Thursday, 14 February 2013

How to make Solid Lotion Bars

Solid lotion bars are a complete necessity in this weather.  But what are they?  And how are they made?

Unlike commercial moisturisers and body butters, home made lotion bars need only contain a handful of natural ingredients.  Because of the long shelf life of the butters oils and waxes used in making them, and as they are formulated without water, they don't need additional preservatives.

If you suffer from dry or irritated skin, need to moisturise on the move (much easier to carry a lotion bar through airport control than a bottle of lotion!) or simply want to find a cheaper way to keep your skin in great condition, why not give them a try.

You don't need fancy moulds; if you already have PVC or Silicone soap, candle, bath bomb or chocolate moulds or even ice cube trays then you can use these.  Alternatively you can use paper souffle cases, or recycled plastic containers - just be sure that whatever you use can withstand a fairly high degree of heat.  If travelling with solid lotion you might want to use a Dip Pot.  These food grade pots are semi disposable containers that are also micro safe and have a hinged lid allowing you to make and store your bars in one container.

Of course you can get fancy with them especially if planning to give them as gifts.  Heart shaped soap moulds make a really pretty looking lotion bar.

Solid Lotion Bar Recipe

50g Beeswax or Vegetable wax such as Candelila
50g Sweet Almond or similar vegetable base oil
50g Shea Butter

Optional

1.5ml toiletry grade fragrance concentrate or essential oil of your choice
Suggestions; Lavender & Patchouli essential Oil, Clary Sage & Lavender EO, Coconut fragrance oil, Ylang Ylang EO (doubles up as a very very good massage bar for two!), Vanilla & Chocolate fragrance oil (though licking your arms after applying isn't wholly recommended)... experiment, we think you will enjoy!

Method

Using either a microwave or a pan, slowly melt your Beeswax until almost completely liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in the Shea and Sweet Almond.  If necessary return to the heat briefly but be sure to remove from the heat immediately that all the butters are liquid.  Doing this part of the process slowly and gently will preserve the qualities of the butters/oils.  Shea butter in particular does not like to be overheated and can react by separating and becoming grainy.

Cool for a few minutes before stirring in your chosen Essential or Fragrance Oil.

Once the mix has cooled* for a few minutes, pour into your moulds/containers and cool completely before use. You can pop the moulds in the fridge if you're feeling especially impatient.

*Allowing the mix to cool is especially important when using plastic moulds - you don't want to melt them!

Et Voila!  All done.

Vary the recipe by using different "butters" - Mango for instance.  If you want to include Cocoa Butter then we suggest that you reduce the Beeswax - perhaps use 25g of Beeswax with 25g of Cocoa Butter plus the other ingredients as above.  And if you find the recipe either too hard or too soft for your preference, then either reduce or increase the Beeswax.

Hot Tip! Want to add a touch of colour?  Try Jojoba Beads - teeny tiny spheres of Jojoba Wax that's had cosmetic colour added; suitable for use in scrubs these can also be added to your mix to add a touch of colour - only a few grams needed.

Functionally all of the ingredients work for your skin - other than fragrance of course, but that's a sensory necessity!  Beeswax will help provide a barrier to the elements whilst the Shea and Almond Oil will moisturise and soften.  You can include Essential Oils for therapeutic value as well as for their particular fragrance or simply make up a fragrance free version which can be used to tackle very dry skin and even eczema.  The choice is yours, we hope that you enjoy :)

2 comments:

Jane C said...

Hi Amanda
can i use cookie plastic moulds for the solid lotion bar?

Amanda Barber said...

Hi Jane, as long as the mould is suitable for heat then you should be fine. Chocolate moulds/cookie moulds should be perfect as they're designed to withstand heat. As you have to melt the oils and butters the mix will be pretty hot so non heat resistant plastics may warp.