Sunday, September 2, 2012

Huzzah for Hurraw!

Based in Whitefish, Montana, Hurraw! Balm was birthed out of a passion for a vegan and raw lifestyle by husband and wife co-founders Neil Stuber and Corrie Colbert.  With the desire to create the perfect balm in  means of production as well as performance, Colbert and Stuber have created a lip balm that is natural, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, raw, organic and fair trade, with no GMO's, petroleum, parabens, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors.  Hand-mixed and individually poured, these balms just seems to tick all the boxes for those who have a hard time finding lip balms that meet specific dietary, allergy, or lifestyle requirements.

The methods, materials, and sourcing at Hurraw! clearly meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of organic and Fair Trade certifications, however the balms have no third party certifier for either distinction.  In talking to Hurraw!'s co-founder, Neil Stuber, it is apparent that the company is practicing Fair Trade, whether or not they bear a 3rd party certifying stamp.  Stuber stresses their focus on a sustainable supply chain, which he says is "the point at which the private enterprise realizes that the only path to developing a long term consistent product is to make sure that all stakeholders in the process are succeeding equally"  Hurraw!'s supply chains work with the help of International NGO's that recognize the needs of the social communities where they work.  Stuber stresses that understanding the value chain is integral to sustainable and fair purchasing and production.

Hurraw! lists their criteria for the perfect lip balm as being: "super smooth, not draggy, not sticky, not sweet, not too glossy, not too smelly, never grainy, long lasting, and [able] to hold up to being in a back jeans pocket all day without melting."  They have succeeded in meeting that criteria in every way.  Hurraw! Balm is super creamy and thus looks like it is always on the verge of melting, but holds up just fine.  Application is smooth and there was no crumbling on the first use, which is impressive for any lip balm, let alone one without artificial stabilizers.  At around $4 a tube, it is easy to try out one of their 19 flavors, including the extra creamy Moon Balm for nighttime nourishing, the SPF 15 Sun Balm with hints of vanilla and tangerine, and several flavors inspired by hot beverages like Chai Spice, Green Tea, and Earl Grey as well as other natural fruits, spices, and beans.

I've tried three flavors to start, and the package I received from Hurraw! Balm was a delight to open.  I loved the presentation in the packaging, from the clever "Keep Cool!" stamped on the envelope, to the brown paper wrapped and stickered cluster of balms safely snuggled in a muslin tea bag stamped with the balm's trademark logo.  The balms have a unique oval shape that apparently keeps them from wiggling out of a pocket as easily as their round competitors, but also do not roll off the nightstand in the middle of the night.  That fact alone won me over right away.  The iconic packaging is simple and effective, with each variety offering a different color wrapper and a cute little picture of its flavor.
Being a bit of a coffee junkie, I chose to start with Coffee Bean, and was immediately hooked.  It has a rich coffee essence and is a luscious, beany, buttery balm.  It tastes so nice because of the use of organic, raw, Arabica coffee beans and just the slightest touch of raw chocolate.  It boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits as well and, as I am going without coffee until Christmastime, I've found it to be a nice little pick-me-up when I get that craving for a cup.  It is easily my favorite of the flavors I've tried.
If you are a tea lover, Hurraw!'s Earl Grey is an outstanding balm you'll love.  It tastes remarkably like the real thing, but is soothing and bright without any tanniny bitterness.  The addition of cold pressed oil from Italian Bergamot oranges makes it taste like its namesake beverage and I rather enjoyed applying it with my pinky slightly cocked.
I always like the idea of licorice, am enticed by the look and the smell but ultimately don't like how it tastes.  I always try to give it another chance then eat it and realize, "Nope, I still don't like it."  When I saw that Hurraw! had a Licorice flavor I had to go for it, and I am so glad I did.  It has just the right amount of aroma and flavor but does not taste artificial.  With oils from anise seeds and star anise fruit, there is a very slight salty note which is immediately followed by a slight sweetness and nice aroma.  It isn't a flavor I will use every day, but when I get that urge for licorice, I am so happy to have a little morsel of indulgence that I can enjoy without remorse...or a numb tongue.  If you are a licorice fan, you will love it.

The transparency in this company is commendable, and every ingredient's source and the means for obtaining it is detailed on their website, along with clear explanations of what makes their balms raw, vegan, organic, fair, non-toxic and so very special.  It is apparent that Hurraw! uses natural ingredients to flavor their balms, because each flavor actually tastes like the source for which it is named.  In the words of my favorite fictional flavor-maker, "The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!"  The ingredients have a high quality level and each flavor is consistently and wonderfully authentic.  I'm hoping to try Black Cherry next...I hear it is naturally tinted, and that deserves a cheer!

Hurraw! Balms are available at select stores, and online at

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