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Tamanu Oil, Lip Gloss and Puppies

I like to think that I have had many brilliant ideas. Some ideas simply do not execute quite the way I had planned. (My shrimp scrub is an excellent example of this.) While I often must turn these into the great idea recycle pile, I always learn something that is quite valuable. And that brings me to the lovely oil we call Tamanu.

Tamanu Oil is an exquisite exotic oil that smells like butter pecan ice cream. While some may find the scent off-putting, I love it. I have used it in salves, creams, lotions and soaps and loved each of the finished products. So a while back, I got the brilliant idea of making a lip gloss with Tamanu Oil. Now I was about to learn a lesson I wasn’t about to forget.

I went to the blog kitchen and made my lip gloss. I put it into our lip brush pens and allowed it to cool. I was admiring the soft green color and thinking what label would match the lip gloss perfectly. I had even added mica to my lip gloss. I snagged a partial for my purse and my own personal testing. I wandered back to my desk pleased with my newest lip gloss recipe. After about 30 minutes of working at my desk, I absentmindedly reached for my newest lip product and applied it. I licked my lips and… gagged.

I found myself shoving away from my desk and heading to the nearest bathroom at a dead run. Once there, I scrubbed at my lips and worked to rinse my mouth of a foul bitterness I had never previously imagined. I immediately went back to my recipe. What lots did I use? Was anything rancid? Everything looked and smelled fine, so I went to my computer.

After a little searching on the internet, I discovered that Tamanu Oil has a natural compound that makes it taste bitter. Combine this with the oil’s ability to semi-emulsify with saliva means that it is hard to purge one’s mouth of the oil.

Fast forward to today. One of the gals here got a puppy. Now, this little ball of energy is adorable, but I had forgotten what it means to puppy proof any room. Especially from a cattle dog. Most days she is incredibly well behaved, but she likes to steal shoes to chew on. Does she chew on approved toys? No… Does she chew on dog bones? Not really. She likes shoes.

We were at our wits end! Our spare pairs of shoes were disappearing from their places under our desks and were getting marks from little puppy teeth. We were about ready to send someone to the store for a no chew spray when I suggest Tamanu Oil. The rest of the office watched as I applied a small amount of Tamanu Oil to the leather. We put the shoes back where they belonged under the desk and waited.

We didn’t have to wait long. The puppy came through and spotted her favorite unauthorized chew accessory. She trotted over and picked up one of the shoes and started heading off to her bed. Not ten steps later, she dropped the shoe. There was a collective sigh of relief from the humans, and she was given a human approved puppy chew toy to play with.

Harmony now reigns in the office. We have acknowledged what it takes to make a space puppy-proof, and the puppy has learned that shoes are not acceptable chew toys. We spoil her with little outings and treats, and she behaves like a little angel. (It doesn’t hurt than most of the footwear still smells faintly of Tamanu Oil.)

So while Tamanu Oil is a fabulous oil, it doesn’t belong in lip products due to the natural bitter compound, but it does an excellent job training when an exuberant puppy is involved. Here is to puppies, love, and lifelong lessons! Cheers!


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