Life after laundry detergent and fabric softener

Nobody can deny how utterly scrumptious a laundry smells when you walk past and your favourite fragrance wafts up your nose. I actually connect laundry smells to different memories – of friends I had in the past, of university rooms, of loved ones who I have held close. It came as a shock to read that the laundry is one of the most carcinogenic places in a house!

In 2008, scientists reported on the toxic chemicals in laundry detergents and other laundry products and it wasn’t good news. A single fragrance can contain multiple toxic chemicals that have been linked to asthma, dermatitis and even cancer.

Researchers from the University of Washington studied top-selling laundry and air-freshening products and found that they emitted dozens of different chemicals. All of them gave off at least one identified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws in America. What’s worse is that because of current labelling laws, none of these chemicals were listed on the label.

Among the products tested were a dryer sheet, a fabric softener, and a laundry detergent, as well as spray and plug-in air fresheners. Results showed nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from the six products, and none were on the label. “Five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic ‘hazardous air pollutants,’ which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level,” said study author Anne Steinemann.

A later 2011 study by the same researchers found that air vented from machines using top-selling scented liquid laundry detergent and scented dryer sheets contained hazardous chemicals, including two classified as carcinogens.

For the study, researchers ran a load of laundry once with no products, once with a leading brand of scented liquid laundry detergent, and once with both the detergent and a dryer sheet. They captured the exhaust from the dryer vent with a canister.

An analysis of the captured air showed more than 25 VOCs, including seven hazardous air pollutants. The two carcinogens were acetaldehyde and benzene.

“These products can affect not only personal health,” said Steinemann, “but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies.”

You can Google for more information on the toxic chemicals in laundry products. Look for Fragrance (this is where multiple chemicals are used to make the desired smell), surfactants, stabilizers, bleach, 1,4-dioxane, brighteners, phosphates & EDTA. It’s scary stuff. Check to see if these are included in the laundry products you use too.

Thankfully, there are alternatives!

  • You can make your own laundry detergent. Wellness Mama has a great recipe, and you can find others online as well. You can add your favourite doTERRA essential oil for Fragrance
  • You can buy doTERRA’s On Guard laundry detergent, which I absolutely love! Read about it here.
  • Then you can skip the fabric softener completely and use woollen dryer balls or, if you’re going to dry outside, half-cup of vinegar added in the rinse cycle will produce the same results without the toxic chemicals.
  • Please do dump the dryer sheets! They a toxic shitstorm, if you’ll excuse my French! Dryer alls will also reduce static cling. I love my dryer balls, hence the title of this blog! (I literally did curse when I realised my favourite scents were so harmful and BALLS literally were my solution!)  Again, I got mine from doTERRA and I add geranium essential oil every few times I use my dryer. Geranium is such a beautiful scent for laundry.  It’s sweet, but not sickly, and it’s really calming.  Great for your bed sheets!  You can make your own using ( see DIYnatural) or if you don’t use a dryer you can even make a spray with 1 cup white vinegar to 3 cups of water and 30 drops of essential oils to spray on the washing when it is on the line ready to dry in the sun.

If you’d like to go chemical free in your laundry TODAY, and would like to have a look at the doTERRA products available and different essential oils you can use for scent, click here to be redirected to my webstore. Any questions, give me a shout!

Much Love x x x

Sources:

University of Washington, “Toxic Chemicals Found in Common Scented Laundry Products, Air Fresheners,” Science Daily, July 24, 2008, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723134438.htm.

Anne C. Steinemann, Lisa G. Gallagher, Amy L. Davis, Ian C. MacGregor, “Chemical emissions from residential dryer vents during use of fragranced laundry products,” Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 2011; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11869-011-0156-1.

Creating Community

I had such a lovely day in the community today.  I was invited by the Beachlands Community Trust to take part in their Remakery.  This is such an amazing thing for the community! A chance to learn about composting, upcycling and more. I was there with my Make & Take Workshop teaching people how to make home essentials like deodorant WITHOUT synthetic fragrance and other dangerous chemicals, like SLS and parabens.

Those of you who follow Essential Mum will know that I am on a MISSION to get those things out of our family homes and get mums using easy, natural recipes with essential oils.

There was a great turn out from the community; young and old got their hands dirty!

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It was great opportunity to answer questions about essential oils and talk about doTERRA’s amazing Co-impact sourcing, which of course was of great interest to the people at the Remakery because of their desire to make a positive difference to our world.

