Get Relief from Your Cold with All-natural Essential Oils

 

coldcare

We’ve all been there: the first signs of an oncoming cold appear. Maybe for you it’s a scratchy throat or a runny nose or an annoying cough. Whatever that sign is, we all react in a similar way–UGH.

Several years ago, I was quick to reach for over-the-counter “remedies” when these symptoms hit. I just needed something to stop the runny nose; soothe the scratchy, sore throat; unplug the plugged nose; and curb the cough. For me, it was often Dayquil and Nyquil. Maybe it’s something else for you, but the idea is the same: just let me get through the day and night with some relief!

I realized, though, that there’s a problem with all of these drugstore products. They don’t actually fix the underlying problem. They simply mask the symptoms. So what does fix the problem? Our bodies. With time, our body will fight the common cold on its own. We can shorten that time by taking care of ourselves: getting good rest, drinking lots of fluids, and eating good foods. But what if we could do something else? What if we could help our bodies heal faster?

That question led me to essential oils over a year ago. If our bodies truly are capable of healing themselves, then maybe we can help our bodies do that. Certainly, we can do the things I mentioned above to take better care of ourselves, but we can also use all-natural essential oils to help.

Essential oils are able to penetrate cell walls. Why does that matter? It means they can get into the affected cells and fix them from the inside out. When the cells are healthier, they can heal our bodies faster. By choosing oils appropriate for fighting the common cold, then, we can help our bodies heal faster, and we can get relief from the symptoms. Double win!

I make this easy roller bottle blend for everyone in our house. Since I have young kids, I have different bottles with different dilutions. Young kids are more sensitive and will respond to treatment with fewer drops of essential oil than adults, so it’s important to mix your bottles with the right dilution:

  • Infants one year and under: 2-4 drops essential oil
  • Toddlers age 1 to 5: 4-8 drops essential oil
  • Kids age 6 to 12: 8-14 drops essential oil
  • Ages 13+: 14-20 drops essential oil

You’ll first need roller bottles to fill. To prolong effectiveness, it’s best to store essential oils in dark glass like amber or cobalt. I like these from Amazon. You can also use clear bottles like these if you store them in a cool, dark place and use them within a few months.

As for the essential oils, be sure to use only certified pure therapeutic grade oils. I only use and recommend doTERRA oils (if you need oils, click that link!). You’ll also need a carrier oil to fill your bottle and to aid in the application of the oils. I like fractionated coconut oil, but sweet almond oil and other light oils are also good options.

Ingredients:

  • Essential oils
    • Infants one year and under: 1-2 drops lemon, 1-2 drops lavender
    • Toddlers age 1 to 5: 1-2 drops Breathe (doTERRA proprietary blend), 2-4 drops lavender, 2 drops lemon
    • Kids age 6 to 12: 2-4 drops Breathe, 3-6 drops lavender, 3-4 drops lemon
    • Ages 13+: 6-9 drops Breathe, 4-6 drops lavender, 4-6 drops lemon
  • Fractionated coconut oil (or other carrier oil of choice)

Make It:

  1. Add essential oils to roller bottle.
  2. Fill with carrier oil.
  3. Cap and shake gently.

Use It:

  • For infants and toddlers, apply to feet bottoms every 3-6 hours as needed. It works best if you put socks on after application.
  • For older kids and adults, apply to feet bottoms and/or spine every 3-6 hours as needed. When applying to the spine, I like to apply it in small circles, making my way up or down the spine.

 

Make Your Own All-natural Baby Wipes

BabyWipes.pngBaby wipes are pretty darn expensive. Plus, have you read the ingredients? Yikes. They’re full of harsh, artificial ingredients that can cause skin irritations. That doesn’t sound too appealing. Recently, Water Wipes came out. Now these are pretty great from an ingredient standpoint, but wow! They’re even MORE expensive–despite have FEWER things in them…

I started making my own several months ago and haven’t looked back. By using all-natural ingredients and certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, they’re much gentler on the skin. I make them using both disposable and cloth, reusable wipes.

