What are Lotion Bars?
Lotion bars are a perfect concoction if you are looking for an easy project that’s one step up from making salt and sugar scrubs. If you aren’t familiar with these wonderful creations, they are simply a hard version of lotion. They contain beeswax which makes them solid and also helps hold the moisture on your skin. If you are vegan, you can replace the beeswax with soy, candelilla or carnuba wax.
Lotion bars are a perfect transportable lotion option, and though they are hard, they quickly liquefy when rubbed between your hands. I like to keep a lotion bar in my purse, and some in a dish by my sink. If you make them correctly, they are very moisturizing but not oily. You can use them on cuticles, hands, body and even as a lip balm. Plus they can be made in lots of cute shapes, and you can add whatever scents you like to them.
One thing to note about lotion bars is that they will melt in warm temperatures. The melting point depends on the ingredients, but basically if you leave them in your car or carry them around on a hot day, they will melt. They will still be completely usable, but could be messy.
- 1 part Beeswax
- 1 part Coconut Oil
- 1 part Shea Butter OR 3/4 part Cocoa Butter
- Double Boiler or Makeshift Double Boiler – A pot and Pyrex measuring cup is perfect
- Essential Oils (Add after heating)
The recipe above allows you to make whatever size batch you would like. For instance, you could make a reasonable size batch with 1/3 cup each of beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. That’s going to give you 1 cup/8 fluid oz of product.
First, pull out the molds that you are going to use and have them ready because you will have to move quickly once your mixture is melted. Cake pans, muffin tins, silicone molds, candy molds, and even small bowls are all just perfect for lotion bars. Basically whatever you have around the house that can withstand hot liquid. Don’t use plastic containers though; stick with metal, silicone or glass.
Place all three ingredients in your Pyrex glass and heat over medium/medium high heat until the mixture is completely melted. Shea butter is temperamental and can have a gritty texture if you heat it too quickly.
Once your mixture is completely melted pull it off the heat, wipe down the water from the outside of your glass so you don’t accidentally get water in your bars. Then add essential oils (see below for ideas) and pour into your molds.
Let the molds sit or pop in the freezer for a few minutes. Pop the bars out of their molds and try them out. If they are too hard, throw them back in the double boiler and add a little coconut oil. If they are too soft, add more beeswax. Then just re-melt completely and add more essential oil.
You can add essential oil before you pour into molds or add it individually in each little mold and stir with a toothpick. You don’t want to add the essential oils into the mixture while it’s still on the stove or they will just evaporate and you will change the structure of the oils by heating. 10-20 drops of essential oil per 1/2 cup of mixture is a good starting point.
If you use cocoa butter in your recipe (which is what I use in my lotion bars), you will end up with bars that smell like cocoa butter (chocolaty) so you will want to leave out fragrance or be sure to add fragrance that is strong enough to be detected with the cocoa. My lotion bars have a light lavender smell. I also like to make them with peppermint, rose, neroli, and ylang ylang essential oils. Those fragrances all go together well.
You can also replace the different ingredients with other butters and waxes, but the recipe is going to change a little depending on how firm the butters and waxes are. Coconut oil is solid at room temp so if you replace it with a different oil, you will end up with oily bars that may not solidify. I made some lip lotion bars today by adding a little sweet almond oil in addition to the coconut oil, cocoa butter and beeswax. They are solid bars, but the sweet almond oil leaves your lips glossy.
Rub the bar between your hands to warm and liquefy, then rub into your skin.
Your skin will be left feeling moisturized but not oily.
I package my lotion bars in small plastic bags (because I have a few hundred of those on hand). Once I go through those, I’ll probably package them in a small tin. For your personal bars, a glass jar makes a great container for these or a small glass bowl with a few in it will scent your bathroom nicely.
You can easily re-purpose glass containers of your own, but you will want to replace the lids. I like to re-use spaghetti sauce jars, pickle jars and other similar containers. Just wash the container then boil in water to sterilize. Be sure the container is completely dry before putting any other products in it.
MORE GREAT RECIPES AND INSTRUCTIONS ON DIY LOTION BARS
Moisturizing Bath Candy (Similar to lotion bars but for the bathtub!)
Check out my current lotion bars for sale or make your own and tell me about it in the comments!
* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.