Pain Relief Lotion Bars

DIY Natural Pain Relief Lotion Bars

Lotion bars are one of my favorite natural beauty recipes to make. They are a simple way to moisturize and nourish the skin and they can be easily customized for a variety of uses. This variation is one of my favorites, especially for after athletic training or on sore muscles. I don’t use it during pregnancy, but it is great at other times. I also make a diluted version by using half as much Menthol and Essential Oil and omitting the Arnica oil for use on the kids when they get growing pains.

These natural pain relief lotion bars smell excellent and work wonders on sore or tired muscles! Here’s where I got the ingredients:

What to Do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a quart size glass mason jar and carefully place this jar in a small saucepan of water on the stove.
  2. Turn the burner on and bring water to a low simmer. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the menthol crystals and stir until dissolved.
  4. Add essential oils and arnica oil (optional) and stir until mixed.
  5. Carefully pour into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in. I used these silicon loaf molds, though any mold would work.
  6. Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds. These could be made in different shaped molds or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.

How to Use:

Store in a cool or dry place for up to six months (I’ve even had some last as long as a year).

To apply to skin: hold bar in hand and carefully rub on dry skin. The heat of the skin will transfer some of the lotion bar to the skin. I store my lotion bars on a small plate on my dresser and bathroom counter. Add more or less menthol for a more or less potent bar.

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 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!)

Have you ever made lotion bars? What did you add to yours? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Oooh, that sounds lovely. I’ve never ventured into making my own beauty products (besides rubbing oil all over my face!) My muscles could definitely use one of these right about now!

  2. how wonderful! I had an awful tension headache last night. this would have been heavenly!

  3. These look awesome!

  4. Can I ask why you don’t use them while pregnant? Just curious what ingredient is not good for pregnancy (I use arnica oil for bruises & while not currently pregnant always good to have info about these things!).

    • Depending on the source, Peppermint, menthol and arnica are all counter-indicated during pregnancy (even topically) since they have the potential to cause contractions…

      • I had no idea, learned something new!

      • why do you think those substances cause contractions?

      • Peppermint will not cause contractions, but it does effect milk production and supply.

        • And Peppermint can also turn a baby. So if the baby is breech you want to use Peppermint oil.

  5. In Magnesium Miracle I recall reading growing pains are actually a sign of magnesium difficency. I don’t own the book, so I can’t verify it…

    • Also can be a vitamin D deficiency.

  6. Can coconut oil have a friend that’s allergic.

    • I am allergic to practically everything from a reaction to formaldehyde. Coconut oil does not bother me.

  7. Can something be substituted for the menthol crystals? And where would one find such a thing?

    • Eucalyptus oil can be subbed, and both are available by clicking on the links in the ingredients above…

      • Would you use 1 Tbsp Eucalyptus in place of menthol cyrstals, or another measurement? Thanks.

      • How many drops of eucalyptus oil should be used?

    • Ask any local pharmacy, they have it behind the counter &just costs pennies.

  8. I have made lotion bars with coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax with essential oil. I found the bars would get hairy N dusty so the next batch I added more beeswax and put it in new deodorant containers. Works great. I have also made an anti bug balm using coconut, shea, grapeseed oil and citronella.

  9. I absolutely love making lotion bars, and this sounds yummy! I recently made some with tea tree and peppermint. My husband, daughter, and friends all went gaga over them. Thanks so much for the post. Much love…

  10. How many bars (using the mold you recommend) does this recipe make? I’m trying to figure out the cost of enough ingredients to fill all the sections of the mold (12 bars).

    • It makes about six, depending on how thick you pour them…

  11. im trying out a similar type idea but with some absorbine horse liniment instead of the menthol crystals….my grandmother used to cut the regular horse liniment with shea or cocoa butter back in the day and it worked wonders. but im trying to get a proper ratio going for a super pain relief body bar…any suggestions? thanks.

    • Did you ever try this? If so, how did it turn out. I love the smell of absorbine. We always dilute it with water for the horses. I’ve never used it on myself.

  12. I recently made my own pain relief cream using birch tree oil. It smells and behaves like Ben Gay.

  13. I use sweet birch essential oil in my pain salves,creams, bars. It is a natural analgesic and helps well with the oils u have listed.

  14. How well do the lotion bars withstand hotter climates like the Caribbean where many people do not use AC?

    • I’d love to make it to the carribean sometime to find out myself 🙂 but I would guess that they would need to be kept refrigerated or a lot more beeswax would need to be added. Otherwise, they could just be kept in a dish and used like body butter…

  15. Is the Arnica an anti-inflammatory? The reason I ask is I’m deathly allergic to most anti-inflammatory medicines ( I go into anaphalatic shock when I take them) and same for herbs and natural oils.