I am so excited about the Remakery continuing and that I have been invited back! I was also approached by a local lady who runs breastfeeding workshops to bring the essential oil education to new mums there, to help with common issues like thrush, nappy rash, disturbed sleep and baby blues naturally. I loved this opportunity (and if course said yes) and would be open to more, if anybody out there has a group that they think would benefit?

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 Jennie’s Art Projects did this little project with a child. He brought his own laundry basket and mixed up his own paint colour from leftovers. Then they painted the basket together. Good fun and a proud boy!

I urge people to also put the next Remakery, on the July 8th, into their diaries. We live in a disposable world that is causing such irreparable damage. Our children have more opportunities to learn how to waste than they do to how to conserve and protect. The Remakery is one way to change that. There were a few youngsters getting involved in my workshop today, making deodorant and room spray and multi surface cleaner and learning about the benefits of essential oils. It was great to see!

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Jenny, who runs the Remakery, from the Beachlands Community Trust is full of great ideas and enthusiasm to keep our community great and improve it too. Essential Mum is committed to supporting her ideas and efforts. Especially because she said I reminded her of a young Anne Roddick… jokes 😉

If you came along today and enjoyed the Make & Take workshop, and you’d like to learn more about the essential oils you got to experiment with, I am running a FREE workshop on the 16th at my Beachlands Home. Learn more here!

To keep up to date with events like the Make & Take, follow me on Facebook.

My next event is a Creative Vision Board session as vehicle to looking within yourself for the guidance you need to be happy and healthy.

I am a certified Life Coach and this session is part of my Design Your Life June & July Series. Come along and get creative. Bring what you would like to create on (white board/ cork board, pens/pins, something else) and I’ll provide paper and magazines, scissors, etc.

The session costs $10, including coffee and tea.

If you’d like to receive a copy of the recipes I shared at the Remakery, CLICK HERE and complete the contact form with “RECIPES” in the comments.  I’ll also send you the free copy of my eBook.

I’ll update this blog with names and links and photos as the other members of the Remakery share them with me, I was just too excited to wait before I shared the story of a wonderful day.

Thanks Beachlands Community Trust!

Much Love X X

 

Christmas Gift Ideas for Mum (that’s you by the way ;) )

I bloody love Christmas!

I put up the Christmas tree yesterday with my little ones and we listened to Christmas music.  There is a real joy in giving at Christmas and this goes so much further than the presents under the Christmas Tree.  This year in Eden’s Advent Calendar we have included activities to spend time with each other, because in our busy lives that can get lost!

In the same way, as mums, we don’t necessarily gift ourselves with the soul-nourishing, heart cleansing, mind boosting gift of time and love for us enough because we always have others to give our time to!

So, this post is about YOU mum, and my recommendations of 5 gifts to you or any other mum who deserves some utter indulgent love <3!

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Diffuser Necklace

Beautiful diffuser necklaces by Sandy Feet Jewellery. A great way to wear your doTERRA essential oils! ~Unique... like you. Can send internationally.

NZ$25.00

Essential Mum Natural Range

BabyKids!

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Ethical Breastfeeding Scarves by Bon Baby

If you are breastfeeding and get challenged by the sun on baby’s head/ in baby’s eyes, or feel more comfortable covered up and want to do that in style, you have to get one of these gorgeous covers from Bon Baby!  You can even get a matching bib for bubs!

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And finally…

Three words… Decadent Rainbow Coloured Macarons.  Grab a box, put on a Christmas Movie and DON’T SHARE!

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If you like the ideas in this blog ~ about treating you ~ you may like my Self-Love Series on Facebook!  Ideas, inspiration and offers to love you through December on Facebook.

Take a look now!

Much Love,

Essential Mum x x


Zero Waste Beauty by Essential Mum

It’s International Bag Free Day today and it’s got me thinking about how awesome (and easy) Zero Waste Beauty is!  Good for you and good for the environment…

Most of Essential Mum’s products are packaged plastic free and I really advocate that you re-use the amber bottles that you buy them in for your own beauty creations.  I share lots of ideas in my monthly newsletter.  if you are not receiving it yet, email me! 🙂  You can even make essential oil bottle Christmas lights!

Making your own beauty products that use natural ingredients, like beeswax and coconut oil, save on energy, waste and water.   Thus being kind to our earth 🙂  And you don’t have to come home with a plastic shopping bag full of plastic pots either.  Just get your natural essential oils from me to get started!

