This DIY Face Serum Will Keep Your Skin Smooth and Hydrated This Summer

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Contrary to what we were told back in 1995, our skin doesn’t need the oil stripped away from it with thrice-daily Noxzema washes in order to look healthy and blemish-free.

Washing your face with a soap-based cleanser actually overworks your skin and causes it to produce even more oil. Now, you’re caught up in an unhealthy skincare cycle that leaves your face looking dull and splotchy.

I started oil-cleansing last year when I was pregnant with Isaac and my face kept breaking out. I couldn’t believe how much smoother and more even it made my complexion in just a week.

3 Reasons Why You Should Be Oil-Cleansing Your Face

You might be cringing at the thought of putting oil on your skin and calling it clean. It sounds gross, I know! The beauty industry has convinced us that our skin needs to be dried out with soap and then artificially hydrated in order to look clean + smooth. But obv, that’s false.

OIL DISSOLVES OIL

This is a basic chemistry principle: like dissolves like. Acne.org says, “By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin.”

No harsh soap for me, thanks.

OIL PROTECTS YOUR SKIN NATURALLY

The oil that your body naturally produces protects your skin from heat, wind, dust, and even sunshine. I’ll be doing plenty of swimming and patio-sitting this summer, so I think I’ll leave my skin alone and let it do what it does best.

IF YOU WOULDN’T EAT IT, DON’T PUT IT ON YOUR SKIN

This is the rule I generally follow when it comes to skin care. Our skin absorbs like a sponge, so slathering it with anything that isn’t recommended for ingestion probably isn’t the best idea. Oils like grapeseed, avocado, and sunflower are natural (and edible) alternatives to harsh chemical washes on your face.

DIY Oil-Cleansing Serum

Cleansing oils are showing up in beauty stores and supermarket aisles, but you can easily make your own at home and never worry about what’s actually in it.

Ingredients:

Jojoba oil is lightweight and perfect for most skin types.

Lavender essential oil is gentle, smoothing, and healing.

Elemi essential oil has been used in Europe for centuries to create smoothing skin salves.

Instructions:

Grab a glass bottle like this one. (A small jelly jar will work in a pinch, but I really like the dropper bottles). Add 10 drops of each essential oil, then fill it the remainder of the way with the Jojoba oil.

How to Oil-Cleanse Your Face

Drop a quarter-sized amount of your cleansing serum in your hand and begin massaging it into your face in a slow, circular motion, being sure to get around your eyes and neck.

Let it sit for a few minutes before soaking a soft washcloth with warm water. Wring the water out and put the cloth over your face so that the heat opens up your pores, letting the oil cleanse deep into your skin.

Gently wipe away the excess oil with your cloth and pat your skin dry; there should be a thin layer of oil still on your skin when you’re finished.

Let’s start a convo in the comments! Have you tried oil-cleansing? Are you adding Elemi essential oil to your next Essential Rewards order?

5 Self-Care Habits to Help You Make the Most of the Newborn Months

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If I could go back and tell my first-time mom self one thing about motherhood, it would be this: expect it to be fun.

There’s so much negative talk in our culture surrounding birth and babies and newborn habits that we’ve convinced new moms that “terrible” is normal for this season. (And that makes things like post-partum anxiety or depression even harder to recognize).

In an effort to be sensitive and honest about the struggles, we’ve made motherhood all about the hard parts. And that‘s just not the whole story.

Of course, some days will be rough. You might be tired. You will probably need help.

But expect to have fun.

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5 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself With A Newborn in Tow

1. Keep up your hobby.

Everyone says you should “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

But sometimes it’s even more restful to read, garden, or rearrange your furniture for a few quiet minutes.

Whatever it is you love to do, be intentional about making time for it. You were someone before you were a mom, and that someone still matters.

2. Say no if you really want to.

Committing to dinner, a party, or really anything at all is tricky when you have a newborn with a weird sleep schedule and the need to eat every few hours.

