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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Indie Lee’s DIY Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

Who doesn’t love a little bit of pumpkin pie?  It’s creamy, smooth and tasty.  Now, you can have that for your skin too!  Want to know more?  Read on!

Indie Lee

I was recently approached by the marketing firm for Indie Lee.  As described right on Indie Lee’s website,

Indie Lee is devoted to making all natural beauty products from the world’s finest ingredients. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. We must nurture our soul to let our inner beauty shine through. Live life to its fullest, one moment at a time.”

Indie Lee also likes to share DIY recipes and that’s where I came into the picture.  I was asked to try out this DIY body scrub recipe and write about it.  There’s absolutely nothing in this for me, except of course, I get to try out a new body scrub and pamper myself.  Tough life, isn’t it?

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

Here’s the recipe, as it was sent to me:

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub

Unfortunately, I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand.  So, I made do with what I had and made a modified version of this body scrub.

My Modified Recipe:

1 cup of white granulated sugar
1/8 cup of coconut palm brown sugar
4 tsp of pumpkin spice*
1/8 cup of coconut oil
4 T of olive oil

Ingredients From My Cupboard

Ingredients From My Cupboard

As you can see from the photo of my ingredients, I didn’t have a whole lot of white sugar left.  So, I opted to make half of the amount in this recipe, just so I could have a cup of sugar left over at the end.

I used coconut palm brown sugar. It’s not quite as soft as regular brown sugar, but it worked just fine in this recipe.

I used my homemade pumpkin spice instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg.  My pumpkin spice recipe comes directly from Heidi at Lightly Crunchy.  It’s a great little recipe that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.  Check out the recipe here.  I used quite a bit more spice than the original recipe calls for.  I did that to compensate for the lack of actual pumpkin in my concoction.  I used the spice to simulate that spicy pumpkin pie scent.  If only I could transmit smells through my blog, you would know that it worked.

Sugars and Pumpkin Spice

Sugars and Pumpkin Spice

I used both coconut oil and olive oil.  While the original recipe did not call for olive oil, I found that I needed to add some moisture to compensate for the lack of pumpkin.  I could have just as easily added more coconut oil.  Both coconut oil and olive oil are good for your skin, so I didn’t mind having both in this scrub.

Adding Coconut Oil

Adding Coconut Oil

Finally, it’s obvious that I didn’t include any actual pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie mix is just not something that I have on hand.  I would have loved to include some pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree.  Alas, I had used my entire supply up already (mostly on baby food).  So, I did without and added both olive oil and a lot of pumpkin spice to compensate.

The Result

The result of my little concoction looked like this.

Final Product

Final Product

The mixture was fine and felt pretty smooth.  It smelled like baking, which was exactly what I wanted.  I used it on my arms and legs and ended up with very soft and polished skin.  I could feel the difference right away.

Would I Make It Again?

Sure!  I would certainly make this again.

This scrub, like most scrubs, serves two main purposes. It exfoliates the skin and it also provides moisture, by virtue of all the oils.  I’m someone who always has to apply lotion to my skin after a shower.  However, I was able to skip that step when I had used this scrub.

I love recipes like this one because you can make it with common ingredients found in your kitchen.  And if you’re faced with a problem like I was, in that you didn’t actually have some of the ingredients, you can use substitutes and still come up with a great product for your skin.


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Product Review – The All Natural Face’s Vegan Eye Liner

I’ve almost completely made the switch to makeup made from natural ingredients.  My go-to brand is Jane Iredale.  However, I still like to try new brands when I come across them.

The All Natural Face

A few months ago, I spotted a coupon for three vegan eye-liners by The All Natural Face.  Though I can’t quite remember how much the deal cost, I do recall that I thought it was a decent deal.  So, I bought myself a trio of vegan eye liners.  They arrived a few weeks ago.

Vegan Eyeliners - The All Natural Face

Colours

I received three different colours of eyeliner.  There was a Caramel Fudge, Hot Fudge Brownie, and That Black.  Normally, I don’t stray too far away from black eye liner, so this was extra exciting to have received other colours!  Here’s what they looked like on my skin.

Three Vegan Eyeliners - The All Natural Face

Use

They each go on really smoothly.  The wand allows you to choose the thickness of line very easily.  These are probably some of the simplest eye liners to apply that I’ve ever had.  I found that they lasted about as long as other eye liners that I’ve used.  They would work for me for a night out or a work day.  Even better, they did not smudge!

Ingredients

The ingredients for each eye liner are listed right on the tube. I love that feature.  There are no questions about what you’re putting on your skin.  They are also listed right on their website. Click here to check them out.  In a nutshell, these eyeliners are all made with pure ingredients that aren’t known or suspected to be harmful for your skin.

Vegan Eyeliners - The All Natural Face

Vegan Eyeliners – The All Natural Face

Recommendation

If you’re looking for a clean eyeliner, I would definitely recommend this brand.  The packaging is simple and informative.  The wand has a great tip that allows you to easily control the thickness of the line.  Most importantly, the ingredients are pure and are considered safe for your skin.


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Product Review – Pure Creations’ Emollient Wheat Germ Cream

I ventured out to the spa a few weeks ago for a much needed facial.  If you read my last post, you’ll know that, during the facial, I was dismayed to find out that my skin was on the dry side!