If you want to use disposable wipes, I like these dry wipes from Amazon. As you can see in the picture, I just love this OXO wipe dispenser for use at home. For use on the go, I purchased the Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean, used the wipes it came with, and then refilled the clutch with my own wipes going forward. Other companies make an empty clutch you can purchase, but most are actually more expensive than the Huggies one, so I opted for the cost savings.

If you would like to use cloth, reusable wipes, I really like these bamboo wipes from Babygoal. For home use, I just store these in a quart-size mason jar, then throw them in with my cloth diapers to wash. For use on the go, the easiest way I’ve found to transport these is simple ziploc bags. Use them once, then toss them.

The essential oils in my recipe are optional, but they’re great for soothing your baby’s bottom and helping to heal any irritations that may arise. I use lavender and melaleuca (tea tree). Lavender is a gentle essential oil known for its soothing and calming effects. Melaleuca is great for any type of skin irritation, making it a perfect additive to your wipes to help heal and prevent diaper rash.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I ONLY use and recommend doTERRA oils. Please, especially for your little one, do NOT use the essential oils available at your local grocery store or box store. They have synthetic additives that can be harsh on the skin and certainly won’t help you or your little in the long run.

Ready to get started? All of the ingredients have links to purchase them on Amazon if you need. For disposables, I make 60 wipes at a time. *Note: if you use the ones I referenced above in the dispenser I referenced, you’ll need to refold the dry wipes before putting them in the dispenser in order to easily pull them out one at a time. See the photos below. This is of course optional–but believe me when I say it’s worth the effort! For reusables, I put about 24 wipes in the mason jar at one time (just fill it as much as you can depending on the size of your wipes) and then pour the solution over the top, cap, and shake. Just stuff them in the jar any which way; it’s actually easier to pull them out this way than if you try to fold them nicely into the jar.

 Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Fold and stack disposable wipes in dispenser (see photos below), OR stuff reusable wipes into mason jar.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl or pouring measuring cup (I use the Pyrex glass measuring cups since they’re easy to mix in and pour from).
  3. Pour over wipes.
    • For disposable wipes, be sure to pour slowly and cover the entire stack of wipes. I then close the lid and gently roll the container to ensure all wipes are saturated.
    • For reusable wipes, simply cap your jar and shake or roll the jar to saturate all wipes.
  4. Because the wipes solution includes no preservatives, be sure to use all wipes within 10-14 days (or 7 days if you used plain tap water).
  5. Clean your dispenser/jar with a mild soap and warm water, and allow to dry fully before refilling.
  6. NOTE: Because wipe and dispenser sizes vary, you may need to adjust your ingredient measurements until you find the right volume that fully wets all your wipes without leaving them too dry or too wet.

Easily Make Your Own All-natural Deodorant

Deodorant.pngNatural deodorants can be a turnoff for some folks. Maybe you’re worried it won’t work well. Maybe you’ll sweat a ton. Maybe it just costs a fortune. I’ll admit most store-bought natural deodorants are quite expensive. A quick Amazon search will show you they run anywhere from $8 to 15 a stick. That certainly is a bit steep.

When I decided to make the switch, I knew there had to be a less expensive option. After several trial runs, I’ve finally found a recipe we love, and IT WORKS. The cost per stick is less than $4 (and that includes the container).

If you’re still using an antiperspirant, please check out this post to see why you should switch to natural deodorant today!

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m going to assume you’re ready to try making your own! You don’t have to get the stick containers. Some folks just make this into a muffin tin or similar container and then apply it like a lotion bar. Personally, I think the container is well worth the $1.07 it costs for ease and portability. If you agree, you can get them here. The other ingredients you’ll need are coconut oil, shea butter (mango or cocoa butter can also be used), beeswax, baking soda (optional but highly recommended), arrowroot flour, and pure essential oils.

In the recipe list below, I’ve provided links to Amazon to purchase all necessary ingredients. I use and recommend doTERRA essential oils. If you choose to include essential oils, please just be sure to use only pure, therapeutic grade oils. Do NOT use the oils available at box stores and grocery stores; they generally include synthetic ingredients that are not good for your skin.

