Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


49 Comments

Belly Butter for Pregnant Mamas

A dear friend of mine recently announced to me that she was pregnant.  Yay!!

About five minutes after she told me her great news, she asked if I could make her some belly butter to help avoid the dreaded stretch marks.  Not only was she looking to avoid the actual stretch marks, but she had found that the stretching her skin had already done in the first few weeks had been a bit painful.  She had tried to find a butter in the stores, but found that many of them had unnecessary ingredients.  My heart warmed and I assured her I would help her take care of her skin.

Belly Butters

I made a two separate butters for her.  One is for the morning and one is for bedtime.  I made two jars of each one.  I made both with base oils that are great for the skin.  The main oils in both are Jojoba and Kukui oil.

Belly Butters

Belly Butters

Belly Butter in the Morning

I scented this belly butter with a mixture of citrus scents.  It’s perfect for awakening the body in the morning and having a fresh scent on your skin to start the day.  I also made this butter quite soft, so that it’s easy to apply.

Bedtime Belly Butter

For nighttime, I scented the butter with a soothing lavender.  The scent is calming and will help my dear friend get her sleep.

Why not a straight oil?

Oils are also great for moisturizing the skin.  I find that, to achieve a deep moisturizing effect, a butter, lotion or cream is more effective.  Once your skin is well moisturized, an oil is excellent and keeping the moisture in.  To learn more about my take on the difference between oils and creams/lotions, click here.

Clean Ingredients Make for Safe Cosmetics

When a woman becomes pregnant, she starts sharing everything that she takes into her body, whether through eating, inhaling, or through her skin, with her growing baby.  For that reason, it’s so important to pay attention to what that new mama is taking in.  Why use a product with unnecessary parabens or other chemicals that will be passed on to the new baby when there are equally effective and less harmful options available?  Sometimes, we do it because it’s convenient or because we don’t have access to a better alternative.  I was so happy that my friend is paying attention to what she shares with her growing baby and it was such a pleasure to be able to make a belly butter that is safe for both of them.


37 Comments

Let’s Talk About Talc

There’s a lot of controversy about talc. From all of the reading I have done, there doesn’t seem to be a whole of evidence either way.  Despite that, the very fact that there’s controversy has steered me away from using talc in my skin care routine.  In my very simple words, here’s a very short summary on the talc controversy.

Talking about Talc…

There are some who avoid talc because it is thought that it might contain tiny fibers related to asbestos.  People are concerned because these fibers could cause talc to behave like asbestos inside your body.  For this reason, long-term use of talc is suspected to contribute to serious illness, such as lung cancer.

The use of talc has also been linked to ovarian cancer, for folks who use talc in that area of their body.

On the other hand, I have also read that there are reports that say that talc used in cosmetics have such fibers removed and therefore, there is no need to worry.

Why Do People Use Talc in the First Place?

Talcum powder is great at absorbing extra moisture and keeping your skin dry.  Such a product is great as a baby powder for babies in trying to prevent diaper rash and great for adults in avoiding excess moisture during the day.  It’s especially good for areas of the body that get sweaty, like underarms and feet.

Alternatives to Talc

As I was getting some skin care products ready before my son’s arrival, I endeavored to make some talc-free baby powder.  I’m certainly no expert on talc.  However, there’s enough controversy about it for me to look for a less controversial option.  Fortunately, I found a few readily available options quite easily.  Powders can easily be made with cornstarch, arrowroot powder, oat flour, or baking soda.  All of these would be good at keeping the skin dry.  I ended up making a powder with a mix or arrowroot, cornstarch and baking soda.  (Then, I ended up barely using it because he didn’t need the extra drying power of a baby powder!)

Unscented Baby Powder

Unscented Baby Powder

Resources

Want to know more about what people are saying about talc?  Check out these links:

Personal Care Truth

Dr. Weil

EHow

Cinco Vidas

 


47 Comments

Homemade Hair Gel

For years, literally, I’ve had a couple of outstanding requests for a homemade natural hair gel.

I was totally intimidated by the request, so I conveniently ignored it for, well, years.

And then my son was born with a full head of hair and my husband appointed himself as his official stylist.  Next thing I know, he was asking for a hair product for our infant son!  I was out of excuses and couldn’t ignore the request any longer.  So, off I went to find a recipe for a homemade hair gel.

Emir with a full head of hair

Crunchy Betty

I’m a big fan of Crunchy Betty, so I started out by looking at the Crunchy Betty site.  Sure enough, I found a recipe for Flaxseed Hair Gel.  Click here to have a look at it.

