Cool Vibes Vapor Rub Jr – A Eucalyptus-Free Child-Safe Vapor Rub

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Last year, when Robert Tisserand's newest edition of Essential Oil Safety  hit the shelves, everyone was surprised that it was now advised not to use ANY form of eucalyptus and rosemary on children under the age of 10 and peppermint on children under the age of 6 years old because of the menthol and cineol content in those essential oils. My first thought was, well now I have to re-think my vapor rub! This vapor rub is my eucalyptus-free child-safe version! Using the gentler woodsy essential oils, such as fir needle and cypress, you can effectively create a vapor rub that will help break up mucus, open up the lungs for easier breathing, and help soothe a cough.

Essential Oil Safety with Babies and Children

You can learn more about essential oil safety for babies and children here.

 Cool Vibes Vapor Rub Jr. 

The fir needle essential oil in this recipe can be substituted for cypress, spruce (picea abies, picea glauca, picea mariana, picea rubens) or pine (pinus divaricata, pinus resinosa, pinus strobus, pinus sylvestris). The woodsy essential oils are all really great at helping combat congestion, coughs, and even are great expectorants! You can easily make this recipe with only the essential oils and coconut oil. In the winter time, unrefined coconut oil will harden if the temperature drops below 76 degrees, so if you do not have any beeswax on hand, do not fear! Simply melt the coconut oil, add the essential oils and allow to cool. This recipe makes 8 oz. of salve. You can pour this into four 2 oz. tins or one 8 oz. mason jar, for storage. I like to make this recipe with both olive oil and coconut oil because it utilizes the natural healing benefits of both while also making the final consistency smoother. If you only have one on hand, you can replace either of the oils with the carrier oil that you have on hand. 






  1. In a double boiler melt the coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax.
  2. Remove from heat and add age appropriate essential oil blend and vitamin e (if using). Pour into containers to cool. Store in a cool dark place when not in use.

TO USE: Dab a small amount onto your fingers and apply to your child's chest, back, and feet to help open up airways and ease breathing. An old school remedy to help your child sleep is to rub a generous amount of vapor rub on their feet and cover them with socks, before bed. This will help your child sleep soundly through the night when they have a cough and congestion. Even my pediatrician has told me to do this! You can also use a small scoop of this in a cup of hot water to make a steam inhalant. Use as often as needed. A little bit goes a LONG way! Do not rub this on your child's face or around their nose.

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All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.

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  • this jr. version in the oldest age should work great for her! She might try also getting a humidifier in her room and try shower steams too! That can help with congestion as well!

  • Ashley Marie

    will cypress work instead of using fir needle? i dont have that one and my little one is so congested.

    also am waiting for roman to come in; when it comes in can i just melt down the one i already made and add it into it? or do i have to start over again. im putting in a mason jar so ill be able to microwave or double boil it.

  • Becky Miller

    Hey Christina, I’m making a vapor rub jr blend for a child in my classroom (3yo). However, I don’t have Rosalina and my Cypress is two years old. I’m not sure if it’s still good, though I’ve kept my oils in a photo box in a closet that always stays cool. My question is this: could I double the recipe for a 3 yo? Or, could I cut the base in half and keep the oil amounts the same? Thanks again for all you post here!

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  • the 1.5% refers to the percentage of essential oils in the total recipe! I add the essential oils to the melted mixture after removing from heat, so as to avoid evaporating some of them!

  • Aimee McCabe

    Hi Christina, thanks so much for this! My 6 month old is in pretty rough shape right now with lots of congestion. I know you said you can sub other spruce varieties, but any chance I can sub Idaho Blue Spruce (Picea pungens branch/leaf/wood oil) for the Fir Needle? And tangerine for the sweet orange? Just wanting to use what I have, if possible, to give this little guy some relief! Thank you so much!

  • In something acute like chest illness, 1.5% works well in a salve! 1.5% is the maximum dilution I would use for this age range. When making salves for acute issues, including respiratory issues, muscle/growing pains, and quick pain relief, I will tend to go for the higher dilution ratio, since it’s not a daily use. For daily use issues (mood, sleep, adhd, skin healing) the ratios are usually on the lower end!

  • Kay Pease

    Is it OK to substitute German chamomile for Roman in the 6 month+ recipe? I will buy it if I need to, but if I can use what I have, that would be better. This recipe is great. Thanks!

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  • Kristen

    I have a block of beeswax, not the pellets. How would I measure the block, as opposed to using pellets?

    • I have been known to use an old cheese grater with a big block of wax lol, You can also use old scissors to cut it into chunks!

      • Kristen

        Thank you so much!

    • Staci Sarah

      I cheese grade my bricks of beeswax

      • yes exactly! a cheese grater works great! You’ll want to dedicate a grater to your beeswax because it will coat it! I prefer to buy the pastilles to save time!

  • Dana Kolina

    I do not have coconut oil at the moment.Can i use avacado oil instead?

  • Megan Fransoo

    Can melaleuca alternifolia be substituted for the Rosalina?

    • while rosalina is a lot like tea tree, they aren’t necesarily the same. Though it is highly antiviral/antibacterial so it works great for colds/flus is very gentle for kids!

  • cutting it in half would be fine and for a 3 month old, diffusion and rubbing the salve on the babies feet. You can graduate to chest and back at 6 months!

