Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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Homemade Vapour Rub

A few months ago, I made a homemade vapor rub.  For some reason, I didn’t blog about it right away.  Frankly, it was so easy that I think that’s the reason I forgot to share it with you all!

I had been planning on including it in the Gift Box of Goodies that I put together.  Alas, there simply wasn’t enough room in the box.  So, I ended up with two sinus-clearing tubs of vapour rub.  Darn.

Vapour Rub Packed with Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary

Vapour Rub Packed with Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary

Crunchy Betty via Lightly Crunchy

I found the recipe on Heidi’s blog, Lightly Crunchy.  If you’re ever looking for great information on how to live life in a sustainable way, check out her blog.  I’m sure that you’ll love it, just as I do.

Heidi had blogged about her homemade vapour rub that was made with a recipe from the Crunchy Betty site.  It looked pretty good, so I used the same exact one.

A Simple Recipe

Homemade Vapour Rub

  • 2 tsp beeswax (grated)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or experiment with an oil of your choice)
  • 35 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil

Melt the beeswax and olive oil together until smooth. I did this in a pot on the stove, on the lowest heat setting possible. Stir iy once in a while to make sure it mixes well.  I then took it off the heat and added in the essential oils.   Once everything was mixed, I poured this into two small containers and let it set, uncovered, overnight.  Store in a cool, dry place for up to  a year (or more).

Does it Work?

Oh yes, it certainly does!  The smell is quite strong, which is perfect in a vapour rub.  It’s both sweet and refreshing.  The large amount of peppermint has a great cooling effect.  (For more information about the cooling effects of peppermint essential oil, check out my Peppermint Schnuts post).

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

But, don’t take my word for it.

As it turns out, a friend of mine happens to use store-bought VapoRub every single night before bed.  It’s the only thing that works to keep his sinuses clear through the night.  I mentioned to him that I had made a homemade batch and he jumped at the opportunity to be a test subject.  He’s been using it for a couple of months now.  He reported back to me that it works just as good or better than the store-bought product.  He also said that it lasts longer.  While it took a week or so to get used to a slightly different smell, once he got over that, he was hooked!

I was so pleased to hear such a positive review.

This is one of the easiest things to make and it works.  Sounds perfect to me!

Homemade Vapour Rub

Homemade Vapour Rub

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Peppermint Schnuts

When you try a new skin care product, do you read and follow the usage instructions?

If you don’t, read this and let me know if you change your mind about that.  😉

Hot Feet

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine approached with a request for some foot powder.  It was for her husband.  He would have asked me himself, but was a bit shy.  He wanted something to help keep his feet nice and dry, especially during the hot, and sometimes sticky, summer months.

He had tried a few foot powders from the pharmacy, but none of them was absorbent enough for his feet.

Peppermint Foot Powder

Of course, I was more than happy to help.  I set out and made a super absorbent peppermint foot powder. Given all of the controversy about talc, I made it talc-free too.  I used some arrowrootMinty Fresh powder, baking soda to help absorb the odor and some white clay for extra moisture absorbing power.  I scented it with peppermint essential oil, thinking it would both smell good and have a cooling effect on the feet.  Honestly, it was a pretty simple assignment.

I happily made up the powder and gave it to my friend, who then passed it on to her husband.

A few days later, I got a call from my friend.  She called in a fit of laughter.  In fact, she was laughing so hard, it took me a while to decipher the tale she was trying to tell me.  Here’s what I eventually figured out.

Peppermint Schnuts

She had given the foot powder to her husband.  He was both grateful and excited.  He was so excited that he decided to try it on his entire body.  Yes, his ENTIRE body.  He left no part of his skin uncovered.  Very shortly after applying the powder, he noticed that his nether-regions were getting kind of cold!  That’s right, his nuts were especially sensitive to the cooling effect of the peppermint.  (Did I mention that I might have actually overdone it on the peppermint oil?  If anything, it was on the strong side!)  He came out of the bathroom, buck naked, hopping around in the futile effort to distract himself from the intense cooling feeling.

Unfortunately, there was nothing that he could do to help himself, except wait it out.  I understand that the cooling lasted a good half hour, well into his work day.  🙂

And the moral of the story?

Always read the labels!


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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?