Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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Flash Sale! Just in time for the Holidays! Read on to find out how you might win a FREE Premium Starter Kit!

Kit Christmas Flash Sale_edited-1

Want a chance to win a FREE Premium Starter Kit!?!

Of course you do! For limited time, order your Premium Starter Kit between now and midnight on Thursday, December 10th and receive $20 cash back from me! Plus, you get exclusive access to an online event that will teach you all about how to use your new kit when it arrives to get started on your Naturally Oily Adventures, survive the holidays, and more! At this event you will be entered for a chance to win the full reimbursement of the cost of your kit! I know they are giving away the value of at least TWO Premium Starter Kits plus a chance to win other FREE oils!!! Contact me for more information or order your Premium Starter Kit today here! Once your order is confirmed, I’ll send you the link to the exclusive online event! Hope to see you there!

Happy Holidays!

Celia

Flash Sale! Just in time for the Holidays! Read on to find out how you might win a FREE Premium Starter Kit! was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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5 “Good-To-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects

To follow up on yesterday’s post about 5 “Must Have” Ingredients for the home I wanted to share 5 more “Good-to-Have” Ingredients that I also make sure to keep in stock at my house for all my DIY home and beauty projects!

5 “Good-To-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects

#1 – Castile Soap – Castile soap is vegetable based soap traditionally made from olive oil, water, and lye.  It gets its name from a style of soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain. True castile soap does not contain any synthetic detergents or harsh chemicals and the most respected brands also avoid artificial colorants, fragrances, or preservatives making them wonderful products for natural cleaning and sensitive skin. Because there are no animal fats used castile soap is a truly vegan product which also increases its popularity among some circles. Castile soap is a surfactant which helps lift away dirt and grime and cut through grease.  It makes a wonderful laundry detergent and dish soap as well as a shampoo, shaving cream and body wash or an excellent addition to DIY recipes like my foaming hand soap.  In addition, because it is eco-friendly and biodegradable, castile soap makes an excellent soap for washing your car or patio furniture!  I prefer Dr. Bronner’s brand which is probably the most well-known castile soap.  Dr. Bronner’s comes in Unscented Baby Mild formula as well as in several fragrances made with organic oils, including the most popular Peppermint*, Lavender, and Almond as well as lesser known (and harder to find) fragrances Eucalyptus, Hemp Rose, Tea Tree and Citrus Orange.  (*Note: the Peppermint, while very popular, can be quite invigorating and some sensitive skin areas may not enjoy this fragrance as a body wash) Dr. Bronner’s is widely available now.  We find it’s cheaper at our local Kroger than health food stores and some Costco locations carry it as well.  For more information on Dr. Bronner’s All-One Magic Soap check out their website: https://www.drbronner.com/

#2 – Vegetable Butters – These are natural vegetable fats obtained from plants, trees, roots, or seeds that are rich in beneficial nutrients.  They are solid at room temperature but melt with body heat and are popular additions to cosmetics and body products because they are excellent emollients, softeners and protecting agents.  There are dozens of vegetable butters available, including Avocado, Cocoa, Green Tea, Kokum, Mango, Orange Peel, Palm, Peach, and Shea – each of which has their own beneficial properties.  Two of my favorites are:

1) Cocoa Butter – an aromatic butter pressed from the toasted seeds of the cocoa tree. It’s solid when cooled but will soften at body temperature and is a great addition to soaps, lotions, and creams to add a soft, rich, creamy texture and to reduce dryness.  Contains natural antioxidants and is a rich source of Vitamin E which helps soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin. I buy mine here from Mountain Rose Herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/cocoa-butter/profile

2) Shea Butter – an aromatic, unrefined butter pressed from the fruit of a tree from West Africa.  It is naturally high in Vitamins A and E and is a great addition to body and skin care products for its soothing and rejuvenating effects.  It even offers low-level UV protection (approximately SPF – 6) and could be incorporated into DIY sunscreen recipes.  It does have a stronger smell than cocoa butter, kinda “nutty” in nature.  I buy mine here from Mountain Rose Herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/shea-butter/profile

#3 – Beeswax – Not just for candles! Beeswax makes a wonderful addition to body products because it is a naturally hydrating ingredient that adds moisture to skin. It’s a great thickening agent that helps bind and emulsify ointments, salves, lip balms, and lotions.  I prefer the Beeswax Pastilles from Mountain Rose Herbs because they melt easily. Buy them here: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/beeswax-pastilles/profile

#4 – Epsom Salt – Salt crystals from combining the minerals Magnesium and Sulfate.  Epsom salt is a natural exfoliant and anti-inflammation remedy that is probably best known for throwing in hot bath water to treat aching muscles.  In addition to making a wonderfully relaxing bath, Epsom salt has dozens of uses for around the home.  It makes a great foot soak and scrub; help remove splinters; can be added to your facial cleanser to exfoliate your skin; can provide headache relief; can soothe itching skin from bug bites or relieve minor sunburn irritation; used as a laxative; boost growth of tomato plants by adding to your garden soil; added to water for houseplants to help them grow; get rid of garden slugs; even used as a tile and grout cleaner in your bathroom!  We buy ours in bulk at Costco.

#5 – Other Essential Oils

EVERYDAY OILS 2014 v1.1

1) YL’s “Everyday Oils” collection is a great place to start.  This collection includes 10 of Young Living’s best-selling oils, including: Thieves, Tea Tree, Lavender, PanAway, Peppermint, Stress Away, Lemon, Frankincense, Purification, and Joy.  Send me a message to find out more about specific oils and their properties! Ready to order? Then follow this link: Shop Now!

2) Have you gone from borderline skeptic to full blown addict? Then check out the “Fab-14” essential oils and blends which make great additions to the Everyday oils collection! These include: Ylang Ylang, Idaho Balsam Fir, Cinnamon Bark, Grapefruit, Copaiba, Endoflex, Melrose, M-Grain, Motivation, Aroma Siez, Clarity, Dragon Time, Exodus, and Mister.

