UPDATE 12/27/12: I’ve been using an alternate recipe since my second batch of lotion bars. See the alternate recipe below!
Hello, friends! The good news is we survived Monday. The bad news is we have four days to go (unless you love your job, in which case you’re probably peachy right about now). I do love my day job, but I also love my weekends. It’s my time to really focus on projects, get things accomplished and cross things off of my ever-growing to-do list (this is self-inflicted, though).
This weekend, I made my own lotion bars and lip balm! The lotion bars were inspired by this blog, which I encourage you to visit. Her post is pretty compelling on why you should think twice about what’s in store-bought lotions.
I tweaked her recipe just a bit and went with canola oil instead of vegetable oil. I used bergamot essential oil because I LOVE the smell of bergamot. It reminds me of a nice cup of hot earl grey tea, so it brings a slight smile to my face every time I use the lotion bars!

What You Need:

Original recipe:
  • Beeswax (I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby since it was convenient and I had a 40% off coupon, which made it $8.99 for the 1-lb. block)
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Canola oil
  • Essential oil, of your choice (this is optional, but you can really customize these to your liking with just a few drops of essential oils)
  • Form/mold (I used a soap mold, also from HL, as it was also on sale, but you could use really anything you want. Try a silicone pan/mold for some fun shapes!)

Alternate Recipe:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Beeswax
  • Coconut Oil
  • Optional: Vitamin E Oil and Grapeseed Oil
  • Optional: essential oil of your choice; use one that will mix nicely with the coconut and cocoa butter smell (they are strong on their own) and make sure to use an essential oil that is OK for your skin!

What You Do:

Both recipes: Melt a 1:1:1 ratio of all three ingredients (you’re going to add the essential oils at the end, if you’re using them) in a double boiler or a small pan inside of a larger pan of boiling water. (NOTE: I did try to melt these together in my microwave, but the beeswax started sparking. Apparently this will happen in some microwaves and will be fine in others, so be careful if you try this!)

Once everything is melted together, stir well, remove from heat and, if you’re going to use them, add the essential oils. (And if you’re using them, pour in 2 teaspoons of vitamin E oil and 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil.) I used around 25 drops of bergamot for 4 bars in the original recipe.

Pay attention to any directions that come with your mold…for example, mine specifically noted that anything above 150 degrees could melt the mold. Since my mixture was closer to 165 degrees, I let it cool in the pan on my counter before pouring it into the mold. Nothing would be worse than pouring your mixture into the mold, just to watch the mold melt away! If you’re using silicone, you shouldn’t have to worry about this. :)

Once the bars have cooled, pop them out of your mold and enjoy!

To use, rub them between your hands and your body heat will soften the bar enough for you to get what you need. It WILL be extremely oily at first, but it WILL soak in after a couple of minutes. The air in our house has been extremely dry lately (thanks, winter), which wreaks havoc on our skin. That’s probably the top “problem” I hear about from Cowboy, so to say these have been a hit would be an understatement. Not only do they smell good, but I’ve found that once it soaks into your skin, it sort of leaves a super-soft, non-waxy protective layer that doesn’t wash off with water (like, if you’re washing your hands) like lotion would. I’m pretty much obsessed with these things! I even mailed one to my brother today because his hands have been on the verge of cracking open (sorry for the mental picture) every winter for as long as I’ve known him (i.e. since the day he was born). Mom–shhh, don’t tell Jason! :)


You could fancy these up lots of different ways–different molds/shapes, some food/icing coloring, some smaller shapes you could add to the top (like a tiny heart on top of a big heart of a leaf on top of a more plain bar, like mine)…and of course add your own favorite scents. Make them your own!

While I had the beeswax out, I thought I would also make my own lip balm. I just needed to find something awesome to keep the balm in. Then I remembered these adorable tiny jars I picked up at a Goodwill in Kansas City a couple of years ago. I thought they were the cutest little jars I’d ever seen, but never really had a great use for them…until now!

I paid a whopping 29 cents for each one. Score!

For this mixture, I used beeswax, olive oil and essential oil (again, bergamot)

Using the same method, melt together a 1:1 ratio of beeswax and olive oil (you really could use any oil you want, but olive oil is awesome for your skin. I think I might add in some coconut oil next time, too!), stir in your essential oil (I used 2-3 drops per jar) and pour into a container of your choice!

Voilá! Now you have two items to make from scratch that won’t take a lot of time or money and you’ll managed to have remove even more chemicals and other yucky stuff from your home and your daily routine.

Enjoy!