If you don’t want to do it, then say no.

3. Eat for the joy of it.

Good food is healing, and that’s your body’s main priority right now. Stock your kitchen with foods that you love and eat well.

4. Own your feelings.

Your hormones are working on finding a new normal now that you are sustaining a baby outside of your body instead of inside.

While you’re coming to a balance, it’s helpful to recognize any Big Feelings that come up and work on releasing them.

5. Connect with your people.

When we’re processing such a big change to our lives, it’s normal to pull back emotionally. Just make sure that you don’t pull back from the people you trust the most.

Be mindful of giving good conversations, quality time, and kind words; that kind of investment almost always comes back richer.

There are more than 3 million women experiencing a post-partum mood disorder right now. It’s very common and very overcome-able. If your body needs additional support coming back to a balance after your baby is born, research your options and reach out to someone you trust for help.

Let’s get a convo going in the comments: What was your post-partum experience like? What helped you find joy during your earliest days of motherhood?

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    That Time I Ruined My Kid's Birthday

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    It was December of 2014.

    I had just had Ella Claire and I was determined to make Connor’s birthday really special since he was getting the short end of the attention stick with a new baby around.

    I was feeling great after Ella was born in October.

    She arrived in 5 short hours, meaning I missed my chance for an epidural, but also meaning that I recovered quickly without the drug-induced haze I had after Connor’s birth.

    I felt energetic, rested, and happy at home with my babies. I was making plans to start writing more and I even joined a writer’s group.

    I felt like I had found my groove, like I was exactly where I was supposed to be rocking babies and making snacks and writing on the internet.

    And then my health issues started popping up.

    I developed a sudden and extreme sensitivity to anything containing wheat or gluten.I was getting frequent, mild headaches. My vision was occasionally a little blurry. Sometimes I got dizzy.

    I thought I just wasn’t drinking enough to keep up with a nursing newborn.

    Truthfully, this had all been brewing for months, probably years, but I didn’t know enough to realize that my body was sick.

    I felt *off* but not enough to warrant a doctor visit. I couldn’t even name a particular concern.

    And then I started having gallbladder attacks.

    I muscled through them for two months, trying to fix things with my diet and other lifestyle changes.

    A few days before Christmas I landed in the emergency room with a doctor who insisted I had no option but surgery.

    I had to pump from the hospital so that someone else could feed my baby.

    I couldn’t get off of the couch to help my kids open Christmas presents.

    And I certainly couldn’t throw a sweet birthday party to celebrate the best big brother in the world.

    Needless to say, his day wasn’t truly ruined (we still had pizza and cake and grandparents).

    But mine was.

    I had wanted so badly to make things super special for him that year, and I couldn’t.

    Because my body was in crisis.

    Because I didn’t know.

    Because toxins are everywhere and you just can’t predict when they might overload your body.

    Four years later, it’s crystal clear why everything broke down when it did.

    I just didn’t know how to truly support my body with wellness habits.

    I didn’t know what to use or how to use it to give my body the nutrition it needed.

    I certainly didn’t have anyone to look to for help or guidance.

    That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing my stories, my experiences, and all the science of holistic health things I’ve learned along the way; because we just get this one life.

    None of us want to spend precious days confined to a bed or held back by anxiety or burdened by very preventable issues.

    I think every kid deserves a great birthday. And I believe every mama needs to take care of herself, too.

    Encourage Peaceful Thoughts With This Roll-On Essential Oil Recipe

    Being a mama has taught me so much, but one of the lessons I'm most grateful for is that how we care for our physical body matters.

    Jesus used motherhood to expose some really ugly beliefs I held about my body and the way I should care for it.

    I see our generation struggling more than most with the idea that our worth is directly connected to what we achieve, and as a result we’re forgetting to prioritize true self-care.

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    Practicing Self-Care Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Trust Jesus

    Even in Christian culture, we cheer for the people who work harder + longer in the name of Jesus (never stopping to wonder what toll it’s taking on their body or if Jesus actually asked them to exhaust themselves in his name).