A quick note on the baking soda: I have never had trouble with it, but folks with sensitive skin may get some redness. If that happens, a weekly pit detox helps immensely! Or, you can simply eliminate it from the recipe and use more arrowroot instead. I will warn you, though, the deodorant may not be as effective without the baking soda.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. In a double boiler or glass measuring pitcher, melt together coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. I use a Pyrex glass measuring pitcher and melt it in the microwave in 30-second intervals.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in essential oils.
  3. Stir in baking soda and arrowroot flour.
  4. Pour into deodorant containers or other molds, and allow to cool to harden.
  5. Yield: approx. 3 deodorant stick containers

Note: The pictures above are from making a half-batch, so the volume may seem off.

Don’t want to make it yourself? Buy it now.

Stress & Anxiety Relief with Essential Oils

AnxietyRollerEver since I was a kid, I’ve struggled occasionally with anxiety. I’m not anxious all the time, but I do have some specific triggers that give me panic attacks. As a kid, I didn’t understand what it was, so I just “dealt” with it–I was NOT successful on that front! When I got into college and gained a better understanding of what was happening, I spoke with my doctor. He gave me a prescription for Xanax and told me to take it as needed. I’ll admit–the stuff worked great. But, it also knocked me out for hours. That wasn’t terribly ideal.

Then I got pregnant for the first time. One of my biggest anxiety triggers is pretty much anything medical–pain, blood, and especially needles. Needless to say, the whole idea of going through the pregnancy and childbirth was scary. Obviously, I couldn’t take Xanax to help me, so I suffered through it. Every blood draw resulted in my getting light headed and often throwing up. (Did I mention my anxiety comes with a super nervous stomach??) If you know anything about the glucose test, you can only imagine how that went! And when they put my IV in in prep for delivery, well I threw up then too.

OK I digress, and I’m sure you didn’t come here to read my crazy story (and believe me when I tell you that’s just one…). Anyhow, since my first pregnancy, I got into this whole essential oils and all-natural approach to my health care. I’m now into my third trimester with our second child, and I’m happy to report I’ve had no issues with blood draws this time around. Why? I created a simple roller bottle with doTERRA essential oils, and I apply it as needed.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I only use and recommend doTERRA oils. I won’t go into the why of that right now, but if you’re interested, check out this video. I can’t say it any better!

Now if you’re wondering how this stuff could possibly work, let me briefly explain. When things are applied to our skin, it takes about 30 seconds for said “things” to get into our bloodstream and about 30 minutes for it to circulate throughout the entire body. The chosen essential oils have their own unique benefits and properties. For this recipe, I use oils known for their calming, grounding, and uplifting effects. I also include cardamom since my anxiety comes with a nervous stomach; cardamom is good for calming the stomach.

A roller bottle with these essential oils is applied topically. Where you apply varies a bit depending on the purpose, but you can’t really go wrong since it will get into the bloodstream eventually either way. For stress and anxiety, I apply it on the back of my neck along the spine as well as the insides of my wrists.

In addition to the ingredients, you’ll also need a 10-mL roller bottle for this recipe. Click here to see the ones I use, available on Amazon. If you would like to get doTERRA oils from me, click here for more info.

Ingredients:

  • Fractionated coconut oil
  • 10 drops Citrus Bliss essential oil blend
  • 10 drops Balance essential oil blend
  • 5 drops cardamom essential oil (not necessary if you don’t have a nervous stomach)
  • 3 drops frankincense essential oil

Make It:

  1. Add essential oils to roller bottle.
  2. Fill roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil.
  3. Cap and shake.

Don’t to make it yourself? Buy it now.

Make Your Own Bath Bombs

BathBombs.pngAdmittedly, I’m not a bath person. It’s probably because I’m short and find it nearly impossible to comfortably recline in a tub. Plus, I’ll admit I don’t keep my tub clean enough to like the idea of soaking in it for enjoyment. However, when I started making all-natural products, bath bombs were a constant request. Adults like them to relax and address specific needs, and kids just seem to love the fizzy, colorful aspects.

