Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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Gift Box of Goodies

A few weeks ago, we spent a long weekend visiting some friends.  We don’t get to see them very often, so it was a very special weekend.

I wanted to give them some treats as a gift.  I decided to make a bunch of different skin care products and then let them divide them up among themselves.

Their gift box included:

  • 1 jar of peppermint foot cream
  • 2 bottles of lotion
  • 3 jars of hand balm
  • 6 tubes of lip lube
  • And a whole bunch of soap!

I had so much fun putting everything together.  Here are some photos of the final product.

Gift Box!

Gift Box!

Gift Box of Goodies

Gift Box of Goodies

Skin Care Treats!

Skin Care Treats!

Lip Lube and Hand Balm

Lip Lube and Hand Balm

Hans Solo Soap

Hans Solo Soap

Fish Soap

Fish Soap

As you can see, I made some specialty soaps for this gift box.  The blue and purple fish and starfish soaps were specially made for our friends’ daughter.  Her favorite colours are blue and purple, so I thought these would be perfect.   And one of our friends is a Star Wars fan.  I thought he might appreciate the Hans Solo soap!


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Skincare Tips for the Spring

Spring is almost here!

hydrangeasA few weeks ago, we started to have double-digit temperatures!  It was such a treat to be given a sneak peek into Spring.  I celebrated by going for a long walk with my son in the baby carrier.  Sadly, the high temps did not last and we’ve had more snow since then.  In fact, as I write this, I’m looking out the window at a snow shower.  Nevertheless, I know that Spring is close and it’s time to get ready for sunshine and outdoor fun!

Spring also means that my skin will have different needs. Here’s how I’m planning on taking care of my skin.

Spring Soap

DSC_0017

I just whipped up two small batches of Goat’s Milk Melt and Pour Soap.  I made a few bars of soap using green clay and scented them with Patchouli.  In the past, I’ve sometimes overdone it with the Patchouli scent.  Fortunately, I’ve learned from that and these bars are nicely scented.

I also made some bars of soap with pink clay.  I use these on my face.  They are gentle and are able to clean my skin without removing all of the natural oils. I scented these bars with Grapefruit essential oil.  I like to call these bars Pink Grapefruits!

Light Moisturizers

I’ve been using the Emollient Wheatgerm cream this winter.  It’s been great.  Now that the weather is turning, I’ll be using face oils only.  I love the Suti face oils.  They have a delicious scent and are light on the skin.  I also make my own face oils and have experimented with all kinds of oils.  Once I finish the batch that I have in my cabinet, I’ll be making some more to try!

It’s also time to switch to a light lotion.  I always need to help my skin with moisture.  However, I can get away with a light lotion during the warmer months, rather than a thicker lotion or cream.

Coconut on BeachHair Care

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll already know that I’m a big fan of reverse hair washing.  I just love the results and I continue to wash my hair this way.  With the added humidity that comes with Spring, my hair can get a bit frizzy. I find that a weekly hair mask is just what it needs to stay under control.  My favorite mask right now is plain coconut oil.

How do you pamper your skin during the spring months?

This post is part of the GiG Spotlight #5: Spring Fever.  Thanks to Caity of Moi Contre La Vie and Mari of I Love Green Inspiration for hosting this wonderful event.  Are you wondering what GiG is?  It’s the Girls Inspired Group.  Click on the image below to check out their blog and join!

gigspotlight1


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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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Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed Oil is one of my favorite ingredients to use in my skin care products.

Properties

Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed Oil has an earthy and sweet smell to it.  Its colour is yellow or amber.  I keep mine in the fridge to help extend its shelf life.

Benefits

Carrot Seed Oil is known to be a great additive to skin care products.  It can relieve stress and exhaustion, detoxify the liver, and also rejuvenate the skin.  This essential oil is also known to help fight many skin problems, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Carrot Seed Oil contains both Vitamin A and carotene.  In addition to being good for your hair and skin, it is also associated with good eyesight.

Body Lotion with Sea Buckthorn OilUses

A drop or two of carrot seed oil in creams and lotions is worth it.  I have used this oil in my own skin moisturizers and it works great.  I have also tried this oil in my Night Oil.  Though I have not yet tried it, Carrot Seed Oil would work nicely in a blended bath oil.

I always use this oil sparingly.  A little goes a long way.

Note:  This is  not an oil to use during pregnancy.

Sources:

In addition to my own experience, information in this blog post comes from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot_seed_oil

http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/carrot-seed.htm


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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!


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Nourishing Thick Cream Featuring Rosehip Seed Oil

As promised, after my last experiment with lotion that turned out quite light, I decided to make a heavier body cream.

In making the cream heavier than the lotion, I simply added less liquid to the oils.  In this case, I used equal parts of water and orange hydrosol.  In my last batch of lotion, I used two parts water to one part hydrosol.

Rosehip Seed Oilrosehip seed oil

In this batch of cream, I decided to add a bit of Rosehip Seed Oil to it.  This oil has been found to be a very effective in skin treatment.  Recently, it has been used more and more to promote tissue regeneration and it is good for scars, burns, and wrinkles.

Though this oil has a colour to it, I didn’t add enough for it to change the colour of the cream overall.

Nourishing Thick Cream

I scented this cream with a combination of citrus essential oils.  Combined with the scent of the orange hydrosol, the cream itself smells very refreshing.

Since it’s so thick, a little bit goes a long way and it feels silky on the skin.  It will be great for elbows and feet.  If I have some left when winter comes, it will be definitely good to have on hand for that dry winter weather!


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Body Lotion with Sea Buckthorn Oil

I’ve been running short of my handmade lotion for a few weeks now.  It’s a good thing there are some reliable brands available for purchase for those times!  In any case, I just made a new batch of lotion and it’s divine.

Sea Buckthorn Oil

It features one of my favorites additives, Sea Buckthorn Oil.  This oil is orange and I keep it in the fridge to make sure it doesn’t go rancid.  I added it right at the end of the lotion-making process and it turned the whole batch a lovely peach colour.

Many cosmetic companies are adding Sea Buckthorn Oil to their products and marketing it as an anti-aging agent.  This oil is a great source of Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, and fatty acids.

Traditionally, Sea Buckthorn oil has been used to promote the healing of skin injuries, such as burns, sores, and eczema.

Lotion vs. Cream

I made this lotion a bit more thinner than I have in the past.  My past lotions Body Lotion with Sea Buckthorn Oilwere extremely thick (and moisturizing).  Looking back, I would say they were more like creams.  In this batch, I used more water and also added a cup of Orange Hydrosol.  This batch of lotion works great in a pump bottle and it’s a bit too thin for a jar.

Here’s a quick photo of one of my bottles of lotion.

Next time, I’ll turn my mind to make a nice thick cream that will help me take care of my itchy skin!