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NATURAL BEAUTY FOR MOTHERS

Every mother needs a little mothering herself. New mothers, especially, deserve a little additional pampering. Although it may seem like your last priority, if you take a little extra time each day to take care of yourself, it will do wonders for your mood.

Making your own natural beauty products is a good way to give yourself a bit of pleasure and attention. I have created my own beauty recipes and treatments for years, using common kitchen and garden ingredients. I find making my own beauty products simple to do, convenient, and cost-effective. My products work just as well, if not better, than commercial brands because they are pure and undiluted. I also like being able to control the ingredients.

Simply open up your cupboards and you'll probably have the makings for several products in your home right now. Light cooking oils such as olive and sunflower are perfect for massage and bath oils. Honey is a deep conditioning treatment for dry, damaged hair. My favorite facial mask is made from mashed avocados.

The following recipes are ones that I used during and after my two pregnancies. They do not require any special tools other than basic kitchen equipment. If you feel like you won't have time to do this with a new baby to take care of, spend some time during your pregnancy preparing a few of these products to have on hand after the baby is born. Or if you're a mom already, make them as a gift for a friend. Have fun packaging your products: Using old bottles and jars, tie some raffia or a pretty bow around their necks, glue a few stones or seashells to the bottle tops, and make your own labels out of craft paper glued or tied to the containers.

Cocoa Butter Cream

When I was pregnant, I used this rich cream on my stomach, chest, and legs to keep my skin soft and supple. I like to think it helps reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, but heredity plays a key role in your skin's fate. Massaging this cream into your skin feels wonderful. It also relieves the itchiness that many women experience from their skin stretching during pregnancy. I use the cream after showering, while my skin is still warm and damp.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup grated cocoa butter
1 teaspoon almond oil
1 teaspoon light sesame oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

Directions:
Place all the ingredients in an ovenproof glass container and gently heat in the microwave or in a double boiler until the cocoa butter is melted and the oils are well mixed. Pour into a clean container and allow the cream to cool completely. You may need to stir the cream one more time after it has cooled. Store in a cool, dry place.
Yield: 2 ounces

Buttermilk Baby Bath

This gentle milk bath will leave your skin soft and silky, and is mild enough to also use when bathing your baby. Milk is rich in fat and lactic acid, and helps soften and hydrate your skin. Make up a few extra batches to give as gifts.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup whole dry buttermilk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 drop orange oil

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients and pour into a clean, dry container. To use: pour 1/4 cup of the bath powder into a full tub or 1 tablespoon into a small baby bathtub.
Yield: 4 ounces, enough for 2 baths

Lavender-Scented Baby Powder

This is a lovely, rich powder ideal for keeping infants comfortable. Lavender oil is extremely soothing and has antibacterial properties. If you wish, substitute your own favorite scent in place of the lavender oil. This simple powder will keep your baby dry and happy. You can also use the powder yourself after bathing.

Ingredients:
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon light oil (almond, sesame, sunflower)
2 drops lavender oil.

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and massage the powder until all the oil is evenly distributed. Pour into a clean, dry container.
Yield: 8 ounces

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE --> Written by: Janice Cox. Article originally featured in Mothering Magazine.

Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home and Natural Beauty for All Seasons, both published by Henry Holt and Company. She is the mother of two beautiful daughters, Lauren (8) and Marie (6), and lives in Medford, Oregon.


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