Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"
Again, I'm left stumbling over how to answer.
No, I don't make serums or wrinkle creams or any anti-aging products is the short answer, but the longer answer usually goes unsaid.
Part of the reason I don't make them is that I believe natural and simple ingredients are a better choice for skin health. Wunder Budder is all about harnessing the power of plants and finding ways to transfer their properties into something easy for anyone to use. Farm-to-skin style (although technically there are a few stops along the way). A lot of products marketed as "natural" do contain naturally derived extracts, but that's not the same as a whole natural ingredient or even direct extracts of whole natural ingredients (as in the case of essential oils).
I love the way botanical oils make my skin look and feel. Oils don't moisturize, they emolliate skin, and they act as a balm to soothe and protect. Creams and serums contain a lot of water (which needs a preservative) and alcohols. Although these can serve as carriers for important ingredients, water and alcohol dissipate leaving skin hungry for more. Oils nourish skin and help it look supple.
Some companies that make water-based products are genuinely trying to help people look and feel better, but most of the marketing we see for the skincare, especially big companies advertising the newest trendy ingredient, are not selling us something better, they're just selling us hype. They are feeding off our insecurities as women to sell us things we don't need.
Of course men have insecurities too, but it's only women who ask if I make products to stop their aging. It's women who are constantly being told and shown that being younger is better. A man becomes distinguished as he ages, but women become less visible. Because of this, we are told we should not age gracefully. We are told to fight aging.
Never ask a woman her age.
(that's really a rhetorical question)
We are lucky to age. It's a privilege to age. We should want to age, because that means we get to be alive. But that is not how our society treats us.
We live in a world that prioritizes beauty. We are judged and we judge others on appearances, even when we don't mean to. Because of this, we want to look our best, but why should that be younger than we are? Why can't that be looking our best as the ages we are when we turn 30, 40, 50, 75?
Next time you look in the mirror, appreciate your face for exactly what it looks like right now, whatever age you are. Take a moment to give thanks to the face that looks back at you. You are the youngest you will ever be.
(*I wrote "a herbalist" instead of "an herbalist" because I pronounce the hard "h")
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I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
I love aromatherapy inhalers.
If you've never heard of them, they are little lip balm-sized tubes with essential oils inside, and they are really cool.
They are my method of choice for using essential oils (for anything that doesn't require topical application). I started making them for myself over a decade ago, using metal refillable tubes with a salt chamber - I'd add the essential oils to the salt and the salt would help "disperse" them**. These were easy to refill, but messy and annoying to clean, so I would end up buying new ones for each blend I made.
I was using a particular blend to shorten a bad cold during a trying time (I was a full-time student, worked part-time, was planning my wedding, and trying to build Wunder Budder on the side - not an easy time for my body to fight illness), and found the blend so helpful that I had to share it...