Lotion bars are one of my favorite DIY beauty products. I’ve created several variations such as:
This most recent one was inspired by a reader from Hawaii who mentioned that she added coffee infused oil to get a bronzing effect. This inspired me to create a bronzing/bug-repelling/sunscreen bar that would be great for the beach. The sunscreen part is optional as we like to get Vitamin D when possible. If you aren’t used to natural sunscreens, I would test this carefully at first as it is only around 15 SPF.
I found that these bars left a mild bronzing effect, a little sun protection and pest protection. These also smelled wonderful and summery! I’m packing a bunch for the beach (tip: keep in the cooler though so they don’t melt!). If you’d prefer, the beeswax can be left out for a lotion instead.
How to Infuse Coconut Oil with Coffee:
To get the natural bronzing effect, I infused coconut oil with finely ground coffee. I made a big batch so I’d have some to store, but you could cut this in half.
To start: Place 2 cups of coconut oil in a small saucepan or double boiler. Add 1 cup of very finely ground coffee (the finer the better). Simmer on low heat, stirring often, for several hours until the oil takes on a dark color. Strain through cheesecloth or old t-shirt and let cool. Use this for the coconut oil in the recipe below.
Bronzing Lotion Bar Ingredients
- 1/2 cup coffee-infused coconut oil
- 1/3 cup beeswax
- 2 tablespoons (or more) of Zinc Oxide (For those concerned about contaminants or nano-particles, this version has larger particles)- optional
- 15+ drops of Bug off blend essential oil (avoid citrus essential oils) – optional
- dark mineral makeup for extra bronzing-optional- to color (start with about 1/2 tsp)
Bronzing Lotion Bar Instructions
Combine all ingredients except essential oil in a quart size glass mason jar and carefully place this jar in a small saucepan of water on the stove.
Turn the burner on and bring water to a low simmer. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
Add essential oils and stir until mixed.
Carefully pour into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in. I used these silicon flower 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.
How to Use:
Store in a cool or dry place for up to six months.
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.
The dark color will not show in the bar, especially if you add zinc oxide but will darken the skin.
For extra bronzing, 1/2 tsp of dark mineral makeup can be added.
If you are new to using natural sunscreens, increase sun exposure gradually to make sure you do not burn. The zinc oxide is optional if you would prefer just a bronzing bar. Some color can transfer to light color clothing, so be careful wearing white or light colors until lotion has fully absorbed in to skin.
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!)
Ever made lotion bars? What is your favorite type?