The Best Essential Oils for Summer: Long Days & Hot Nights

Summer. The season we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. With it comes longer, hotter days and plenty of outdoor activities. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best essential oils for summer!

Essential oils can help keep pesky insects away from your patio, invite the scent of summer into your home, and even help to keep your skin full of hydration and moisture!

We’ve done the research for you and come up with the best essential oils for summer and some of the best diffuser blends and recipes!

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils in the Sun?

Hmmm, not entirely; no, that is probably the best answer here.

Some essential oils are phototoxic, which can irritate the skin when sunlight exposes. This is mainly, but not exclusively, citrus oils which are phototoxic because their oils have been expressed from the fruit rinds. This happens when specific membrane lipids also get squashed out and end up in the oil. These are called furanocoumarins. As stated, this is common in citrus oils but also a problem with angelica root essential oil.

Also Read: How to Make an After Sun Lotion

How Do You Avoid Essential Oils' Phototoxic Effects?

There are two solutions. 

First, only use citrus essential oils topically in the evening. Avoid going out into direct sunlight with it on your skin for twelve hours, and most definitely avoid sunbeds.

The second is to look for oils where the furanocoumarins have been removed. These are called FCF - furanocoumarin free and are safe to use in sunlight.

However, many aromatherapists feel that the FCF oils may not be as emotionally uplifting as their fuller cousins since it is almost like the sunshine has been taken out.

Also Read: Sunshine and Phototoxic Essential Oils

7 Best Essential Oils and Blends to Keep You Cool During Summer

1. Grapefruit Essential Oil

One of the significant components of grapefruit essential oil is limonene. Limonene is common in citrus fruits and oils, and studies indicate that it can work as a natural mood-booster. If you are suffering from feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression, diffuse some grapefruit oil and let the cheerful scent of summer citrus cheer you up! 

Summer in Paradise Diffuser Blend:

Grapefruit Sugar Scrub:

Mix all ingredients well, then add to the glass mason jar for storage. Keep in a cool, dry place for best results. 

Safety: Grapefruit is a phototoxic oil and can also thin the blood. So, this will not affect this diffuser recipe since we would not use this on the skin. However, avoid wearing grapefruit essential oil in direct sunlight or if you are on blood thinning medications.

One specific example is that many cellulite massage essential oils contain grapefruit oil, which is lovely for toned holiday bums and thighs. You will want to use these at night or in the evening after you return from the beach, not out in the sunshine.

2. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is one of the best essential oils for summer due to its cooling properties. After a hot day outside in the sunshine, grab some relief by using peppermint oil to beat the heat. As this oil contains a high level of menthol, it can also work as an analgesic, helping to relieve headaches and sore muscles. 

Cooling Peppermint Spray:

Mix all ingredients together in the spray bottle, and shake well to combine. Spray on your body (or feet!) to beat the heat whenever you feel like it. 

Using Peppermint Essential Oil for Pain Relief:

Add peppermint oil, then fill to top with a carrier oil of your choice. Shake well to combine, then roll onto temples and back of the neck for quick and easy relief of headache pain and tension.

Safety: Peppermint is safe in the sunshine; however, we would not want to use peppermint on children. One of its constituents, menthol, slows respiration and can be problematic for small children’s breathing. Do not use it to cool infants. Rosewater or neroli would be better for them. 

3. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is one of those essential oils that can infuse your home or office with summer all year round. Not only does it contain limonene, which, as we now know, can help boost mood and reduce stress and anxiety, but it is also an excellent antibacterial agent! One of our favorite summer essential oils, you can diffuse it, clean it, use it as a beauty tool, and so much more! Here are a few of our favorite lemon essential oil DIY recipes!

Lemon Essential Oil for Cleaning Windows:

Add to a spray bottle, then shake to combine before using.

Summer Air Freshener Spray:

Blend in a spray bottle, and mist around the room as needed. 

Safety: Again, these are lovely safe recipes because they are not going on the skin, but the lemon essential oil is phototoxic.

Use it on an aroma pendant rather than the skin for an uplifting mood, and conditions like warts that respond well to lemon would be best covered with a band-aid in the sun or used in the evening.