In any case, I quickly got to experimenting to find a great recipe. My first couple attempts were absolute fails. I’m happy to report, though, that I finally found a great recipe that is easy and results in a great product!

A quick note on molds first: New molds are always awful the first time or two they’re used. The bombs stick in them, and you may find yourself fighting to get your product to release. My best recommendation? Don’t fully clean them between uses. Leaving them “seasoned,” so to speak makes removal much easier on future batches. If your first batch or two is a mess to get out, don’t fret! It gets better.

The other thing I’ll mention about molds is I have found it to be a nightmare to make nice spheres with my bath bombs. Despite multiple attempts, I can never (OK I think I got it to work once or twice) get the two halves to actually stay together when the time came to remove them from the molds. I finally decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, and now my bath bombs are just half-spheres instead. They still do the job, so it’s no big deal for me. If anyone has any tips on this, I’d love your feedback!

I ordered my molds online. There are tons of options–including fun shapes that I like to use from time to time. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve purchased:

As for the ingredients, you’ll need baking soda, citric acid, salt (I just use coarse salt, but you can certainly use epsom salts or sea salt if you prefer), arrowroot flour (cornstarch also works, but arrowroot is great for your skin), liquid oil (I keep it simple and use olive oil, but really, any liquid oil will do–fractionated coconut, sweet almond, avocado, grapeseed, etc.), witch hazel (you may use water instead), vanilla extract (you may also use water in place of the vanilla), essential oils, and mineral mica powder (for color, optional). Click the provided links in the recipe list to purchase the items on Amazon if needed.

Finally, before you get started, I like to measure the dry ingredients by weight using a digital kitchen scale. I’ve provided approximate measurements if you don’t have a scale, but I find the recipe to be a bit more precise when measured by weight instead. I simply place my medium bowl (plastic NOT metal) on the scale, zero it out, and add the ingredients watching the weight as I go.

As for the essential oils, be sure to only use pure, therapeutic grade oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils. Please do not use the oils you can purchase at the big box stores or your grocery store. They are often “watered down” with synthetic ingredients and will not be good for your skin. I like to make a variety of bath bombs for a variety of purposes. The chosen essential oils for each batch will address specific concerns–be it relaxation, energizing, respiratory clearing, or any number of different things!

Ingredients:

  • Dry:
    • 4 ounces baking soda (approx. 1/2 cup)
    • 2 ounces citric acid (approx. 1/4 cup)
    • 2 ounces salt of choice (approx. 1/4 cup)
    • 2 ounces arrowroot flour (approx. 1/2 cup)
    • 1/4 tsp mineral mica powder color of choice (or more if you want your bath bombs to be more vibrant)
  • Wet:
    • 1 tbsp liquid oil of choice
    • 1 tsp witch hazel (or water)
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or water)
    • 20-30 drops essential oils of choice

Make Them:

  1. Lightly flour your molds with arrowroot, and set them aside. I like to set them all on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to help contain the mess.
  2. Place a medium plastic bowl on your digital scale, and zero it out.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, watching the weight as you go.
  4. When all dry ingredients (including the mineral powder color if using) are in the bowl, remove it from the scale, and stir the ingredients together. Be sure to break up any clumps with your fingers.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate small bowl. I like to use a small Pyrex glass measuring cup. It makes for easy pouring when you’re ready to add the liquids to the dry ingredients.
  6. Stir wet ingredients thoroughly.
  7. SLOWLY pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Do small amounts at a time, or the dry ingredients will start to fizz up. I like to pour little bits with my left hand and use my right hand to mix it in.
  8. Using your hand(s), mix the wet ingredients into the dry. In the end, it should be the consistency of lightly damp sand. If you squeeze some together in your hand, it should hold its form but not be hard. (See the third photo below.)
  9. Transfer the mixture into your molds. Press firmly to ensure the mixture will hold together when it’s dry.
  10. Allow the molds to sit for several hours until dry and hard. In a dryer environment, they should be dry in 6-8 hours (or even sooner). In a more humid environment, drying may take 24 or more hours.
  11. Gently tap the molds to release your bath bombs.
  12. Store in an airtight container or bag until ready to use.