    • Arnica and calendula is great for anti inflammatory, add wintergreen for pain.

  16. Have you Ever used these for labor? Would they be safe?

  17. I just made these and they are completely cool but I can’t get them out of the mold without breaking them. And suggestions on how to get them out in one piece? Also the coconut oil I used was liquid does it need to be the creamy kind?

    • If they behave anything like candles, put the mold in the freezer (I put mine in after they’d fully cooled and left them in the freezer overnight). You should be able to just pop them out.

  18. These would be great for my family (icy hot patch addicts, the lot of us) but is there any limit to how often they should be used?

    • No, but if you are pregnant, nursing or have any medical condition, I”d check with a doc first.

  19. Would this recipe be good for arthritis pain or is there an essential oil blend that would be better?

  20. Hi…I love all your info. I was wondering, I can’t find it….breast feeding Mom’s lotion for sore breasts with calendula that the baby can have..I appreciate it!!

  21. My husband is going through radiation treatments right now. What would you recommend for his skin?

    • Read about Calendula and it’s properties for radiation tx’s, we grow Calendula officinalis which is commonly called ‘pot marigold’ each year. Once you start a patch it takes over and you’ll get tons of flowers (but you can also source them at herbal websites). You then make a simple oil infusion by filling a jar with flowers, adding olive oil or almond oil (olive will be heavier, almond is absorbed more quickly) and placing in a sunny window for 2-6 weeks. There are other methods which include slowly cooking the oil and petals which can be found online as well.
      One article regarding breast cx radiation and the success of calendula oil can be found here

      Having assisted my father in 2011 and my sister through cancer diagnoses, I’d like to add that I’ve said a prayer for your husband and family-for the healthcare associates and treatments you are lead to and all to be in his Highest Good. God bless each of you more and more.

  22. the cocoa buttter listed here is in wafer form, when meauring do you use 1/3c of wafers?? or melted down cocoa butter?

  23. I always had read that Arnica is safe and helpful for childrens aches, pains and bruises. Is there something that I’ve missed? I have used my muscle ache bars on my kids so I would love to know if this is contraindicated. Thank you!

  24. I am making these right now. They smell delicious! I’m having issues with my menthol crystals not melting. I don’t know what I am doing wrong but they just won’t dissolve?

  25. Hi Katie – I love the idea of the pain relief lotion bar. Quick question for you. Have you tried making it as a whipped body butter? I’m thinking about Christmas presents for my running friends. I love whipped butter and the idea adding a pain relief component is getting me excited.

  26. Hmmm… there is nothing in here for pain relief though. It’s basically, JUST a lotion bar with mint.

    • Bay Laurel, camphor, fever few, devils claw, white birch, clove bud, frankincense, even lavender are better for pain relief. Although peppermint does increase blood flow and is helpful in that regard for relieving pain.

  27. Menthol crystals are helpful to help relieve muscular aches and pains, coughing, congestion, the flu, and upper respiratory problems

  28. are there any alternatives for the beeswax?

    • you can use soy wax

    • If you don’t want to use beeswax you can use more cocobutter and Kokum butter, these will also make a harder bar. It takes very little Kokum butter compared to coco butter. I don’t really like how beeswax feel so I use Kokum butter in my lip balms.

  29. Wow! Thank you! I made up a batch this weekend for my mom who just broke her hand and needs something to help her through the rehab process. She loves this. She says it’s the only thing that allows her to complete her exercises without taking pain medication. So thank you for that! Additionally, I use these on my neck for tension headaches, and after rough workouts, they work like a charm. So thank you. For keeping my mom off opiates and the rest of the family off Advil and the like.

    • I want to make the pain relief lotion bars. I read in somebody’s post that she couldn’t get the menthol crystals to melt…..did you have any difficulty? Any tips for making these bars?

  30. I just made these, and I really like them. The only thing I would do differently next time is add camphor oil to make them more like a Tiger Balm bar.

  31. Has anyone tried using an essential oil other than peppermint? I’m thinking Wintergreen or Young Living PanAway.

  32. Love this… is there a way to incorporate magnesium into this? I’m thinking a Magnesium Body Butter/Pain Bar Fusion of sorts??? Anyone have any success or thoughts??

    • I just made my first batch of magnesium, arnica, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol lotion. It’s nice, but I want the smell not so minty. Lol. I wonder if I could add some other essential oil to balance out the strong scent?

  33. how on earth do you clean the wax/residue off the mason jar afterwards????

    • Honestly, I usually don’t… I have jars specifically dedicated making lotions.

    • To remove wax, add a little oil and heat it til the wax melts then using a paper towel give it a good wipe, making sure to get the oil and was to mix. Then you can wipe it clean and wash it; since wax is oil soluble and oil is soap soluble.

