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1.31.2013

The Pinterest Project Day 27: Homemade Lotion Bars

I've been using natural skin care and cosmetics for over a year now. I love lotion bars because they are so great for my skin. If you haven't seen a lotion bar before, it looks like a bar of soap, but you rub it on your skin. Some come in something that looks like a deodorant stick, but others come in a little metal tin. I've been selling natural products on a small scale for a direct selling company, but even with my discount, the lotion bars were pricey.

When you use a lotion bar, the warmth of your skin melts off just the right amount of the lotion as you rub the bar on your skin.

So, I decided to see if there were recipes on Pinterest. The site did not disappoint. Since I knew I liked the ones I've been using, I looked for a recipe that used similar ingredients to the once listed on the tin. A post on a site called CoconutOil.com was the best recipe I could find.

I checked my local health foods store for ingredients, but they didn't have everything in stock. So I went to Amazon and found what I needed at a very good price. Since then, I have also discovered a site called Camden Grey Essential Oils that has everything I need, including empty deodorant containers should I decide to make these bars in stick form in the future. The shipping on the site is a bit high, so be aware.

Anyway, here is the recipe I followed, including the slight modification I made by using vitamin E oil that was also almond oil. I shopped carefully based on customer feedback regarding quality of product, including odor. I wanted it to smell good. The organic coconut oil has a pleasant coconut smell. The stuff I find in the grocery store does not, but it is more refined.
Directions: Measure ingredients into a double boiler pan. If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a small stainless steel bowl over a saucepan. My set came with a pan, so I used that.
For utensils, I used a silicone spatula. In a saucepan that fits your double boiler (usually the medium sized pan), boil about 2 inches of water, then turn it down to simmer. Now, set the double boiler on top, making sure that your water is not boiling so vigorously that you get water in your lotion bars. Do not melt in the microwave. I don't know what it does, but the beeswax said not to melt it that way.
Part-way through the melting. It was soon clear.
It took about 5 minutes to melt, maybe 10. You'll have a clear, light amber colored liquid. I used a big plastic serving spoon to fill my molds since there wasn't a pouring spout on my double boiler. I purchased my silicone mold on Amazon. It's sort of like a short muffin tin (like a large sized Reese's Peanut Butter cup). This was the perfect size, since the recipe perfectly filled all 6 cups on the mold. Be sure to use a silicone mold so your bars pop right out.

Wait for the bars to harden for a few hours. The photo below is right after pouring them, so only edges are beginning to set. 
That is not steam on the bottom right corner. The reflection created some sort of hologram on my camera. Hmm...spooky.
One note: The directions said something about melting the ingredients in a covered jar in a pan of boiling water. This is not safe, because of the pressure. It also mentioned a blender or shaking the jar. I found it melted nice and clear, no blending needed, so I'm not sure what that was about.
To give your finished bars as gifts, you can wrap them in cellophane, use Ziploc baggies, or purchase metal tins at your hobby store. A 2.5 inch diameter tin fits my mold size. If you make square or rectangle bars, you can get an Altoid-style tin, or recycle a tin. Also, some of the disposable snack-sized containers in the kitchen supply department would work well.

When I was finished making my bars, I used the hot water in the double boiler to pour over the utensils in the sink, along with some dish soap. The hot water helps get the residue off, and then I ran them through the dishwasher. I didn't want any of the wax or "butters" to gum up the dishwasher.
Total cost for the bars comes to about $1.40 per bar (had to guess because I can make more batches from some of the ingredients I purchased than from others. That's less than 1/4 what I was paying for them.

Ready to try your own? Feel free to blog about it and post a link to your results in the comments below.

The Pinterest Project Score:
Successes - 21
Fails - 4
Neutral - 2

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