Aromatics Wellness Blog

Top 10 Cooling Essential Oils (+ Recipes)

Chill out with these 10 cooling essential oils!


Have you ever put an essential oil blend on your skin, and then felt the area turn cool a few minutes later?

That’s because some essential oils contain natural components that are cooling: they activate cold-sensing nerves in the skin.

A good example is menthol, one of the main natural components found in Peppermint Oil (Mentha × piperita).

A lot of research has been done on menthol, so we know that when it touches the skin, it activates a protein called TRPM8 found in cold-sensing nerve cells. Menthol itself isn’t cold (nor are essential oils that contain it). But it does “trick” your brain into thinking it’s cold!

Another welcome effect of menthol is that as it makes the area feel cool, that sensation can effectively “numb” other sensations. (Menthol-rich essential oils are great for muscle and joint blends!) Menthol also invites a fresh flow of blood to wherever you apply it, allowing your body’s natural resources to flow through the area more easily. This helps “flush” toxins out of the area from within, soothing any redness or puffiness that may have built up.

And menthol isn’t the only natural component that behaves this way. There are a lot of essential oils that offer cooling sensations, and they’re all great for summertime blends!

10 cooling essential oils for relief in hot summer weather

This list is far from exhaustive! There are many more cooling essential oils than we could include in this post.

For example, while you’ll see lime and orange oils in the list, all of the citrus oils are actually cooling. And while peppermint is the only mint oil listed, the other mints are equally cooling (such as corn mint oil and spearmint). Many of the floral oils and conifers also have a gently cooling touch (though it’s not as pronounced as in the mints or eucalyptus).

* SAFETY NOTES: Be sure to check each oil’s product page for individual safety concerns.

While some oils (such as German chamomile) are very gentle on skin, others (like menthol-rich peppermint) can be harsh on skin if used at high dilutions.

For example, in low concentrations, menthol feels blissfully cooling (as we’ve discussed above). But at high concentrations, that cool sensation becomes hot and uncomfortable.

Regarding the citrus essential oils, all of them are cooling. However, some citrus oils are also phototoxic—meaning you shouldn’t apply them to your skin and then go out in the sun. They can cause painful skin reactions in sunlight (and tanning beds). If you’re going to use lime oil, look for DISTILLED Lime Oil (which is NOT phototoxic). Orange (Sweet) Oil is also sun-safe.

Phototoxic citrus oils to use with caution are lemon, cold-pressed lime, bergamot, and grapefruit. You’ll find specific safety guidelines on each oil’s product page.

5 Cooling essential oil recipes to beat the heat

When the heat turns up, keep cool naturally by making these 5 DIY blends including the 10 oils listed previously.

1. Cooling Citrus Body Butter

This is a cooling moisturizing body butter that can nourish your skin while keeping it cool. Apply it after your morning shower before you go about your day. Its fresh, bright citrus aroma is perfect for summer!

2. Cooling Tonic Spray

Spritz your neck, face, shoulders, and wherever you’d like with this refreshing blend of cooling essential oils in aloe vera gel. Keep it with you if you’re walking around on a hot day.

3. Kids Aloe Sunburn Relief Spray

Kids spend a lot of time having fun outside, especially when the days are long and sunny! This aloe-based blend is made with skin-repairing hydrosols (no essential oils necessary) that are gentle enough for children’s sensitive, irritated skin.

4. Aching Foot Soak

This simple, two-ingredient recipe comforts hot, puffy, sore feet after a long day of walking in warm weather. Simply combine the peppermint oil and jojoba, add it to a small tub of water, and soak your feet!

5. Lavender Linen Spray

Sleep through a warm night by spritzing your sheets and pillows with this deeply relaxing, cooling blend of essential oils in Lavender Artisan Hydrosol.

Enjoy the sun!

These blends work nicely hand-in-hand with natural methods like cross ventilation (opening windows on multiple sides of your house), using ceiling fans (which help you feel cool by wicking moisture away from your skin), and keeping the shades drawn against the strongest rays of the sun.

Creating your own approach for staying cool naturally can make super-hot days feel more comfortable.

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