Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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


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


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!


Christmas Gift Bags

Each year for the past three years, I put together a gift bag of handmade products for the majority of the Christmas gifts that we give to our friends and family.  This year was no exception.  In fact, it was slightly challenging since I had a number of different products to choose from!  Honestly, it was a great problem to have.

This year, I started planning out the gift bags in October.  I wanted to ensure that I gave myself enough time to make all of the different pieces.  I started putting everything together in November and into the beginning of December.  I attended my first Christmas party for the season on November 18th.  There’s nothing like an early holiday party to be a good kick in the butt!

Here’s what I chose for most of the gift bags:

  1.  Foaming Soap.  I made this soap from scratch, so I know it’s full of great ingredients.  I love fresh scents in soap, so most of the bottles were scented with orange, lemongrass and other citrus scents.
  2. Two bars of melt and pour soap.  I made several bars of soap in preparation for this year’s gift bags.  I used Goat’s Milk and Coconut M&P soap as a base.  I added charcoal, green clay and pink clay to them.  In the end, each bag got two bars of soap.
  3. Lip Lube.  I made my own special recipe for these lip balms.  Mine are all made from scratch and they are soft enough that they can be used on the coldest winter days.  There’s nothing worse than a lip balm that won’t slide on.  I experimented quite a bit this year to land on just the right combination of oils and wax.
  4. Smoothing Serum.  This is one of my favourite concoctions.  It’s a gel that you can use to help tighten those fine lines.  It’s good for men and women and feels great when you put it on.
  5. Ultra Moisturizing Lotion.  I included a small sample of lotion in the gift bags.  I have used lotion all my life and this is the best one I’ve ever used.  Seriously – I’m not just saying that because I made it!  It’s highly moisturizing without being greasy.  I love it.

Inevitably, I also get a few last minute requests for gifts to give out and of course, I usually don’t have quite enough to made complete gift bags.  Fortunately, I’ve learned a few great staples to make that I was able to use to put together some extra gifts at the last minute.  More about those to come…

Merry Christmas!


Mind Your Own Beeswax

If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that I recently discovered a company that makes skin care products which advocates against using natural waxes, such as beeswax, so as to avoid ingesting the same. It was the first time I’d heard that there could be a problem in using beeswax in skin care products, like lip stick or lip balm, and, as promised, I have spent the last few days researching it.

Beeswax is largely considered safe, provided it is used in limited amounts.  It is an inert substance, meaning that it does not interact with the human digestive system at all.  In other words, it would pass through the body unaltered.  Beeswax can be used to create a non-allergenic protective film on the human skin.  In this way, it protects against moisture loss.  That’s at least part of the reason that you see beeswax as an ingredient in many skin care products.  We see beeswax is lip balms, soaps, candles and other products.  It is generally considered non toxic.

It’s true that beeswax can cause a serious intestinal blockage.  However, you would have to ingest it in large amounts.  This would cause symptoms such as stomach upset and swelling or nausea.  (Don’t worry – the amount of beeswax that you would ingest inadvertently from your lip balm should not lead to a serious intestinal blockage.)

As far as I’m concerned, I am comfortable in using beeswax in my own skin care products or buying products that include this ingredient.  Unless you plan to eat a large chunk of it, I think you’ll be safe!  If you want to read more, check out these links.  They provided great information for my research project.

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Natural long lasting lip colour – is it worth it?

How many of you have tried to find a lipstick that both lasts all day and feels good on your lips?  It’s one that doesn`t end up on your teeth or your glass of water.  It’s a lipstick that feels smooth on your lips, not sticky.  And of course, it has to be a great colour!

The fact is, there are many products that claim to do all of these things.  They usually come with two coats – one with the color and a top coat to seal in the colour.  They work reasonably well and they tend to made with all kinds of non-natural products.

One of my friends recently asked me about a new lip colour that she had purchased.  When she tried it on, she noticed three sensations that she was not expecting.

  1.  Stinging on her lips
  2. Stench of the product
  3. Significant drying of her lips

Yes, the colour stayed on, but she wasn’t too impressed with the unexpected side effects.

After hearing this horrific review, I decided I had to try it as well.  (Knowing her experience, I was the only test subject I could identify!).  I had the very same experience…stinging, stench and significant drying.

I’ve investigated the ingredient list and, to my surprise, none of the individual ingredients have a high toxicity rating.  That really surprised me.

I did learn however, that this product is alcohol based.  It is different from other lip colours and lip balms that are based in wax.  I`ve also learned that there is a theory that ingesting natural wax (i.e. beeswax) is harmful, even in the small amounts that you would get from a natural lip product.  That’s the first that I had heard of this theory.  I will certainly be investigating further.

In the meantime, natural or not, any lip product that makes your lips sting when you put it on should not be one that you feel compelled to use.