Of all the attention-grabbing accessories of the season—faux-fur buckets, statement scarves, lug-sole stompers—is there anything as enduring (and as detested) as a red, runny nose? This year, instead of sniffling your way from your home to the office and back again, consider reaching for a natural vapor rub—swiped over your neck, chest, and even feet—to gently clear your airways.
“I knew that the benefits of aromatherapy could really help in a similar way as Vicks VapoRub,” says Zoe Organics’ Heather Hamilton of her kid-friendly Breathe Balm, a mess-free shea butter stick—notably free of petroleum, menthol, and synthetic fragrances—that’s formulated with decongesting eucalyptus, calming lavender, and antibacterial tea tree. “Adults can put it under their noses, too, where it can get sore and chapped.”
Jumby Beauty’s moisturizing balm packs a similar one-two punch with its rosemary-leaf-and-orange-peel-oil blend, while Banyan Botanicals calls upon Ayurvedic herbs, such as immune-boosting kalmegh leaf and pungent pippali fruit, to clear up any congestion. Meanwhile, the Gwyneth Paltrow–backed brand Zarbee’s may be found in the baby aisle, but there’s no reason not to try its chest rub—even after the cold and flu season draws to an end. “Usually people will use [a vapor rub]when they are sick, but it’s good for allergies too,” Hamilton says. “The scent can even help you focus.”