It might just be that I’m spending a lot of time outdoors with my kids and usually holding one of them, but this summer has seemed unusually hot to me.
Not only has it been hot, but the humidity and heat index seem to be competing to see which can break the most records. While some days I’d rather just camp out inside (in an ice bath), summer is time for the sprinkler running, slip and sliding, hiking and zip-lines, so outside it is.
A Cooling Spray
A few weeks ago when we took a break from working outside to reapply homemade bug spray and drink a gallon of water, I noticed that the bug spray left a cooling sensation on the skin and helped it seem not so hot.
I realized that the witch hazel and the peppermint essential oil were both naturally cooling and was surprised how refreshing it was.
I decided to make a spray that would just be cooling and refreshing for times when I wanted to cool off without smelling like a citronella candle…. the result was this cooling spray, and I’ve found that it also works really well for helping take the “itch” out of bug bites and the burn out of sunburn.
This spray uses only three natural ingredients that are beneficial to the skin:
- Aloe Vera– Aloe is naturally anti-inflammatory and great for skin. It is moisturizing without being oily and is perfect for those with normal or slightly oily skin. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, it is often used in anti-aging skin products as well.
- Witch Hazel– Though I was first introduced to witch hazel after the birth of my first child, when I was given a container of round cloths soaked in witch hazel and told to use them on hemorrhoids (which I didn’t even have). Though we didn’t get off to the best start, I’ve grown to love witch hazel for its uses in skin care and natural remedies. It is slightly antiseptic, which makes it cooling and great for skin. In fact, it is often used to remove excess oil and fight blemishes and blackheads. Its ability to shrink blood vessels and reduce inflammation is what makes it beneficial for hemorrhoids and also for cooling the body.
- Peppermint Essential oil– (and optional lavender)- These can actually be left out, especially for pregnant women or small children, as peppermint oil use can be controversial. The witch hazel alone can be cooling, but the peppermint adds extra cooling power. If you do use peppermint, it is important to only use the small amount recommended as too much peppermint or menthol can be quite uncomfortable (remind me to tell you about the time I rubbed biofreeze on my entire body to try to stop the achiness from the flu…disaster). Most aromatherapists would say that in this small concentration, peppermint is generally considered safe for general use, but I’d definitely recommend checking with an aromatherapist or qualified practitioner before using this or any essential oil while pregnant/nursing or on small children. If you don’t feel comfortable using peppermint essential oil, you could also infuse dried or fresh peppermint leaf into the witch hazel for a week or so before making this spray. To do this, add 3 tablespoons of dried mint to a glass jar and cover with 1/2 cup of witch hazel. Cap tightly and stir daily for 1-6 weeks. Strain and use the witch hazel.
Cooling Spray Ingredients
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel (natural with no added preservatives- I use this one)
- 1/4 cup witch hazel (natural with no harmful ingredients- I use this one)
- 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil (and 10 drops of lavender essential oil, optional)
Cooling Spray Instructions
- Combine all ingredients in a glass spray bottle.
- Shake or stir until well mixed and blended.
- Spray as needed to help cool off in the summer or on bug bites or sunburn.
Has it been hot where you live? If you live on the other side of the world, can you send us some cool weather soon?