A HAIRDRESSER who turned to making her own beauty products in her spare room has won a European award for her lip balm.

Diane Bowe, from Darlington, who runs Bowe Organics, won a gold award at the Free From Skincare Awards with the lip balm she spent a year formulating herself.

The 34-year-old said: "I'm shocked and ecstatic.

“I was dancing and jumping up and down in my kitchen when I heard the news.”

Her products are stocked at Teesside Airport, House of Zana, in Grange Road and Treasure, which opened in the Cornmill Centre yesterday.

The range also includes a lash oil, brow oil and face mask. The lip balm, which contains shea butter, vitamin E and raspberry seed oil, was praised by judges for nourishing and softening the lips of product testers, with one of them describing it as an "awesome little pot of lip magic."

The Northern Echo:

Diane, who is originally from Heighington, trained as a hairdresser and worked in London before coming back to Darlington in 2019, launched Bowe Organics three years ago.

She started exploring with ingredients after one of the salons she worked at sparked an interest in organic products. She added: "That really sent me on a journey and I discovered a passion and I started dissecting everything I use."

After using her research to develop a lash oil, she decided to start selling it after she started receiving complements – and requests for advice – from clients.

The mother-of-one now makes all of her products at home and sells them online and in several shops in Darlington.

She added: "It's really important to me that there's no slave labour used in my supply chain, as well as everything being vegan and organic.

She stills offers hair services from her home, specialising in working with people with anxiety about hair loss and scalp issues, and hopes to expand that business further in the future by opening a "hair hub" offering more trichology services.

The Europe-wide awards were founded to encourage and reward manufacturers of skincare products that are ‘free from’ many of the allergens, preservatives, additives and fragrances associated with skin sensitivities, allergies, and ethical, environmental and health concerns.