I also had a look at a tutorial video online.  It was done by Naptural85 and was referenced a few times in the comments on the Crunch Betty site.  It’s a great tutorial.  Click here to see it.

Flaxseed Hair Gel

The recipe itself is very simple.

I used just over 1 cup of water, 2 Tbsp of flax seeds, a dollop of aloe vera gel, and some lavender essential oil.

I boiled the water and then put the flax seeds into it.  I stirred the seeds regularly until the liquid started to thicken and I started to see a gel.  Once it was quite thick, I strained the seeds using pantyhose and a pair of chopsticks.  Finally, after I had strained the gel, I added some aloe vera gel and the essential oil.

I have stored this in the fridge and it is keeping well.  As an experiment, I kept a small amount in jar on the counter and it didn’t smell so great after a few days.  It’s important to keep this in the fridge!

This recipe made a fair amount.  Considering it’s only for my son, I expect it to last quite a while.

Flaxseed Hair Gel

Flaxseed Hair Gel

Does The Hair Gel Work?

Yes, it works!  Not only was it easy to make, it actually works!  This is a shot of my son with it in his hair.  It was enough to style his hair and it held his style, more or less, for the whole day!  A couple of times, when it was a bit flat, we just added a bit of water to his hair and it reactivated the gel.  I’ll definitely be making this again!

Styled Hair


10 Comments

Scented Baby Balm

I have really enjoyed making my own skincare products for my son.  I feel so much better knowing exactly what I’m putting on his skin.  Now that he’s older than three months, I decided to make him some new baby balm, using an essential oil.

Safe Essential Oils for Babies

It’s best to use essential oils in moderation at all times.  Ideally, they should be diluted and when used directly, they should be used sparingly.  The same applies to babies, especially since they tend to have such sensitive skin.

The two essential oils that seem to be considered safe, in moderation, for babies are lavender and chamomile.  My main source of information has been Colleen Dodt’s book,  Natural Baby Care.

Even with these oils being considered safe, I chose to use a very limited amount in his new batch of baby balm, just to be on the safe side.

Lavender

I chose to go with the Lavender essential oil.  It has such a soothing scent.  That’s exactly what I need during those midnight diaper changes!

Lavender Baby Balm

Lavender Baby Balm


8 Comments

Baby Skincare

Before my son was born, I made some baby balm and some special soap to use on his skin.  I did this with full knowledge that I had a 50% chance, at best, that they would be good for his skin.  After all, I had no idea what he would need!

Baby’s Bottom

While I was in the hospital, the nurses insisted that I use Vaseline on my son’s bottom.  I’m not a big fan of Vaseline whatsoever, but I had no other option

Unscented Baby Balm

Unscented Baby Balm

while I was in the hospital.   The Vaseline was great at creating a barrier between his dirty diapers and his sensitive skin.

As soon as I got home, I started using my homemade baby balm.  It worked exactly the same as the Vaseline.  The benefit of the baby balm is that it is made from a few oils and some beeswax, but no petroleum products!

I have continued using the Baby Balm at every diaper change since we got home!

Baby Skincare

Coconut Oil in HandWe live in a fairly dry climate, so I wasn’t surprised when my son’s skin was a bit dry.  To moisturize his skin, I give him a massage with coconut oil each day. The oil works great on his skin.  It is moisturized without being oily.

Soap in the Bath

I received many differing opinions about how often to bath my baby and what DSC_0206kind of soap to use.  In the end, I decided to give him a bath each morning, using the mild soap that I made before he was born.  It’s a goat’s milk soap with no scent or additives.  It is gentle enough on his skin that I don’t mind using it each morning in the bath.

What’s Next?

I’m looking forward to concocting some more baby products, using some essential oils, once my son gets a bit older.  I’ll be sure to post about those when that time comes!


38 Comments

The Final Baby Countdown Was Interrupted…by Baby!

I wrote a post about a week ago about the final countdown to my baby’s expected arrival.  You’ll see below that I had made as many preparations as I could and was quite happy about things.

Then, last Friday night, I went into labour!  What??  It was a wee bit early as I was concerned.  Anyway, into labour I went and just over a day later, early on Sunday the 25th, Baby Emir was born.

And yes, as far as I’m concerned, he’s perfect.

Prior to going to hospital, these are the final preparations that I made and wrote about to share with you all.  All I can say is, thank goodness that I made the preparations that I did!  They’ve all be very helpful!

Baby Emir – Just After His First Bath

My Original Post

It’s here, the final few days of pregnancy.  In some ways, it’s been a long 9 months.  In other ways, I can’t believe the time has already passed by!  I’ve been so lucky to have a smooth pregnancy and, aside from a few aches and pains, I’ve loved every minute of it.

