Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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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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Wash Your Hair Backwards!

A few weeks ago, I started washing my hair backwards.  Or, maybe a better way to say it is that I’ve started washing my hair in reverse order.  First, I condition and second, I shampoo.

Is That Co-Washing?

Nope.  Co-washing is different from what I’m doing.  Co-washing is when you “wash” your hair with conditioner only.  The theory behind it is that by conditioning your hair, without using a shampoo, you are adding moisture to your hair without stripping it.  You would apply your conditioner and then rinse it out after it has sat on your head for a while.  Many women swear by this method of washing their hair. 

Reverse Hair Washing

By conditioning my hair first, I ensure that it gets lots of moisture. I gently massage it into my scalp. I’m also sure to cover the tips of my hair.  I leave it in for about 10 minutes while I shower and then rinse it out.  If I were to stop there, I would end up with quite the build up in my hair (I learned that the hard way), leaving it feeling heavy and greasy over time.  So, I use a bit of shampoo to get the excess conditioner out.

The Benefits of Reverse Washing

The first time I tried this, I was worried that my hair would be full of knots and tangles at the end of my shower.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have long hair that goes to the middle of my back and I had no problem running a comb straight through it.  Phew!  I had no need for an extra leave-in conditioner or to have a war with my hair. 

Even better, my hair felt softer and looked shinier when I was done.  I’ve now had those great results for a few weeks, so I know it wasn’t just a one time thing!

Who Else is Reverse Washing?

As much as this was a personal discovery for me, I’m not the only Reverse Washer out there!  Reverse Washing is referenced in the book No More Dirty Looks and also on their blog.  They’ve had a great experience with Reverse Washing as well!

AloeHow has Reverse Washing worked for you?

Have you ever tried washing your hair in reverse?  If you did, how did it work for you?  If haven’t had a chance to try it yet, would you be willing to give it a shot and tell me how it worked?  I’d love to hear from you!


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Tea Tree Oil – Nature’s First Aid

Origins

Tea Tree Oil is indigenous to eastern Australia’s tea trees.  It’s Latin name is Melaleuca alternifolia and it is also known as Australian tea tree oil or Melaleuca oil.

This oil has a strong camphor-like smell.  To be honest, it’s not my favorite scent.  However, it works great to clear a stuffy nose!

The oil itself is clear.  If you purchase it, be sure to get it in a dark glass bottle to  protect it from light that can reduce its potency.

Uses

Tea Tree Oil has long been used a natural remedy.  It has been used to treat acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, and skin infections.  It should always be used in a diluted form and should not be ingested.

Tea Tree Oil is used in creams, shampoos, lotions and other skin care products. It’s even found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes.  These are considered safe since you should not be swallowing either the toothpaste or the mouthwash.

Tea Tree Oil is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Continue reading


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From Natural Shampoo to No Shampoo

During the summer, I made the switch to natural shampoo.  It took a bit of trial and error to find one that worked well with my hair, but when I found it, I was very happy with the result.  The one I ended up choosing was Aubrey’s Blue Camomile Shampoo and Conditioner.

Right after I settled on this great option, I started reading about the “no poo” movement.  I was intrigued and of course, decided to try it out.

So, I made myself a baking soda rinse.  I used it for the first time over a month ago.  After the first time, my hair still felt a bit dirty, so I made myself an apple cider vinegar rinse for the next time.  Sure enough, using the vinegar rinse helped get that clean feeling in my hair.

Over the past month, I have experimented with the amount of time between “washes”.  I definitely have to “wash” my hair more often than when I was using actual shampoo.  If I rinse my hair every other day or every two days, it looks and feels pretty good.

As a backup, I have used a dry shampoo from time to time to help absorb some of the oil when I don’t have time to do a full wash.  All in all, I’m very satisfied with myself.  I loved the natural shampoo and have it on hand in case I feel the need for a good lather in my hair. And of course, I will still work on formulating my own shampoo.  In the meantime, I’ve found a gentle way to keep my hair clean and have reduced the number of chemicals in my daily routine!


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How do you bring balance to your day?

I have a busy day job.  It’s dynamic and challenging and I love it.  I also find it exhausting at times, due to the demand on my time and energy.

Experimenting with skin care products is a great relief for me.  I get to be creative and try out different things.  I get to experiment with scents, textures and viscosity.  It’s very different from my day job and it provides me with the right balance.  I also love sharing my creations with my family and friends and finding out what they like and don’t like about each one.

As a side benefit, I’m learning lots of tidbits about adding balance to my day.  I recently started brushing my skin in the morning again.  I found out I love it!  It’s a great way to start my day and knowing that I get to do this helps me drag myself out of bed each morning.

I’ve also cut a lot of unnecessary chemicals out of my life.  By making a simple change to a natural soap, I realized that I didn’t need my store bought moisturizer anymore.  And by using dry shampoo a couple of times a week, I’ve cut the times that I have to wash my hair in half each week.  That means I have more time to spend on other things.

How do you bring balance to your day?


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What is Dry Shampoo?

If you read my last post, you’ll see that I stumbled upon the use of dry shampoos.  I have never heard of a dry shampoo until very recently.  So, I decided to do some research to learn what I could about dry shampoos.  If you’re in the same boat as me, please read on!

Regular shampooing, with water, can cause hair follicle damage.  For those with dry hair, the whole process can be hard on your locks, making them even harder to nourish and manage.  Daily shampooing can actually dry out your natural oils, causing your glands to overcompensate and produce even more oils, making your hair oilier than before!  Of course, the next step would be to shampoo it again, thus restarting the cycle.

Dry shampoo can be used in between regular washings.  It works to absorb excess oils in order to give you the look of clean hair.  It will help your hair look fuller and will add volume to your hair.  Dry shampoos are made with a variety of ingredients.  Whether you use cornstarch or clay, they all have the ability to absorb the excess oils in your hair.

It should take far less time to do a dry shampoo treatment on your hair, as compared to a regular shampoo.  The process is simple.  You take the product and massage it into your hair, ensuring that you’re getting to the roots and oily spots.  You can let that sit for a few minutes.  Then, simply brush out your hair.  It’s a messy process, so it’s best to do this over a sink or tub, or be prepared to sweep the floor right after you’re done.

A dry shampoo is a great option when you don’t have time for a regular shampoo, don’t have access to water to wash your hair, or want to give your hair a break from the shampoo and conditioners that you use.   I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that it would replace regular shampoo.  However, using it could certainly save you some hair washing time and help your shampoo last a bit longer.