Silk Lotion Bar Recipe

Perfect silk lotion bar recipe DIY Silk Lotion Bar Recipe

We use lotion bars all the time at our house. The concept is great- a bar that looks like soap but that you use on dry skin like lotion. I’ve even customized them to make sunscreen lotion bars, bug off lotion bars, and pain relief lotion bars.

All of those recipes are natural and safe even for sensitive skin and babies (though I wouldn’t use the pain relief on on small children), but I’ve had several readers ask about what to do if they couldn’t use coconut oil due to an allergy. After some experimentation I figured out another lotion bar recipe that is our new favorite and that is excellent for any skin issues.

It uses a surprising ingredient… tallow!

Why Tallow?

I first thought about using tallow in skin care after seeing it on the Weston A. Price website and then seeing that Mommypotamus also uses tallow in her skin care.

From the WAPF:

“As we have already seen, our ancestors overwhelmingly used tallow for skin care. For example, a book of “recipes” for all facets of life, written by Dr. A.W. Chase, MD in 1866, lists ten formulations of salve, eight of which contain tallow, in addition to other natural ingredients.17 This same medical doctor quotes the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal of his day on using pure tallow for a “very common and very painful affliction,” an ingrown toenail. Even though this use is a very specific one, it is included here as being a strong testimonial on the healing power of tallow:”

Modern science supports its use too:

“From biology, we know that the cell membrane is made up primarily of fatty acids, a double layer, to be exact. Saturated fats constitute at least 50 percent of the cell membrane. Since saturated fats tend to be more solid than unsaturated fats at a given temperature, they help give the cell membrane its necessary stiffness and integrity for proper function.20 The monounsaturated fats, while not as “solid” as the saturated fats, are more so than the polyunsaturated fats which are also present in the cell membrane in their own proper proportion, although the modern diet leads to a disproportionate amount of the polyunsaturates. Healthy, “toned” skin cells with sufficient saturated and monounsaturated fats would undoubtedly make for healthy, toned skin. Interestingly, tallow fat is typically 50 to 55 percent saturated, just like our cell membranes, with almost all of the rest being monounsaturated,21 so it makes sense that it would be helpful for skin health and compatible with our cell biology.

In regard to this compatibility of tallow with the biology of our skin, we should note that we are animals rather than plants, so the modern taboo against animal products in skin care products would seem unfounded and even illogical. In addition to containing very little saturated fats, plant products do not have the same levels of other nutrients needed for healthy skin. Tallow contains the abundant natural fat-soluble activators, vitamins A, D, and K, as well as vitamin E, which are found only in animal fats and which are all necessary for general health and for skin health.

Tallow (especially tallow from grass-fed animals) also contains fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has anti-cancer24 and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as palmitoleic acid, which has natural antimicrobial properties.25 Dr. Mary Enig cites a 2006 study on fats showing that CLA, which is found in high concentrations in tallow, has significant anti-cancer effects, and that supplying tallow increased those effects due its palmitic acid, another fatty acid.26″

What We Noticed:

I admit that I was a little apprehensive about using tallow on my skin at first, but after trying it, it is now a regular part of my skin care routine. It is amazing how silky it makes skin and it is really effective at soothing skin irritation.

I’ve also found (probably due to the natural SPF in the shea butter and the fat soluble vitamins in the tallow) that these lotion bars are an excellent mild skin protector for short term sun exposure and they seem to help the skin tan without any redness (this coming from an Irish girl).

Tallow lotion bars also seem to really help skin healing as they have worked wonders on my son’s eczema scars and a scratch on one child’s face (a gift from a sibling).

5.0 from 3 reviews
Silk Lotion Bar Recipe
Simple and natural lotion bars with a secret skin nourishing ingredient that helps get rid of eczema and improve skin tone.
Recipe type: Beauty
  1. Combine all ingredients except essential oils 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 essential oils.

How To Use Lotion Bars

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.

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.

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.

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!)

Do you make lotion bars or purchase from the store? Ever used tallow as an ingredient in your skin care? Share below!


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Reader Comments

  1. natalie wright says

    I’ve been making lotion with tallow (the new/old rage!) and I’m LOVING it! What do you think about adding the non-nano zinc oxide to this for a sunscreen?

  2. Jennifer L. says

    Funny you write this now–just a few weeks ago I rendered my own beef tallow (!) and made lotion using 7 parts tallow and 1-2 parts olive oil following the recipe here: I made it for my daughter who has stubborn eczema spots on her chin. I still haven’t been able to sort out the underlying cause (she hasn’t had grains or legumes or dairy), and this seems to be the most helpful remedy of all that I’ve tried. Our current theories are that she is sensitive to pectin in apples or salmon. Eggs give her a red hives-like rash all over her belly/back and legs–the tallow took care of that in no time. Also, since it is so fatty, it helps provide a protective barrier on her chin from moisture (food, drool..all the other stuff that gets on a baby face) while it is healing. I didn’t quite add enough essential oil, so ours smells a bit like tallow still, but we’re getting used to it. I am quite impressed at how well it works!