Here are a couple of zero waste beauty ideas to get you started that are so easy I can’t even find a way to describe how easy they are!  😉 …

  • Condition your hair with homemade apple cider vinegar.  Add lavender essential oil to boost hair health and to smell nice! Add Rosemary essential oil for hair growth and Melaleuca to support a healthy scalp.
  • Make your own mouthwash recipe: Boil 500 mL water and cool to room temperature. Then add 30 drops peppermint essential oil and 15 drops clove essential oil. Shake well. Store in pharmaceutical grade amber glass

To get you started on your day journey,  I’m offering a $50 Gift Voucher for Pure Nature when you sign up to  a DOTERRA Wholesale Account with me, so that you can stock up with carrier oils, beeswax and more to make your own beauty products and Rollerballs. I’ll also throw in 5 rollerball bottles to get you started! PLUS,  the delightful duo of oils – doTERRA Motivate and Cheer! All you need to do is click Join & Save at my website and choose a kit over 150pv to get started on your essential oils journey.  Offer expires July 31!

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If “DIY” isn’t your thing I do make natural, beautiful, handcrafted (with love!) beauty products that you can buy from $3, just check out the shop at my Facebook page to see what I currently have in stock and you can always contact me to make a personalised order!  Just let me know your needs ❤

Much love..   AND DITCH THOSE PLASTIC BAGS TODAY FOR #INTERNATIONALBAGFREEDAY ❤ x x

 

Using Essential Oils for Eczema… What’s at the root of that itch?

Eczema is a word I have heard a lot recently. It affects adults and children alike and can cause almost unbearable discomfort. Eden suffered as a really young baby, before I discovered dairy was a problem for her, coming through my breastmilk. When I researched these irritated, inflamed red patches I learned that eczema is a general term used to describe varying skin conditions that result in inflamed and discolored skin; but what could I do?

It didn’t take long once we figured out the problems related to dairy that it wasn’t actually the eczema that needed treating, but her gut. However, in the meantime her upsetting symptoms did need relief. She did not seem to scratch, but the skin was sore and really inflamed and angry.

Bergamot is an essential oil that has balancing qualities related to both the digestive system and emotional healing, as well as properties to heal the skin.

Bergamot supports building confidence and enhancing mood. It is also used to kill bacteria, heal scars and minimize marks on the skin.

In traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot is used to help with the flow of vital energy so the digestive system can work properly. It’s also used to soothe indigestion and gas. So for Eden this was a GREAT choice of oil and I made her up a blend with Lavender, Melaleuca, Roman Chamomile, Oregano and jojoba oil.

Oils, however, are very subjective, what works for one person may not work for next, depending on what the person’s body really needs to heal.

So, with this blog I thought I would go through the best oils to alleviate the symptoms of eczema (inflammation, dryness, itching, etc.) while healing damaged skin and restoring general moisture in the affected areas if necessary.

  1. Melaleuca Essential Oil

It seems whatever I am writing about (skin, hair, cleaning) that Melaleuca is at the top of my list! It is a strong oil though, so it’s not for everyone and it needs to be very heavily diluted for very small babies.

This oil is the one to choose if the eczema is ‘angry’, appears infected or again, you think the eczema is related to an imbalance in the gut; specifically an overgrowth in Candida Albicans.

Melaleuca is better known as tea tree oil and it has been used for centuries to soothe and help heal damaged skin. It has antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties to help heal the skin.

The ancient aborigines of Australia bathed in Melaleuca to help heal their skin and ailments.  The lakes were known as golden, with mystical powers, which were later realised to be from the leaves of the tea tree oil plant, the Melaleuca Alternofolia, which had fallen into the water and mud, giving the lake its mystical healing power.

2. Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium is great for rehydrating dry skin, so if your skin is really dry and chapped, this is a great choice.

Geranium essential oil is taken from the leaves, flowers and stems of the plant loved for its pink and red flowers. It is very balancing and nurturing and suits almost all skin types. It kills bacteria and other skin germs, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is often recommended for aging skin, as well as eczema, but can also help heal burns and clear head lice. It is a good essential oil for reducing cellulite. I wouldn’t be without geranium in my Essential Oil box and like other floral oils it is considered emotionally uplifting, so I use it a lot in my diffuser or in homemade perfume.

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3. Lavender Essential Oil

I would choose this essential oil first and always include it in a blend for something skin related. Lavender is a powerful healer because it has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, calming, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties. If applying lavender at night it really supports sleep.

