Products Europe

The organic and natural beauty sector is growing as more people are demanding products made from organic + natural ingredients. What are the reasons for the growth of the organic + natural industry? One reason is health. Many people, myself included, believe organic is better. This is being increasingly supported through studies that link non-organic practices (e.g. chemical pesticides) with health problems.

A recent 2019 study titled, “Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults” showed that the human body absorbs pesticides through food consumption. For me, this solidifies one reason why I buy organic and supports my decision to focus on producing organic + natural personal care products.

Some scientists may disagree with the findings of this study, saying it was flawed or that its funders, Friends of the Earth, swayed the findings. Regardless, studies such as this confirm my belief that organic is healthier, whether you’re eating it or putting it on your skin. This conviction comes from a logical stream of thought: strip away the discussion and looks at how pesticides work. Most pesticides kill an insect by destroying its nervous system. Yes, insects are smaller than us and more susceptible to the effects, but if pesticides can kill an insect, what can exposure to these chemicals over time due to humans? To me, it’s obvious. It does the same damage, just more slowly.

This study, along with others, has linked pesticides with a number of health problems in children and adults, including:

  • decreased cognitive ability
  • increased behavioral and attention problems in children
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • reproductive and endocrine system disruption

We’ve seen a rise in these health-related issues. Sure, maybe not all can be linked directly to pesticides, but there is a good case to advocate for pesticides having some impact. With all the mounting evidence, there is undoubtedly a link between health ailments and pesticides, either through dermal absorption, ingestion, inhalation or transplacental transfer. It is clear that what we put on our skin, as well as what we eat, can have a direct effect on health.

Going organic just isn’t just about reducing health ailments; it can also actively improve health. Studies have revealed:

  • Higher levels of healthy fats like omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) in organic beef and milk. These fats are linked with heart health and unfortunately, are deficient in typical western diets. “Saturated fat content in organic versus conventionally raised beef was similar or lower, while the percentage of omega-3 fatty acid was 47 percent higher on average across all types of meat.”
  • Higher antioxidant values. “…the concentration of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops/crop-based foods. Many of these compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including CVD and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.”
  • The lower concentration of cadmium and incidence of pesticide residue “…pesticide residue was found to be four times higher in conventional crops, which also contained significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal Cd.”

ON! Juniper products are made with the highest concentration of organic ingredients possible. Our lip balm, for example, is made with only certified organic ingredients. With our bath bombs, every ingredient that can be organic is certified organic.

I believe this makes our products healthier, gentler on the skin and particularly suitable for children with sensitive skin. Comments from parents echo this. They tell me their children’s skin often reacts to conventional brands, but not to ON! Juniper’s organic products.

ON! Juniper is taking the plunge this year and attending our first ever trade show, Natural Organic Products Europe (NOPE) at the Excel Centre, London on April 7-8th (Stand C-4). Because of the emphasis on organic + natural, we believe NOPE is a good fit for us. We hope to meet a lot of like-minded people who feel the same as us – organic is healthier and better for the environment.

This blog has focussed on the health benefits of organic ingredients. Please join me in two weeks for my next blog where I look at the environmental benefits of organic agriculture. Many people say that organic farming isn’t sustainable and actually harms the environment. I say otherwise!

Join ON! Juniper on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Receive information, including links to our blog. You can sign up via our website to become an ON! Juniper member, which means you’ll never miss a blog and be eligible for member-only promotions and giveaways.

The Zero Waste Movement – It’s About More Than Saying No to Single Use Plastic

Packaging is big news these days, and it’s about time! There is growing pressure to eliminate single-use plastic. As a society, we’ve reached a tipping point. The masses are now starting to realize that they have an impact and small changes from an individual household, multiplied by households across the globe could result in big changes.

With all of the recent focus on single-use plastics, the discussion is now rightly focussed on a product’s end-of-life (e.g. the bits that we throw away). Although the discussion and changes being made are nothing but positive, the discussion appears to be somewhat siloed. In my opinion, it isn’t yet embracing a holistic view, in other words, a product’s full life-cycle.

What exactly do I mean by the ‘full life cycle’? An assessment of all of the elements that go into making a product. This is required to understand the impacts associated with that product. Another common term is ‘cradle-to-grave’. What’s the big deal you may ask? Take, for instance, a bottle of lip gloss. The lip gloss’s environmental impact involves far more than just the container’s disposal. It’s also about:

  • Primary supply chain: Were genetically modified ingredients used? What about artificial pesticides? Was the health and safety of people/communities put in harm’s way or ecological habitats destroyed during its excavation or cultivation? Were international labor standards or basic human rights breached in making these products? And what about air, land and/or water pollution in relation to the development of these products?
  • the chemicals used within the products: Does the product contain artificial or natural chemicals that have been linked to human health concerns, including carcinogens or endocrine disruptors? Do the chemicals biodegrade in the environment or pollute our ecosystems (air, water, soil)?
  • the manufacture of the packaging: What/how much energy is used to manufacture an aluminum jar versus a glass beaker versus a plastic pot? How much air and water pollution comes as a result of the manufacturing process? Are species displaced or habitat lost during the manufacturing process from the extraction of minerals to make the products (think large bauxite that are mines required to produce aluminum!).

These are some pertinent questions, which aren’t really being discussed.

The anti-plastic movement adheres to a tangible item, an item that is visual and easily linked to an obvious problem. On the other hand, when we look at a product’s lifecycle, aka “cradle-to-grave” we are often talking in abstract terms. We don’t look at the problem from a holistic viewpoint.

As a business owner, making a positive change includes going above and beyond the current view of simply looking at “zero waste and single-use plastic”. I feel that it is important to produce sustainable products with a conscience. This means taking a holistic approach to where we source our ingredients, how we design our products, to the formulation & after-use of our packaging.

This is important because, through this information, a business provides the consumer with data required to make an informed decision. Information is empowering; it provides the tools to propel change and the confidence to implement change.

So take a look at ON! Juniper and let us know what you think. Can we do better?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and get the conversation going towards more transparency within the beauty and personal care industry.