Don’t want to make them yourself? Buy them now!

DIY All-natural Lip Balm

LipsBalm

If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly applying lip balm–especially if you live up in the Midwest like I do! I go through it like crazy, and it gets awfully expensive–FAST!

One day, it occurred to me it would be pretty darn easy to make, and I could save some money doing so. Guess what? I was right! It is super easy to make, and the cost is only 28 cents a tube!

First off, you need to decide how you want to store it. You can use lots of different containers, but I’m partial to tubes. I ordered mine on Amazon. Get them here.

Next, you’ll want to decide which essential oils (if any) you’d like to include in your recipe. They certainly aren’t necessary, but they can provide many benefits. I ONLY use and recommend doTERRA oils; be sure to only use oil that are certified pure therapeutic grade. Whatever you do, don’t use the oils you can get at your grocery store or box store; you certainly don’t want to apply those to your lips. As for specific oils to use, well, that’s up to you! Personally, I love to use peppermint, but lavender, wild orange, and many others are good choices too. Be careful with any citruses if you’ll be spending time outdoors when it’s warm. Citruses are photosensitive, which means they can increase chances of sunburn.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Melt beeswax, butter(s), and coconut oil in a double boiler or in a glass container in the microwave in 30-second intervals. (I use the Pyrex glass measuring cups and melt in the microwave. They’re easy to pour from right into the tubes.)
  2. Add essential oils, and stir.
  3. Pour into tubes (yield: approx. 15 tubes), and allow to cool to room temperature before capping.

You can of course make smaller batches if you don’t want to make 15 tubes at a time. Just adjust quantities accordingly. Store unused tubes in a cool, dry place to prolong life.

Don’t want to make it yourself? Buy it now.

 

 

why you should be using customized skin and hair care

As a general rule, I have oily skin. When I was younger, I always thought it was weird that I needed to moisturize my already-oily skin. I mean–isn’t there enough “moisture” there to begin with? So I did a little research, and you know what I found? Our body is pretty darn smart. Oil is produced for a reason (even though some of us have a bit too much and some don’t have enough). For those of us with oily skin, if we stop moisturizing, our body tells the skin that it needs MORE! Guess what happens…yep, it produces even more oil than before. The same is true for those with dry skin. When we slather on the moisturizer, out body thinks it’s getting at the very least enough and possibly too much. That means it doesn’t produce as much!

So how do we fix it? We use customized skin and hair care products! Even two people with seemingly similar oily skin have completely different biological factors in play. When they use the same products, they might have similar results, but those products will probably work better for one person than for the other.

It’s also important to consider the ingredients in the products. When we use products with artificial chemicals and other additives, our body doesn’t know what to do with them. Our reactions to those ingredients can vary in degree, but one thing is certain–they won’t be overly effective for the long-term. And worst case scenario…they cause other problems down the road!

The thing I love most about my homemade, all-natural products (I make a full skin care set with cleanser, toner, and moisturizer; hair and body wash; and lotion) is that I can customize them for my needs. Since I am prone to acne, my skin care set includes carrier and essential oils to help minimize acne-causing bacteria. Since my hair tends to lean toward the oily side, my hair and body wash includes carrier and essential oils that are of a lighter “weight” and that have deep cleansing properties. I also make hair and body wash and skin care for my husband. He has more of a combination skin (some areas are oily while other areas tend to be drier), and he is prone to dandruff. The carrier and essential oils in his products are chosen to specifically address those needs.

Make the switch today to customized products, and you won’t be disappointed!

Read more:
easy homemade skin care
homemade dry shampoo
choosing carrier and essential oils for your skin type
choosing carrier and essential oils for your hair type
all-natural foaming face wash
homemade non-greasy lotion