Monday, December 5, 2011

Homemade Christmas: How to Make Lotion Bars

Blog #3 of the Imperfectly Pinterest Series

A couple of weeks ago, I counted up the number of gifts that needed to be purchased. I realized that there were a lot of people who work with my children each week, and I became a bit concerned. There are almost thirty people who interact with my precious children when you include teachers, therapists, Sunday School teachers, and AWANA workers! I don't know about you, but I am not totally sure how to pay for thirty teacher gifts.

So I'm making them.

After searching the internet, mostly with the help of Pinterest, I discovered a ton of bath and body products that looked pretty fun.
My favorite idea was homemade lotion bars. These bad puppies are made from beeswax, cocoa butter, oil, and fragrance. When you rub them in your hands, a little melts into your hands, and you can rub in like lotion. Although the product is a little greasier than lotion, it's also more effective on dry, chapped skin, and you can leave it in your car when the temperatures get crazy low without fear of freezing. (This may come in handy more up here than where you live.)

Update: I do want to mention that lotion bars really aren't lotion. They are definitely waxy, and are perfect for using on your hands and feet before putting on socks and gloves, and are also great for protecting your hands against repeated hand-washings if you use it just before washing your hands. But it really isn't a regular lotion.
The recipe that I found is extremely simple:
  • One part cocoa butter
  • One part beeswax
  • One part oil, such as sunflower or olive oil (I reduced this to 2/3 of the other two ingredients to reduce greasiness and raise the melting point, but I think that 3/4 or above would have been better)
  • A small amount of essential oil (About 6 teaspoons per kilo of cocoa butter/beeswax)

After deciding to make lotion bars, sugar scrubs, and bath salts, I went online to find the products that I needed. After quite a bit of Googling and keyword brainstorming, I came across New Directions Aromatics. I ordered a kilo of wax, a kilo of cocoa butter, and 33.3 oz of sunflower oil. I also ordered two tray molds that make 16 square bars each. In the same order I purchased what I needed for bath salts. I am going to write a blog on the bath salts and sugar scrubs next week, but if you plan on making them, you may want to purchase the items along with lotion bar ingredients.

For bath salts you can use almost any type of salt, but I used 2 parts Epsom, 1 part dead sea, and 1 part dendritic salt. I bought a kilo of Epsom and 1.1 lbs of the other two. You'll also need essential oil or fragrant oil.

For the sugar scrub, the only things that you will need to buy online are the oils. The recipe that I'm using calls for three cups of sugar with 1 and 1/8 cups oil (again, sunflower) with three cups of sugar. Thirty drops of essential oil are required for the recipe.

Even when making all three items, you won't go through a bottle of essential oil unless you're making a ton of them!

As far as molds go, I ended up using a cookie sheet that I bought at Joann's Fabrics on sale. Each cavity has a different snowflake shape. I also made three trays worth of square bars to give to other people that I would like to let know that I love them, but I can't afford to buy everyone I love a $50 giftcard.

One warning: Make sure that you wear old clothes and use kitchen supplies that aren't particularly important to you. This stuff leaves oil spots if you splash some on your clothes, and it is nearly impossible to clean it off of spoons and measuring cups, though it can be done.

Now, for the actual steps:
  1. Melt the cocoa butter and beeswax in a double boiler, or, as I did, a Crock Pot.
  2. Remove from heat or turn the power off your Crock Pot, and add the oil and essential or fragrant oil. (If you are using more than one scent, you can pour the mixture into separate bowls after adding the main oil and before adding the fragrance.)
  3. Pour into molds and carefully place in the refrigerator. If not all of the mixture fits into your molds, you can leave it in the Crock Pot with it set on "warm," so it stays melted. Do not put the bars into the freezer, or they may crack!
  4. Wait until the bars are completely hardened, and remove from the molds.
  5. Package the bars. I had a couple of ideas for packaging. One was to wrap them in foil and press the foil so it shows the pretty design. For most of them, I will probably put them in small treat bags with swing tags that I made from printable business cards that I bought from WalMart. The reason that I'm leaning toward this option is so I can explain what they are and let the recipient know what the ingredients are in order to prevent allergic reactions.

Here is a picture of what I put on the tags:
Update: I recommend changing the instructions based on what I now know about the texture of the final products Rubbing in completely is not going to happen.

I hope that this tutorial helps you if you have decided to make some of the gifts on your Christmas list next year. To tell you the truth, I enjoyed making these things so much that I have considered starting my own little company. "Consider," being a key word. 

1 comment:

merchant accounts said...

If i learned it, i dont have to spend too much on lotion and creams.