Lavender essential oil comes from the steam distillation of the flowering tops of the plant.  dōTERRA’s Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is indigenous to the Provence region of France. The high altitudes at which lavender is grown results in the plant having higher ester and sesquiterpene alcohol content, thereby increasing its therapeutic benefits.

The oil suits most skin types. You can use it for acne, athlete’s foot, dermititis, burns, psoriasis, ringworm, stings and insect bites, as well as eczema. It is one of the few essential oils that is so gentle it can be applied neat (undiluted) to the skin. So it is a great choice for children. Still dilute it for them though! Using lavender will reduce the potential of eczema to scar.

4. Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil comes from a herbal shrub that grows in the East. It is mainly produced in India, China, Malaysia and South America. It has a distinct earthy sweet smell that became popular in America in the 60’s and is often associated with the age of Aquarius and the hippie revolution! Many women and men would wear it as a perfume on its own.

Patchouli is really good for those eczema sufferers whose skin is actually predisposed to being oily. It won’t over hydrate your skin leaving it greasy or block up pores.

You can also use patchouli to heal burns and eliminate dandruff.

5. Myrrh Essential Oil

Myrrh essential oil comes from the sap (or tears) of the branches and wood of myrrh. The oil is mainly produced in Africa, India, and the Middle East. It is a versatile oil – good for dry/chapped skin and oily skin and can help reduce the look of wrinkles. It is also heals scars and wounds. Use myrrh for weeping eczema.

Apply a few times a day until healed.

6. Frankincense Essential Oil

If your eczema is very inflamed this anti-inflammatory essential oil is a great one to use. It also increases the potency of the other essential oils if you use it in a blend.

7. Helichrysum Essential Oil

This is a very effective essential oil for itching and pain. It is also anti-inflammatory and promotes skin renewal. Use it when eczema strikes acutely with severe discomfort. Add to blends for longer term use to encourage cell growth.

8. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Finally, this is another good oil to reduce inflammation and soothe dry, itchy skin. It’s a great choice (diluted) for babies and children because it also encourages sleep! I tend to add this oil to most blends I make for eczema.

If you would like a blend made up for your skin issue, please contact me nzessentialmum@gmail.com

You can source your doTERRA oils to get some relief from you eczema woes here!

I hope this blog has been helpful!

Don’t forget to share your successes in the comments!

Much love x x

 

 

Step out of your COMFORT ZONE…to your LUXURY ZONE!

Warning. Long rambling blog post ahead. Make a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable, because believe me, when I get to my point, it’s going to be worth it!

I am going to hazard a guess that nearly everyone reading this will have tried an essential oil for something at some time in their life, whether on a natural health journey or not – lavender to calm, chamomile to soothe, some yummy blend in a diffuser to make the house smell nice… And if not in the form of an oil, they have experienced the power of a plant or herb, like peppermint tea for an upset tummy.

I am very passionate (as you might have guessed) about how and why we have gotten so far away from the powerful properties of plants in the first place, related to our healing, to reach for modern day drugs and all their dangerous side effects as a first option. Did you know many of them find their origins in the chemicals that are found in plants anyway?

Take aspirin as an example. Many moons ago in the mid-eighteenth century, willow bark extract became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain and inflammation. By the nineteenth century pharmacists were experimenting with and prescribing a variety of chemicals related to the active component of willow extract, called salicylic acid.  In 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants that give you the pain relief. The problem was that it was tough on the stomach and a ‘buffering’ of the compound was needed.  Cue French Chemist, Charles Frederick Gerdhardt.  In 1853 he neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid.  This was rediscovered in 1899 by a German Chemist names Felix Hoffman (who worked for Bayer) and thus the ‘Wonder Drug’ Aspirin was patented, on February 27, 1900.

Aspirin is now used for fevers, pain and inflammation (and other things), but has some serious side effects for the unlucky ones, which last much longer than the effects of a headache. What baffles me is that this is what the original willow bark was used for in the first place, and successfully.

In my bid to get back to the natural when I had Eden, rather than use over the counter remedies for the discomforts that come part and parcel with being a bubba, I stocked my wellness toolbox with essential oils (amongst other thing like vitamin c and probiotics, but that’s a whole other blog post!) as my “go to” in cases of illness or discomfort:

  • Lavender for sleep and to calm
  • Chamomile to run along her jaw line when teething and clove to rub directly on her gums when it got really bad
  • Melaleuca for bad nappy rash and thrush
  • And peppermint when she was stuffed up from colds.