    • Terra says

      Hi Jennifer,

      I know it’s been more than a year since you posted, but I just want to share my solution in hopes that it’ll help your daughter. I had my son’s food intolerances tested in 2012. He is intolerant to eggs, soy, and fruit combined with sugar (must be consumed 3 hours apart). As long as he stays free of those foods, his skin is absolutely perfect!

      Hope you can find relief for your daughter!


  3. Emily Ickes says

    I bought some two-ounce twist-up tubes and I’ve made lotion bars to give as gifts, keep near the changing table, and toss in the diaper bag. Your lotion bars have saved my toddler from his severe full-body eczema. He still gets itchy and scaly, but even the prescription creams couldn’t stop the patches from oozing and getting infected. The lotion bars do the trick. Thanks for helping out my little guy!

    • Joy says

      Jojoba oil also works amazingly well – it’s clearing up terrible dishidrotic eczema on my hands right now (coconut oil, acv, peroxide, store bought lotions, etc did NOTHING). Just in case you hadn’t tried it and are ever in a pinch – very easy to use. :)

  4. Kim Longo says

    Can this be used for the face too? Or is there something else you’d recommend for a daily moisturizer?

  5. Erin says

    Does it really have to be from grass fed cows? I emailed a local farm with grass fed cows and they said that since grass fed cows are leaner than grain-fed, they need all the extra tallow for their grind and can’t sell any.

  6. JulieAnn says

    I have never used tallow, does it have a strong odor? If so, can the smell be masked completely with essential oils (I would like to use a grapefruit oil if it would work)? I know my daughter will not use the lotion bar if it has any off-odor, but this sounds like a great recipe!

      • JulieAnn says

        Great, thanks for your response! Do you know if all grass-fed tallow is odorless, or what other factor(s) make the difference; I would really like to find some! How is the smell of the tallow from U.S. Wellness?

      • Lizzie says

        I’ve just tried making this recipe with good quality beef dripping ( completely clear, no sign of juices or proteins left, just pure fat) as couldn’t find tallow. Doesn’t smell and is actually overpowered by the smell of the Shea butter and chamomile and lavender essential oils. Can’t wait to use myself and try on fiancé’s eczema.

  7. Lorena Castano says

    I’ve been looking at all your diy lotion recipes be it the bars, whipped or regular lotion type. I must say I love them but I’m at a loss trying to find the right one for my husband. He has sensitive skin and to top it off he is self-employed as a yard man. It wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that we live in one of the sunniest, most humid areas of south texas. A few days ago he started up with heat rash again so he went out and bought and “aloe vera” lotion. I tried it, and it immediately gave me a headache because of all the perfume in it. Well, he tried it that night and couldn’t sleep because he got an allergic reaction or something. He spent the whole night tossing and turning due to itch all over his body. Given the weather, which would be the best recipe to use? I love the idea of the bars because it is less likely little hands will get to it (my two-year old loves pumping lotion out of the pumps), but I don’t want to get home on a hot day and find it melted. :)

    • Paige says

      Lorena, my advice would be to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. Not only would that keep it from melting in the house, but it would feel really nice to apply as well as helping it to keep longer than 6 mos if need be

  8. Mary Lou says

    Question….just made a few different lotion bars, I love the concept. My question is this, I see you need to store the bars in the fridge or not keep them very long….do my raw ingredients (mango butter, tallow, cocoa butter) also need to be stored in the fridge?

  9. Anne says

    I have a friend who’s allergic to beeswax (actually, anything having to do with bees…) Is there anything I can substitute for that part?

    • Megan says

      You could substitute the beeswax with carnauba or candelilla wax, both plant-based. However they are both harder than beeswax, so you’d use less and adjust the other ingredients.

  10. wendy says

    Hi , I love your, lotions, thanks for sharing your knowledge!
    Do you have a substitute for beeswax? two of my family members can’t use bee products. I have made your cocao & shea deodorant its fantastic, i would love to make your sunscreen, however, i don’t know what to sub for the beeswax.

    • Molly Malone says

      Try candelilla wax or carnauba wax, both from plants. Carnauba is the hardest on earth as far as I know, so you may need less of it.

  11. Heather G says

    Hello, I have a question. Do you happen to know how much the chemical profile of lard differs from tallow? I was wondering if I could substitute the lard that I had rendered from the organically raised pork for the tallow.

  12. Alexis says

    Hi! I love your site :) I def wanna try your lotion bars. I’m a vegetarian and i’d prefer to not use a beef product. Any suggestions for a substitute?

  13. Robin says

    I first discovered lotion bars at Lush. Their products are also natural. Hard lotion is great if you travel. Lush offers tins for storage and transport. Knowing now how easy it is to source and prepare and customize in my own kitchen I will be creating these for personal use as well as gifts. Katy, you’re as slick and smooth as a lotion bar – in all the best ways.

