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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In Search of a Natural Deodorant

I’ve been looking for a natural deodorant for some time now.

Without a doubt, there are lots to choose from. I’ve tried many of them.  I’ve tested each one for days and days at a time.  I’ve given my body several days to get used to each one in the hopes that it would embrace the new deodorant.  Despite my patience, each one left me sporting quite the unpleasant odor.   While I’m sure that they may work for some, they have not worked for me.  😦

Natural deodorants

I won’t go into detail about each of these products, as I don’t want to make this into a product review post.    They are all great products and I’m sure that they work for other people out there.  After all, they were each easy to find on the shelves of my local health food store, so they must be doing something right!  In fact, if you’re looking for a more natural option, I encourage you to try some of these.

It’s Personal

Finding an effective deodorant is a very personal thing.  Everyone’s body is different and of course, it also changes over time.  When you choose to forgo the strength behind the more popular antiperspirants and deodorants, some fine tuning is definitely warranted.

Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant

Antiperspirants are used to keep your underarms dry.  They do this by preventing perspiration in the first place.  Most of them contain aluminum salts to help accomplish this task.  Basically, they work by blocking the pores from releasing the sweat.

Deodorants, on the other hand, mask body odor with a scent.  They do not prevent sweat or perspiration.  Instead, they work to neutralize or cover the odor with something more pleasant.

Complaints About Antiperspirants and Deodorants

Both products contain lots of ingredients that seem unnatural, including parabens and preservatives.  The ingredient that has the worst reputation, is aluminum.  It has been linked to both breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite the bad reputation that aluminum has, there is quite a bit of conflicting information available concerning how bad or not aluminum is for you.  Some say there is no need for worry and there is no link to these diseases.  Others conclude that the chronic exposure is certainly linked to these illnesses.

I learned a bit on this subject when I read Gillian Deacon’s book, There’s Lead in Your Lipstick.

There's Lead in Your Lipstick

Why Choose a Natural Deodorant?

I’m no scientist or expert when it comes to the ingredients used in these products or their effects.  If you read enough material, you could find an opinion to support any point of view.

In my humble view, I believe that a product with fewer ingredients is usually a better choice.   I also believe that I should be able to understand the ingredient list of the products that I put on my skin.  With those two principles in mind, my only choice is to go with a natural deodorant.  And even some of those have a long ingredient list!

How do you stay fresh and dry?

Until I find a good alternative, or figure out how to make an effective deodorant on my own (hint, hint!), I continue to use my store-bought deodorant.  It works, but I’m not thrilled about using something with such a long list of ingredients.

What do you use to stay dry and sweet-smelling all day?