Monday, 3 December 2012

On the 3th day of DIY... Lotion Bars

Winter can definitely take a toll on our skin. We all experience dryness, cracking, chapped and red skin during the colder months. Sometimes, regular water-based lotions are not enough. A great alternative is a solid lotion bar. These little bars of goodness are just brimming with nutrients that are ready to go to work protecting and soothing your winter skin. The best part is they are 100% natural and because they don't contain water, they do not need a preservative.

You can make lotion bars using a host of herbal infused oils for added skincare benefit. A few of my favourites include Oatstraw, Calendula, Chickweed or Plantain Leaf. These are all great choices for soothing dry, irritated skin. Of course, you can customize your herbal infusion to use any herbs you wish, but do your research before selecting your plants. I also prefer to use organic or wild-crafted herbs whenever possible. I purchase mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have an amazing selection of organic and wild-crafted bulk herbs and other ingredients you'd need for this recipe.

This recipe is a great starter recipe for beginner crafters, but feel free to experiment and make it your own.

Most of my supplies come from Canadian companies like New Directions Aromatics, Voyageur Soap and  Candle Company and Saffire Blue, since I am in Canada. Check your area for local suppliers or go to any health food store.
What you'll need:
1 mold of choice (I try to use smaller molds, their small size fits in your hand nicely)
Beeswax pastilles ( or candelilla wax for vegans)
Cocoa butter
Shea or mango butter
Essential oils or fragrance oil
Vitamin e

You can also play with different liquid oils, but that will require some adjustments to your proportions. For now, let's just keep it simple.

For this recipe, I have decided to use an essential oil blend that I found in one of my aromatherapy journals Vita Danzare. I out a little twist on it by adding another oil, but thought it would be a great blend to brighten the spirits on gloomy winter days. Our recipe is as follows:
  • 2 oz cocoa butter
  • 2 oz organic fair trade shea butter
  • 2 oz organic beeswax pastilles
  • 2 vitamin e capsules
  • 18 drops lavender EO
  • 6 drops litsea cubeba EO
  • 6 drops lemongrass EO
  • 6 drops ylang ylang EO
You can use more or less fragrance as you desire, but keep in mind, some people do not want a lot of fragrance. I find that about 1-2% is a good amount.

Step one
Pre-measure all ingredients in separate sterilized bowl.

Top left- Shea butter, top right- cocoa butter, bottom middle- beeswax

Step two
Melt all of your butters and wax together. You want to do this over medium-low heat. I like to hold mine at 70 degrees for 20 minutes to prevent crystallization or graininess in the finished product. Stir your mixture very well to be sure everything has melted evenly.

Step three
Remove your mixture from the heat and put in your vitamin e and fragrance oils. Stir gently but thoroughly to incorporate.

Step four
Now we are ready to pour our mixture. You can use pretty much anything as a mold. Dixie cups work great, soap molds in pretty much any shape you can imagine, even muffin tins like the mini one shown here!

Be sure to pour your oils slowly so you don't get splashes or spills.
This is what your poured product will look like.

 I stick mine in the fridge so they set up faster (about 20 minutes). Once they are hard, you can go ahead and unmold! Drumroll please....
Okay, ya caught me! These are ones I made with a different mold. But they still came out about the same. The point is, you will end up with a hard bar that melts in your hand at body temperature. These luxurious gems make great gifts and you can package them in little jars or metal tins. You can wrap them in nice white parchment paper with a sticker or ribbon. Whatever you fancy!
 Voila! Instant gifts everyone will love!

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