How to Make Natural Lotion Bars (Recipe + Variations)

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Easy recipe to make your own natural lotion bars
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » How to Make Natural Lotion Bars (Recipe + Variations)

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.

lotion bar ingredientsThere 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 recipe to make your own natural lotion bars
4.38 from 113 votes

Easy Lotion Bars Recipe

A basic recipe for homemade natural lotion bars; see below for ideas on how to customize them.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time19 minutes
Yield: 12 bars
Author: Katie Wells



  • Combine all ingredients except essential oils and vitamin E in a quart-size glass mason jar.
  • Place the jar in a small saucepan of water and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the ingredients are melted.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Stir in any desired essential oils and/or vitamin E.
  • Carefully pour the mixture into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in (ideas below).
  • Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds.


  • 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.
  • Make 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.

how to make homemade lotion bars recipe

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.

Click here for the sensitive skin lotion bar recipe.

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.

Here is the recipe.

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.

Here’s the recipe.

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.

Here is the recipe.

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.

Here are the directions for bug repellent lotion bars.

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.

Details here.

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).

Here’s the recipe.

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!

Try them here.

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.

Get the recipe as well as where to find the containers here.

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.

Read how to make them here.

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.

Get the details here.

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!

This super easy recipe is here.

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.

I explain more here.

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!

Lotion bars intensify the moisturizing effects of natural lotion in a convenient and non-messy bar. Make your own with this easy DIY recipe.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


678 responses to “How to Make Natural Lotion Bars (Recipe + Variations)”

  1. Wendy Marshall Avatar
    Wendy Marshall If you live in Portland, OR, you can drop into their store. They have various versions of coconut oil and butters, including refined with no odor. Their website goes into great detail on origin and quality.

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You could try replacing 1 TBSP of the coconut oil with argan oil. It will make the bars a little softer so you may need a little more beeswax.

  2. Kathy Marsden Avatar
    Kathy Marsden

    I have used this as a basis for a lotion bar to apply before swimming to protect from chlorine and pool chemicals. Very successful. I added 1/8 t clay, sodium ascorbate, liposomal vit c, calendula tincture, atlas cedar essential oil, pine essential oil, substitute 2 T castor oil 2 T shea. I apply to all areas of skin except scalp. Shower immediately after swimming with a good soap. Spray skin with sodium ascorbate.

  3. Roslyn M Ambler Avatar
    Roslyn M Ambler

    5 stars
    Dearest Katie, I am a grandmother of 70 and have been using this recipe of yours (with slap-dash variations because I never ‘measure’ anything) for over 10 years now I think. Cannot recall when I started to make them. However, I do recall reading how beeswax had so many useful healing uses. We had our own beehives so could harvest our own wax. Your bars are excellent, especially with regard to but not exclusive to:
    1. Mosquito bites : relieves itching within a few seconds (and we live in South Africa, mean mozzies here!)
    2. Any and all insect bites, whether they burn, itch, blister, hurt, you name it – this recipe relieves instantly.
    3. Pimples, bumps, boils, nappy rash, sores of any variety and/or description – try it and if it doesn’t work for your particular ailment, revert to your own.
    Thank you again for this marvelous and oft used recipe.

  4. Dominique Avatar

    5 stars
    My aunt made these and gave some to me for my baby son who was having eczema issues for a few months when he was about 6-7 months. After using steroid cream to “zap” the eczema flare-ups, this lotion helped keep it from coming back and he hasn’t had any recurrence in months! I also loved using it myself. I’m now going to try and make some — can I use jojoba oil instead of vit E oil?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      Vitamin E is an antioxidant to extend the shelf life of the lotion bar and keep it from going rancid as quickly. Jojoba is great for the skin but it doesn’t delay oxidation like Vitamin E does.

      1. Dominique Avatar

        5 stars
        How long will this lotion (with the vitamin e) in a jar last then? A few months? Just made them again. Thanks!

        1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

          The consistency would probably be to firm to work well in a jar. Both shea butter and coconut oil have a shelf life of about 2-3 years as long as they’re stored away from heat and light, so the lotion bars should last at least a year. The natural bacteria on skin will likely reduce their shelf life some.

  5. Doreen Lynn Avatar
    Doreen Lynn

    5 stars
    Hi everyone. I would love to use my beautiful baking molds to make lotion bars. I know they will pop out easily of silicone molds but mine are metal or cast iron. If I spray them first with olive oil, will that help them drop out when I invert it? All ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Cara Avatar

    5 stars
    I love this idea! I have been making baby balm in tins and after searching for a great eco-friendly container for them decided I should skip the container altogether! Most of the recipe’s I have found contain shea or coconut oil, do you think a basic balm without either of those will work (infused EVOO and beeswax only) and be the right consistency to not melt too easily or take too long to melt?? I will play with it but any insight would be lovely! Thanks!

  7. Lisa Avatar


    I made these and they were so lovely, but leaves a greasy feeling on the skin, how can I make it less greasy?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Mel Avatar

      I’ve read that adding arrowroot powder or cornstarch after melting could make them less greasy? Also maybe use half the amount of coconut oil as this is tends to have the lowest melting temperature.

  8. Becky Avatar

    Can you please advise when using cups, my beeswax comes in pellets, is it one cup of pellets or is it one cup melted down without space? Im used to weighing things out

  9. Lucy Avatar

    I got some lotion bars from a local seller, but they are so hard and it’s so dry here, that they are almost impossible to use. Do you have any suggestions about how I could remelt them and maybe add some ingredients to make them softer and easier to use? Thank you! Love your blog!

  10. Karen Avatar

    I used the one cup raw beeswax, one cup coconut oil and one cup Shea butter and the concoction set up but not hard enough. It holds its shape for the most part, but it doesn’t have handle well. It falls apart and is very oily. Is there a way to repair it to be harder/more dry?

    1. Kristen Fujimura Avatar
      Kristen Fujimura

      I made these and they are too soft. I would love for them to be harder as well.

  11. Debbie Avatar

    I bought an oval mold for the lotion bars. Turned out lovely but now I can’t find a container for them. Does anyone know where I can find oval containers? The size of the bars is 3.1 x 2.4.

  12. Mia Avatar

    What is the best way to store these? I have made some of these lotion bars with silicon molds. If I store in tissue paper it gets messy and oily. If I store in a wax paper bag the lotion bar starts to rub off on it and get all over the place. If I am giving as gifts what do you recommend?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      I found some small ceramic trays and bowls at a local store and packaged them in those and wrapped with natural ribbon to give as gifts. I also like to keep in these on the counter for easy use.

  13. Rosie Avatar

    This is basically lip balm for your body- the ingredients and proportions are the same.

4.38 from 113 votes (91 ratings without comment)

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