ON! Juniper’s Super Colour Bath Bombs Wins!

Surrey, England – 10 July 2018 – ON! Juniper’s “Super Colour Bath Bombs” recently won a Bronze Award in the Free From Achievement Award Category as part of the 2018 Free From Skincare Awards.

“I’m so pleased that our super colour bath bombs have received this award. We think they are really super and given the rigorous judging process involved with these awards, we can now proudly say that many experts in the skincare field agree,” commented Tess Ackland, founder, and owner, ON! Juniper.

“We are particularly proud of winning in the Free From Achievement Award Category as it is ‘a special award for a skincare product with particularly exceptional free from qualities…or meets a particular need in skincare for consumers with skin allergies.’ ”

ON! Juniper was established in 2015 by a Surrey-based mum of two girls aged then 5 and 6 after she realised there were little organic and natural products available for her daughters. ON! Juniper’s innovative and unique approach to creating products for kids aged 5-15, with organic and natural colourants led to the creation of the super colour bath bombs. The company represents a fun and innovative brand for kids that through the provision of organic and natural products at reasonable price points, support them in making positive lifestyle choices.

In addition to winning the Bronze Award in the Free From Achievement Category, ON! Juniper’s bath bomb was also shortlisted in the Family Skincare Category. ON! Juniper’s lip balm received a 2017 Best Buy Award from The Green Parent Magazine and in 2016 ON! Juniper was a finalist in the SME Surrey Business Awards.

Now in its seventh year, the Free From Skincare Awards are dedicated to ‘free from’ cosmetics and skincare products and are part of a family of free from awards. The awards ceremony took place on 5 July 2018 at London Olympia’s Pilar Hall from 17:00-20:00.

For further information and product photos, please contact ON! Juniper’s founder and owner, Tess Ackland by telephone at +44 (0)7739 517 877 or by email at info@onjuniper.com

Why I Don’t Use Biodegradable Glitter

A lot of people tell me I should add glitter to my lip balms and bath bombs. I get it, kids love the colour and an extra bit of fun and luminescence that glitter brings. I’d probably sell more products and the company would grow more quickly. Bottom line: The decision to not use glitter could be eating into my profits. Is it worth it? Yes, and I’d like to tell you why.

I started ON! Juniper for three reasons. First, I couldn’t find anything that I considered safe for my kids who were aged 5 and 6 at the time. Safe for me meant all organic + natural ingredients. Take lip balms for instance – I didn’t want my children smothering their lips with the likes of petroleum by-products, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and parabens. Even though studies have shown that these ingredients may contribute to endocrine disruption (and even cancer), most children’s lip balms still include them. It isn’t logical.

Second, I’ve always been an environmentalist. Concern over the footprint that I leave on the environment has always impacted the way I live my life. This includes the products I buy.

Third, in searching for these organic + natural products for my kids (and myself), I started to get really cynical about the amount of greenwashing. The term isn’t new to me, but I have to admit I’ve been caught out by some of these tactics. In particular, it really bothers me when I see companies advertising their product as natural or organic only to realise later that only a small percentage of it is actually made with organic and/or natural ingredients. Greenwashing to me shows traits of dishonesty & a total lack of caring for the environment, just to sell more products. It also shows a lack of respect towards the consumer and integrity within the company. When I buy a product, I am buying into and supporting the company’s ethos. If the company’s ethos doesn’t align with my values, I simply don’t support them.

One of the founding elements of ON! Juniper is to provide straightforward, clean and simple products for children and tweens. Our messaging is clear and honest. And this leads me back to the issue at hand: glitter.

We don’t use glitter because there isn’t any currently available on the market that is 100% biodegradable.  Remember when I said that I’ve been caught out by greenwashing? Well, this is one example. I bought a sample pack of what was advertised as biodegradable glitter for the bargain price of £35. In hindsight, I should have asked some hard questions about the glitter’s lifecycle before purchasing, but I didn’t. I believed what I read. It was advertised as 100% biodegradable, even the baggies they came in had “100% biodegradable glitter” stamped on the front.

However, something about the product still bothered me so before testing it, I asked the distributor about how the glitter biodegraded & what it was made of so that I could feel confident that it met ON! Juniper’s test of being organic +natural. And after a bit of back forth, the answer surprised me. The ‘100% biodegradable glitter’ as advertised on their packets was in fact NOT 100% biodegradable. It was “92% plastic free”, with the other 8% being composed of styrene acrylates. Not cool!