Keep the conversation going! What other “good-to-have” ingredients to you always keep on hand for DIY natural home and beauty projects? Comment below!


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5 “Good-To-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects

5 Good-to-Have Ingredients

To follow up on yesterday’s post about 5 “Must Have” Ingredients for the home I wanted to share 5 more “Good-to-Have” Ingredients that I also make sure to keep in stock at my house for all my DIY home and beauty projects!

5 “Good-To-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects

#1 – Castile Soap

Castile soap is vegetable based soap traditionally made from olive oil, water, and lye.  It gets its name from a style of soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain. True castile soap does not contain any synthetic detergents or harsh chemicals and the most respected brands also avoid artificial colorants, fragrances, or preservatives making them wonderful products for natural cleaning and sensitive skin. Because there are no animal fats used castile soap is a truly vegan product which also increases its popularity among some circles. Castile soap is a surfactant which helps lift away dirt and grime and cut through grease.  It makes a wonderful laundry detergent and dish soap as well as a shampoo, shaving cream and body wash or an excellent addition to DIY recipes like my foaming hand soap.  In addition, because it is eco-friendly and biodegradable, castile soap makes an excellent soap for washing your car or patio furniture!  I prefer Dr. Bronner’s brand which is probably the most well-known castile soap.  Dr. Bronner’s comes in Unscented Baby Mild formula as well as in several fragrances made with organic oils, including the most popular Peppermint*, Lavender, and Almond as well as lesser known (and harder to find) fragrances Eucalyptus, Hemp Rose, Tea Tree and Citrus Orange.  (*Note: the Peppermint, while very popular, can be quite invigorating and some sensitive skin areas may not enjoy this fragrance as a body wash) Dr. Bronner’s is widely available now.  We find it’s cheaper at our local Kroger than health food stores and some Costco locations carry it as well.  For more information on Dr. Bronner’s All-One Magic Soap check out their website: https://www.drbronner.com/

#2 – Vegetable Butters

These are natural vegetable fats obtained from plants, trees, roots, or seeds that are rich in beneficial nutrients.  They are solid at room temperature but melt with body heat and are popular additions to cosmetics and body products because they are excellent emollients, softeners and protecting agents.  There are dozens of vegetable butters available, including Avocado, Cocoa, Green Tea, Kokum, Mango, Orange Peel, Palm, Peach, and Shea – each of which has their own beneficial properties.  Two of my favorites are:

1) Cocoa Butter – an aromatic butter pressed from the toasted seeds of the cocoa tree. It’s solid when cooled but will soften at body temperature and is a great addition to soaps, lotions, and creams to add a soft, rich, creamy texture and to reduce dryness.  Contains natural antioxidants and is a rich source of Vitamin E which helps soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin. I buy mine here from Mountain Rose Herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/cocoa-butter/profile

2) Shea Butter – an aromatic, unrefined butter pressed from the fruit of a tree from West Africa.  It is naturally high in Vitamins A and E and is a great addition to body and skin care products for its soothing and rejuvenating effects.  It even offers low-level UV protection (approximately SPF – 6) and could be incorporated into DIY sunscreen recipes.  It does have a stronger smell than cocoa butter, kinda “nutty” in nature.  I buy mine here from Mountain Rose Herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/shea-butter/profile

#3 – Beeswax

Not just for candles! Beeswax makes a wonderful addition to body products because it is a naturally hydrating ingredient that adds moisture to skin. It’s a great thickening agent that helps bind and emulsify ointments, salves, lip balms, and lotions.  I prefer the Beeswax Pastilles from Mountain Rose Herbs because they melt easily. Buy them here: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/beeswax-pastilles/profile

#4 – Epsom Salt

Salt crystals from combining the minerals Magnesium and Sulfate.  Epsom salt is a natural exfoliant and anti-inflammation remedy that is probably best known for throwing in hot bath water to treat aching muscles.  In addition to making a wonderfully relaxing bath, Epsom salt has dozens of uses for around the home.  It makes a great foot soak and scrub; help remove splinters; can be added to your facial cleanser to exfoliate your skin; can provide headache relief; can soothe itching skin from bug bites or relieve minor sunburn irritation; used as a laxative; boost growth of tomato plants by adding to your garden soil; added to water for houseplants to help them grow; get rid of garden slugs; even used as a tile and grout cleaner in your bathroom!  We buy ours in bulk at Costco.

#5 – Other Essential Oils

Young Living Starter Kit

1) Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit is a great place to start! You get 10 of the best selling essential oils and blends: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Frankincense, Copaiba, DiGize, R.C., Purification, PanAway, and Thieves plus a bonus Stress Away essential oil blend, a roller fitment to easily apply your favorite oil, a diffuser of your choice, samples of NingXia Red and other best selling oils plus tons of great information about Young Living products and business opportunities! Send me a message to find out more about specific oils and their properties! Ready to order? Then follow this link: Shop Now!

2) Have you gone from borderline skeptic to full blown addict? Young Living has the best selection of essential oils and blends on the market today! Check out more of their amazing line up of essential oil singles and essential oil blends!

*Note: the Featured image pictures the Everyday Oils collection which at the time I joined was part of the Premium Starter Kit.  While the products have changed I’m quite possibly more excited about the current kit oils.  You can, however, still get the Everyday Oils collection available exclusively to Young Living members!

Keep the conversation going! What other “good-to-have” ingredients to you always keep on hand for DIY natural home and beauty projects? Comment below!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

5 “Good-To-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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5 “Must-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

When you first get started on your own adventure in living a more natural lifestyle you will very quickly realize that there are tons of uses for household items, many of which you already have in your kitchen cabinets! I’ll be sharing many tricks, DIY recipes, and life hacks in this blog and if you want to follow along you’ll need a few items.  Below are my 5 “must have” items I can’t live without on my adventure!