    For much of my life, the condition of my soul was emphasized so much more than the condition of my physical self that I never learned how to listen for my body's needs.

    I never understood that nourishing my body and resting well are as much a spiritual practice as prayer or worship.

    And certainly, I never considered myself anxious. That term seemed awfully dramatic and clinical for someone who was functioning just fine.

    And of course, there’s the flippant way we’ve been taught to handle our big feelings: conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show how sensitive and serious you are because Jesus wants us to have the joy, joy, joy, joy.

    Anxiety Can Be A Symptom of Imbalance in Your Body

    I read an article a few days ago that said postpartum anxiety is much more common than postpartum depression. And I thought, “man I wish someone had grabbed my hand and told me that a whole bunch of years ago.”

    Everyone is on high-alert for PPD, but I never knew that a clenched jaw, a tapping foot, or a sensitivity to noise were signs of anxiety.

    A couple of babies, a couple of IUD’s I should have never opted for, and years of paraben-filled makeup and lotion slathered on my skin had my endocrine system so out of sorts that my brain’s fight or flight response was perpetually activated.

    On top of eating well + sleeping more, I threw every skin-care product I owned in the trash and either made a natural DIY version or replaced it with a non-toxic brand.

    From makeup all the way to dry shampoo, if it wasn’t safe enough to eat I didn’t put it on my skin.

    I had no idea how good my body could feel until I decided to love it fiercely.

    Essential oils for post-partum anxiety

    Essential Oils Have a Unique Impact on the Brain

    Our culture has an unhealthy obsession with fearlessness. We all want to be fierce and brave and we tell our kids not to be afraid of the baseball flying towards their face.

    But fear has it’s place. It keeps us from walking in front of speeding trucks and from laying our hand on stove tops (and from standing still while the baseball busts us in the nose). Personally, I’m grateful for fear and I often pray that a particular child of mine would find a little more of it.

    The problem with fear comes when it overtakes our rational brain. Now, the fight or flight response that keeps us from getting hurt is preventing us from behaving logically.

    Now we’re afraid of the baseball when it’s only rolling on the ground. And if that primal response continues to dominate, soon we won’t even go near the ball field.

    Essential oil roll-ons are my go-to remedy when my fear becomes irrational.

    When we inhale the fragrance of an essential oil, the odor molecules travel up the nose where they’re registered by the nerves of the olfactory membranes in the nose lining. The odor molecules stimulate this lining of nerve cells and trigger electrical impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits the impulses to the amygdala — where emotional memories are stored — and to other parts of the limbic system of the brain. Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, essential oils can have profound physiological and psychological effects. Olfactory responses to odors induce the brain to stimulate the release of hormones and neurochemicals that in turn alter the body’s physiology and behavior.
    —  Essential Oil Desk Reference, 4th Edition
    Essential oils for anxiety

    Good Vibes Only Roll-On Essential Oil Recipe

    Supplies:

    • 1 10ml roller bottle. I get mine here, but Amazon sells them as well.

    • Fractionated coconut oil (find it in the cooking oils section of most grocery stores. It’s just liquid coconut oil).

    • Frankincense, Lavender, and Lemon essential oils

    • Pipette, also on Amazon. Optional but makes adding the coconut oil easier.

    Instructions:

    Add 10 drops of Frankincense, 8 drops of Lavender, and 8 drops of Lemon essential oil to your roller. Fill to the top with coconut oil and replace the roller cap. Roll this blend onto your wrists or over your heart whenever your brain needs help deciding to fight, fly, or chill.


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    Remake Your Wellness Routine with Essential Oils.

    For 25 years, Young Living has led the movement towards empowered wellness. With over a dozen of our own farms around the world, we can be sure that our essential oils are safe, pure, and grown without damage to the environment or to the local communities we impact.