Since then I’ve gone back to their website and have noticed a lot of changes. They now identify that their item is not 100% biodegradable and that achieving 100% biodegradability is not their target. I’m not going to name and shame. I just want to relay how greenwashing can really skew perception. At least this company has realized their mistake and has made substantial efforts to be more clear; however, I still see some persuasive language that borders on greenwashing.

So, what is the alternative? Support companies who don’t greenwash. Knowing who to trust comes with getting to know the company and asking intricate questions like I did with the glitter. That takes time and effort and with today’s hectic schedules, time can be a luxury! At the end of the day, all we can do is try our best & read the ingredients. If something is listed that you don’t understand, do a quick Google search to find more about an ingredient’s benefits and risks. You can also email the company for further information and clarity on an issue you are unsure about.

In an ideal world, it should be the company that is looking out for you and communicating in a clear way. It is our responsibility to provide the public with better choices, choices which don’t cost the earth, jeopardise human welfare or put animals and their habitats at risk. We also hold a responsibility, to be honest in our messaging so you can make an informed choice that reflects your lifestyle and values.

In my eyes, as both a company founder and as a consumer, blurring ethical lines in lieu of profit is wrong. Consumers shouldn’t have to dig around for the answers.

At ON! Juniper I’m making every attempt to simplify matters for the consumer so it is easy to make an informed decision. This involves more than just listing ingredients and what is written on a product’s label. The ingredients we use or don’t use, contribute to only a small fraction of the thought that goes into developing our products. Every ON! Juniper product has a Product Lifecycle Sustainability Plan (PLSP). The PLSP is a shifting document that evolves throughout a product’s life in order to identify social, economic and environmental impacts of the product. This is important. When you buy something, you are supporting more than just the final product. You are saying yes to the type of ingredients used. You are supporting how those ingredients were harvested or excavated. You are approving or disapproving the use of genetically modified organisms…

The concept of PLSP provides a segue into my next blog coming March 5, 2018. I’ll be writing about the positives…and negatives of the anti-plastic movement. Even though I full-heartedly support reducing plastic, there are some critical issues being lost within the plastic debate. The current focus is on the product’s end-of-life. It doesn’t account for a product’s full lifecycle and this doesn’t provide us with the complete picture we need to make an informed decision. Stay tuned!

Please feel free to comment and share this and any of ON! Juniper’s blogs. I’d love to hear your thoughts and get the conversation going towards more transparency within the beauty and personal care industry.

Tess is the Founder and Owner of ON! Juniper, an award-winning company that handcrafts organic + natural products for kids in Surrey, England.

Easy Organic Vegan Chocolate Recipe & Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids

💖February 14th isn’t far off now! Are you or your kids planning anything? My eldest daughter has asked for some Valentine’s Day cards and a gift to give to her friends…girls of course! At nine boys are still a no-go zone and I’m perfectly okay with this!

So, for my first blog of February I haven’t written about ON! Juniper or organic + natural bath and body products. Within our journey of leading sustainable livelihoods, upcoming Valentine’s Day provides a great way to change gears a little!

Easy Organic Vegan Chocolate

In my 20s I was a vegetarian for a couple of years. I didn’t quite make it to veganhood however, due to my love of ice cream and cheese! Nonetheless, my reasons for going vegetarian were based on concerns over the environment and animal welfare, the same concerns driving the vegan movement today. In the end I went back to eating meat because I wasn’t careful enough about meal planning. I ended up becoming very anaemic. So anaemic in fact I had to receive iron injections – ouch!

Now I’m older and hopefully a little more wiser! 😉 My core beliefs and principles however remain the same. I still feel an innate connection with the environment and a responsibility to live a sustainable life. I’m not perfect, but I do try! As a busy mum of two girls, a young dog, wife and running a business, it can become difficult. With the rise in veganism, I’ve put more thought into returning towards a more plant-based lifestyle.

When the idea of making some chocolate goodies for my kids to bring into school on Valentine’s Day popped up, I thought, why not go vegan? We did. And do you know what? It was absolutely fantastic. It was also easy. So easy in fact that my children took the reins and demoted me to sous chef! Of course in addition to going vegan we also sourced all-organic ingredients.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids

I’ve come up with some fun and colourful cards that you and your kids can share with friends and family. I’ve created this on a fantastic graphic design tool website called Canva. I use Canva religiously for my social media posts. Here are a couple. You can find more leading up to Valentine’s Day on my Instagram and Facebook. Please do like, copy and share! 💕 Spread the love this Valentine’s Day 💕

How Organic + Natural is my Personal Care Product

I think most would agree that there is a general trend towards leading a healthier and more environmentally conscious lifestyle. To me, this involves buying products that are organic + natural, whether it be food, clothing or personal care products.

