In this post I wish to talk about something we have been working on for 3 to 4 years now. As avid outdoors enthusiasts that enjoy tent camping when we get the chance, we learned about natural insect repellents from a family member. Big brands had been bringing out natural products, but many of them were still containing DEET or relying heavily on other naturally sourced but still toxic ingredients. Looking into the spray this family member had brought with them for the weekend camping trip, we saw it was easily something we can make using many ingredients we already have. It included cedar, citronella, lavender and eucalyptus, all of which are effective bug repellents. Trying the spray out, it worked great at keeping the bugs away and I didn’t feel icky using it. The smell was very sweet and somewhat medicinal.
Now to Create Our Own Recipe
A couple years later at this same annual family getaway, I had brought my own concoction to try out. In the time since my introduction to the concept, I learned of a couple more natural essential oils that do great work to keep away the pests: clary sage and geranium. By using Himalayan Cedar Oil we get a variant of cedar that shares properties with eucalyptus and works great at turning away insects. My blend worked very well and the added oils provided an earthy scent. I was able to keep the bugs from nipping at my ankles all weekend. I kept my bottle handy to spray around where I ever I found myself. Whether it was sitting to chat with family, or resting on a blanket in the shade; I found that I was not getting attacked by mosquitos and biting flies like I normally would.
Natural, water based, essential oil bug sprays do tend to need to be reapplied regularly, but just a quick couple triggers pulls around my feet and back of my neck and I was good to go for a couple hours. Knowing that I was not layering on more chemicals every time allowed me to be comfortable spraying a little more often just to be sure.
Does it work as well as known brands? Bottom line, yes. With some re-application I found it was just as effective. Knowing that it was also more skin, pet and environmentally friendly made it better in my view. For the price, it was even better. Some of those toxic sprays aren’t that inexpensive and the cost to the environment makes it a price I don’t feel comfortable paying.
Why “From JÖL?”
We feel that the JÖL branding better serves this outdoors lifestyle product line we are introducing. This line will grow to include around 3 to 5 items. At first we will launch the above mentioned Camper’s Bug Repellent along side a Camper’s Soap Bar, which we will talk more about below; and there will be a Citronella Candle in a bucket to take wherever you go. This candle was the bridge that led us to place these items under the JÖL brand. Wanting to keep all these outdoorsy items thematically together, it made sense to take this approach. With what JÖL means and why we adopted the word for use paints a broad canvas that can include anything we create.
The impetus to go in this direction for the outdoor lifestyle products could easily lead to more items under the brand. With “Apothecary” being a word that carries special legal requirements in some states as it is defined as a pharmacy under their regulations, we have been seeking a new name for our J+L Apothecary products. JÖL is right there, and with the introduction of candles it is now more iconic with our overall presence. We will have more on this in a later post.
Something about a Camper’s Soap Bar?
This last year we have been looking into retooling our bar soap offerings. The idea came up during a think tank session to apply our bug repelling essential oils into a soap bar. Being the campers we are, it sounded like something we never knew we wanted until then. Although we thought the concept was somewhat original, it really isn’t. Bar soaps in general are more eco-friendly and can be used anywhere you have access to water. A bar is more efficient, lasts longer and easier to travel with than a bottle of liquid. How it works is the soap applies these essential oils to the skin during use. A little of the fragrance lingers to ward off insects, as well as taking care of any that may be on you as you wash.
This soap bar also includes a couple extra perks: oatmeal and bentonite clay. The oatmeal will help soothe the skin if you have been affected by any bugs, and the clay will work to extract any toxins from bugs or even plants that you may have encountered outdoors. This is the soap to take with you when you hike, camp or travel where you will be outdoors where bugs may get to you. It would also be good to keep handy if you are an avid gardener, farmer or do any work outdoors. The oils give a pleasant earthy herbal scent that can be strong at first but mellows quickly. Even leaving the bar sitting out on your camp table will do a great job of keeping pest away from food. And best of all this is non-toxic and all plant sourced. Unless you have allergies to any of the essential oils, it is 100% safe to handle and apply to your skin. Used with our Camper’s Bug Repellent spray and Citronella Candle – you can better enjoy the outdoors with fewer pests. Unfortunately, it will not repel the annoying loud family on the camp site next to you.
With these new products we are categorizing under the banner of Outdoor Living, we are expanding JÖL into more of a lifestyle brand. This is OK with us, the little maker-seller company that is not a lifestyle brand. Expanding JÖL like this gives us room to live up to our statement we have repeated since we started. J&L is not a lifestyle brand. J&L Pogonotrophics will continue to put product performance over forcing an image in an attempt to narrowly define masculinity as many of our contemporaries continue to do.
This new items will trickle into our inventory over the coming weeks, just in time for spending more time outdoors. With the pandemic slowing and vaccines more accessible, we hope to see you outside!