Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


52 Comments

A Lesson in Lip Balm

I make a lot of lip balm.  It’s easy and the lip balms actually work.  How easy, you ask?

Really easy.

Making Lip Balm

First, get your ingredients ready.  You’ll need oil, some wax, and some butter if you feel like it.

Next, melt all of the ingredients together.  I do this in a pot on the stove on the lowest heat setting possible.  If I had a double boiler, I would use that instead.  It’s important not to overheat the ingredients or burn the oil.

Melting the ingredients

Melting the ingredients

Once everything is melted, take the liquid off the heat and add your essential oils.

Melted Ingredients

Melted Ingredients

Finally, pour your lip balms.  I use this fancy lip balm tray to hold all of the tubes steady.  As it turns out, I actually need help holding my hand steady as there is always some spillage.

Lip Balm Tube Filling Tray

Lip Balm Tube Filling Tray

Finally, let the balms set and cool.  It’s a bit like watching the kettle boil, so it’s best to find something else to do in the meantime.  When possible, I like to let mine set overnight.  Once they are ready, you can taken them out of the tray and pop the lids on each tube.

The Result?

Do these simple steps and you’ll have a homemade lip balm.  I like to call mine Lip Lube.

Here’s a shot of two tubes I just made up for a friend who was brave enough to try out my formula.

Lip Lube

Lip Lube

The Recipe

It took me a long time and many trials to come up with the recipe that I use.  I like it because it’s soft enough to be used in the cold winter months, but doesn’t melt in your purse or pocket in the hot summer months.  I just might end up selling these tubes of Lip Lube one day. So, for now, I’m opting to keep the recipe to myself.

If you’re looking for ideas, check out one of my favorite sites here.  It’s the Crunchy Betty site.  It’s full of ideas, recipes and tips.  It’s a great starting point!  Or, if you’re more adventurous, try a few combinations out on your own.  It might take a few tries, but I’m sure you’ll end up with a formula that works.  Either way, have fun!


49 Comments

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!


53 Comments

Lip Lube, Please!

“I Love Your Lip Lube!”

I ran into a friend of the family some time ago.  Through the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she had a chance to try out the lip balm that I make.  She had received a tube of it from a mutual friend when I made a bunch of gift bags of lip care. More importantly, she said that she LOVED my lip balm and needed more!  Yippee!

Lip Scuff and Lip Lube

(Of course, I just smiled graciously and did the happy dance in my head, instead of doing it right there in front of her!)

“Can I Have Some More?”

She kindly asked me for some more.  Since we were standing in a group, all of the other girls were immediately interested and insisted that they not be left out and they get to try it out too. Yippee again!

“Of Course, Here’s Six More Tubes of Lip Lube!”

I came home and set to work.

I made 6 tubes of my Lip Lube for them.  They are set, labelled, and shrink wrapped.  Now, I’m putting it in the mail for these gals so that they can have great lips all summer long!

Lip Lube

“Thank You!”

As you can probably tell, I was so pleased when this happened.  It was a genuine compliment and request that was totally out of the blue.

Now, I want to be clear…I didn’t write this post to brag or show off.  Rather, I just want to be open about my excitement and share it with you all.  I’ve been lucky enough to receive requests for my skincare products before.  However, I rarely celebrate them with something as concrete as a blog post!  Being grateful and savoring the moment are two of the skills that I’ve worked on as a Happify Pioneer.  And if you’re wondering what a Happify Pioneer is, click here and check out my post on it!

Thank you!


12 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This is one of my favorite times of year — full of good food, family get-togethers, and time spent with close friends.

This year, the holidays are extra special because we have a new family member, Emir.

For the past few years, I have made it my new custom to give handmade gifts to friends and family.  This year’s goodie bag was made back in November, as I waited for Emir’s arrival.

Here’s what it has in it!

Soap

There are at least two bars of soap.  Each bag has some combination of striped soap, floral soap or a solid bar of goat’s milk or coconut soap.  Each bar is mild enough for the skin and full of great ingredients.

Striped Soap

Striped Soap

Fancy Feet

Our feet all take such a beating. They deserve a treat.  Each gift bag has a jar of minty foot cream.  It’s thick and moisturizing and the scent is quite refreshing.  It’s a great treat for your feet!

Minty Foot Cream

Minty Foot Cream

Bath Bombs

I tried my hand at something new this year.  I made bath bombs!  As I suspected, it was actually quite easy and I have no idea why I never pursued this before. These provide fizzy fun for the bath and they smell great!

Lip Lube

What would a gift bag be without some homemade lip balm?  My lip balms are moisturizing and good for any season.  I added a variety of flavour oils to them this year.

