one green planet
one green planet

Lotion bars are a really convenient way of having a moisturizer at hand without the added plastic packaging and questionable ingredients.

With a few very simple ingredients, you can make your own lotion bars to use whenever your hands, heels, knees or elbow needs a little extra nourishment. The great thing is that they make lovely gifts, too.

Though you will have to buy a couple of things in the beginning, you will be able to make an abundance of bars without the need for plastic bottles. It is a great step towards a low-waste lifestyle.

Many lotion bars call for beeswax, but they can be made vegan by using vegan wax such as carnauba wax instead.

What Exactly Are Lotion Bars?

Lotion bars are usually about the size of a bar of soap. They contain a few simple ingredients, such as wax, body butter, oil, and perhaps some essential oils. The bar stays solid when at room temperature. When you rub the bar between your hands or onto a certain body part, your body temperature melts the bar slightly, allowing you to rub it into your skin. If the bar feels quite cool and hard, you can hold it in your hands until it melts just enough to use.

What Goes into Vegan Lotion Bars?

Lotion Bars

Source: distelfliege/Flickr

The basic recipe for vegan lotion bars begins with some kind of body butter such as cocoa butter or shea butter. Next, you will need some oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil. You could also use any herbal-infused oil that you have made prior. You will need some vegan wax, too.  Here, you can use candelilla wax or carnauba wax instead of beeswax. You may also add some essential oils if you want a fragranced bar. Use an essential oil calculator to determine how many drops to use.

The Basic Recipe

Measure out equal parts of your chosen wax, body butter, and oil.  Add the wax and the butter to a glass or metal dish or jar. Then, place the jar in a saucepan. Pour water into the saucepan surrounding the jar and put the pan on the stovetop. Turn on the heat and simmer the water whilst stirring the wax and the butter together. Keep stirring until they are completely melted. Now, add the oil. If it is a solid oil keep stirring over the heat until everything is mixed together into a liquid.

Take the pan off the heat, and carefully remove the dish or jar from the saucepan. You can allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding your essential oils. A good rule of thumb is about 3-12 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of finished product. You should research each essential oil individually for recommended uses and dosage.

While the mixture is still liquid, pour it into silicone molds or muffin tins and pop them into the fridge to harden.

Once they have hardened, you can remove the bars from the molds.

How to Use and Store the Lotion Bars

Hard Lotion Bar in Tin


If you live in a really warm climate, it is advisable to keep your lotion bars in a glass container in the fridge to avoid melting. Otherwise, you can keep your unused bars in a glass jar in a cool, dry place. If you want to carry your lotion bar around with you, you can put the bar into a small tin wrapped in wax paper or a bag and pull it out whenever you need to use it.

What Essential Oils Can I add?

Your lotion bar will work just fine without any scent. However, if you want to make a slightly medicated bar, an insect-repellent bar, or just a bar that smells scrummy, then check out this list of essential oils you can use.

  • Tea Tree Oil- Tea tree oil contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol which has antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. It is used to treat minor skin ailments such as minor cuts and scrapes. It is also thought to be effective in repelling mosquitoes.
  • Citronella Oil- As well as being a heavenly scent that can alleviate mood and promote calm, citronella oil is also an effective insect repellent.
  • Lavender Oil- If you want a lotion bar that is nourishing for your skin but also leaves your skin smelling wonderful, try using some lavender oil. It would be a great lotion bar to use after an evening bath or shower to help promote calm before bedtime.

Check with a medical professional before using homemade or herbal remedies for any ailments. Always research essential oils individually for recommended use, and never apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin. Do a skin patch test before applying anything new. 

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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

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