  14. Rosie says

    Thanks for sharing! I’m interested to know where you get your shea butter and beeswax. I was interested in making some lotion bars, but was overwhelmed with sourcing these items. Thanks so much!!

  15. Shelley says

    I am wondering if you have a recipe or if a person could substitute with Beef Gelatin Powder for any of the ingredients.

  16. Elliot says

    In case anybody is wondering, a cheap way to find tallow is to just ask a butcher for some fatty scraps. You could even get them for free.

  17. taslimah says

    Hello. I am allergic to beeswax is there a suitable replacement, as I see is in many of you’re recipes? Thank you

    • Natalie says

      Candelilla Wax is a vegan suitable substitute for beeswax. It is a plant derived wax with a much higher melting point. It is far harder and less pliable than beeswax so you will need to halve the amount necessary eg: 2 tablespoons of Beeswax = 1 tablespoon of Candelilla Wax.
      There is also Carnauba Wax which is a plant based wax, which you would use in the same way as the Candelilla wax. (yes, Carnauba is used in carwax products but as long as you buy pure product it is perfectly fine to use in cosmetics!)
      There is also Soy wax which is no harder than beeswax so can be used as an equal substitute. This wax is mainly used in candle making and personally soy products are not something I like to use/ingest etc. but it is an alternative choice for beeswax.
      Hope this helps!

  18. Susan Wheeler says

    Do you think there is a difference if using tallow or lard? Would you happen to know why or why not using pastured lard would be good or not good. I know they use lard for soap.

  19. Melissa crewes-hartland says

    Which ess oils would be suitable? You said citrus aggravate – would any of the others be ok? Thanks in ad

  20. Selena Jackson says

    Can you add Vitamin E oil to this recipe? I see in the other lotion bar and lotion recipe, curious why it is not in this recipe. Thank you

  21. KandaceLynn says

    Hello all! I have been researching how to make my own soaps and I LOVE Wellness Mama. Just thought I would drop by because I found this awesome little shop on Etsy that sells pure Beef and pure Lamb tallow. I purchased from her, I believe in buying small when I can. Check her out :) The shop is called The Tallow Chandler

  22. Linda says

    Hi. I’m addicted to your website – lol! I just got my first (of several) shipment of supplies. I accidentally purchased Great Lakes powdered gelatin when I bought their collagen. Any way to make this work in this recipe? Thanks!

  23. Sarah says

    I am a bit confused on whether or not the tallow bars need to be refrigerated. The recipe says not but many comments talk about refrigerating them. Could you please clear this up for me.

  24. Larissa says

    Hi there!
    Thank-you so much for all you wonderful recipes for skincare. I’m learning so much from your website, thank-you!
    I just had my first attempt at making these lotion bars on the weekend, rendering my tallow from scratch (now I understand the huge price difference from buying suet and buying tallow!).
    They turned out perfect in consistency – but I have one question. On the issue of smell – I read through everyone’s comments and I noticed it was mentioned it depends on the source of the tallow. The stuff I used was organic beef suet. I just found that the actual bar smells lovely, but once you put it on, after about an hour the essential oils seem to evaporate and all you can smell is the tallow. My partner kept saying I smelt like a steak!
    I really don’t want to waste all the tallow I made, seeing as it took such a long time.
    Any help is greatly appreciated!


  25. Caitlin says

    Curious if pouring the mixture into small mini mason jars would work and scoop some out each time? Is there a way to make it less thick?

  26. Awais says

    Hi All, stumble upon your website as looking for any help regarding Itching skin of my 2 year old daughter.
    My question is can we use anything thing in place of Tallow ? i mean any vegetarian alternative ?

  27. Mariana Aragon says

    I would love to make lotion bars, but do not relish the idea of smelling like a steak once the essential oils wear off, (according to one of your followers who wrote in), can I use plain lard instead? Unless you can honestly say the tallow does not make you smell.

  28. Melinda says

    I love this recipe! I got rendered grass fed tallow from Melrose Market in Seattle for ~$4 and it doesn’t have any smell. The wax protects my skin from moisture loss and the mixture of tallow and shea butter soaks in better than shea butter alone. These have really softened my skin and eczema – thank you for the recipe! I’ll be making another batch this weekend. I might try adding a teaspoon or so of jojoba oil as well

  29. Tina Peterson says

    How many bars does this make using 1/3 cup of tallow? If I order some on that etsy page a reader shared – it comes as a pound as the smallest amount.

    Also I’ve made lotion bars using coconut oil and it is a greasy mess when I try to sell it. It stays in a bar shape just isn’t very pretty. Is there a way around that? Would keeping it in the fridge till a show be the best idea?

  30. Lee says

    I was looking for some all natural recipes due to many allergies and was glad to find you! I wanted to comment on the candelila that some others have recommended on here and I am glad I looked it up before using. I found that Plants for a Future Web site and a couple others say LATEX I am very allergic to that and also that it is considered carcinogenic in its nature. Scary!

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