I’ve been off work for a couple of weeks now. During that time, I’ve been busy completing the last-minute preparations.

Food

We have a freezer full of food.  There are healthy and wholesome baked goods that will be great snacks at any time of the day.  I’ve also got a few containers of soups and stews.  With any luck, that will last us for the first few days of our new lives with the little one!

Very Blueberry Muffins

Very Blueberry Muffins

The Nursery

The baby’s room has been ready for a long time.   More recently, I got down to the washing and did several loads of laundry to ensure that all the new gifts of clothes that we have received for Baby are washed and ready to go.

Baby  Skin Care

I even had time to put together some gentle and mild soap, some moisturizing balm, and baby powder for Baby.  I don’t know for sure if they’ll all work, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll be acceptable for his sensitive skin.

Gentle Goat's Milk Soap for Baby

Gentle Goat’s Milk Soap for Baby

Unscented Baby Balm

Unscented Baby Balm

Unscented Baby Powder

Unscented Baby Powder

The Hospital Bag(s)

They’re packed!  There’s one that’s full of clothes, blankets, diapers, and other goodies for Baby.  There’s also one for me and my hubby so that we’re also comfortable while at the hospital.

The Blog

I’ll do my best to keep posting regularly on my blog.  I’ve got a few posts that are scheduled over  the next few weeks.  However, if I’m slow in replying to comments or I seem to have dropped off the face of the blog completely, it’s probably safe to assume that there’s a little one in my life who is taking up all of my attention.  Please be patient — I’ll be back as soon as I can!


7 Comments

Baby Balm for Baby’s Sensitive Skin

As I get ready for Baby’s arrival, I’ve started to wonder why kind of moisturizer, if any, he will need?

Baby’s Dry, Flaky Skin

I know lots of friends who’ve had little babies with dry, flaky skin.  They’ve tried  all kinds of things to address it, including:

a) Nothing (waiting it out, often to no avail)

b) Lotions and creams from the drug store.  Sometimes, these worked.

c) All-natural moisturizers — I think these worked more often than the products from the drug store.

Babies Have Sensitive Skin!

It’s no secret that babies have super sensitive skin.  They’re brand new to this world and they’re not accustomed to all the chemicals (both synthetic and naturally occurring ones) that can be found in everyday products, like soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers.  If you read my post on essential oils, you’ll see that it seems better to avoid using any kind of essential oil on a newborn for the first three months, at least.

Ingredients to Avoid

Off the top of my head, I know that, if faced with this issue, I would do everything I could to avoid any synthetic ingredients or unnecessary chemicals in my baby’s skin care.  This would include things like Vaseline, anything highly scented, and any moisturizers that had the unnecessary chemicals that I myself avoid.  It’s also important to avoid essential oils for the first few months.

Would I use the lotion or cream that I make for myself?Ultra Moisturizing Lotion

Well…maybe.  I take a lot of pride in my homemade lotions and creams.  They are made with the best ingredients that I can find.  However, I think that I would go one step further and use a homemade balm instead.  I would use one that is based on beeswax and moisturizing butters, like shea butter or mango butter.

Why a Balm and not a Lotion or Cream?

The most important difference between my lotions and creams and the balm that I’m proposing is that there is no water in the balm.  When water is involved, there’s a need for a preservative.  Why introduce a preservative when  there’s no real need?  Balms are also really easy to make in small batches.  The last thing I like about homemade balms is that you can control the consistency.  I like it best when the balm is solid in the jar, but softens and warms as soon as you touch it.  This makes it easy to spread on the skin.

Another great option would be a plain coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great for the skin and works well on its own.

How Do I Deal With Skin Irritation?

For mild skin irritation, in babies and adults, zinc oxide is a great additive to help soothe and heal skin.  Zinc oxide is an easy additive for homemade products.

Of course, if the skin irritation is anything more than mild and doesn’t go away with a bit of zinc oxide cream, then I’m sure a visit to the doctor may be in order, just to be sure.

This all sounds a bit idealistic…

AloeYes, I admit, this all sounds a bit idealistic.  After all, what new mom has time to make homemade skin care products, learn how to be a mom, and deal with all the hubbub that comes with a new baby?

I’m sure there are some out there who do it all and make it look easy.  I doubt that I will fall into that category.

Instead, I’ll be busy over the next few weeks experimenting with different balm recipes to find one that I think it neutral enough to use on a newborn’s skin.  Stay tuned for pictures and updates!