Soap recipes have to be tweaked for the summer months. Why? Because it's incredibly hot out, which amplifies any aroma. Just the thought of a whiff of cinnamon on a 90-degree day makes us gag (or at the very least, inspires us to crank up the air conditioner even higher). So, let's make some adjustments, shall we?
If you like: Sweet fruity scents (peach, strawberry, etc.)
Go for: Citrus aromas (lemon, lime, grapefruit)
Some of us have had the unique olfactory experience of standing in close quarters with someone doused in peach. On a gentle May day, this would've been nice, if not a little strong. But the heat magnified the super-sweet notes, creating a suffocatingly overripe scent. Instead, opt for citrus. Lemon, lime and grapefruit notes lack a sugary "backbone," which is why they always smell fresh instead of cloying. Plus, citrus oils have been found to stimulate blood circulation when applied to the skin, which helps your body efficiently cool itself better.
For a fab citrus soap recipe, visit Miller Soap.
If you like: Woodsy, pine-y scents
Go for: Peppermint
The juniper notes in pine may seem like a cool counterpoint to a hot day, but we've found that pine essential oils can go (at best) "cedar" to (at worst) "Pine-sol" when exposed to heat. Not good. Peppermint will deliver a refreshing scent without any medicinal odors. And like citrus, peppermint physically stimulates the skin to create a cooling sensation.
For a potent peppermint soap recipe, visit Soap Nuts.
If you like: Florals
Go for: Lavender
Complex floral fragrances most noticeably transform when exposed to heat. Rose essential oil becomes peppery, honeysuckle goes sickly sweet, gardenia becomes almost musky. But you don't have to give up a garden aroma during the summer: Just go for lavender instead. This herb actually contains camphor, a relative to mint that is amazingly invigorating. And how's this for a bonus? Lavender actually repels mosquitoes and flies.
To get a tried-and-true lavender soap tutorial, visit a Pumpkin and a Princess.
If you like: Beach-y fragrances ("sea" scents)
Go for: Aloe vera
Okay, this is going to be a bit counterintuitive. Summer and the beach go hand in hand, but so many of those "sea" or "ocean" fragrances just can't get the clean salt air scent right. That's because they often use a base of apples, of all things, to try to capture the gently watery, slightly floral scent. I'm not sure why that is, either. But for a true "water" aroma, use aloe vera instead. This ingredient might be associated with the beach in your mind, since it's a commonly used salve for sunburns. It actually repairs the skin by delivering a wallop of moisture plus a soothing cooling sensation. A treat for sensitive skin types.
Check out this recipe for aloe vera soap over at Herb Companion.
If you like: Vanilla
Go for: Almond
A nose-full of vanilla aroma reminds you of baking, which is not a pleasant thought during August highs. But almond offers a much more subtly sweet and milky fragrance that won't make you smell like a bakery. Similarly to aloe vera, almond milk can repair sun-damaged skin by gently sloughing off dead cells and calming mild burns.
For a super-moisturizing almond soap recipe, visit Pure and Natural Soaps.