Homemade Lotion Bars
Hello there! How have you been? Lately I’ve been interested in learning how to make common household goods cheaper and chemical-free at home. There are so many hidden toxins in our home, lurking in everything from candles to dish soap. And that includes body lotion! If you’re interested in learning how to make homemade lotion bars either to save money, create a thoughtful gift, or to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals introduced to your body, keep reading!
What Ingredients Should Not Be in Body Lotion?
Before we get into the simple ingredients that comprise this homemade body lotion, let’s talk about what to avoid.
Parabens and BHA help preserve and stabilize lotion, but they also contain carcinogens linked with cancer.
PFAS are another common preservative found in lotion, but these are “forever chemicals“. This means that when lotion with PFAS is applied to the skin, these chemicals are absorbed into the body’s blood stream and they can never be filtered out again. They build up in the body over time. And according to the Environmental Working Group, PFAS found in cosmetics like body lotion are linked with cancer and weight gain along with harmful effects on the immune system and reproductive system. Unfortunately “PFAS” is often not an item listed on the ingredient label.
One of the most common ingredients I find in body lotion is “fragrance”. I kept seeing it on product labels, but I had no idea what it was or if it was safe. But what actually is synthetic fragrance made from? It’s basically an undisclosed concoction of chemicals including diethyl phthalate, which is also found in insecticides and automobile parts. Synthetic fragrance in body lotion often contains harmful VOCs, which pollute the air and can cause or exacerbate allergies and asthma. So is fragrance bad in body lotion? If it’s synthetic fragrance, yes, it’s very bad.
Basically, if you can find body lotion with simple wholesome ingredients and traceable sources, that’s best. And why not have a little experiment and make your own homemade body lotion? It’s better for the environment and way better for your health.
How To Make DIY Lotion at Home
The ingredients to make homemade body lotion are surprisingly simple yet highly beneficial.
- Coconut oil helps reduce inflammation and acts as a potent moisturizer. It also contains antimicrobial properties that can help treat acne and even heal wounds.
- Shea butter softens and hydrates skin while providing antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin E. Shea butter contains specific fatty acids that soften scar tissue and help heal scars. It contains other fatty acids that protect the skin’s natural barrier, shielding your body from environmental pollutants.
- Beeswax is a natural exfoliant and it attracts and locks in moisture in your skin. Just like coconut oil and shea butter, beeswax contains anti-inflammatory properties that encourage wound and acne healing.
- Fresh or dried flowers like lavender, calendula, rose, chamomile, and dandelion add natural fragrances to make your DIY lotion smell great. They also add soothing anti-inflammatory properties.
- Essential oils are totally optional. You can add them if you enjoy the strong aroma and health benefits of essential oils. But you can leave them out and you’ll still have hydrated, healthy skin from your homemade lotion bars.
Making Body Lotion at Home
I was a little nervous to make homemade lotion bars. The scene from Fight Club where they are messing around with lye to make soap kept replaying in my mind. But body lotion is really easy to make, and it’s far simpler than homemade soap. And the great thing is you can make 12 lotion bars at once and give them away as gifts or store them in the fridge. That saves you trips to the store and it reduces plastic packaging!
How Can I Make Organic Lotion at Home?
If you have a store with a bulk section near your home, I suggest to look there first for your DIY lotion ingredients, or look online. The ingredients to make homemade lotion are pretty easy to find, since they are natural.
First, heat the coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter on the stove. You can either melt it directly in a saucepan, or on a double boiler.
Once it’s all melted, add your flowers of choice and simmer everything on low heat while stirring frequently for 15 minutes. This allows your lotion to be infused with both the natural fragrance and beneficial properties of the flowers.
Then strain your infusion through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth or really thin cotton like muslin.
Finally, pour your homemade lotion into a muffin tin and allow it to cool and harden. Depending on the temperature in your home, this might only take a couple hours.
Ta da! Now you have homemade lotion bars made from natural ingredients without any harmful chemicals! I like to keep one bar out on my bathroom counter for daily use, and I store the rest in a glass jar in the fridge.
Do I Need to Add Preservative in Homemade Lotion?
Since this DIY lotion recipe doesn’t contain water, you don’t need to add any preservatives. It’s oil-based, so it won’t grow mold or bacteria.
Beeswax, believe it or not, never goes bad. Shea butter and coconut oil can go bad after about two years. But that’s a heck of a long time to be using the same batch of body lotion, so I think we’ll be okay. 😉
Homemade Lotion Bars
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup shea butter
- 1 cup beeswax
- ¼ cup fresh or dried flowers like lavender or calendula
- 20 drops essential oils, optional
- Melt the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax on low heat on the stove in a small saucepan or a double boiler.
- Add the fresh or dried flowers and stir frequently while allowing the mixture to simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Strain the flowers from the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth or thin cotton like muslin. Stir in optional essential oils of your choice, if you're using them.
- Pour the melted mixture into a silicon mold or muffin tin and allow to cool and harden. This usually takes a few hours. Remove the lotion bars from the mold or muffin tin and store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to two years.