5 Must Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

#1 – Coconut Oil!!! A quick google search and hundreds of uses for coconut oil (CO) will pop up! There are two types of CO you need to know about for DIY home and beauty recipes:

1) Pure, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil – Cold-pressed CO is made by expeller pressing dehydrated coconut flakes to extract the oil. Extra-Virgin refers to the first pressing before it is clarified/refined using a centrifuge. It will solidify in cooler temperatures but has a low melting point and melts easily at skin temperature. We use this all the time to cook with! CO is an easy to digest oil that helps provide digestive support by promoting probiotics and destroying bad bacteria and parasites in your digestive tract. In addition, CO’s healthy fats support thyroid and adrenal gland function, help balance blood sugar, and contain medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which can even promote weight loss! Besides being a wonderful addition to your kitchen cupboard CO has a number of other uses, including:
• anti-fungal properties which can be used to treat athlete’s foot, ring worm, and cradle cap
• added to lotions and moisturizers to treat dry flaky skin from eczema or psoriasis
• used as a wound salve or to treat diaper rash
• natural UV protection (approximately an SPF of 3-4) and can be added to DIY sunscreen
• added to homemade toothpaste or used for oil pulling to promote good oral health
• natural hair conditioner that treats and prevents dandruff and can be used as a hair detangler for children
** Unrefined CO does smell like coconut. If you find the smell of coconut offensive you can use refined CO in your skin and beauty recipes. But unrefined CO is richer in phytonutrients than refined coconut oil so I wouldn’t use refined to cook with (at low temperatures) if you wanted to retain all the health benefits. When cooking at higher temperatures refined CO is better due to its higher smoking temperature. While unrefined CO does have a slight coconut taste, it is subtle and I don’t notice it altering the flavor of what I’m cooking much. We buy Carrington Farms brand at Costco.

2) Fractionated coconut oil – This is a fraction of the whole oil that has been extracted to retain the liquid form and therefore does not retain all of the same ingested health benefits as pure, unrefined, extra-virgin coconut oil. I would not use this for cooking. However, its natural liquid state makes it a great ingredient for DIY skin and beauty products, including:
• natural facial moisturizer
• helps promote eyelash growth
• used in spray sunscreens due to natural UV protection
• added as a moisturizing ingredient to DIY baby wipes
I buy Dr. Adorable brand fractionated CO off Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Fractionated-Coconut-Pure-Organic-Dr-Adorable/dp/B00H8XVWS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431029587&sr=8-1&keywords=dr+adorable+coconut+oil

#2 – Baking Soda – Baking soda (BS) is sodium bicarbonate created by combining carbon dioxide to sodium carbonate (also called Washing Soda or Soda Ash). It is a common mineral added in baking recipes as a leavening agent. It is alkaline in nature and can be used to balance acidity in cooking as well as in DIY recipes and helps remove offensive odors naturally. In addition, it is a natural, but gentle, abrasive which makes it a wonderful addition to cleaning and beauty recipes! Baking Soda can be used for so many things it is a must-have in every DIY home. We buy ours in bulk from Costco! Check out some of the amazing uses for Baking Soda, including:
• Extinguish grease fires
• Removes tarnish from silver
• Natural oven cleaner when combined with vinegar (yay! Science!)
• Add to washing machine as natural fabric softener and to remove odors
• Is a natural fungistatic – which means it can prevent fungus from growing and spreading
• Removes plaque when brushed on teeth or added to homemade toothpaste
• Helps dry wetness and control odor therefore is a great addition to homemade deodorant
• Is a natural facial scrub and exfoliant
• Can soothe irritated skin and relieve body aches when added to a bath
• The Alkalinity helps open up the hair follicle and clean the hair when used as a shampoo (note: you must use some sort of acid base rinse to help restore the pH balance of your hair – more on this in a future post)
• Seriously, this list could go on… Check out google or Pinterest for more amazing ways you never knew you could use Baking Soda!

#3 – Vinegar – Aside from making delicious salad dressings, BBQ sauce, and “pickled” veggies from the garden, vinegar is one of my all-time favorite cleaning products! The uses for vinegar are practically endless! Below are some awesome ways you may have never thought to use both Distilled White Vinegar as well as Apple Cider Vinegar.

1) Distilled White Vinegar (DWV) – we buy the giant bottle from Costco for all our uses around the house!
• Clean the sticky off your scissors
• Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal or dishwasher
• Steam a cup of vinegar to help clean the crusties out of your microwave as well as reduce odor
• Spray on tile grout then scrub with toothbrush to make it whiter and prevent mildew
• Add to washing machine to help remove stains and brighten colors (by removing the soap residue that dulls dark colors)
• Kill weeds and crabgrass in your drive/walkway and use as a slug repellent in gardens
• Spray on furniture to keep your cat from using it as a scratching post
• Get rid of skunk odor

2) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – You will often see people, especially crunchy granola types, refer to ACV “with the mother” when talking about DIY home remedies or health benefits of ACV. What this refers to is a bacterial culture that is added to the liquid to promote fast fermentation. Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered ACV is probably the most popular brand for this reason (also, you can upcycle the glass bottles by adding a sprayer and using for your DIY recipes that require a spray bottle). There’s limited scientific proof backing up the claim that ACV with the mother has superior health benefits to regular ol’ ACV, however. Plus, I’m cheap and Bragg’s is way more expensive, so I typically just use regular old Heinz ACV. We buy the biggest bottle we can at Kroger (Can’t figure out why in the world our Costco doesn’t carry ACV…).
• Put a little ACV in the bottom of a cup and cover with cling-wrap with holes poked in it for a DIY fruit fly trap
• Add a little ACV to your dog’s water to help prevent fleas, alleviate itching and improve the condition of their skin, aid in digestion and urinary tract function, and help relieve and prevent arthritis. Can also be used to wipe out itchy ears to keep them from scratching.
• Used as a hair rinse to balance the pH after an alkaline shampoo (or BS wash)
• Help get rid of warts
• Relieve the burning sensation after a sunburn
• Treat a sore throat or upset stomach

#4 – Some essential oils. I prefer Young Living brand oils because they provide high-quality therapeutic grade oils and I trust in their “seed to seal” guarantee. See my previous post about why I chose Young Living. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more information on the company or their oils. Below are a few of my “must-haves” essential oils and the best place to start if you only want to buy a few.

