Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 containers (50 ml each)
Are the mozzies and sandflies getting to you too? It seems this year is worse than usual. It must be all that rain. There’s nothing worse than sitting outside enjoying a glass of chardonnay in the evening and then having to escape inside because of the sandflies! I’m a magnet for sandflies and I hate using DEET insect repellent. So I decided to do some research and formulated my own natural insect repellent. The secret of this balm is that it will not only keep the mozzies away, but the calendula infused sunflower oil also aids the healing and relieve of insect bites and the added shea butter and jojoba oil will nourish and protect your skin.
Scientific studies have shown the effectiveness of lemon eucalyptus oil as an insect repellent. And although it may not be as effective as a formulation containing DEET, a field trial in Queensland, Australia, demonstrated that lemon eucalyptus oil did provide more than 95% protection over 3 hours.
The special insect repelling blend I use contains lemon eucalyptus, rose geranium, lemongrass, and lavender essential oils. Especially lemon eucalyptus has shown to be very effective against New Zealand mozzies and sandflies. I use a 2% dilution, which is the highest amount of essential oils in a product that is still safe to use without sensitising your skin. The balm also requires calendula infused sunflower oil, and the instructions for making your own infused oil can be found here. Alternatively, you can buy calendula infused oil from Pure Nature.
ONE: Combine all the oils, butter and wax in a small pot. If you don’t have candelilla wax, you can substitute for carnauba wax, another vegan option, or beeswax, but you will need increase the amount to 30 g if using beeswax. Place the pot on the stove and heat until melted. You will need to find a setting on your stove that will heat the pot sufficiently to melt the wax, but doesn’t bring it to boil! On my stove, I use the medium setting.
TWO: Take the pot from the stove. If you find it is too hot, leave it for a little while to cool down. Ideally, you want the liquid to be 50 degrees Celsius or less before adding essential oils, however, most waxes have a higher melting point, so you’ll have to eyeball it when it’s cool enough, yet still fully liquid. Add the essential oils and stir to disperse the essential oils throughout the balm mixture.
THREE: Carefully pour the mixture into your containers and leave to harden and cool down for a couple of hours or overnight. Don’t place the lids on until the balm has completely cooled down to prevent condensation forming on the inside of the lids.
Insect Repellent Balm (VEGAN)
- 40 ml calendula infused sunflower oil
- 20 ml jojoba oil
- 20 g shea butter
- 20 g candelilla wax
- 10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
- 10 drops rose geranium essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 balm containers (50 ml)
- Combine the all the oils, butter and wax in a small pot and heat on stove on medium setting until everything has melted.
- Take the pot of the stove, and if necessary, let it cool down a little. The mixture should still be liquid but not too hot. Add the essential oils and stir well.
- Carefully pour the mixture in the containers and leave to harden and cool down for a couple of hours or overnight. Don’t place the lids on until the balm has completely cooled down to prevent condensation forming on the inside of the lids.