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Summer Essentials

The Best Oils to Cool, Calm, Protect and Soothe

Last summer we wrote about three very essential oils to keep on hand to stay cool and daisy-fresh when temperatures are anything but. This summer with that triumvirate — lavender, peppermint and sandalwood — already in our bag, we’re playing with new oils and season-specific blends to treat everything from sunburn to bug bites.

Stay cool: 

Since summer can be such a dehydrating time, a water-based face and body mist is a simple way to give your skin a drink. Bonus: You will smell effortlessly lovely and look positively dewy. As noted above and in our earlier post, lavender, peppermint and sandalwood are aces for beating the heat. This blend, below, uses rose water and witch hazel, natural oil-removing astringents, to relieve hot faces and keep pores unclogged. Rose, a noted heart opener, is especially nice to breathe in if the heat has got you down.

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Lavender + Peppermint Cooling Mist and Compress 

Combine equal parts clean drinking water, witch hazel and rose water in a 2oz spray bottle. Leave a little room at the top. Add 12 drops lavender essential oil and 8 drops peppermint essential oil. Seal the bottle, shake, and spray away.

To cool down at home try an old-fashioned washcloth to the head. Use the same oils as above and mix with about 4 cups of cool, clean water. Of course, play with any of these oil proportions to your liking. If it smells good, you’re doing it right. 

 

Stay calm:

More hours in the day = more parties, appointments, deadlines and plans, right? With the sun out late and up early, sleep can get short shrift; excessive heat, especially for the Pitta among us, is another potential irritant. These oils have got your (sweaty) back:

Vetiver: Tranquil and grounding, this is a stabilizing tonic for the nervous system.

Ylang Ylang: Calming and uplifting. Smelling it may induce cheerfulness.

Lavender: There is nothing this oil can’t do. Breathe in and find yourself in southern France.

Frankincense: Earthy and sweet without inducing drowsiness.

Chamomile: As soothing as a cup of tea.

 

Stay sun safe: 

https://www.instagram.com/jamesmichelle/

Coconut oil has a natural SPF, making it a perfect carrier oil for summer sun protection. Most conventional sunscreens are loaded with chemicals that may do more harm to your skin than the sun, so I like to mix a zinc-oxide based one (like one of theses) with coconut oil and a few drops of lavender, a natural skin soother, or eucalyptus, a cleanser and relaxer. In addition to adding a SPF boost, coconut oil makes chalky sunscreen go on smooth, saving you from looking like a ghost or an old-school lifeguard.

There are some oils to keep out of the sun. Citrus-based oils are photosensitive, making you more susceptible to sunburn if you wear them for prolonged periods outside. Here’s the list:

  • Angelica
  • Bergamot
  • Bitter orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Sweet Orange
  • Tangerine

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Soothe sunburn:

We’ve all been there. If you are feeling the burn, hydrate, stay out of the sun and mix a few drops of one of the following essential oils with aloe vera (keep it in the fridge for maximum relief):

  • Lavender
  • Calendula
  • Roman chamomile
  • Helichrysum

Try this for a potent after-sun balm:

  • 10 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 10 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter

Combine in a glass jar and place in a saucepan with a few inches of water over medium to low heat. Stir until combined.

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Stay bug free:

Most bug bites are just a nuisance, but ticks, bees and mosquitoes can be potentially harmful. Mom approved warning: Prevention is the first step of treatment. Skip the DEET. Use these:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Thyme
  • Clove
  • Juniper 

If bugs just really like you and you’re bound to get bit, trusty lavender is there for you. Tea Tree, Basil, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus will also do the trick when you can’t stop scratching.

Photos: Top imgae from Rag and Broke; lavender spray from Traditional Medicinals; sun hat @jamesmichelle; aloe plant @alsorae; bug-free garden party from A Daily Something