As a born-and-raised Oregonian, I tend to crave the summer sun. Skin has its limits, however, and after venturing out on or around water on a sunny day, I find that my largest organ needs as much R&R as I do! Like many folks, I’m a big fan of aloe vera gel, but it can get messy and goopy to use on its own. Fortunately, by combining the generous cooling benefits of aloe vera with wonderful witch hazel extract and skin-loving calendula hydrosol (a mild plant water created during the essential oil distilling process), you can create a non-goopy recipe that is physically refreshing, easy to use, and makes for a comforting end to a long day in the outdoors.
WHAT IS AN AFTER-SUN SPRAY?
An after-sun spray is a healthful body spray used to cool and refresh the skin after spending time in the sun. Just like a tall glass of cool water can be taken internally to rehydrate and lower body temperature, an after-sun spray is used topically to bring moisture and relief to thirsty skin, but with the added health benefits of organic herbs and all-natural botanical ingredients.
HOW TO USE AN AFTER-SUN SPRAY
After-sun sprays are great for when your skin feels a bit heated or slightly irritated. If you put your after-sun mixture in a bottle with a fingertip mister, then all you need to do is apply the mixture as if it were a body spray or facial toner (but avoid eyes and sensitive areas), and reapply as needed. You can also use the after-sun blend as a compress by soaking a thin wash cloth in the mixture and holding it on the skin. Keeping it refrigerated will make for an extra refreshing after-sun relaxation session!
INFUSED WITCH HAZEL EXTRACT:
- 4 oz. homemade infused witch hazel extract
- 2 oz. organic calendula hydrosol (cucumber, rose, or peppermint hydrosols are other fresh and cooling options)
- 1 oz. organic aloe vera gel
- Fill a 7 oz. or larger pantry jar half full with a mixture of equal parts green tea leaves, lavender, and cleavers (you'll need at least 4 ounces of finished extract for this recipe, but feel free to make more and save for other projects, it should last up to a year!).
- Pour witch hazel extract over the herbs and fill to the top of the jar.
- Secure lid, shake well, and allow to infuse for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Strain into pantry jar and label for future use.
MAKING THE AFTER-SUN SPRAY:
- In a glass bottle with mister, combine 4 ounces of homemade herb-infused witch hazel extract with your hydrosol and aloe vera gel.
- Secure lid, shake well, and spray generously on skin as needed. Avoid contact with eyes and other sensitive areas.
- Keep refrigerated (will usually last up to a year if properly stored).
IMPORTANT: This spray may help deal with the odd occasion of over-sunning, but it is NOT an excuse to forget about sun safety! We encourage everyone to take appropriate UV protection precautions whenever possible, such as limiting periods of direct exposure and wearing protective coverings.