Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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6 Weeks Later and the Jar of Positivity

I’ve been away from my blog for about 6 weeks.  I’ve never taken a break quite that long before, not even when I gave birth to my son just over a year ago.

Even while I was away, my little blog generated lots of hits and I’m so thankful to all my readers for continuing to check out my blog!  Thank you!

Two Big Changes

Since I’ve been away, a few things have changed in my daily routine.  First, we added a new member to our family in the form of a live-in nanny for my son.  She’s great and my son fell in love with her almost immediately.  I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Second, I returned to work in the office on a full-time basis.  I had dreaded this particular change for months, only to find out that it wasn’t half bad.  I’m enjoying having something else to do during the day and I still get to spend a few hours with my little boy each night when I get home.  I definitely feel lucky that the transition has been so smooth for all of us.

At first, I had no idea how I would make time for my skin care experiments.  Yet, in the past few weeks, I’ve managed to whip up batches of vapo rub, belly butter, and homemade deodorant.  Phew!  I’ve even been experimenting with new waxes.  It’s all about balance and now, I’m sure I’ll continue to find time for my skin care products.

The Jar of Positivity

To help my family kick-start this year, we decided to try something new.  We have introduced the Jar of Positivity.  I got this idea from a post I saw on Facebook and I loved it. Basically, we can write down anything that makes us smile or happy  on a little piece of paper and then stuff it into the jar.  We’ll save all the notes until the end of the year and then read them around Christmas time.  To be honest, I’m not sure that “Positivity” is actually a word.  Nonetheless, for 2014, it is in our household!

"Jar of Positivity"

“Jar of Positivity”

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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.


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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


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Guest Post: A Switch to Natural Living

Please welcome Katie Moore to my blog!  Katie and I have a few things in common these days.  We’re both mommies and we’re both Buttonvery interested in clean living.  Katie graciously agreed to write a guest post for my blog!  Thank you, Katie!!  

Please keep reading to learn more about Katie’s switch to natural living.  If you like what you see, (and I’m sure that you will!) check out Katie’s blog at Moore From Katie. 

I Switched to a Natural Lifestyle During Pregnancy

Although most women strive to live a healthy lifestyle, there is just something about pregnancy that gives natural living added importance. It was during my first pregnancy that I realized the choices I made had a significant impact upon the health of my unborn child. Suddenly, how I ate and lived was no longer just about me; I knew that my baby depended upon me to maintain a healthy body that would stimulate his development. While I knew that I had to make some changes, I also knew that they would have to be easy to incorporate and inexpensive enough to make them a regular part of my fast-paced life. Here, are a few of the changes I made to live a more natural lifestyle throughout my pregnancy.

Relaxation and Exercise
When I first became pregnant, I had no idea how hard it would be to get exercise. Morning sickness took its toll and made me feel less like doing my daily workout. When I mentioned this to a friend, she suggested that I change my normal workout to one that is geared toward promoting both relaxation and physical health. In response to her advice, I visited a prenatal yoga class. Not only was this form of exercise easier on my changing body, but it also provided me with an exercise option that can be done anywhere. Even now that my son is born, I still enjoy practicing yoga outdoors for the natural relaxation benefits it provides.

Personal Hygiene and Skin Care
As I began to explore the benefits of natural living, I was surprised to discover that many of my skin care products were no longer safe during my pregnancy. As a devotee to anti-aging products, I knew I would have to find a healthier alternative to my current personal hygiene regime. After exploring the various products that were available, I was surprised to discover that skin care products with natural ingredients were just as effective as the expensive creams I already owned. Since I made the switch to natural beauty products, I have never looked back as my skin now glows just as bright as it did throughout my pregnancy!

Switching to a natural lifestyle during my pregnancy was one of the best things I have ever done for myself as well as my family. In addition to health eating and exercise, I am now more aware of the chemicals that I once used in everyday products. Now, my family and I enjoy living a life that is based upon natural living that helps ensure both our physical and mental well-being.  As with anything, double check with your doctor before making any changes.  My doctor was able to help me with many baby related topics, including cord blood banking, burping, delivery options and more!

Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26


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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


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Oil vs. Lotion – Which One Do You Use?

Do you use a moisturizer on your face or skin at least once a day?  My guess is that most of you do, even if you are one of the lucky ones who does not suffer from dry skin.   Assuming you do use a moisturizer, what do you use?  Oil or lotion?  Or, do you use a combination?

My Daily Routine

For as long as I could remember, I have used a moisturizer on my face.  I have tried various different creams and lotions to treat my dry skin and keep it hydrated.

Then, some time ago, I learned how to put together a face oil.  I tried it on my face and I loved it!  I was so anxious about applying an oil to my face.  Fortunately, it turned out great and I was so happy to have found a moisturizer to use on my face that didn’t cost me an arm and a leg at the store!  Plus, I could make this on my own.

Suti SamplesA few months ago, I tried a sample of Suti’s Nourishing Oil.  I liked it even more than the one I had made.  The scent was lovely and it made my skin feel great.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I had a facial.  It was pointed out to me that my skin was a bit dry.  What?!  How could it be?  It certainly didn’t feel dry to me!  Yet, after an hour of exfoliating, steaming and moisturizing, I could feel a marked difference in my skin.  It felt so smooth!  I even received a few comments on how great my skin looked.  I left the spa with a jar of Pure Creations’ Emollient Wheat Germ Cream that was used on my face.  It’s a rich cream and good for moisturizing my skin during the dry winter months.  I’ve used it once a day ever since the facial and my skin still feels great.  Stay tuned to my blog for a full review on this product!

And all of this lead me to ask which is better, lotion or oil?  Did I make a wrong turn when I started using a face oil?

Lotion

There are so many lotions and creams available on the market.  They can have all kinds of additives, like Vitamin E and oils that are beneficial for our skin (my most recent favorite oil to use is Kukui Nut Oil).  Lotions come in varying degrees of greasiness.  The ideal lotion is one that doesn’t leave a greasy film on your skin.

Lotions are designed to penetrate the skin.  This allows your skin to absorb all of the great ingredients in that lotion, thus replenishing the look and feel of your skin.

Oil

Body and face oils are used widely in certain parts of the world.  Like lotion, they can contain oils that are beneficial for your skin. Oil Where oils differ from lotion is that they tend to prevent moisture from leaving your skin.  However, they are not necessarily designed to penetrate your skin like a lotion.

Check out these links to learn more about the differences between lotion and oil.

http://www.rodale.com/moisturizers

http://www.vivawoman.net/2009/11/24/is-oil-better-than-a-moisturizing-lotion/

Baby’s Skin

The best test I’ve found was on my son’s skin.  Like many babies, he had dry spots on his skin in the first few weeks following his birth.  I used a bit of coconut oil on them and for the most part, they went away.  However, there were a few very persistent spots that the coconut oil simply would not address.  On a whim, I tried a wee bit of lotion that I had made. It was very basic and did not have any essential oils in it.  Surprisingly, it worked immediately and eliminated those pesky dry spots. I couldn’t believe it!

Baby Skin

Oil vs. Lotion – The Verdict

So, which one is best?  Well, it depends!  Both oils and lotions have their place in providing extra moisture for your skin.  Right now, I use an oil on my face in the morning and a cream on my face at night before bed.  That combination has worked great during the dry months of winter.  I have no doubt that I will have to change that routine when the weather warms up a bit and it’s not so dry.

What do you use to keep your skin hydrated?


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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!