At our house, we love lotion bars. In fact, we rarely use regular lotion anymore since these lotion bars are so much easier to make and work so much better. They are also mess-free, even when the kids use them!
Even though I could buy lotion bars at the store, making beauty products and toiletries by hand is a hobby I enjoy and feel good about doing. I love that I’m not putting any chemicals on my family’s skin and I know exactly what is in each product. (Ever tried to read labels on beauty products? What a headache!)
Did I already mention it is super easy?!
What Is a Lotion Bar?
I’ve made lotion in the past, but was excited to stumble on this great variation, which is solid at room temperature and looks like a bar of soap. It is also even easier to make than lotion because it doesn’t require any emulsifying with water, which is the tough step. These are solid at room temperature like a bar of soap, but when rubbed on the skin, a tiny amount melts and is transferred to the skin, leaving a highly moisturizing and very thin layer.
There are endless ways to adapt this lotion bar recipe too. Here are just a few of the ways to customize a lotion bar:
- Mix and match essential oils for various scents or skin benefits (we love lavender and lemon)
- Add zinc oxide to make a natural diaper rash bar
- Mix in menthol and arnica for a pain-relieving sore muscle or wound treatment
- Add odor-fighting probiotics for a homemade deodorant stick
- Add argan oil for stretch marks
- Toss in some cocoa powder and natural mineral makeup powder for a bronzing bar!
- And the list keeps going!
Lotion Bars Make a Natural Gift!
These lotion bars make fun and easy presents that are sure to please. Make a gender neutral or more masculine scent for the men in your life in a simple mason jar or stick, or fancy it up with floral essential oils with a decorative glass jar and label. Gift them for baby shower gifts, birthdays, Christmas, or mothers-to-be!
Sometimes I use these empty plastic deodorant sticks when shipping a gift. I’ve even found them at the dollar store. For a more personalized look, just cut some burlap to size and glue around the stick.
Easy Lotion Bars Recipe
Here’s the base for my homemade natural lotion bars; feel free to experiment and change it up!
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup shea butter, cocoa butter, or mango butter (or a mix of all three)
- 1 cup beeswax
- optional: essential oils of choice
- optional: 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- Combine all ingredients (except essential oils if using) in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it. UPDATE: Low maintenance approach: Combine ingredients in a quart-size glass mason jar and place jar in a small saucepan of water until melted. This will save your bowl and you can just designate this jar for these type of projects and not even need to wash it out!
- Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat, let cool a bit, and add any desired essential oils and/or vitamin E.
- Gently stir by hand until essential oils are incorporated.
- Carefully pour into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in (ideas below). I used silicone baking cups for easy removal, 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 for different holiday gifts (hearts for Valentine’s Day, flowers for Mother’s Day, etc.) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.
Note: This recipe can be adjusted to make any quantity that you’d like. I use equal 1 cup measurements as specified in the recipe which makes 12 lotion bars with my molds. For a small batch, this recipe could be cut in half or even one fourth.
As Promised … More Lotion Bar Recipes!
I’ve been experimenting with and making lotion bars for a long time, and I’ve built up quite the collection of recipes for different needs over the years. That’s the beauty of it — make what you need, when you need it!
1. Sensitive Skin Lotion Bars
These lotion bars use an unconventional ingredient in place of coconut oil for those with an allergy or aversion to coconut oil. These are especially helpful for those with eczema or skin dryness and they are equally simple to make.
2. Bronzing 3-in-1 Lotion Bars
These 3-in-1 lotion bars are the perfect summer trifecta: bronzer, sunscreen, and bug repellent in one! Coffee-infused coconut oil makes this a great smelling and lightly bronzing lotion bar. One caution: the sun protection factor is low since I like to absorb some of the benefits of sun.
3. Moroccan Bronzing Bars
Being of Irish descent, I have naturally fair skin. I’ve actually darkened naturally quite a bit since changing my diet, but in the winter especially, I often feel very fair skinned. This bar is how I compensate and get a little glow going any time of year. The optional essential oils give this bar an exotic scent.
4. Pain Relief Lotion Bars
When our family started taking martial arts, these bars came in handy. They use natural ingredients like arnica, menthol and mint to help sooth sore muscles (just not while pregnant or nursing!). They are a natural cool/heat bar that helps ease muscle stiffness and pain.
5. Bug-Off Lotion Bars
We don’t have nearly enough bats in our area for the number of mosquitos we have. In the summer months, mosquitos are really bad at our house, especially since we have so much shade around our house. These lotion bars have been a huge help! They protect the skin with natural oils and moisturize at the same time.
6. Sunscreen Lotion Bars
We don’t use sunscreen often, but when we will be outside for longer than usual, these are a great natural solution. They use zinc oxide with the basic lotion bar recipe ingredients for a low SPF lotion bar.
7. Winter Bliss Lotion Bars
This recipe uses my base for lotion bars with the addition of wintergreen, peppermint, lavender, and orange essential oils for a perfect invigorating wintery blend. The gender-neutral scent makes this one a perfect Christmas gift for anyone on your list (kids and pregnant moms excluded … see the post for more).
8. Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Lotion Bars
This recipe really does include gold (mica powder), frankincense, and myrrh and is a great way to celebrate the meaning of the Christmas season. Again, makes a great gift!
9. Lotion Bar Sticks
Although I don’t find lotion bars particularly messy (unless one of the kids mistakes one for soap and uses it in the shower … (I don’t recommend it!), it is possible to make lotion in stick form in an empty deodorant container. I use this version when I travel or when I want to ship gifts and need lightweight packaging.
10. Eczema Relief Lotion Bars
Allergic to coconut oil, or just have reactive skin in general? This eczema-friendly version uses cod liver oil for skin-soothing soluble fat vitamins and omega-3s. They are also gentle enough to use on baby.
11. Deep Moisture Shea Butter Lotion Bars
I use this recipe in the winter months as it has an extra dose of shea butter to protect and nourish chapped, dry skin in need of extra care.
12. Coconut Oil Lotion Bars
Don’t have mango, shea, or cocoa butter around? This recipe uses just coconut oil, beeswax, and a few drops of essential oil!
13. Hypoallergenic Lotion Bars
On the flip side, if you’re allergic to coconut oil, try this allergy-friendly version with skin-soothing CLA and beneficial fats from tallow.
Don’t Want to Make Them?
If you want to use lotion bars but don’t have the time or 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. If you use the code WELLNESSMAMA, you’ll get a 15% discount off your order!
Do you use lotion bars? Ready to make your own? Share below in the comments, and let me know any variations I missed!