I believe the best sun protection is being sensible about your sun exposure. Covering up and keeping to the shade is ideal, but I do love activities like surfing, swimming and of course gardening that tend to keep me out in the sun sometimes. I cover up as much as possible with a hat, long sleeves and use natural sunscreen. In my 35 years though, there has been the odd time I have had a bit too much sun. 

I first made this little concoction one evening after a tad too much time in the surf! The cooling, soothing blend of peppermint, aloe and lavender helped calm and moisturise my skin without adding oils. I’ve added some rose water too as it is just so gentle and beautiful on the skin, plus it smells divine. Be sure to use only quality essential oils that are ok for topical use. 

The aloe vera plant stores water in it’s leaves in the form of this cooling gel. It works beautifully as a moisturiser and a soothing agent for sunburn, bug bites and other minor skin issues. Be sure to look closely at what is in it before you buy though, as some brands have a lot of chemical additives: look for at least 99.9% aloe. You can find organic aloe vera gel at most health food and whole food stores as well as online. Better yet, grow fresh aloe in your garden or in a pot. Just remember that the products you make with fresh aloe gel and juice need to be used the same day and stored in the fridge. 

Being a succulent, aloe vera is such an easy thing to grow yourself. Ours thrives with very little attention, so much so that I usually have to harvest more than I need at a time to ensure it stays under control!  Just give it a nice sunny spot with good drainage. If you have particularly heavy soil, consider growing your aloe vera in a roomy pot with good drainage. A few pebbles at the bottom of the pot, underneath the soil work a treat.  

This recipe calls for store bought aloe vera gel so you can make a bigger batch that lasts a long time. If you choose to use your beautiful home grown aloe I suggest making a single use batch. You will feel extra good tending to your skin with something you have grown yourself! 

Aloe vera has been used for centuries to accelerate the healing of burns, so this combo is an absolute dream. 
Makes: 100 ml (31/2 fl oz)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Equipment: Spray bottle
2 1/2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
2 1/2 tablespoons pure rose water
10 drops lavender essential oil 
2 drops peppermint essential oil
Add all ingredients to your spray bottle and shake well to combine.
To use: Shake well before each use. Simply spray a light layer over sun-kissed areas, always avoiding your eyes. Allow it to air dry and repeat every so often to prolong that soothing, cooling feeling. 

To make a single use batch from your home grown aloe: Simply score a nice big chunk length ways and carefully use a sharp knife to scrape the gel into a small bowl or plate. Add the rose water and only 1 drop of each of the essential oils and mix well. 

*Another great little hack is to store this recipe in the fridge. Extra soothing and cooling on the skin! 

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