    The Best Essential Oils for Pregnancy + Newborns

    If you’ve ever been pregnant, then you know about the game where one person tells you her best pregnancy horror story and then the next woman tries to outdo her.

    The best way to celebrate a new mom is to make sure she is thoroughly terrified to become one, apparently.

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    People tell you about swollen feet and sleepless nights, but the most schocking part of pregnancy is one that no one will tell you about.

    So of course, I was entirely unprepared for the way that people started pushing their own narrative on me even before my jeans stopped buttoning.

    I was annoyed by so many blatant intrusions into a story that I had only just sat down to write.

    Of course, she’ll find out the sex. Of course, she’ll have a hospital birth. Of course, she’ll ask for the epidural, (silly girl just doesn’t understand how painful it’s going to be).

    Obviously, she’s miserable; look at those feet! Obviously, she’s keeping her job. Obviously she doesn’t know how much sleep she’ll be missing.

    No doubt, no doubt, no doubt that your story will read exactly the way theirs did.

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    While all three of my pregnancies have been easy and uncomplicated, the first two left me feeling very much like a puppet in someone else’s play - bopped here and tugged there by a slew of well-meaning but presumptuous puppeteers.

    Using Essential Oils During Pregnancy (And Other Eccentric Ideas)

    This pregnancy with Isaac was my first one using essential oils. Because I wanted to prevent uninvited advice from derailing my happiness over this new baby, I made a point of creating routines that felt peaceful and empowering.

    Every morning, I let the sweet smell of Geranium essential oil mingle with the fried-eggs-and-coffee-scent of my kitchen. Now, it’s a forever reminder of my big kids coming to plant sleepy morning kisses on my growing bump.

    Each night, when everyone was asleep, I sat in the dim light and massaged Gentle Baby onto my belly.

    Those quiet moments with just my third-born, learning his habits and feeling his ever-stronger kicks, reminded me that I was chosen to be his mama because I’m exactly the mama he needs.

    And for the first time, I felt like my voice was the one telling the story of my pregnancy.

    Essential oils for natural birth. Copyright Racheal Webster 2019.

    As with any unconventional idea, plenty of people will (perhaps not politely) suggest that using essential oils while you’re pregnant is silly, misguided, or even dangerous.

    I (politely) suggest that you read up on the topic and make whichever choice your gut tells you is the right one.

    I used the Gentle Babies book for suggestions about specific oils and general precautions to take during pregnancy. I also double-checked with my chiropractor and midwife that oil-infused supplements were safe to continue taking.

    Using Essential Oils During Labor

    I went into my first two labors with the mindset that childbirth was something that was going to happen to me, not something that I was going to take part in.

    Best essential oils for labor and birth. Copyright Racheal Webster 2019.

    I had an epidural with my first baby, but my second labor progressed too quickly for even an IV port.

    I walked into labor and delivery seven centimeters dilated and pushed our baby girl out half an hour later as Trey rushed back into the room with nurses he pulled from the hallway.

    There was no doctor instructing me to push. No medicated fog to dull my senses. No monitors or wires or needles taped to my hand.

    In the last moments that my daughter was a physical part of me, I got to feel everything my body and hers were doing together to bring her out of my belly and into my arms.

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    I knew then that birthing my babies was the most profound work I would ever do and if I was fortunate enough to one day do this work again, I didn’t want to be numb for it.

    No, I wanted to own my own story.

    Essential Oils Create a Calm + Confident Labor Environment

    With this pregnancy, I knew that I wanted to avoid an epidural or any other interventions. Still, I remembered clearly the intensity of birthing a baby; I knew, too, that complications could interfere with my careful plans.

    What if this labor is unbearably long? What if I have awful back labor? What if my body gets exhausted? What if I have to transfer to the hospital instead of delivering at the birth center?

    The only thing I could personally guarantee was my own mindset, so I prepared for the labor I wanted by creating ways to ground my anxious feelings and remind myself of my own strength.