1) Lavender – If you only bought one essential oil, make it lavender! It is probably the most versatile of all essential oils and is even gentle enough to use around babies and children! Lavender is probably best known for promoting rest and relaxation but can also help reduce muscle tension; reduce allergy symptoms; soothe irritated skin; alleviate symptoms from eczema or dermatitis; alleviate dandruff; alleviate redness, itching, or swelling from bee stings; reduce redness and soothe pain from burns; is a natural antiseptic (when used topically) that may help stop bleeding, clean wounds, and kill bacteria in cuts and scrapes; alleviate symptoms of motion sickness; even help stop a nosebleed!

2) Peppermint – Probably my second favorite essential oil because of the myriad of uses it is good for, including freshening breath; clears the respiratory tract and can alleviate allergy symptoms; promotes alertness and concentration; naturally thickens and nourishes damaged hair; reduces heartburn and relieves indigestion, gas and diarrhea; alleviates nausea; relieves fever; reduces or alleviates headaches or migraines; relieves joint pain and arthritis; soothes aching muscles; even acts as a natural insect repellent!

3) Tea Tree – I fell in love with Tea Tree oil when I was looking for natural solutions to help my hormonal acne while trying to conceive. No store bought cleansers or spot treatments were helping so I turned to nature as a last resort. Tea Tree oil is a natural astringent that helps open up pores which loosens up dirt and oil and helps kill the bacteria that can cause acne! It was the only thing that worked and I still use it when I have the occasional breakout. In addition, tea tree oil helps kill and prevent lice as well as fleas; eases discomfort from rashes, bug bites, or sunburns; cleans cuts and scrapes; cleans and freshens breath; reduces inflammation in mucous membranes and can relieve a sore throat; relieves pain from earaches; helps fight nail fungus; even kills mold!

4) Thieves – Thieves is an essential oil blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This is the newest addition to my favorite oils but now I know I won’t be able to live without it in my home! I love Thieves for its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungus growth and I was most excited about it because it naturally cleans counter-tops, floors, and pet cages without toxic chemicals. In addition, Thieves oil may prevent infections and promotes healing in cuts and scrapes; relieves cold and flu symptoms; provides relief from headaches; relives pain and hastens healing from broken bones or aching joints; kills mold and airborne germs; is a natural hand sanitizer; reduces phlegm and congestion; treats warts; some even say it can be used to help you quit smoking!

**All four of the above “must have” essential oils are available in the Everyday Oils collection by Young Living! You can get it, plus an 11th bonus oil, a home diffuser, and samples of other best-selling oils as part of the Premium Starter Kit with no commitment to buy or sell the oils! Ask me how!

#5 – Carrier Oils – carrier oils are often used in conjunction with essential oils to dilute for sensitive skin, aid in the absorption of essential oils into the skin, to help extend the use of essential oils since they do not evaporate as quickly, or as an ingredient in massage oil, lotions, creams, bath oils, lip balms, etc. In addition, carrier oils can be used for the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) of skin care – more on this in a future blog post. There are a wide variety of carrier oils out there. I’ve only listed a few of my favorites below. Make sure when purchasing a carrier oil that it is both organic and cold-pressed. They may be easier to find in the cooking aisle rather than the cosmetics aisle or order online. Find more information about carrier oils and their uses here at DIY Natural:http://www.diynatural.com/carrier-oils/

1) Coconut Oil – coconut oil is probably my favorite carrier oil because it has so many beneficial properties. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral making it a perfect addition to homemade salves, ointments, and skincare products. I use it daily as a carrier oil with Melrose blend and Frankincense and Lavender essential oils as my facial moisturizer – I’ll share that recipe later this week!

2) Castor Oil – Castor oil is similar to Coconut oil in that it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is often used as a topical ointment to treat pain and soothe irritated skin.

3) Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil closely mimics our skin’s oil and is therefore used as a common ingredient in DIY skincare recipes. It is absorbed easily without leaving the skin feeling greasy. It makes wonderful massage oil and is a desirable ingredient in OCM and other skin care recipes for oily or acne-prone type skin.

4) Sweet Almond Oil – is good for all skin types but very moisturizing, making it an ideal ingredient for DIY skincare recipes that call for a carrier oil.

5) Olive Oil – besides being a wonderful oil to cook with, Olive oil is a great carrier oil for infusing herbs or to combine with other easily absorbed carrier oils to make medicinal salves.

Keep the conversation going! What are some of your “Must Have” ingredients in your natural home? Comment below!

And make sure to check out my next post: 5 Good-to-Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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Why I Chose Young Living Essential Oils

There are a lot of oil companies out there and due to the rising popularity of essential oils they can even be bought in some grocery or health food stores.  But as I discussed in my previous post, not all oils are created equally.  This post is not intended to claim that any one brand of oil is better than any other nor will I pressure anyone into choosing Young Living as their preferred brand or high pressure sales to order through me as a Young Living distributor.  However, you will see Young Living oils included in my recipes and opportunities to purchase if you so desire throughout my future posts.  This post is to explain my rationale for choosing Young Living as my preferred brand of essential oils and why I joined as a wholesale member.

I’ve tried many brands of essential oils over the past several years, including store bought brands such as Aura Cacia (sold at Vitamin Shoppe and many grocery stores), Simpler’s Botanicals (sold at Earth Fare and other health food stores), Mountain Rose Herbs, doTERRA, and Young Living and can vouch from direct comparison that there are differences you can smell just from opening up the container as well as the quality of the product.

