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FO/EO for lotion/body spray questions

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Navaria

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Fair warning, I may drive you guys nuts with questions the next few days. Camping season is almost upon us. We'll be moving to the campground in a little over a month. Last year the mosquitos almost carried us off. I had to douse us all with nasty chemical stuff constantly, and it didn't even work for my oldest son. This year I want to try to make a "healthier" version that will actually work. I've researched and bought every essential oil that might repel bugs along with citronella FO. I plan to master batch them all to use in lotion and body spray. I can't find anything that says how much EO you can use if you're using more than one. Or even what % to use. Everything I can find is in drops. Does anyone have any info on how to combine different EO's and at what %? I want the strongest mix I can make but don't want to hurt anyone by using trial and error. Also, what is your preferred method of diluting them to make a spray? I've seen vodka, rubbing alcohol, and witch hazel all suggested. Thanks for taking the time to read all this :)
 

dixiedragon

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Majestic Mountain sage has a fragrance calculator that includes EOs. BTW, I doubt Citronella FO will work well, if at all. I am a mosquito magnet and the only thing that works for me is Deep Woods OFF. So, if you find a natural solution, please share!
 

Navaria

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I checked that website out. It doesn't say about combining oils. Do I just mix them together and use that % in my master batch? Or do I use that % of each?
 

TeresaT

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I, too, am a mosquito's favorite food. I don't think the citronella FO will work (it might, though). I have made soap with citronella EO and have found that to be very helpful for me. I just wash with it before I go out. I have a huge bottle of citronella EO and I'm going to make a spray with it using alcohol and the EO at .5% (at first) to see if that works. If not, I'll just keep upping the EO by .5% until it does. I probably wouldn't go higher than 2.5 to 3%, though, since the odor tends to give me a headache if it's too strong.
 

DeeAnna

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My experience is an EO repellant works best when the % of EO is relatively low and the product is applied fairly often. The chemicals in EOs evaporate at different rates ... some fairly fast, some more slowly. Using a little bit more often seems to be the key to keeping the overall protection as high as possible for the least amount of risk to my health. Another thing to keep in mind is some EOs are more effective for some insects than others, so you want to decide what your target pests are and formulate accordingly.

I go to Belize once a year and the noseeums are really bad on the island I visit. In previous years, I had used my EO blend in various incarnations, but I would get lazy about reapplying often enough and I'd end up with some bites. Not nearly as bad as I would with no spray, but I had hoped for more.

This year I took a commercial spray that is highly recommended for insect repellency. I expected way better things from this stuff for as much as it cost! Guess what ... I got bit up just as bad. So much for my stuff not working well!
 

Navaria

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This year I took a commercial spray that is highly recommended for insect repellency. I expected way better things from this stuff for as much as it cost! Guess what ... I got bit up just as bad. So much for my stuff not working well!
That's my thing. If I'm going to give a valiant attempt with something that doesn't work, I'd rather it be a natural fail as opposed to a chemical one lol.
Since I dove headfirst into this idea and bought 8 oz of citronella FO, I'm going to have to go ahead and use it. Hopefully it works. If not, at least I'll know by the smell what it's for. Absolutely no other use for it. That stuff stinks! Lol
 

dixiedragon

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I checked that website out. It doesn't say about combining oils. Do I just mix them together and use that % in my master batch? Or do I use that % of each?
As far as I know, there is no calculator for combining multiple EOs. So what I do is use the fragrance calculator to figure out what my maximum is for each EO and go from there. So if most of your EOs have a safe usage rate of 1% (totally made up number), then yes, mix them all together and use the mix at 1% in your product.

BTW, you may find that your citronella FO is a good blender for citrusy FOs.

In regards to noseeums (aka chiggers) the best thing I've found is to fill an old sock with sulfur and baby powder and dust your ankles with it.
 

DeeAnna

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I think as you and I have been discussing by PM, the chemicals in an EO that repel insects are not necessarily the same ones that give an EO its odor. That may be true, but scent alone isn't proof that an FO works the same as the EO.

That said, FOs can contain EOs even if they are not specifically labeled that way. Citronella is inexpensive enough that this might be the case. Can't say for sure -- you'll just have to give it a try.

ETA: The noseeums on the island are a tiny fly that lives in damp sand. They're called sand flies by the locals. They're not the same as chiggers that crawl and live in grassy areas. Chiggers are also called noseeums. Confusing!!! Regardless, the result is about the same -- intensely itchy red welts that take a long time to heal. Ugh.

Sand flies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratopogonidae
Chiggers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombiculidae
 
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cmzaha

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Lemon Eucalyptus was put on the list of acceptable EO's for bug repellent. I think some of the over the counter use it in their formulas.
 

dixiedragon

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Neem oil (it's a fixed oil, not an EO) is supposed to be good for repelling bugs. I've never made a spray - I made a lotion bar with neem and EOs and used it generously and when that didn't work, I went back to OFF. Maybe I need to try again. Neem is pretty thick. Perhaps it could be emulsified with water to make it thin enough to spray?
 

froggybean37

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I made a spray for my father in law that was a blend of eucalyptus, peppermint, black pepper and lemon and he (who is usually devoured by black flies and mozzies) absolutely swears by it. I just put it in a base of sweet almond oil and he reapplied every hour or two.
 

shunt2011

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Lemon Eucalyptus works quite well too. I purchased the EO blend from WSP in a small amount for my dad to try in one of those Off bug repeller thingys. And I put the Lemon Eucalyptus on the pad and he turned it on and we weren't bothered by flies all night long when they usually swarm. That was this past summer.
 

DeeAnna

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A light emulsified lotion or an anhydrous body oil seems to be more effective longer than a water-based product, although oil-based liquids can be a little more uncomfortable in hot sticky weather. I have tried a water-alcohol mixture with EOs. It has a much lighter, drier feeling, but doesn't seem to last quite as long. You might have to lightly apply every 45-60 minutes rather than every hour or 2.

Problem is EOs are not water soluble and will float on the surface of a water-alcohol solution, so it's important to solubilize the EOs with polysorbate. If you don't, the EOs may not be evenly mixed in your product, and you cannot ensure how consistent the EO dose is. You might not get enough one time (hello, skeeters and chiggers!) and you might get too much the next (hello, possible irritation!)
 

paillo

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Lemon eucalyptus has worked better for me than citronella, though not at all fond of the scent. Have made solid lotion bars and witch hazel sprays. I'm a magnet for skeeters, ticks and especially chiggers, spend a lot of time in the yard and woods, and am pretty much resigned to bites :( One thing that's helped is frequent rubdowns with fresh rosemary and catnip, since I have a lot of both. And I'm a fan of ShooTags for humans, they really seem to work for me better than anything but Deep Woods Off.
 
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Arimara

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I love catnip but I don't want to be a cat magnet either.
 

Navaria

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I've got the lemon eucalyptus EO already for my mix lol. How bad is the stink from neem oil? I've read some really, really horrible reviews of it.
 
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