Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lotion Bar Tutorial

What is a lotion bar? It is simply lotion made as a solid.

I love lotion bars. They are nice because they do not require preservatives because there is no water. They are made with beeswax which leaves a protective layer on your skin which means you do not have to re-apply lotion every single time you wash your hands. This is a bonus to me as a mom who cooks a lot. I feel like I am always washing my hands.

This lotion bar recipe is an experiment for me. I have had requests for a lotion bar with no scent or colorant for extra sensitive skin. After more research, I learned olive oil's PH is the closest oil to our natural skin's PH. Because of that, I integrated olive oil in with this batch.

Notice the scale? When working with a range of solids and liquids, it is simpler to weigh everything instead of try to measure. My measurements listed are in pounds and weight ounces. So here's my recipe.

1 lb beeswax
3.5 oz (weighed, 4oz volume)
3.5 oz (weighed, 4oz volume)
5 oz Shea butter
5 oz Cocoa butter
5 oz Mango Butter

You do not have to have several types of butters. Using only shea or mango butter will both make a nice lotion bar. You do need to have a lotion butter in the recipe. You also do not need to use jojoba oil. I simply like it though I might replace it with a different oil for budgetary reasons. Vitamin E Oil, Almond Oil or using all Olive oil will give you nice results.

I drove to Lincoln and visited Valhalla Bees at 47th and Hartley. (They are west of the Dolly Madison store and east of the indoor shooting range.) They had processed some wax and I picked up 3 lbs. I chose pound bricks because it's lower cost per pound and I make big batches at a time. If you want to make a single lotion bar, you can buy the beeswax in ounces if you want.

I also swung by Herbs and More and picked up 4 oz of Jojoba Oil. They charged $9.99 for 4 oz! This is an extremely high price so if anyone finds jojoba oil for less, please let me know where!

I do not have a dedicated sauce pan big enough for a pound of beeswax so I decided to use the microwave method. When making lotions, do not use your regular cookware. It is really hard to get it completely clean! I recommend grabbing a cheap sauce pan from Walmart or go to a donation store like Goodwill or Salvation Army to get a sauce pan dedicated to making lotions. Or, get a cheep, microwave-safe plastic bowl and dedicate it to making lotions.

I put the pound of wax, oils and butters in the bowl and microwaved for 2 minutes. Then I pulled out and stirred briefly and put the bowl back in the microwave. The picture to the right is after 2 minutes. I set the microwave for another 2 minutes then pulled the bowl out and stirred again. I did this over and over again. Please note, the bowl will get really hot in the bottom. Always tap the bowl lightly where you are going to grab and ensure it is safe to touch or wear protective oven mitts.

When the wax is almost completely melted, you can pull the bowl out and stir until the rest of the beeswax disappears.

At this point, the mixture is extremely hot. Make sure to put the bowl on a trivet or hot pad, not your counter. Also, do not touch the mixture as it can cause severe burns.

I have my dedicated mixing spoon and measuring cup in the bowl. I stirred for approximately one minute to make sure all the ingredients are combined. Notice the beautiful amber color. There is no trace of the separate ingredients. If you used bleached wax the color would be almost transparent.

If you wanted to add scent or color, this is the stage to add those. Be sure to use oil soluble colorant with this recipe. You can add regular food color to creme lotions because they contain water. Food color simply pools or makes little balls in oil. (Yes, I found out the hard way!)

I use regular muffin tins for my molds. There are many molds in a broad variety of shapes and sizes available for you to purchase if you are so inclined. Again, these need to be dedicated to your lotion/craft making. You do not want to use these to make food as it is extremely difficult to get these completely clean and the oils will contaminate your food.

I placed my muffin tin on my scale since I sell my lotion bars. If you notice, there is some wax spillage in between the cups. As the mixture cools, you can scrape the spots off easily and put the pieces back in your still warm mixture.

As the lotion bars cool, they will change to a lighter color. These lotion bars still have a slightly darker center which means they are solid on the outside and still partially liquid in the center. If you touch the tops, they are only warm, no longer hot.

If you want, you can leave the lotion bars out for several hours and let them cool. There isn't a set way to cool them as long as you allow several hours for complete cooling.

Personally, I like to get them out of the muffin tins and wrapped as soon as possible. I let them cool for approximately 30 minutes on the counter then I put them in the freezer. After about 15 minutes in the freezer, I can turn the pan upside down and drop it onto my table and the lotion bars pop out. It sometimes takes a few drops before all of them come out so don't worry if the first drop doesn't work. Getting the bars out is also why I do not fill the muffin tins to the top. The space helps protect the lotion bars from being marred during my "scientific" extraction process.

If you make a large batch like I did, you might have wax left over after filling your molds. As it cools, it will turn hard as well. Do not fear! You can simply put the bowl back in the microwave in 2 minute segments again and fill your molds again once you have emptied them.

The recipe above that I used made 20 lotion bars. I sell my lotion bars for $4.00 each and they last for months. To apply, pick up and rub on your dry skin as if you were using a bar of soap. If your bar is cold, you will need to hold the bar in your hands for a few seconds to warm the mixture enough to melt the beeswax. If the bar is hot, it is really easy to apply too much!

For happy feet, use a salt scrub (also easy to make) to buff off any dirt or dry skin. Then use the lotion bar to seal in the wonderfulness!

Happy lotion making and let me know how your bars turn out!

1 comment:

  1. Your recipe seems to be missing some ingredients (it shows measures for two items without stating what those items are) Can you please tell me what the missing ingredients are? Thank you.