The personal care industry has benefited from this trend, seeing a 24% increase in demand for organic and natural beauty products in 2017.[1] This growth is happening however without regulations to define when a product can be labelled as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’.  As a result, it can be difficult to understand how much of a product’s ingredients are organic or natural.

You may ask, “if something is marketed as organic and/or natural, can we assume that it is organic or natural?” Unfortunately no. To get a better idea, let’s look at an example.

Company A, for instance, makes an ‘organic’ shampoo. Because it is advertised as organic, one may assume all or the majority of ingredients are organic. It’s not that simple! Company A’s organic shampoo may include 100% organic ingredients (yay!), or only 1% organic ingredients (BOO!) The same rings true for the application of the term ‘natural’. Confusing, right?!

In an effort to create an industry standard to set clearer and more transparent guidelines regarding the application of the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’, the COSMOS (COSMetic Organic Standard) was created. In 2017 the UK adopted this standard. The COSMOS standard requires products meet five broad requirements, including containing natural ingredients or of natural origin that are acquired in a hygienic and sustainable way.  It also allows for a limited list of preservatives and other ingredients (see box below, What the COSMOS-standard covers, for greater detail).

 

Under COSMOS there are two certifications: 1) COSMOS Organic; and 2) COSMOS Natural. Both need to meet the 5 broad requirements. They also need to each fulfill specific benchmarks. In order to attain COSMOS Certified Organic 95% of the ingredients must be organic. To attain COSMOS “made with organic”, a minimum 20% of ingredients for leave-on products (e.g.: lip balm) and 10% of rinse-off ingredients (e.g.: shampoo).[2] Then there is natural certification. To attain COSMOS Natural, most of the ingredients must come from a natural origin.

A standard certification process to ensure consistent application is a positive step. It creates parameters, clarity, and safeguards around what can be considered ‘organic’ or ‘natural’.

On the downside, certification is expensive, too expensive for indie brands like ON! Juniper. For this reason and this reason alone, I haven’t applied for COSMOS certification.

Bottom line, in seeing COSMOS certification on a personal care product you can be confident it is a meeting an internationally recognised standard.

It is important to keep in mind however, that there are a lot of brands that can’t afford certification, yet go above and beyond COSMOS requirements. ON! Juniper lip balms, for example, are made with 100% organic certified ingredients, rather than the COSMOS requirement of 95% or 20%!  Don’t dismiss a brand because it isn’t COSMOS certified, but also equip yourself with the knowledge to decode an ingredient label because greenwashing can and does happen.

So, here’s a quick method to decode an ingredient label: 1) identify which ingredient(s) are listed as organic and/or natural; and 2) identify where do they fall within the ingredients list. The latter point is important as ingredients must be listed in their order of concentration. Then you need to do the math. If a product of 10 ingredients, for example, lists only the last two ingredients as organic, you can assume that the organic content is quite low.

Without industry requirements surrounding the application of the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ in personal care products, understanding the organic and natural levels can be unclear. I hope this article helps to shed some light and provides you with a useful tool to better estimate organic and/or natural content.

If you have questions about a particular product’s ingredient base, do contact me. I’d be happy to decode it for you. I don’t need to know the product brand, just the ingredient list and any messaging advertising it’s organic and natural attributes.

Tess

Tess is the owner and founder of ON! Juniper, a fun and innovative lifestyle brand for kids offering lip balms and bath bombs made with organic + natural ingredients.

[1]https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/market-research-and-data/beautymarket/

[2]https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/health-beauty-certification/types-of-certification/

An 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 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, DON’T DO IT!

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 1stand 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:

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m tempted to buy a lot at a bargain price. When I do, however, more often than not I regret it. The items turn out to be cheaply made and irritate my skin or don’t offer the benefits I thought they would. I don’t end up using them and they inevitably end up going to the landfill, which is the last thing I want! When I buy quality I’m happy and end up getting far better use and do reap the benefits…and no landfill! So, in 2019 I’m buying quality, not quantity!

I’d love to hear from you. 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:

Email: info@onjuniper.com

Social Media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Website: Contact Us

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 award-winning organic + natural bath and body products for kids out of Surrey, England.