Ever since I discovered how to make my original lotion bars, I’ve been experimenting with different variations including sunscreen bars, Vapo-Rub bars, and others. Today’s favorite: bug repellent lotion bars!
They are as easy to make as the original bars, and they 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.
- coconut oil
- shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three)
- dried rosemary leaves
- dried whole cloves
- dried thyme
- cinnamon powder
- dried catnip leaf
- dried mint leaf
- Vitamin E oil
- Insect Shield Blend essential oils or lavender and lemon (10+ drops of each)
I also use silicone molds to set the bars. 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.
Bug Repellant Lotion Bar Recipe
- Double boiler or slow cooker
- Mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- Silicone molds
- 1 cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup rosemary leaves (fresh or dried)
- 2 TBSP thyme (dried or fresh)
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup dried catnip
- 1 TBSP mint leaf (optional, but adds great scent)
- ½ cup shea butter (or cocoa butter or mango butter)
- 10 TBSP beeswax pastilles
- 1 tsp vitamin E oil (optional, preservative)
- 10 drops Insect Shield essential oil blend (optional, or 10 drops each lavender and/or lemon)
To 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 coconut oil in the top part of the double boiler and add the dried rosemary, cloves, thyme, cinnamon, catnip, and mint.
- 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 the 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.
- 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 ½ cup of the infused oil. If you have more, save it for next time!
To make the lotion bars
- Add the butter(s) and beeswax to the double boiler with the infused coconut oil and stir until all have melted.
- Remove from the heat and add the Vitamin E oil and any other essential oils.
- Pour it into the molds.
- Leave in the molds until completely set (overnight is best). Or you can speed up the process by placing it in the fridge.
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!