By Kristen, Contributing Writer
As the weather gets colder, our skin can take a beating. Rare is the person who doesn’t find dry, irritated, or chapped skin a problem once late fall and winter set in!
Of all the areas of our bodies, our hands probably end up in the roughest shape during the cold months. I know mine do! Between hand washing dishes, washing hands over and over with children, and being in dry, heated, indoor air, my hands can really start to suffer from dryness.
One of my very favorite ways to combat that dry winter skin is with a quality hard lotion bar. There are some fantastic varieties on the market, but since they are so easy, I love making my own! Homemade skin care is one of my favorite projects as an herbalist-in-training.
This lotion bar recipe features an herb-infused oil, shea butter, beeswax, and lavender essential oil. Just these few simple ingredients and a small bit of time will leave you with enough lotion bars to get through the winter, and probably with some to spare.
The herbs and essential oil used give the bars a beautiful, mild scent and also make them extremely soothing. Lavender, calendula, and chamomile are wonderful for irritated skin, promoting healing and soothing inflammation. Lavender essential oil is a well-known skin soother, as well.
Lavender, Calendula, & Chamomile Soothing Hard Lotion Bars
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 5 grams dried lavender buds (about 2 tablespoons)
- 5 grams dried chamomile flowers (about 3 tablespoons)
- 5 grams dried calendula blossoms (about 3 tablespoons)
- 85 grams/3 ounces/ 1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
- 85 grams/3 ounces/ heaping 1/2 cup beeswax (grated or pellets)
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
1. Place the herbs and oil into an oven-safe dish, then place into a warm oven. My toaster oven has a “warm” setting, which works great for me. Otherwise, preheat an oven to 200, place the bowl in the oven, and turn in off. Let the herbs infuse for 4-6 hours. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
2. Strain the oil out of the herbs through a strainer lined with thick cheesecloth, an old tea towel, or similar cotton fabric. Squeeze out as much oil as possible, then discard the herbs. Add enough extra oil (olive, coconut, or both) to have 1/2 cup oil.
3. Place the infused oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a saucepan and set over low heat. Stir the ingredients until they melt completely.
4. Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes, then stir in the essential oil.
5. Pour the mixture into silicone mini loaf pans, candy molds, or muffin pans and allow to solidify.
6. Once solid, remove from the pan or mold, then wrap in waxed paper to store.
I typically pour the mixture into silicone mini loaf pans and then cut the lotion bars into smaller sizes once they are solid. They cut easily.
Note: You can find the herbs for this recipe on The Bulk Herb Store!
These lotion bars would also make a lovely Christmas gift! This recipe could easily be doubled or tripled to make lotion bars for a crowd. A cute tag with the ingredients listed would add a nice touch.
Hi! I have a question – after you use the silicone molds and oven-safe dish are they usable for food again? (after a good washing of course) Thanks
Yes, definitely Allison! The great thing about making skincare like this is that you are using ingredients that are actually edible. No worries on reusing your containers! 🙂
Anna @ Feminine Adventures
These lotion bars look lovely Kristen! My girls and I have the driest skin, so we might use them all up by the time winter is over. 🙂
I just made my own soothing (and anti-bacterial) salve, but this would be so much easier to take traveling or store in the car.
Sometimes I like to take a salve recipe and make a lotion bar instead for that very reason, Anna! Adding extra beeswax and a butter easily does the trick.
Could you shave these with a veggie peeler for individual use? What’s the best way to store them? Maybe a soap container or empty Altoids tin?
You could try to shave them, I suppose. I never really thought about that! Though they are hard, they are still soft enough that you might want to pop them in the fridge before shaving.
You can store these just like you thought, in metal tins, soap containers, or even just wrapped up in some wax paper. That’s what I do for the bars that I’m just keeping at home.
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup
Thanks so much for sharing this, Kristen! I know many people love these lotion bars. I do enjoy making my own skincare. I’ve made facial cleanser, moisturizers, deodorant, toothpaste, etc., but I’ve never made a hard lotion bar. Now I will! Pinning this one. Thanks, again.
With all of that experience you’ll find these to be a piece of cake, Heather! I hope that if you did make them you have enjoyed them as much as I do.
Is using the herb infused oils better than using essential oils? More expensive? Less expensive? I don’t have the herbs but I have the essential oils.
That is exactly what I was going to ask. It seems like adding the essential oil would save time as well. Maybe dilute it with the olive oil and coconut oil. That’s what I’m going to try.
Infusing the oil with the herbs allows for other compounds in the herbs to be in the finished product. Essential oils are only one component of the herb (the volatile oil), but herbs offer many other compounds that are very beneficial.
Cost wise, it’s hard to say since some oils are much more expensive than others. I tend to think that infusing the oils is a more frugal option than using essential oils, however the results aren’t exactly the same in the finished product.
That being said, you can absolutely make a wonderful lotion bar by skipping the herbal infusion part, and just moving right to melting the oils, butter, and wax together, then adding essential oils after the mixture cools but is still liquid. Since the lotion bars are so concentrated and you use so little at a time, you could easily add an additional 10-20 drops of essential oil, so long as it isn’t a hot or strong oil.
Is this helpful?
Hi, this might be a stupid question but I’ve never used lotion bars before. Can you use it as facial cleanser, or moisturizer? I would like to make these for my xmas baskets:)
Not a stupid question at all! And I’m so so so sorry that I didn’t see your question until now after Christmas! For some reason I don’t get notified when comments come up. My sincerest apologies!
Lotion bars are great for any area with very dry or rough skin. I like using them when my hands are a little damp from washing, then rubbing them on my skin. It makes them so soft! We also will use the bar as a lip balm. I have used them on my face after a shower, too. Just a little goes a long way.
I hope that if you did make them for gifts that they were a hit!
This sounds wonderful! Two questions though… could I use chamomile essential oil instead? And would this work if I poured it into the push-up bottles?
Thank you for your time!
Hi Shannon! This was a post from one of our contributors. I will email her and ask if she can check out your question! Happy New Year! 🙂
Yes, you can absolutely use the essential oil. You could use it in place of some or all of the lavender, or in addition to it. You get additional compounds from the herbs when you infuse them into the oil, but the essential oil will make for a lovely lotion bar, too!
Yes, you could definitely put this into push-up bottles. It even makes a really nice lip balm. 🙂
I love these! Ive made three or four batches already this winter. All my friends cant believe how great they work. The recipe is very similar to my homeade ouchie cream so they are very healing. I dont think I’ll ever make anything else. Thank you.
Awesome! That is so great to hear!
In the directions, #1, it says preheat oven, place in oven, and ‘turn in off’…I’m wondering if you meant to turn the oven off and let it sit for the hour stated?
Thanks for this great recipe! I lowered the beeswax amount by half and added extra infused oil to make it a salve. Love the way it smells!