By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
Richelle Ash struggled with fertility. When she became pregnant, she knew it was time to go as natural as possible.
“With so many toxins in products, I figured it was best to start making my own [natural products], so I would know exactly what was in things,” Ash said. “I did my part to make sure my daughter has a healthier lifestyle.”
Her decision to choose all-natural products was confirmed not long after her daughter was born in 2015. On an out-of-town trip her baby girl needed some diaper cream, so Ash tried using some that was highly recommended, but it only worsened the irritation. When Ash returned home, she used the all-natural diaper cream she had made for her daughter—and the next morning, the baby’s rash was gone.
It has been two years since Ash started her business, Best You Forward. While she still offers baby products, her merchandise is for “everyday people,” she said.
Ash started by taking care of herself with a natural lifestyle, then her daughter, and she expanded to help more people. Her products consist mostly of essential oils, such as coconut oil and apricot kernel oil, natural butters, like shea butter.
“I offer products for babies, mommies, teen, and dads,” she said. “My products are great for those who want a completely natural approach, [as well as] those who want to [be] natural but still want that popular fragrance.”
Ash’s products include soaps, bath salts, sugar scrubs, and shower steamers, which provide the aroma of essential oils, as well essential oil bracelets, which are placed into a dish with two or three drops that are absorbed into the lava rocks on the bracelet.
“You get the diffusion and absorption on the go, … so you can smell [it] or just absorb it through your skin,” she said. “I let people know that [they] have to think about the lotion they put on … because you can get a good floral scent through essential oils.”
Still, Ash can never forget the line of baby products that helped her. Using essential oils helped Ash deal with discomfort during pregnancy, as well as breastfeeding after the birth of her daughter.
“[When you’re] pregnant, you can’t really take or do anything … as far as any kind of discomfort or pain management; the only thing they allow you to take is [an over-the-counter pain medication],” she said. “Being pregnant [after I was unable to] conceive, … [I was] scared about a little bit of everything.”
Her Mommy and Baby products include Boobie Balm, which helps with cracking of the nipples; Mommy Comfort Cream to ease pregnancy and postpartum aches and pains; as well as baby lotion and diaper creams—“Pretty much anything you would need from the store for a more-natural approach” for diaper rashes, earaches, and other ailments.
High-quality essential oils help with stretch marks, nausea, coughs, and congestion; they also can also help with milk production, among other things, she said.
Ash, 33, has always had a passion for health. She grew up in the Fultondale area and received an associate degree in nursing and health science and technology from Wallace State Community College; she earned several credits during her years in the U.S. Army (2003 to 2005), so she didn’t attend classes on campus.
Ash is now a registered nurse at an area hospital and nursing facility. Whenever she gets a chance, she makes a difference by encouraging others to put the best of themselves forward, though she doesn’t prescribe her products to her patients and clients.
Her business allows her to do what she loves—in a way that has helped her and her daughter, too. She mostly works from home, and customers can order products online (prices range from $3 to $15)
For more information about Best You Forward, visit www.bestyou4ward.com or follow on Instagram @Bestyou4ward or the Facebook group Bestyouforward.
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This article was updated on April 5, 2019 at 10:13 a.m. to correct the spelling of her last name Ash.