Deet although effective at keeping bugs away is incredibly controversial when it comes to being safe to use on humans. Some studies show that in low doses it is perfectly safe and others say, not at all. So why take a chance? When Jay and I first started this business one of our very first products was a bug repellent lotion. Jay had done a training, not long before we created our best selling summer product, on oils and how to keep bugs away and the top trick she learned was to make yourself smell like a bush! Sounds easy peasy right? Well it actually was, and there are some great natural choices that have been shown to be just as effective and in many cases MORE so than the chemical laden junk from the stores!
So here are our list of the top 5 essential oils to keep you bug free this summer:
- Lemon Eucalyptus: I LOVE this oil, it has a scent very similar to citronella but has actually been shown to provide better protection than its similar smelling natural friend. Even better, in studies it has actually been shown to out perform DEET! It is also recognized by the EPA and CDC as a botanical bug repellent!
- Geranium: When growing geranium in a garden it can help keep all kinds of bugs away, from the blood sucking kind ,to beetles and other bugs that can potentially damage the garden. It is used by many gardeners to keep their little piece of paradise pesk free but the oil is a also a common additive in bug repellents. It is also great for reducing wrinkles and healing skin damage!
- Neem: Now we know this is not an essential oil, but it can be deadly in fighting mosquito’s! Although its strong scent can be a little much for human species it naturally contains an insecticide that wards off bugs. We recommend diluting in coconut oil to reduce the smell.
- Vanilla: this sweet smelling essential oil doesn’t necessarily protect against the bugs, but the Vanillin in the vanilla will make the bug fighting oils work longer. Plus this oil will help reduce the neem scent.
- Cajeput: Many people recommend peppermint or tea tree for bugs but we love this oil as a replacement. Its scent is a combination of tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus, but its the menthol under tones that will help keep the bugs at bay. Its also great for airways and works as an antibacterial against, so it can help speed healing of any bug bites you may already have.
Now you know our favorites you can create your own lovely blend! We definitely recommend a lotion based application as it will extend the effectiveness of the repellent. Although sprays can be easier, they tend to be less effective as they do not “stick” to the skin and will evaporate faster! Adding your oils to a coconut oil and neem base can increase the effectiveness by over 60%.
Try this recipe and let us know how it works for you,
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp Neem Oil
- 25 drops Lemon Eucalyptus
- 3 drops Vanilla
- 15 drops Geranium
- 20 drops Cajeput
This will make a fairly good sized jar that should last you all summer! But if you have some left you can put it in the fridge and keep it for next year!
Happy Bug Season!