4. Citronella Essential Oil

Using citronella essential oil to repel mosquitoes is one of the most famous natural alternatives to bug spray. Citronella works by masking human scent, helping you avoid noticing insects that might mistake you for a tasty snack. You can use citronella oil in candles, tiki torches, insect repellents, and your diffuser! Its exotic citrus scent is also great for adding a bit of flair to natural lotions and creams. 

DIY Insect Spray:

Safety: Citronella is safe in the sun; however, it can be rather sharp on the skin. Make sure you dilute it well.

If you make your insect repellent, you must respray yourself roughly every three hours. Since these do not include fixatives, all essential oil volatiles will have evaporated after that time.

5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Another cooling oil, eucalyptus essential oil, might be one of our best essential oils for summer! It is milder than peppermint yet still offers a refreshing, fresh aroma. As a bonus, eucalyptus oil can also help repel insects such as mosquitoes! Give yourself a taste of the luxurious life with the following recipe:

Eucalyptus Cold Towels:

Fill a large bowl with water and mix in the eucalyptus essential oil. Dip the towels into the water, then gently wring dry. Roll up and place into zip lock, then store in the fridge. Whenever you need to cool down, grab a towel and use it to refresh yourself!

Safety: Again, eucalyptus is safe in the sunshine, but like peppermint, we would not want to use it on children. One of its constituents, 1,8 cineole, slows respiration and can be problematic for small children’s breathing.

Do not use it to cool infants. Rosewater or neroli would be better for cooling them, and a bit of lavender is lovely for bites and stings.

6. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

We’ve all heard of long summer days, but what about those hot summer nights? Ylang-ylang is famous in many countries for its use as an aphrodisiac. Above and beyond, its rich, tropical fragrance is the perfect way to transport yourself to a tropical summer paradise all year round. 

Summer Lovin’ Diffuser Blend:

Safety: Ylang ylang belongs in the sun. It positively transports you to exotic islands and forces you to relax. However, it is unsuitable for people with naturally low blood pressure since it can cause it to sink through the floor, even if you just use it as a diffuser.

Also, it would not be suitable to use on the skin if you were pregnant (safe after 37 weeks and for labor).

7. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

When the heat begins to rise, it can sometimes wreak havoc on a person’s sleep routine—especially if you lack air conditioning! Roman chamomile essential oil is the perfect way to not only reduce stress but help promote sleep.

Chamomile is also one of the few essential oils considered safe for children if used properly. Mix 3-12 drops (depending on who is using it) of chamomile oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil, and then add it to your bath before bed. If it’s too hot for a bath, do a foot soak using cool water instead! 

Safety: Lovely and safe for all. Delightful in the sun and soothing for sunburn, sunstroke, and bites and stings.

Summer Essential Oils: How to Use Them

Always ensure you dilute your essential oils into carriers, usually to a maximum dilution of 3% for adults and 1% for children. Some oils require less, but this is an excellent cover-all guide. 1% is one drop of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil, and 3% is three drops.

If you want to combine two or more essential oils, you can go to 3% dilution of each, so three oils could be 9 drops of essential oil in a carrier oil.

Also Read: Best Essential Oils For Sunburn


Though pure essential oils are 100% natural, you should still take proper care when using them. They are very high in concentration and can cause burning or irritation of the skin if you do not dilute them properly. Never apply raw oils to the skin, and never ingest oils.

Many recipes online will tell you to use essential oils in drinks or food, but this is not safe. As oil easily separates from water and other liquids, it can do the same internally. When this happens, it can cause harm to sensitive mucosa and other cells. Keep essential oils away from pets and small children, including when diffusing.

If you suffer from any medical conditions or are taking any medications, we recommend discussing the use of essential oils with your doctor first. 


With each oil's benefits and uses, this list of the best essential oils for summer is entirely subjective. However, we think it’s a great starting point to help you decide which oils you need to stock up on for the season.

After so many months of being cooped up inside during the pandemic, we hope everyone can get outdoors, enjoy some sunshine, and get crafty with some of these DIY essential oil recipes!

Also Read: Summer Solstice

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