My first forays were creating bug spray and chapstick, and I offered them for sale for most of the farm stand season. It was a bad year for bugs, and I must taste sweet because I'm always getting bit up, unlike my husband. DEET works, this is true, but it also melts plastic, tents, high performance camping gear, and removes nail polish so it's not too much of a stretch to wonder if it's really a good thing to apply directly to your skin. My first attempt at insect repellant consisted of witch hazel as a base with a blend of 5 essential oils. It's heavy on the citronella, but the addition of lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint & mandarin make it something you don't mind smelling, and citrus is supposedly good for warding off ticks as well. I thought it worked but I recruited 2 girlfriends who spend a lot of time outdoors to beta test for me. I got a unanimous thumbs-up, and even the boys in my life love it and find it effective without feeling greasy or unpleasantly smelly. Next was lip balm- I made a rosemary-peppermint which is reminiscent of Burt's Bees original flavor. My beta testers loved it and thought it was actually better than the original! So I played around with an alternate recipe and came up with vanilla mandarin, a kind of orange dreamsicle flavor with the same lip soothing qualities. (You can find my lip balm on my Etsy store!) It was really fun to know that I can create something (well, besides food....) that is not only as effective as store bought stuff, but that ditches the not-so-good-for-you chemicals, preservatives, and petroleum products, replacing them with healthful coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils.
I'm just getting started with essential oils, really. While I bought a few at first, I just picked up a book that goes into a little more detail and has tons of recipes with them. Plus, of course there is always Pinterest! I recently bought a book with more fun essential oil info & 600 or so recipes to try and I've stocked up on packaging like more lip balm tubes, small spray bottles and ones with flip-top caps that will be great for soap or other concoctions. I also invested in some more different oils so I can play around with new scents & flavors. Since it's woodstove season, I've been putting a small container of water with a few oils on top that diffuses and creates a room scent. It's a great way to test out some combinations, and I am going to make up some room sprays just because they are fun. Bonus- since it will be fun, non-toxic ingredients they would also work as body sprays! Yay! I'm excited because I feel that these essential oil adventures are going to be a great way to spend some dreary winter days, and I'm excited about fun new offerings I can showcase in our Etsy store and at the stand when we open again in the spring!