Store bought brands: Admittedly it’s convenient to run out to your local grocery or health food store and pick up a bottle of essential oil and this is how I first started using oils.  One of my first essential oil purchases was the widely available Aura Cacia’s lavender and peppermint oils. While Aura Cacia lists its products as “100% pure essential oil” it actually says on the bottle “not intended for therapeutic purposes.”  Despite this, not knowing any different I used both oils in skincare and toothpaste recipes for the better part of a year before learning my error.  Thankfully, no harm came to me from using them in therapeutic ways but now I know better.  I also picked up Simpler’s Botanicals clary sage when this type of oil was recommended to me by an herbalist friend to help regulate my menstrual cycle while we were trying to conceive in 2013.  I was desperate and didn’t want to wait to order from an online source so I ran out and picked up a bottle at Earth Fare.  Simpler’s Botanicals claim to be organic, therapeutic grade oils and therefore have more therapeutic applications than Aura Cacia.  They do list their sources of plants and herbs on their website (which I like) but do not own their own farms so quality control isn’t quite as high as I’d like from my essential oils now that I’m a more educated consumer.

Online sources: The main source of online essential oils that I’ve utilized is Mountain Rose Herbs (www.mountainroseherbs.com).  I was introduced to their products through the Crunchy Betty blog and Facebook community.  They are a great company and have a lot of different products besides essential oils, including dry/ground herbs and spices, teas, beauty/skincare/haircare products, and supplies for making your own homemade products.  Mountain Rose products are overall a great quality and very affordable.  They use sustainable practices and practice fair trade when negotiating with USDA certified organic farmers all over the world (which I like) but again, do not own their own farms so brings up the issue of quality control for me. If you choose to use Mountain Rose Herbs for your source for essential oils make sure you read the descriptions very carefully! They do offer organic, therapeutic grade oils but not all of their oils are of the same quality.  I mistakenly ordered a lavender that was not and was very disappointed in the product.

MLM/Direct Sales brands: A very good friend of mine, who happens to be an herbalist, and I went to a local Green Expo and were introduced to doTERRA oils there.  She joined as a wholesale member and purchased one of their starter kits.  Overall we were impressed with the quality of their oils and enjoyed playing with different recipes together using their oils.  In fact, my amazing belly butter that I used throughout my pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks (which worked really well!) was made using primarily doTERRA oils.  What I’ve learned since then is that doTERRA was actually founded in 2008 by Young Living members who broke away from the organization and founder Gary Young.   Many of their recipes and blends are almost identical to Young Living and some are offered at a slightly lower retail cost.  As far as financial considerations go, however, their starter kit, costs a little bit more than Young Living’s starter kits.  But again, doTERRA contracts with international farms rather than owning their own farms.

I’m not going to get into the lawsuits, mudslinging, independent testing, or ethics involved with the doTERRA vs Young Living debate – there’s plenty of resources out there and I encourage you to do your research in making the best choice for your family.

So, why did I choose Young Living essential oils?

1) Young Living is the oldest direct sales essential oil company founded over 20 years ago.  They own their own farms and control the quality of their oils from the moment the seed is planted in the ground through the harvesting and distillation process whereas other oil companies buy their plants from farms and cannot guarantee how the plants were grown or harvested.  Young Living calls this the “Seed to Seal” guarantee and they invite consumers to actually visit the Young Living farms and see the process for themselves.   Young Living’s oils are also rigorously tested both in house and through third-party  research facilities to ensure they meet the highest standards. This guarantee of quality and confidence in their product means a lot to me as I’ve learned more about how much the quality of essential oils can vary.

SEED TO SEAL v1.2

2) Variety.  Young living currently offers 87 single oils and 70 blends that all meet the “Seed to Seal” quality standards.

3) The value of the Premium Starter Kit allowed me to try out several of Young Living’s best selling single oils and blends at a significantly reduced cost than buying them at retail value.  Once I added up the five oils that I was interested in trying I was already at $175!!! To purchase everything that came in my kit would’ve cost me over $274 retail but by purchasing the starter kit I got all you see below for just $150. That’s the 10 Everyday Oils (which included all 5 of the oils I really wanted to try), an 11th bonus oil, a home diffuser (a $75 value which I LOVE but never would’ve purchased on my own), as well as a roller ball to turn any oil into a roller and some samples of other best selling oils. Plus, by joining as a wholesale member I get 24% off retail for all my future orders with no commitment to buy (or sell) anything else if I didn’t want to!  It was a no brainer!

PREMIUM STARTER KIT v 2.0

4) Now that I have my Young Living oils I have been afforded the opportunity for a direct comparison of their tea tree, lavender, and peppermint oils with the same oils by other brands.  Quite frankly they smell better (like nature, not sweet like candy) which is a big indicator of quality in my book.  I’ve also had the opportunity to start experimenting with some of my tried and true recipes and so far I’m impressed with the differences (including needing less YL peppermint EO in my toothpaste recipe than I’ve needed to get the same flavor with other EO brands)!

So there you have it.  Get out there, do your research, buy some oils and start comparing for yourself.  If you want more information about Young Living, or essential oils in general, please don’t hesitate to send me a message or email.  If you are ready to try out some Young Living oils as a retail customer or if you know you want to join as a wholesale member to get the Premium Starter Kit just click the Shop Now link and follow the prompts!

No matter what brand oils you decide is right for your family, thank you for following my page and I look forward to sharing my journey with you!!!


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5 “Must-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

5 Must Have Ingredients

When you first get started on your own adventure in living a more natural lifestyle you will very quickly realize that there are tons of uses for household items, many of which you already have in your kitchen cabinets! I’ll be sharing many tricks, DIY recipes, and life hacks in this blog and if you want to follow along you’ll need a few items.  Below are my 5 “must have” items I can’t live without on my adventure!

