Ever since I discovered how to make my original Lotion Bars, I’ve been experimenting with different variations including Sunscreen Bars, Vapo-Rub Bars, Healing Bars (coming soon), and others. Today’s favorite: Bug-Off Lotion Bars!
They are as easy to make as the original bars, and the seem even more effective at keeping bugs away than regular homemade bug spray, probably because they actually coat the skin with a protective layer. They are easy to take along and the kids can apply it themselves.
Instead of being filled with chemicals and toxins like conventional bug sprays, this recipe actually nourishes and moisturizes the skin while protecting it.
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 part)
- 1/2 cup beeswax + 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup fresh or dried rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons dried or fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 cup dried catnip leaf
- 1 (or more) tablespoons of mint leaf (optional but adds great scent)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil to preserve.
- Essential Oils (optional but good): Bug off blend (contains all of the above), lavender and lemon (10+ drops of each)
All ingredients available at Mountain Rose Herbs.
What To Do:
This version has an extra step that the original Lotion Bars didn’t have. To save money on essential oils, we actually infuse the herbs into the coconut oil.
Using a double boiler or glass bowl on top of a small saucepan, heat about 1 inch of water (in bottom pan) until starting to boil. Place the dried rosemary, cloves, thyme, cinnamon, catnip and mint in the top part of the double boiler and add the coconut oil (can also use almond, olive or other oil but you will need to add more beeswax later on to get the bars to firm.
Cover the bowl or top part of the double boiler and keep the water at medium/high temperature for at least 30 minutes or until oil has adopted a darker color and smells strongly of rosemary. Alternately, you can fill a crock pot about half full with water, put the coconut oil and herbs in a glass mason jar with a tight lid, cover and keep on lowest setting for several days to make an even stronger infused oil.
Then, strain the dried herbs out of the oil using a small mesh strainer or cheesecloth and pour the oil back into the double boiler. The oil will probably be reduced by almost half and you should have about 1/2 cup of the infused oil. If you have more, save it for next time!
Add the butter(s) and beeswax to the double boiler and stir until all have melted. Remove from heat, add the Vitamin E oil and any other essential oils and pour into molds. These are the molds I used but I also love these Sunflower ones and these heart ones, which would both be great for gifts. There are also simple flower molds and actual bar shaped ones.
Leave in the molds until completely set (overnight is best) or you can speed up the process by placing in the fridge.
To use: Rub the bars on exposed areas of DRY skin to protect against mosquitos. If you are pregnant, check to make sure any herbs you use are safe for pregnancy and omit the ones that aren’t.
Don’t Want To Make Them?
If you want to use lotion bars but don’t have the time/ingredients to make them yourself, I found a great small business, Made On, that makes all kinds of lotion bars, soaps, natural baby products and hair products that are up to my standards. Their website is HardLotion.com and they have agreed to give Wellness Mama readers a 15% discount on all orders with the code “wellnessmama” at this link. (Note: Affiliate link… the price is discounted for you and I get a small commission to support my blog!)
How do you keep the bugs away? Share below!