We all want to enjoy being outdoors but insects can make it hard to enjoy your surroundings. If you have wee ones it becomes even more frustrating trying to find something that will be safe to put on 3+ months. If that's you, I have good news!
Lavandin Hydrosol to the rescue!
Do you know about hydrosols? They're the aqueous solutions that remain after steam-distilling or hydro-distilling botanical material.
Hydrosols are a gentle alternative to essential oils. Some producers of hydrosols specialize in them - distilling plant material specifically for the hydrosol!
Lavandin hydrosol (Lavandula hybrid, L. x intermedia grosso) is a great option for littles, since it's safe for 3+ months. You can just spritz it onto exposed skin - application couldn't be easier! You can find Lavandin Hydrosol among reputable sources including a beautiful one at Nature's Gift. And yes, I'm linking to Nature's Gift because I've worked with them for years and know I can trust them to only offer the best.
For 2+ year olds, you might want to consider an essential oil blend. Some common ingredients that are insect repellents in many blends are not safe for kids; ingredients such as Cajeput and Lemongrass.
Here are a few options you can use in a blend for 2+.
Buddha Wood (Eremophila mitchellii)
Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica, Cedrus deodara, Juniperus virginiana)
Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Nerolina (Melaleuca quinquenervia ct linalool)
Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua)
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
Here's a recipe that only uses ingredients that are safe for 2+ year olds.
If you choose to use the Sesame Seed Oil as in the recipe, you'll have the added advantage of its own therapeutic properties. Sesame Oil, aka Sesame Seed Oil is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and is thought to be protection against sun damage and UV exposure. Susan M. Parker in her book "Power of the Seed" states that Sesame Seed Oil has a 15 SPF rating; however, at the time of publishing (2004) more testing needs to be done.
For this application, when choosing your Sesame Seed Oil, you want to use the unrefined oil and not the toasted version. Nature's Gift has a wonderful Sesame Oil so if you don't have any, you might want to check it out.
Bugger Off Repellent (Kid safe for 3+ years old)
In a 4 oz spray bottle (PET plastic or glass) add:
15 drops Catnip
10 drops Kunzea
8 drops Cedarwood
8 drops Euc. Citriodora
4 drops Spikenard
Shake the bottle gently with just the EOs then add 3 1/2 ounces Sesame Seed Oil.
Spray on any exposed areas, massaging into the skin. (avoid eye area)
Repeat every 2-3 hours while outdoors.
If you prefer a ready-made solution and are looking for products safe for 10-12+ year olds, you might want to check out SkeeterBeater Body Oil (10+ yo), SkeeterBeater Gel (12+) or SkeeterBeater Synergy (12+).
Another great thing about Nature's Gift - they'll send you samples! If you only need a few drops of something, try the sample first! You can just request samples (up to 6 for $5), but you can also request 4 FREE samples with the purchase of any regularly priced products. So, for example, if you want to make the Bugger Off blend but you don't have Eucalyptus citriodora, ask for that as one of your samples!
Crouse L. AromaSense app. Published online 2022. https://www.aromasenseapp.com
Parker SM. Power of the Seed: Your Guide to Oils for Health & Beauty. Process; 2015.