5 Must Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

#1 – Coconut Oil!!!

A quick google search and hundreds of uses for coconut oil (CO) will pop up! There are two types of CO you need to know about for DIY home and beauty recipes:

1) Pure, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil – Cold-pressed CO is made by expeller pressing dehydrated coconut flakes to extract the oil. Extra-Virgin refers to the first pressing before it is clarified/refined using a centrifuge. It will solidify in cooler temperatures but has a low melting point and melts easily at skin temperature. We use this all the time to cook with! CO is an easy to digest oil that helps provide digestive support by promoting probiotics and destroying bad bacteria and parasites in your digestive tract. In addition, CO’s healthy fats support thyroid and adrenal gland function, help balance blood sugar, and contain medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which can even promote weight loss! Besides being a wonderful addition to your kitchen cupboard CO has a number of other uses, including:
• anti-fungal properties which can be used to treat athlete’s foot, ring worm, and cradle cap
• added to lotions and moisturizers to treat dry flaky skin from eczema or psoriasis
• used as a wound salve or to treat diaper rash
• natural UV protection (approximately an SPF of 3-4) and can be added to DIY sunscreen
• added to homemade toothpaste or used for oil pulling to promote good oral health
• natural hair conditioner that treats and prevents dandruff and can be used as a hair detangler for children
** Unrefined CO does smell like coconut. If you find the smell of coconut offensive you can use refined CO in your skin and beauty recipes. But unrefined CO is richer in phytonutrients than refined coconut oil so I wouldn’t use refined to cook with (at low temperatures) if you wanted to retain all the health benefits. When cooking at higher temperatures refined CO is better due to its higher smoking temperature. While unrefined CO does have a slight coconut taste, it is subtle and I don’t notice it altering the flavor of what I’m cooking much. We buy Carrington Farms brand at Costco.

2) Fractionated coconut oil – This is a fraction of the whole oil that has been extracted to retain the liquid form and therefore does not retain all of the same ingested health benefits as pure, unrefined, extra-virgin coconut oil. I would not use this for cooking. However, its natural liquid state makes it a great ingredient for DIY skin and beauty products, including:
• natural facial moisturizer
• helps promote eyelash growth
• used in spray sunscreens due to natural UV protection
• added as a moisturizing ingredient to DIY baby wipes
I buy Dr. Adorable brand fractionated CO off Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Fractionated-Coconut-Pure-Organic-Dr-Adorable/dp/B00H8XVWS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431029587&sr=8-1&keywords=dr+adorable+coconut+oil

#2 – Baking Soda

Baking soda (BS) is sodium bicarbonate created by combining carbon dioxide to sodium carbonate (also called Washing Soda or Soda Ash). It is a common mineral added in baking recipes as a leavening agent. It is alkaline in nature and can be used to balance acidity in cooking as well as in DIY recipes and helps remove offensive odors naturally. In addition, it is a natural, but gentle, abrasive which makes it a wonderful addition to cleaning and beauty recipes! Baking Soda can be used for so many things it is a must-have in every DIY home. We buy ours in bulk from Costco! Check out some of the amazing uses for Baking Soda, including:
• Extinguish grease fires
• Removes tarnish from silver
• Natural oven cleaner when combined with vinegar (yay! Science!)
• Add to washing machine as natural fabric softener and to remove odors
• Is a natural fungistatic – which means it can prevent fungus from growing and spreading
• Removes plaque when brushed on teeth or added to homemade toothpaste
• Helps dry wetness and control odor therefore is a great addition to homemade deodorant
• Is a natural facial scrub and exfoliant
• Can soothe irritated skin and relieve body aches when added to a bath
• The Alkalinity helps open up the hair follicle and clean the hair when used as a shampoo (note: you must use some sort of acid base rinse to help restore the pH balance of your hair – more on this in a future post)
• Seriously, this list could go on… Check out google or Pinterest for more amazing ways you never knew you could use Baking Soda!

#3 – Vinegar

Aside from making delicious salad dressings, BBQ sauce, and “pickled” veggies from the garden, vinegar is one of my all-time favorite cleaning products! The uses for vinegar are practically endless! Below are some awesome ways you may have never thought to use both Distilled White Vinegar as well as Apple Cider Vinegar.

1) Distilled White Vinegar (DWV) – we buy the giant bottle from Costco for all our uses around the house!
• Clean the sticky off your scissors
• Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal or dishwasher
• Steam a cup of vinegar to help clean the crusties out of your microwave as well as reduce odor
• Spray on tile grout then scrub with toothbrush to make it whiter and prevent mildew
• Add to washing machine to help remove stains and brighten colors (by removing the soap residue that dulls dark colors)
• Kill weeds and crabgrass in your drive/walkway and use as a slug repellent in gardens
• Spray on furniture to keep your cat from using it as a scratching post
• Get rid of skunk odor

2) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – You will often see people, especially crunchy granola types, refer to ACV “with the mother” when talking about DIY home remedies or health benefits of ACV. What this refers to is a bacterial culture that is added to the liquid to promote fast fermentation. Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered ACV is probably the most popular brand for this reason (also, you can upcycle the glass bottles by adding a sprayer and using for your DIY recipes that require a spray bottle). There’s limited scientific proof backing up the claim that ACV with the mother has superior health benefits to regular ol’ ACV, however. Plus, I’m cheap and Bragg’s is way more expensive, so I typically just use regular old Heinz ACV. We buy the biggest bottle we can at Kroger (Can’t figure out why in the world our Costco doesn’t carry ACV…).
• Put a little ACV in the bottom of a cup and cover with cling-wrap with holes poked in it for a DIY fruit fly trap
• Add a little ACV to your dog’s water to help prevent fleas, alleviate itching and improve the condition of their skin, aid in digestion and urinary tract function, and help relieve and prevent arthritis. Can also be used to wipe out itchy ears to keep them from scratching.
• Used as a hair rinse to balance the pH after an alkaline shampoo (or BS wash)
• Help get rid of warts
• Relieve the burning sensation after a sunburn
• Treat a sore throat or upset stomach

#4 – Some essential oils

I prefer Young Living brand oils because they provide high-quality therapeutic grade oils and I trust in their “seed to seal” guarantee. See my previous post about why I chose Young Living. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more information on the company or their oils. Below are a few of my “must-haves” essential oils and the best place to start if you only want to buy a few.

