Mosquitoes love me! And it seems no matter what I use to repel them it never works. So I decided to try and come up with my own lotion bar “Bug Off” Insect repellant (that didn’t smell AWFUL and was also good for my skin). I did a lot of research on different oils, butters, essential oils and other ingredients. My research led me to the following list of good oils and butters:
Unrefined Shea Butter – The shell of the nuts is reputed to repel mosquitoes. Shea butter is a great moisturizer on its own though and why it’s included in this recipe
Calendula Infused Sweet Almond Oil – Marigolds have a particular smell that many insects and humans find objectionable. With this fact in mind I decided to infuse my oil with calendula.
Neem Oil – Described as having a “distinct smell”. Um…yeah…understatement of the year. This stuff stinks. Neem oil is an excellent moisturizer, high in Vitamin E, rich in emollients and fatty acids, soothing to dry, cracked or otherwise stressed and damaged skin. (Sounds awesome doesn’t it!?) It is also used to deter bugs and mosquitoes. So it’s a trade off…use neem oil and get all the awesome properties it provides, but have to deal with a not that pleasant smell or don’t use it? (That was the million dollar question for me when making my test batches)
Cocoa Butter – I used this oil for it’s moisturizing properties, and because I needed another solid oil/butter for this recipe.
After a lot of research on essential oils I’ve come up with a couple different combinations I’m going to try. The six I’ll be using and experimenting with are: Eucalyptus Lemon, Citronella, Lavender, Basil, Rosemary and Cedarwood.
Test batch 1 and 2 (I made one batch then split it in two to try my different EO blends): I had to open my windows (it was freezing outside) because the neem oil was so awful. I have eight bottles of the stuff I don’t know what to do with. Lesson Learned: Neem oil should be used sparingly in a lotion bar…it is quite powerful.
These bars stink…they smell so bad that I think they’ll keep bugs away and people! Maybe they can be used for camping trips where people don’t care what they smell like so long as it keeps the bugs away… I’m not going to “test” these. The recipe is not being used. But I do have 6 really stinky bars and if you’d like one with your other test bar let me know. Next time I make the bars I’ll use much less of the oil in the recipe. I’ve also made a bug soap that uses neem oil. Excited to see how that works as a bug replant as well.
Test batch 3 and 4: I left out the neem oil in this batch. This batch was fine. The only thing is that despite using a very small amount the Eucalyptus Lemon and Citronella both overpower the other fragrances. It doesn’t smell bad. It just has a more lemon scent than a rosemary or lavender.
Test batch 5, 6, and 7: I debated adding a dab of neem oil but didn’t. I changed up my EO blend for these batches.
Test batch 8, 9, 10, and 11: These next couple batches are sprays. I like the idea of the lotion bar. If I’m going to try and keep bugs away I might as well condition my skin too. But there are times where sprays are quicker and easier and I wanted to offer the option of having both. The different between these batches are simply the essential oil blends.
Now the fun part! I need people who are willing to offer themselves up as guinea pigs and will be willing to test this. I have six different versions. The difference between each is the essential oil blend and amount of neem oil used (if any). I need people who are outside and will really be able to test this. I’m looking for the following information.
- When you’re outside (time of day)
- How bad the mosquitoes are?
- How well did it work?
- What did you think of the smell? (pleasant, bearable, didn’t like it, didn’t bother you…)
- How did you like it as a lotion bar/spray?
- Overall thoughts.
And of course I’ll always take any other opinions, suggestions you have. If you’re willing to sacrifice yourself to the bugs (meaning you can’t use any other bug repellant with this) let me know. Though hopefully it works and the bugs leave you alone! If you’re interested email me at JenniferSoap [at] gmail [dot] com with your address. There are a limited number available for testing. Also, let me know if you like/don’t mind:
- Lemon/Citronella smell
- Prefer lavender.
- Prefer rosemary.
- Prefer spray.
- Prefer lotion bar.
TESTING IS DONE! Thank you to all who volunteered. Look for future announcements on the results of the testing and availability of the bars for purchase!