Summer Survival with Essential Oils

Summer is almost here and it’s time to head outside and have some fun! Along with this we also pull out our chemical filled sunscreen, sunburn spray, bug spray and owie spray. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have natural alternatives for these? Well, there is!  My Summer Survival Kit consists of: All Natural Sunscreen, Sunburn Spray, Bug Spray, Bug Bite Roll On and Owie Spray. I never leave home without them!

Organic Lifestyle Magazine published an article on the dangers in sunscreen and how they can actually contribute to skin cancer. To read the full article click here: Sunscreen Dangers

There are many carrier oils which have a natural SPF that you can add to your homemade sunscreen to increase the SPF. Here is a chart with a selection for you to try. To purchase these oils you can find them on my Resource Page at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Here are Three sunscreen recipes for you to try

1) All Natural DIY Sunscreen made with Essential Oils

This recipe is roughly around SPF 30+.  Zinc oxide can absorb ultraviolet radiation of sun and protect the skin from sunburn and other damaging effects of UV radiation. Because it absorbs the broadest spectrum of ultraviolet radiation, the FDA has approved its use in sunscreen, lotions, creams, makeup, deodorant, soaps, and more.

*Note: this recipe is not suitable for SPF protection during water-related activities.

What you need:

1/2 cup olive oil  (SPF 2-8) or Avocado Oil (SPF 4-15)

1/4 cup Coconut Oil (SPF 2-8)

1/4 cup beeswax

4 tablespoons zinc oxide (25% which is 30+ SPF)

1 teaspoon vitamin E

2 tablespoons Shea butter (SPF 3-6)

12 drops Helichrysum or Lavender essential oil

Add 10-15 Drops of one of the oils listed with High SPF in the chart above- I like Carrot Seed Oil


Add everything except zinc oxide and Helichrysum essential oil in a medium sized glass mixing bowl.

Fill a medium double boiler with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.

As the ingredients start to melt, stir occasionally to mix.

TIP: Use a Popsicle stick to help stir for an easier cleanup.

Once all ingredients are melted, remove from heat.

Add the zinc oxide and Helichrysum/Lavender essential oil and stir well to mix.

Note:  Adding additional zinc oxide will increase the SPF factor.

Pour into a pint-sized tin or Mason jar and store in a cool place (like a refrigerator). Use within six months.


If you are in a rush to head to the beach or pool, you can still make an effective sunscreen with fewer ingredients.

What you need:

Hand and Body Lotion

12 drops of Helichrysum/Lavender essential oil

2 tablespoons of zinc oxide


Add ingredients to an 8-10 ounce empty lotion bottle and mix well by either stirring the mixture with a straw or shaking vigorously. Apply before sun exposure and reapply every couple of hours.

Note: this recipe is not suitable for SPF protection during water-related activities.

3) Homemade Sunscreen Bars

Sunscreen bar Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup Shea, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 cup)
  • 1 cup beeswax (can add an extra ounce or two if you want a thicker consistency, which leaves less lotion on the skin when used)
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) of Zinc Oxide (available online or in many stores on the diaper aisle, just make sure it is pure zinc oxide- For those concerned about contaminants or nano-particles, this version has larger particles)
  • Optional: Vitamin E oil to preserve. I added 1 tsp vitamin E oil for  this recipe made with 1 cup of each ingredient)
  • Optional: a few drops of vanilla or essential oil for scent (do not use citrus oils!)

How to Make:

Combine all ingredients (except zinc oxide and essential oils if using) in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.

Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth:

Remove from heat and add the zinc oxide powder and essential oils.

Gently stir by hand until essential oils are incorporated.

Carefully pour into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in. I used these silicon baking cups, though any mold would work. This recipe exactly filled 12 silicon baking cups when I made it.

Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds. These could be made in different shaped molds for different holiday gifts (hearts for valentines, flowers for Mother’s day, etc.) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.

They can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge or freezer for longer term storage. Keep below 80 degrees or they will melt! Adjust coverage to your needs and be careful not to burn while determining how long you can spend in the sun with these.

Now, for those times when you do get a sunburn here is a wonderful sunburn spray that I have used. It stops the pain and swelling and prevents peeling!

Sunburn Spray

15 drops of one of the following – (or all 3!)

5 drops Lavender

5 drops Melaleuca

5 drops Roman Chamomile

2 ounces of Fractionated Coconut oil

Glass Spray Bottle or Glass bottle

Apply frequently to sunburned skin!

Going camping? This all natural bug spray is a must!

Bug Spray

4 drops Citronella essential oil
4 drops lemongrass essential oil
4 drops rosemary essential oil
4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
4 drops peppermint essential oil
1/4 cup pure witch hazel
1. Add all ingredients into a small glass spray bottle. Shake & Spray! Apply liberally

Opps! You got bit!


You can make a blend of Lavender and Melaleuca (mixed equal parts with Carrier oil) in a roll-on bottle to help with the itchy bite areas.

15 mil roller bottle

7 drops each of Melalecua and Lavender

Carrier oil  to top off bottle

Scraped knees or elbows? Try this owie spray that my kids LOVE!

Owie Spray

15 drops Melaleuca

15 Drops Lavender

Carrier Oil top off with this

1 oz Spray Bottle

Carrier Oils – On my Resource Page there is a link to Mountain Rose Herbs

Hope this helps keep your summer be the best one yet!