1) Lavender – If you only bought one essential oil, make it lavender! It is probably the most versatile of all essential oils and is even gentle enough to use around babies and children! Lavender is probably best known for promoting rest and relaxation but can also help reduce muscle tension; reduce allergy symptoms; soothe irritated skin; alleviate symptoms from eczema or dermatitis; alleviate dandruff; alleviate redness, itching, or swelling from bee stings; reduce redness and soothe pain from burns; is a natural antiseptic (when used topically) that may help stop bleeding, clean wounds, and kill bacteria in cuts and scrapes; alleviate symptoms of motion sickness; even help stop a nosebleed!

2) Peppermint – Probably my second favorite essential oil because of the myriad of uses it is good for, including freshening breath; clears the respiratory tract and can alleviate allergy symptoms; promotes alertness and concentration; naturally thickens and nourishes damaged hair; reduces heartburn and relieves indigestion, gas and diarrhea; alleviates nausea; relieves fever; reduces or alleviates headaches or migraines; relieves joint pain and arthritis; soothes aching muscles; even acts as a natural insect repellent!

3) Tea Tree – I fell in love with Tea Tree oil when I was looking for natural solutions to help my hormonal acne while trying to conceive. No store bought cleansers or spot treatments were helping so I turned to nature as a last resort. Tea Tree oil is a natural astringent that helps open up pores which loosens up dirt and oil and helps kill the bacteria that can cause acne! It was the only thing that worked and I still use it when I have the occasional breakout. In addition, tea tree oil helps kill and prevent lice as well as fleas; eases discomfort from rashes, bug bites, or sunburns; cleans cuts and scrapes; cleans and freshens breath; reduces inflammation in mucous membranes and can relieve a sore throat; relieves pain from earaches; helps fight nail fungus; even kills mold!

4) Thieves – Thieves is an essential oil blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This is the newest addition to my favorite oils but now I know I won’t be able to live without it in my home! I love Thieves for its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungus growth and I was most excited about it because it naturally cleans counter-tops, floors, and pet cages without toxic chemicals. In addition, Thieves oil may prevent infections and promotes healing in cuts and scrapes; relieves cold and flu symptoms; provides relief from headaches; relives pain and hastens healing from broken bones or aching joints; kills mold and airborne germs; is a natural hand sanitizer; reduces phlegm and congestion; treats warts; some even say it can be used to help you quit smoking!

**All four of the above “must have” essential oils are available in the Everyday Oils collection by Young Living, an exclusive members only collection of 10 of their best selling essential oils! You can get at wholesale cost if you join Young Living.  By joining you get 4 of the 5 above mentioned oils, 6 additional best selling oils, plus an 11th bonus oil, a diffuser of your choice, and samples of other best-selling oils as part of the Premium Starter Kit with no commitment to buy or sell the oils! Contact me for more information or sign up today here!

#5 – Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are often used in conjunction with essential oils to dilute for sensitive skin, aid in the absorption of essential oils into the skin, to help extend the use of essential oils since they do not evaporate as quickly, or as an ingredient in massage oil, lotions, creams, bath oils, lip balms, etc. In addition, carrier oils can be used for the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) of skin care – more on this in a future blog post. There are a wide variety of carrier oils out there. I’ve only listed a few of my favorites below. Make sure when purchasing a carrier oil that it is both organic and cold-pressed. They may be easier to find in the cooking aisle rather than the cosmetics aisle or order online. Find more information about carrier oils and their uses here at DIY Natural:http://www.diynatural.com/carrier-oils/

1) Coconut Oil – coconut oil is probably my favorite carrier oil because it has so many beneficial properties. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral making it a perfect addition to homemade salves, ointments, and skincare products. I use it daily as a carrier oil with Melrose blend and Frankincense and Lavender essential oils as my facial moisturizer – I’ll share that recipe later this week!

2) Castor Oil – Castor oil is similar to Coconut oil in that it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is often used as a topical ointment to treat pain and soothe irritated skin.

3) Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil closely mimics our skin’s oil and is therefore used as a common ingredient in DIY skincare recipes. It is absorbed easily without leaving the skin feeling greasy. It makes wonderful massage oil and is a desirable ingredient in OCM and other skin care recipes for oily or acne-prone type skin.

4) Sweet Almond Oil – is good for all skin types but very moisturizing, making it an ideal ingredient for DIY skincare recipes that call for a carrier oil.

5) Olive Oil – besides being a wonderful oil to cook with, Olive oil is a great carrier oil for infusing herbs or to combine with other easily absorbed carrier oils to make medicinal salves.

Keep the conversation going! What are some of your “Must Have” ingredients in your natural home? Comment below!

And make sure to check out my next post: 5 Good-to-Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

5 “Must-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects! was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures


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Why I Chose Young Living Essential Oils

why I chose YL

There are a lot of oil companies out there and due to the rising popularity of essential oils they can even be bought in some grocery or health food stores.  But as I discussed in my previous post, not all oils are created equally.  This post is not intended to claim that any one brand of oil is better than any other nor will I pressure anyone into choosing Young Living as their preferred brand or high pressure sales to order through me as a Young Living distributor.  However, you will see Young Living oils included in my recipes and opportunities to purchase if you so desire throughout my future posts.  This post is to explain my rationale for choosing Young Living as my preferred brand of essential oils and why I joined as a wholesale member.

