When I step outside in the summer, you would think I had a sign on my back that reads, “all you can eat buffet.” Mosquitos love me, but I can’t say the feeling is mutual. Even when other people I was with weren’t bothered by them, they’d just swarm on over to me.
To avoid being a late night snack for the bugs, I would devotedly douse myself with DEET filled bug spray every summer evening. Yes, even my face. Now that I’ve started making all my own skincare products, I’ve realized how horribly awful DEET really is.
Despite touting the pesticide as “safe,” the EPA is quick to warn against using too much, using it under clothing and says to wash it off as soon as you go inside. You’re also not supposed to get it anywhere IN your body, either through the mouth or an open cut. (source)
I like using skincare that’s so safe I can eat it!
I don’t like the idea of living without bug spray though. I’m all for free food, but not when I’m on the menu. Fortunately, I’ve found a way to deter the little beasts.
Jessica has a great bug spray recipe, but I wanted to come up with something a little different. I made lavender and calendula infused lotion bars this winter, because I liked the portability and compactness.
But what do lotion bars have to do with being mosquito lunch? If you’ve read some of my other posts, like this one that has my some of my favorite aromatherapy recipes, then you’ll know how crazy I am about essential oils. So of course I’d use them in a lotion bar to transform it into a DIY moisturizing bug block bar.
There are lots of oils out there to choose from, but I like using tea tree, geranium and citronella. This Scratch Mommy bug spray uses tea tree and geranium essential oil, (which I love!), but my husband isn’t too fond of the flowery geranium. I’ve found that if I add more earthy scents, like citronella, it reduces the floral scent, but still has a nice balance.
I tested several different oil blends to see which one warded off the mosquitos the best. I put the recipe below on my left arm, one with yarrow, geranium, citronella and tea tree on my right arm, a premade repellent blend on my left leg, and nothing on my right leg. I did the same thing with my husband. I didn’t want to subject my son to possible bug bites though, so I sprayed him liberally with all of them just to make sure!
What were the results? I got zero bites on my legs with the repellent blend, but the recipe below came in at a close second. My husband said that the mosquitos weren’t even landing on the arm that had the blend below on it. I only got 2 bites with this recipe, which is a huge deal for someone that usually comes back covered head to toe in bites.
- Combine the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, then you can make your own with a glass bowl on top of a pot of water.
- Stir with a metal (not wooden) spoon until thoroughly melted.
- Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes, but don’t let it get thick.
- Add the essential oils and stir gently to thoroughly combine. Pour the mixture into your mold of choice and let it cool until solid. This recipe yields about 3-6 bars, depending on the size of your containers.
- To use, rub liberally on any exposed skin. These bars will melt if they get too hot, so don’t stash one in your car’s glove box. If it does soften though, just put it in the fridge until firm again.