    My 3 Favorite Oils to Use During Labor

    I planned to deliver at a birth center, but my blood pressure began to creep higher as my due date neared. After a few days of monitoring, I decided (along with my midwife) that a hospital induction was now our safest choice.

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    As I gathered our bags that night, memories of my first two labors played back in my mind.

    Specifically, I remembered how I felt afraid and angry with my body during my first induction. I remembered how sweet it was to hold my baby, but also the odd feeling that someone else had done the work of birthing him.

    I remembered Ella Claire’s fast and furious arrival; how proud I was of what my body had accomplished but also how I felt some disappointment, like I had just been an observer from the sidelines for the whole event.

    This time, I wanted to feel like I and my body were one. When it was all over, I wanted to be proud of what I had accomplished - not what my body had accomplished without me.

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    So while we waited (all night and the next day) for the medication to do it’s job and get labor started, I rolled Stress Away essential oil blend on my chest and wrists.

    Besides giving me a tangible something to do so that I didn’t feel completely at the mercy of Cervadil, the scent of vanilla + cedarwood essential oils worked to minimize the big feelings I had about being at the hospital and having an induction.

    When active labor was starting, I rolled Valor on my spine and forehead and recalled the affirmations I had practiced during my pregnancy.

    Certain smells trigger our brain in specific ways and I was relying on Valor to keep those positive words in my memory even as labor became intense.

    Finally, sometime between three centimeters and seven, Trey filled our diffuser full of Lavender + Frankincense and with total peace and strength, I delivered our sweet boy after six short hours of labor.

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    Even in a hospital, even with a medical induction, I achieved exactly the kind of birth I needed to experience.

    How to Safely Introduce Essential Oils to a Newborn

    Now that we’re home, of course I’m continuing to use essential oils on and around Isaac.

    I’m introducing them to his body one at a time and I always dilute them in a carrier oil.

    So far, Gentle Baby blend on his belly seems to be really comforting for him when he’s fussy. I keep Lavender + Frankincense in the diffuser by our bed, too; we all feel well-rested!

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    I took this picture a few days ago to capture everything that is beautiful to me about this sweet new season: I’m less anxious and more rested than people say I’m supposed to be. I’m kinder to myself than I was before. I’m writing when I can and, for the first time, finding contentment when I can’t.

    Mostly, I just finally feel like I’m telling the story I’ve always wanted to write.


    3 Quick Ways to Use Your Essential Oils Every Day

    Young Living essential oils starter kit for preferred customers.

    So you bought a kit full of essential oils, pinned tons of ideas for them that you totally meant to do, and then adulting got in your way and you forgot all about it.

    Now all those little bottles are shoved in a cabinet somewhere and you’re feeling bad that you wasted the money.

    I’m not here to tell you that essential oils are magic in a bottle, so if you really used yours and felt like they didn’t work for you, I’m not going to try to convince you that you’re doing it wrong.

    But if you legit got busy and couldn’t find a way to work essential oils into your routine, here’s a couple of suggestions to make the most of your kit.

    First, get them out of the cabinet. As long as they’re out of sight, you’ll never remember that you planned on using them. There’s actually a little stand on the back of the tray that your oils came in that lets you display your whole collection. If you pop that tray out of the box, you’ll see what I mean.

    Set them up someplace where you’ll see them every day and remember your good intentions.

    Next, download the Reference Guide for Essential Oils app. If you need a quick reminder about how to use a certain oil or if you need to know which oil to use for a specific problem, this app is the easiest resource.

    3 Ways to Use Your Essential Oils Every Day

    Before You Apply Your Makeup

    Grab your bottle of Frankincense out of your kit and put it wherever you keep your makeup. Add 1-2 drops in your hand to your face cream or primer each morning.

    Frankincense essential oil is a natural astringent, so it can help tighten and tone your skin. It’s also helpful for uneven skin tones or redness, according to the Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine.