One of the products that was used and that I then purchased was the Emollient Wheat Germ Cream.  I’ve been using it for a past several weeks and wanted to provide a short review on it for all of you!

Pure Creations Emollient Wheat Germ Cream

Pure Creations Emollient Wheat Germ Cream

Ingredients

Pure Creations prides itself on incorporating natural ingredients in its products.  You can see from the website’s description that the cream contains ingredients like organic wheat germ oil, almond oil, and aloe vera. While I wasn’t able to find a detailed ingredient list, after chatting with the folks at Pure Creations, I know that they do not use any potentially harmful or unnecessary ingredients.

Emollient Wheat Germ Cream

Emollient Wheat Germ Cream

Usage

This is a thick, rich cream.  A little bit goes a really long way.  Personally, I would only use this on my skin during the dry winter  months.  I think it could be too much for my skin at other times of the year.   I also like that this cream does not have a strong scent.  (That’s the last thing I want before bed!)

Since my facial, I have used this on my skin before bed each night.  It has helped me maintain that smooth polished feel in my skin.

Packaging and Price

Pure Creations’ packaging is simple and fresh.  The jars are a good size.  At $24.95 for a jar of this long-lasting cream, I think it’s a good investment.

Would I recommend this cream?

Yes, I would!  It has worked wonders for me during this very dry winter.  I continue to receive compliments on how smooth my skin looks.  🙂

The One Caveat

Just because this cream works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else.  It’s always good to test a bit of any new product on your skin before diving in head first.


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Versatile Blogger Award

Earlier this month, I was nominated by three different bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Thank you to Hair and Flair, Bronze Goddess and Mademoiselle Snow for the nominations!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

I love blog awards. They are a great way to spread the word about great blogs that you’ve discovered.  Of course, it’s such a lovely feeling to be nominated!  Thank you!

The rules:

  • Insert the logos of the awards on your blog.
  • Link back the person who nominated you.
  • Post 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and link them in your post.
  • Notify these bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirement.

The 7 things about me:

  1. I just welcomed a baby boy into this world.  He’s the light of my life these days.
  2. I make my own skin care products!
  3. I have very dry skin, which was one of the reasons I learned to make my own natural skincare products.
  4. I am a morning person.
  5. I am on a never-ending quest to learn Spanish.
  6. I use coconut oil in almost every aspect of my life.
  7. My favorite color is red.

The 15 bloggers I nominate:

  1. Chrystal Love Vintage
  2. Belleza Kisses
  3. Chiffon Souffle
  4. Fine Hair Design
  5. What Tina Loves
  6. Angies Grapevine 
  7. A Lot on Your Plate  
  8. Peachy Milk Tea  
  9. Nade in the Kitchen 
  10. Perfect Shine Housekeeping  
  11. Organic Lassie 
  12. Beauty Expression by Luchessa 
  13. Farm, Foodie, and Fitness  
  14. Blowing Off Steam  
  15. Simple Sustenance

Congratulations to all of the nominated bloggers and thank you once again for all the love!


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Moving from 2012 to 2013 – Happy New Year!

A quick review of 2012…

2012 was an exciting year for me, both for my blog and on a personal front.

My Blog – Au Naturel Essence

All Natural Treats for Body and SoulOn my blog, I set out to boost the number of views I got each day.  I got two major increases in readership throughout the year.  In the first quarter, I saw a big improvement and about half way through the year, my numbers went up again.  It was so exciting to know that others were keeping track of my blog.  To all of you – thank you!

I also set out to post at least once a week.  I’m quite proud to say that I exceeded that goal.  In total, I had over 90 posts in 2012!

Unexpectedly, I was nominated for several blog awards throughout the year.  You can learn all kinds of odd tidbits about me and my blog in the following posts:

Super Sweet Blogger Award

Sunshine Award

Beautiful Blogger Award

Inspiring Blog Award

Blog of the Year Award

I love the concept of blog awards.  They are a great way to learn about other blogs and to recognize other blogs that you follow.

On a Personal Front

The highlight of this year was the birth of my little boy.  I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant around Easter time.  The next few months went so quickly and yet so slowly!  Our little bundle of joy was born just a few weeks ago and he’s been keeping me very busy ever since.

Looking forward to 2013…

Looking forward, I would love to keep up with my blog at the same pace as I had in 2012.  However, I want to be realistic. Having a new baby on hand has slowed me down a little bit!  As I soon as I learn how to blog with a baby in one arm, I’ll be right on track!

Gentle Goat's Milk Soap for Baby

Gentle Goat’s Milk Soap for Baby

When I have the time, I’m looking forward to making more baby products.  In particular, I’d love to experiment with my own homemade shampoo.

Thank you for all of your support throughout the year.  I look forward to sharing more ideas and projects with you in 2013.  Happy New Year!


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Striped Soap

I’ve been experimenting with soap lately.  My favorite so far is a bar of minty black and white striped soap.  It’s a great way to incorporate charcoal into my soap and also making it look a little more interesting than just a plain bar of black soap.  The minty scent is refreshing in the morning and this soap is gentle on the skin.

Minty Striped Soap

Minty Striped Soap

In fact, I recently spoke to a friend who was complaining of dry, itchy skin.  I gave her a bar of this soap to try and she said that she immediately noticed an improvement.  Her skin was less itchy and she needed less moisturizer after her shower.  I was so happy that I was able to help!