  34. How did you measure out the beeswax? Did you grate it and use 1/3c of the shavings or melt it and use 1/3c melted? I have a big brick of beeswax.

    • You can set your oven to the lowest setting and put the beeswax in for a few minutes(on foil or wax paper). It will stay soft for a short while when removed from the oven. Should be long enough to scrape off the amount you need.

      If you grate it up I would not plan to use the grater for anything else. Beeswax doesn’t come off easily.

  35. I absolutely love my pain relief bars. Have had Arthritis for 35 yrs, and they work the best. Thank you again wonderful woman. You truly are one.
    I add a few drops ginger oil, fantastic and few drops marjoram, great to relieve muscles and spasms!!
    Keep up the amazing work you do
    Kindest regards

  36. I like the idea of making my own pain relief bars, but time, and actually doing it… not so likely for me. I wondered if anyone online sold pain relief bars like the ones you make?

      • Hello Katie,
        I just think you are wonderful. I have been enjoying reading,
        learning and adding to my knowledge of herbs and other healthy
        things. The pain reliving bars you make, I’m not able to make
        myself due to disabling issues with severe chronic pain. I visited
        the website you gave but, found no mention of the pain bars there.
        Are they on another site?

        Thank you.

        • I was trying to find the lotion bars on the Made On site and I could not find them. what was I doing wrong?

        • Etsy!

  37. I was trying to find the lotion bars on the Made On site and I could not find them. what was I doing wrong?

  38. I could not find menthol crystals so I got liquid menthol. What is the conversion? Do I just use the same measurement? I am a little nervous that I will mess this up or make something that burns, rather than eases pain. Help?

  39. Could you sub pure chloride magnisium flakes for the menthol crystals?

  40. Arnica reduces bruising. And cayenne reduces inflammation

  41. why beeswax?

  42. Can I replace the beeswax with more of one of the butters so it can be vegan-friendly?

  43. The link to buying the items isn’t on my site. Can someone tell me the company that I can buy the items to make this!!
    I really want to make this and all the suggestions are great.
    I live in critical pain all the time. 24 hours a day 7 days a week. 365 days a year.
    I really need relief and maybe this will work for me.

    • Bulk Apothecary carries just about everything needed to make anything.

  44. I just spent way too long searching online for a diy pain relief recipe that included wintergreen or menthol of some sort. Then I thought, wait a minute, I should just search wellnessmama. Pretty much every wellness recipe I actually use comes from her…and here it is, the perfect thing. Thank you Katie!

  45. I would like to incorporate capsaicin extract into the bars. Had anyone tried this?

  46. I use black pepper essential oil, mentol, camphor, clove bud, and a few other ingredients in a muscle rub stick I make.

  47. Wouldn’t the peppermint cancel out the effects of the Arnica? I try to keep mint away from my homeopathics.

  48. I have arnica and comfry powder that I plan on infusing in oil. Since they are powders would they have to be strained before using in this recipe?

    • It depends. I always still strain because powders can be gritty, but if it is a fine enough powder, you should be fine.

  49. Where did you get your soap mold for the pain relief bars pictured? I have been looking for one that produces a bar exactly like that. I can’t wait to try these! Thank you for all the great info.

  50. I read that menthol crystals are obtained from peppermint oil. If I used more peppermint oil, would? I get the same effect? Also, if I do use menthol crystals, do they dissolve? Thank you.

    • They do dissolve, but peppermint oil will have a similar effect.

  51. Hi, I made the first batch of bars and I find they are a little too greasey or oily for my liking. To counteract this in the second batch what should i do? I am assuming a little more beeswax and a little less oil and shae butter? Other than that I love the soothing cooling sensation these bars provide for my muscles. Your help is appreciated!

    • That’s exactly what I would try 🙂 Thanks!

  52. Are you able to pour these into a deodorandt container and then use? Or will they harden and not let you be able to twist it up?

  53. Hi… I have tried your lotion bars. The outcome was so good. Thanks. Can I use Olive Oil instead of Coconut Oil? Please advise. Thank you

    • Yes, you’ll just need to use about half as much since it is a liquid oil and won’t contribute to the hardness of the bar. In other words, if a lotion bar recipe calls for 1/2 cup coconut oil, use 1/4 cup (or less) of olive oil. Marula oil is another great option.

  54. What is the age recommended for using these bars? I just made them and seem wonderful. Can it it be used on kids?

  55. hey! i can’t wait to make these. thinking of using carnauba wax instead of beeswax – would that make the bars too hard, though?

  56. I tried this, substituting soy wax for beeswax. I used organic virgin medium heat coconut oil. After simmering for at least ten minutes, the Shea butter, wax & oil would still not blend together.

  57. Hi,

    I want to make these into sticks, how would I change the recipe?