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Palm Harbor Woman Launches Her Own Beauty Line

Dawn Lai's company, Three Violets, boasts healthy products infused with essential oils.

Women use around 12 health and beauty products daily, according to Dawn Lai, owner of Three Violets, a Palm Harbor company that makes hand-blended beauty products featuring natural ingredients.

So what is the significance of that statistic?

“Potentially irritating or harmful chemicals can be absorbed by your skin,” Lai warns. But, she also says the opposite is true: healthy, natural ingredients can be absorbed by the skin as well.

This healthy option is exactly what Lai’s business, Three Violets, aims to provide. “I’m not a total purist,” she admits. “But I do try to use things that are more natural. Essential oils are amazing: they’re healing, they kill germs, viruses,” she said. 

Lai concocts natural toners, lotions, and room sprays; she's also working on developing a line of baby products. “I even make an insect repellant that can keep the bugs away and isn’t full of harsh chemicals,” she said. 

One of Lai’s biggest concerns about beauty products is the use of parabens, which she said are a type of preservative that is sometimes found in low concentrations in breast tumors. Even the pricey products on the market have parabens, she claims, arguing that “expensive isn’t necessarily better.” So Lai makes her products in small batches. “They can still last a long time, but they don’t have dangerous preservatives,” she said.

An anti-aging body lotion called "Sharon's Mom" is one of Lai's biggest sellers. The idea came from, quite literally, her friend Sharon’s mom. “She used to buy this lime and rosemary hand lotion that a company quit carrying. We put something similar together and everyone really enjoys it, it’s refreshing,” said Lai.

It’s not coincidence that this lotion has lime, either; it’s one of Lai’s favorite ingredients. “I love lime. It’s very uplifting,” she said. This is why she chose to include it in her room spray: “It’s just a mood lifter. I use it everywhere: my house, my car.”

Three Violets began as a sort of experiment for Lai. She’d been working with her husband in the construction industry, but with the dicey market she realized she needed “something else to keep her mind busy.”

And so began Three Violets. Lai started with a name and a passion: inspired by her late grandmother, Violet, who lived to be 100 and her own love of scents and essential oils. 

That name and idea have spawned a self-discovery for Lai: “I love working with my husband; we work well together. But construction is more of a guy thing, and I’m more of a girly girl, so this is nice.”

Her cat, Roy, is also supportive of Three Violets. “When I first started he was always in my lap, he’s very curious when it comes to these sorts of things,” Lai laughed.

With her business just getting started, Lai is unsure of what will happen. “We’ll see where it goes. I just think more and more people are looking at more natural and healthier ways to stay younger and have healthier skin.”

Lai sells her Three Violets’ products on her website, which also explains more about her natural ingredient philosophy.

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