    In a Roller Bottle

    There are endless combinations of oils that are great for roller bottles.

    (Roller bottles are just little glass bottles with a roller in the top that lets you roll an oil onto your skin).

    I roll Valor on my wrists around lunchtime every day to keep my mood balanced through the afternoon. Here’s a whole list of recipes for you to try. Grab a few bottles (my favorite shop is Wood + Oils #notanad) and make some rollers to keep in your purse, desk drawer, or nightstand.

    At Bedtime

    Maybe the easiest way to use your oils more often is in the diffuser. Try 4-5 drops of Lavender, Cedarwood, White Angelica, or Dreamcatcher in your diffuser at bedtime and see if your sleep improves.

    If you’re battling stuffiness, the extra moisture coming from the diffuser may help you breathe easier, too. Try adding a few drops of RC or Raven for additional support.

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    IS YOUR STASH RUNNING LOW?


    7 Essential Oils for When Your Feelings Have Feelings

    Essential oils to help with anxiety and emotions.

    It's well known by aromatherapists and dirty hippies wellness buffs alike that essential oils can have a powerful impact on your brain.

    I know, I know: here she goes again with her wierdo "remedies" that aren't backed by science and can't be proven to actually work.

    Ahem.

    Technically:

    Smell is a combinatorial code of various olfactory receptor neurons being activated. So when you smell the brisk and energizing scent of peppermint essential oil, many different types of olfactory receptor neurons are firing to form a complex code that is sent through the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb. From the olfactory bulb information is routed to the piriform cortex, amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus and other limbic system structures through the olfactory tract. It’s due to the structural connections between the olfactory system and the brains limbic system that our perception of smell is intimately entangled with our experience of an emotion.
    — Daniel Almeida, HBSc, PhD(c)

    But whatever, man.

    These 7 oils are some of the best for “activating receptor neurons” and stuff.

    1. Orange

      Full of limonene and alpha-pinene, Orange is one of the most nostalgic, uplifting oils you can use. You can add it into your skincare routine for double the soothing effect. (Just don’t smear it on your face before you head to the pool. Remember lemon juice highlights? Let’s not sun-bleach your face).

    2. Frankincense

      Yup, just like baby Jesus used. Regarded as one of the most sacred oils, Frankincense is a real treasure for those of us with all the feelings.

    3. Geranium

      If I had to choose one oil for the rest of my life, I would choose Geranium. It’s soft and floral and the only thing that can talk my brain down from a fight or flight moment.

    4. Stress Away

      Well, it kinda speaks for itself. This blend combines Vanilla, Copaiba, and Lime for an amazingly peaceful smell. Lots of us wear it as perfume because, ya know, adulting.

    5. Valor

      Personally, I was super late to the bandwagon on this one, but now I’m on it fuh lyfe. I roll valor on my kids’ wrists + chest at bedtime; they call it the “monster oil” because apparently, it keeps the monsters away.

    6. Joy

      This pretty pink bottle is even happy to look at. Put a couple drops on some dangly leather earrings and you can breathe in the calm all day long.

    7. Peace and Calming

      So many friends tell me how this oil was their mainstay during seasons of trauma or grief. If it works, it works y’all.

    So, like, how do I actually use them?

    All of these oils work on your emotions through your sense of smell; there’s a couple of ways you can breathe in the benefits:

    • Inhale straight from the bottle. Easy when you’re on the go.

    • Put a few drops on some diffuser jewelry. It’s basically therapeutic perfume.

    • Mix the oils with water in a diffuser to lightly scent an entire room. Breathing in the micro-droplets is the most effective way to activate all those receptors inside your nose + brain and bring your emotions under control.

    And the sweetest news of all: you can skip the awkward home party and shop online. A starter kit is not required.

    *Duh, that’s my personal link. The big guys require that I tell you I’ll receive a commission if you use it to shop. The price is the same and all opinions are my own (lololol of course they are. do you even know me?).