This was as adventurous as I got in those early days, but I was amazed by how these remedies worked so well for us. 

Inspired and I guess curious, it was at this point that I invested in dōTERRA’s Family Physician Kit and dared to take my oil use to the next level…

When this magical box arrived my eyes opened wide to the possibilities… Lemon, oregano, a number of oil blends and then I saw it…. Frankincense!

I began to read about this oil straight away because while I had heard about the benefits of the other oils, to be honest all I knew about Frankincense was that it was one of the gifts offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus! I guess this made it pretty special, but how it could help me I was unsure.

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I began to read… I learned that Frankincense comes from the Boswellia genustrees, particularly Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteriis; a tree or shrub that produces a gum or resin that can be steam distilled into an essential oil. Its aroma is uniquely warm, deep, rich and kind of like incense (sounded good so far). The high level of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in this oil are what promote the body’s natural healing processes.

As I began to look at what areas of my life could incorporate this luxurious oil, the possibilities seemed endless! And exciting.  It seemed I could replace many of my shop bought beauty products with frankincense alternatives and then there was the ways in which Frankincense could support my emotional well-being. It all felt a bit too good to be true, so I began experimenting.

The first thing I created was a simple moisturiser using coconut oil as a carrier for my face. I am naturally ruddy in the cheeks, which I hate, and had tried numerous creams to help, which hadn’t and were expensive. In fact I had resorted to just using straight coconut oil, which left my skin beautifully soft and hydrated, but was not supporting the reduction in the blemishes and din’t get rid of break-outs.  Using my Frankincense moisturiser, within 3 days I saw a difference!

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I have since changed the carrier oil in my moisturiser to fractionated coconut oil from just a cold pressed organic coconut oil because I discovered that the solid fats in the cold pressed were clogging up my pores and this was not clearing (and was possibly causing) the breakouts.  I still use the cold pressed oil with Frankincense to rub onto my big baby bump, as frankincense can support the body’s ability to keep existing cells and tissues healthy and promote healthy cell regeneration.

A property of Frankincense that has really interested me is to do with comforting in times of stress and despair, and clearing the mind; useful for visualizing and improving one’s spiritual connection.  I must admit that I personally do not use oils much for aromatherapy.  I often diffuse for my daughter and see benefits, but I guess for me I didn’t see a “need”.  Now I know that is not true and that I have really been missing out.  As an anxiety sufferer, Frankincense has proved to be a very effective sedative for me that induces a feeling of mental peace, relaxation, and satisfaction, and helps relieve my anxiety (or anger or stress), whatever the negative emotion.  I inhale 3 deep breaths of Frankincense in the morning and I feel my mind clearing.  I am now waiting on the delivery of a beautiful clay necklace to diffuse the oil when I need it at other times – challenging meetings, when being a mum gets hectic or if I feel fear or anxious for any reason – any occasion where I feel I need to let go of lower vibrations, deceptions and negativity.

I am now looking at Frankincense’s uses as an astringent to strengthen gums and hair roots, stop wounds from bleeding and speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils.

I am fascinated by this oil’s connection to improving overall wellness, especially spiritually because I think we all have moments of darkness.  Can this powerful oil really shield the body and soul from negative influences?

I guess only more experience with this oil will tell.  I was definitely sticking to my comfort zone when I first started my journey with oils and was both surprised and impressed by what we are now achieving as a family by using all the oils incorporated in the Family Physician Kit.  And the great thing is that once you have your good quality oils you can make so many things yourself, rather than buying over the counter – for beauty, cleaning, well pretty much anything!  And I guess as a mum we spend so much time looking at the things we need to make sure things are clean and safe and good for our family, but with Frankincense you can do all of this and still have a bit of luxury for yourself!

I will leave you with this luxurious bath salts recipe for the next time you get (or make!) a moment for yourself (I call this the Cleopatra)…

Take:

  • 1/2 cup Epsom Salts
  • 1/2 cup Dead Sea Salts
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 8-10 drops Frankincense essential oil (where to buy)
  • 8-10 drops Lavender essential oil (where to buy)

And… mix all the above ingredients together and throw them in the bath! (Don’t bathe with soap at the same time otherwise you will be washing away all the important nutrients before they’ve had a chance to be absorbed through your skin.  A good excuse to have to lie still for 15-20 minutes!)

ENJOY xxxx

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