  • Becky Miller

    Hey Christina, I have another question. I was double checking everything before I started making some of the items from your New Mothers basket and saw that my lavender and your safe lavender (from your safe oils post) were different. Mine is lavandula officinalis. (this looks weird because I copied and pasted the name.) On the Mountain Rose Herbs website, it said that officinalis and angustifolia were the same thing, just labeled differently. I want to be absolutely sure before I make something for this new mom. Any help/advice at all would be appreciated. Thanks! Here’s the piece about the 2 labels: Lavandula angustifolia is the classic lavender that most people are familiar with. It can also be found on the market as Common Lavender, French Lavender (when it comes from France), True Lavender, or Lavender. You may also see it labeled as Lavandula officinalis. This little greyish purple flower is known for its sweet floral aroma and medicinal properties.

  • Melissa K

    Could you use cocoa butter for this? Our son gets a rash from anything coconut and I don’t have beeswax

  • yes the white fir is safe to use! lavender, sweet oj, and white fir will be a great blend, you would want to half the recipe for the 6+ months if this is for a 3 month old baby!

    • Susan

      Thank you! It is very comforting to know that I can also make this for a young bubba.

      I would like to let you know that I have read your medical journey last night… you are one supersteel mama! I also love how you are empowering essential oil users to be safe! I am taking a step back from MLM companies and re-look into the whole safety of essential oil usage. THUMBS UP TO YOU CHRISTINA!

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  • I went back in there and put the dilution ratios in for each of the age ranges! It’s for 8 oz. of salve!

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  • It’s my complete blend, though you could substitute others, depending on what you might have on hand. Some of these you could omit if you don’t have, such as the chamomile or the cinnamon leaf, though the fir needle is definitely a must because it’s the eucalyptus substitute!

  • KM

    Your recipes are super! Thank you very much for sharing them. I bought some YL Raven oil with a vapor rub in mind, but haven’t had a recipe until now. I see other brands cropping up lately (or at least they are new to me) like Nature’s Fusions, who have a “Dragon’s Breath” blend that would also be super in a vapor rub.

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  • Erica

    Hi there! Thanks so much for these recipes; it is so good to know that yours are safer than most (most use eucalyptus). I’m making a salve for my son who is 7 months old, but don’t have any roman chamomile. I was wondering if you think it’d be okay to do without it. I have orange, lavender, cinnamon leaf, and fir needle. Should I maybe add cinnamon leaf instead?

    • Christina

      You can omit it all together if you do not have it! the roman chamomile is not as needed as the fir needle for congestion! I hope you guys love it! <3

      • Awesome, thanks! Absolutely love your website, by the way. I’m learning so much!

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  • jen

    what if i have already been diffusing blends and applying diluted blends including eucalyptus radiata with my youngest 5 and oldest almost 10, only for illness and not often, without having an adverse reaction? could one still arise or have i proven that for my children using eucalyptus occasionally is safe?

    • Christina

      Hi there Jen! Though they haven’t shown any reaction, the essential oils are highly concentrated and continued use can cause a reaction or sensitivity! It’s best to substitute something else until they are the right age! I hope that helps!

  • Jen

    How many drops of the appropriate essential oil blend do you add to your base ingredients?

    • Christina

      this is for one whole cup of salve, so the amount in the blends above are for the actual recipe!

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  • Leah

    I’ve heard other aromatherapists recently recommend not using essential oils on children under 2 (both of my children fall under this category) unless absolutely necessary. They suggest diffusing, hydrosols, or herbs instead as a safer, better option for this age category. What is your two cents on this and can you elaborate on the use of this congestion rub for children under the age of 2. Is it really a concern if it is only used in minute amounts and only when absolutely necessary? I’d rather error on the side of caution. If you have any herbal recipes that are safe for this age range and target congestion and cough– please share as well! Thank you:)

    • Christina

      There are specific essential oils that should be avoided for children under certain ages, but if diluted properly and the proper essential oils used, there are some essential oils that are safe to use topically or diffusion! I wrote a whole post on Essential Oil Safety for Babies and Children and in it I list at what age which essential oils are safe to use for children, every essential oil in this post was double checked through Robert Tisserand’s essential oil safety at what age is appropriate as well! This vapor rub recipe above, I have given the amount of essential oils that you can use in this recipe for each age starting with 6+ months, so that you do not have to calculate the dilution ratio yourself! This recipe was designed specifically for babies and children and can be rubbed on the chest and bottoms of their feet to help open up the airways and allow for better sleep at night! The only caution is the vapor rub should never be rubbed on a child’s face, but that’s with any essential oils and children! I hope that helps!

      • Leah

        Yes, thank you for elaborating! I get so nervous as there are so many differing views out there, but I sure do appreciate your explanation and that you go by Robert Tisserand’s essential oil safety guide. Thanks for your time:)

  • I love your blog and so appreciate all the information you provide us! Thank you!!! I have a quick question. I’m going to make the Jr. vapor rub for a friend, but the chamomile I have is diluted in jojoba oil. Will this work? Would I need to increase the amount I put in the formula? Thank you again!

    • Christina

      yes it will work but you will want to use a few more drops than you would pure essential oil 🙂

  • liz

    quick question – I thought heating eo’s would rid them of their therapeutic qualities. do you believe this not to be the case? thanks in advance!

    • Christina

      you add the essential oils to this recipe after you remove it from the heat. The reason you don’t heat essential oils with the butters/waxes is because they are volatile like alcohol and will evaporate. Adding them to this recipe after you remove the mixture from the heat, should be sufficient from losing any essential oil in the cooling process. This amount cools fairly quickly.

  • This is great! Though I do love the eucalyptus, this is a great option for my little one. Will be making it this winter for sure.

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