Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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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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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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Making the Best Use of Essential Oils

Over the past couple of years, I’ve accumulated a few different essential oils and have learned a lot about them.  I am by no means an expert.  Rather, I’ve picked up a few hints and tips along the way and have learned the importance of researching an essential oil before putting it into use.  One of my favorite resources for this type of research is The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless. This post is all about the few things I’ve learned along the way.

How can I use essential oils?

Essential oils play a big role in our lives, whether we know it or not!  Given that they are so concentrated, it’s important to be aware of the ones that pop up in our daily routines.

They are used to add scent to lots of products, such as lotions and soaps.   I’ve experimented quite a bit with different combinations and amounts of essential oils.   If nothing else, I’ve learned that a few drops go a long way when scenting a product!

Some essential oils, like peppermint, can have a cooling effect and are added to creams for that purpose.  This works great in a foot bath at the end of long day!

Essential oils may also have healing properties.  Tea Tree Oil is often used to help address infection.

Other essential oils, like the ones in the citrus family, may have a photosensitizing effect on your skin.  That means these are not always the best oils to use on your skin before going out in the sun.

Can I use essential oils directly on my skin?

I’ve found a mixed opinion on this question.  There are some who swear that essential oils must be diluted in a base oil, milk or cream before applying to the skin or hair.

There are also others who say that some are OK to put directly on your skin.

The fact is that essential oils are highly concentrated.  Many pounds of dried flowers or resins are used in the creation of these essential oils.  Therefore, a small amount goes a long way.  In my own personal experiments, I’ve found that a drop or two can make a big difference to a recipe.  I’m also a big fan of dilution, just to be on the safe side.

Essential Oils During Pregnancy

A woman’s body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy.  As someone who is experiencing those changes for the first time, I can personally attest to the truth of that statement!  Since essential oils can be so strong, it’s important to research any essential oil that you use on your skin during this time of your life.

If you believe that certain essential oils, such as jasmine absolute,  can assist in the childbirth process, you might also agree that it would be important NOT to use that particular essential oil until the right time in the pregnancy!

Does that mean you have to avoid all essential oils (and perhaps your favorite scent) during pregnancy?  No!  Go ahead and use safe essential oils in dilution and in moderation.  I’ve been using a blend of essential oils on my belly to help keep my skin supple.  It’s called Mama To Be Oil and I love it!

Essential Oils for Babies

Newborns’ sense of smell is an important one.  Knowing that, it makes sense to ensure that your newborn’s environment is filled with soothing, non-toxic, smells.  You can create that environment by infusing your home with a soothing scent, like lavender.  However, it doesn’t mean that you should be slathering your newborn’s skin with the same essential oils!  Baby’s skin is sensitive and, for at least the first three months, you’ll want to stay away from any kind of essential oil, or chemicals for that matter, directly on their skin.

If you’re interested in more tips on how to use essential oils for babies, check out Natural Baby Care by Colleen K. Dodt.  This is an easy read and has lots of helpful hints on baby care.

How Do YOU Use Essential Oils?

I hope this is a helpful post, especially if you’re exploring the use of essential oils.    For those of you who use them regularly, what tips can you add to this list?