The contents of each gift bag were meant to be used.  None of these products are good for a hoarder!

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season!


9 Comments

Are You Using Enough Sunscreen?

Like it or not, sunscreen is an important part of your skin care routine.  In all seasons, the sun’s rays can be quite damaging to unprotected skin.

Side Effects of Too Much Sun

It’s common knowledge that too much sun exposure has been linked to cancer. Unfortunately, excessive sun exposure isn’t limited to cancers.  It has also been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, and problems with the immune system.

Too much sun also leads to wrinkles in your skin. Wrinkles occur when the collagen structure breaks down.  Once the collagen is damaged, it cannot repair itself.

We often view a suntan as a sign of good health.  Unfortunately, a sun tan is evidence of sun damage.  It’s your body’s way of trying to protect you from further sun damage.  Unfortunately, a sun tan doesn’t provide a great deal of protection.

But, I Love the Sun!

If you’re like me, you love the feeling of the sun on your skin.  I can understand avoiding being in the sun for long periods of time, but I couldn’t forego that pleasure altogether!

I have dark skin and for the most part, I don’t get sunburns.  However, a few years ago, I was visiting Mendoza, Argentina with my husband and two friends.    We were there in December, one of the hottest months of the year.  We spent a day horseback riding in the mountains.  Not only was I totally uncomfortable riding a horse (more on that another day), but the back of my neck and shoulders got sunburned.  I couldn’t believe it!  By the time I put sunscreen on, it was way too late and I was moving pretty gingerly for the next few days.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

There are lots of sunscreen products on the market.  Most of them require application every few hours and they range in price.  Many of those products also contain parabens or other ingredients that have been linked to cancer and other disease.

I prefer to make my own or build the sunscreen agent into my skin care products.

The two most common natural sun screen agents are titanium oxide and zinc oxide.  I grew up hearing about zinc oxide, so that’s the one that I tend to use.

I’ve tried using zinc oxide in my lip colours and lip balms, lotions, and creams.  After much experimentation, I’ve learned one thing.  The ratio of zinc oxide to the other ingredients is really important.

Zinc tends to leave a chalky white residue on your skin.  So, it’s important to mix it with agents that will help it be spread across your skin without leaving you looking like a ghost!

Is zinc enough to protect you from the sun?  Well, it’s a good start.  However, physical barriers, like clothing, or staying out of the sun completely are probably the best remedies.  While I try to limit my time in the hot sun, I also like to wear something with zinc oxide in it to make sure that I’m getting a little bit more protection.

One More Word of Caution

When looking for a sunscreen agent or making your own, avoid ones with citrus essential oils.  In general, they are known to be photosensitizing. In other words, they aren’t good to have on your skin when you’re out in the sun.


11 Comments

Pampering Your Pout

I recently had a request to make some small gifts.  This person was travelling for a couple of weeks and wanted to have a few small tokens on hand to give to friends and family.

Lip Care Gift

Luscious Lips

Right away, I knew we had a few options available.  After all, I can make just about anything in a small size!  We talked about it for a while and ended up agreeing to some lip care.

She was very interested in the Lip Scuff, mainly because she had never used one before and wanted to try it herself.  A tube of Lip Scuff on its own seemed a bit lonely, so we decided to give it a partner tube of Lip Lube.  I set to work and made a few tubes of both.

Lip Scuff and Lip Lube

Packaging

I wanted to package this gift so that it was easy to carry in a purse or small bag, without getting lost.  I played with ribbon, small boxes, and bags.  In the end, I chose to go with a small organza pouch to hold the two tubes together.

Each tube has its own label that clearly shows all of the ingredients I used.  I also sealed each tube with a shrink wrap band.

Pampering for your Pout

In the end, I was very happy with this little gift bag.  It was easily portable and great for pampering your pout!   Of course, this dainty organza bag can be reused for gift giving some other time.

Lip Scuff and Lip Lube in Organza Pouch


2 Comments

How do you keep your lips smooth?

I used a lip scuff for the first time a few months ago, after I made my very own at a workshop at Soap & More.  I wasn’t quite sure if I would ever use it, seeing as how I’d never had a need before. Or so I thought….

I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

I started using it each night before bed.  It was supposed to help with smoothing out my lips and getting rid of any dry and flaky pieces of skin.  Not only did it do that, it was a great conditioner for my lips, keeping them moist all night long.

A basic lip scuff is a great addition to your routine, especially if you live in a dry climate or are subject to winter conditions, which can often be drying.  I use my lip scuff each night now and my lips are in great shape.  I even take it with me when I travel out of town.

I went from thinking I’d never need a lip scuff to using it every day!  I won’t leave home without it!