I’ve tried many brands of essential oils over the past several years, including store bought brands such as Aura Cacia (sold at Vitamin Shoppe and many grocery stores), Simpler’s Botanicals (sold at Earth Fare and other health food stores), Mountain Rose Herbs, doTERRA, and Young Living and can vouch from direct comparison that there are differences you can smell just from opening up the container as well as the quality of the product.

Store bought brands: Admittedly it’s convenient to run out to your local grocery or health food store and pick up a bottle of essential oil and this is how I first started using oils.  One of my first essential oil purchases was the widely available Aura Cacia’s lavender and peppermint oils. While Aura Cacia lists its products as “100% pure essential oil” it actually says on the bottle “not intended for therapeutic purposes.”  Despite this, not knowing any different I used both oils in skincare and toothpaste recipes for the better part of a year before learning my error.  Thankfully, no harm came to me from using them in therapeutic ways but now I know better.  I also picked up Simpler’s Botanicals clary sage when this type of oil was recommended to me by an herbalist friend to help regulate my menstrual cycle while we were trying to conceive in 2013.  I was desperate and didn’t want to wait to order from an online source so I ran out and picked up a bottle at Earth Fare.  Simpler’s Botanicals claim to be organic, therapeutic grade oils and therefore have more therapeutic applications than Aura Cacia.  They do list their sources of plants and herbs on their website (which I like) but do not own their own farms so quality control isn’t quite as high as I’d like from my essential oils now that I’m a more educated consumer.

Online sources: The main source of online essential oils that I utilized prior to joining Young Living was Mountain Rose Herbs.  I was introduced to their products through the Crunchy Betty blog and Facebook community.  They are a great company and have a lot of different products besides essential oils, including dry/ground herbs and spices, teas, beauty/skincare/haircare products, and supplies for making your own homemade products.  Mountain Rose products are overall a great quality and very affordable.  They use sustainable practices and practice fair trade when negotiating with USDA certified organic farmers all over the world (which I like) but again, do not own their own farms so brings up the issue of quality control for me. If you choose to use Mountain Rose Herbs for your source for essential oils make sure you read the descriptions very carefully! They do offer organic, therapeutic grade oils but not all of their oils are of the same quality.  I mistakenly ordered a lavender that was not and was very disappointed in the product.

MLM/Direct Sales brands: A very good friend of mine, who happens to be an herbalist, and I went to a local Green Expo and were introduced to doTERRA oils there.  She joined as a wholesale member and purchased one of their starter kits.  Overall we were impressed with the quality of their oils and enjoyed playing with different recipes together using their oils.  In fact, my amazing belly butter that I used throughout my pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks (which worked really well!) was made using primarily doTERRA oils.  What I’ve learned since then is that doTERRA was actually founded in 2008 by Young Living members who broke away from the organization and founder Gary Young.   Many of their recipes and blends are almost identical to Young Living and some are offered at a slightly lower retail cost.  As far as financial considerations go, however, their starter kit, costs a little bit more than Young Living’s starter kits.  But again, doTERRA contracts with international farms rather than owning their own farms.

I’m not going to get into the lawsuits, mudslinging, independent testing, or ethics involved with the doTERRA vs Young Living debate – there’s plenty of resources out there and I encourage you to do your research in making the best choice for your family.

So, why did I choose Young Living essential oils?

1) Young Living is the oldest direct sales essential oil company founded over 20 years ago.  They own their own farms and control the quality of their oils from the moment the seed is planted in the ground through the harvesting and distillation process whereas other oil companies buy their plants from farms and cannot guarantee how the plants were grown or harvested.  Young Living calls this the “Seed to Seal” guarantee and they invite consumers to actually visit the Young Living farms and see the process for themselves.   Young Living’s oils are also rigorously tested both in house and through third-party  research facilities to ensure they meet the highest standards. This guarantee of quality and confidence in their product means a lot to me as I’ve learned more about how much the quality of essential oils can vary.

SEED TO SEAL v1.2

2) Variety.  Young living currently offers 87 single oils and 70 blends that all meet the “Seed to Seal” quality standards.

3) The value of the Premium Starter Kit allowed me to try out several of Young Living’s best selling single oils and blends at a significantly reduced cost than buying them at retail value.  Once I added up the five oils that I was interested in trying I was already at $175!!! To purchase everything that came in my kit would’ve cost me over $274 retail but by purchasing the starter kit I got all the oils below starting at just $160. That’s the 10 of Young Living’s best selling oils (which included 4 out of the 5 of the oils I really wanted to try), an 11th bonus oil, a diffuser of your choice (a $75+ value which I LOVE but never would’ve purchased on my own), as well as a roller ball to turn any oil into a roller and some samples of other best selling oils. Plus, by joining as a wholesale member I get 24% off retail for all my future orders with no commitment to buy (or sell) anything else if I didn’t want to!  It was a no brainer!

PSK with Diffuser Choices

4) Now that I have my Young Living oils I have been afforded the opportunity for a direct comparison of their tea tree, lavender, and peppermint oils with the same oils by other brands.  Quite frankly they smell better (like nature, not sweet like candy) which is a big indicator of quality in my book.  I’ve also had the opportunity to start experimenting with some of my tried and true recipes and so far I’m impressed with the differences (including needing less YL peppermint EO in my toothpaste recipe than I’ve needed to get the same flavor with other EO brands)!

So there you have it.  Get out there, do your research, buy some oils and start comparing for yourself.  If you want more information about Young Living, or essential oils in general, please don’t hesitate to send me a message or email.  If you are ready to try out some Young Living oils as a retail customer or if you know you want to join as a wholesale member to get the Premium Starter Kit just click the Shop Now link and follow the prompts!

No matter what brand oils you decide is right for your family, thank you for following my page and I look forward to sharing my journey with you!!!

Why I Chose Young Living Essential Oils was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures