(And since March is a very busy birthday month for our family, we also wanted to be sure to say Happy Birthday (belated and upcoming...) to Scott (Schulte and Tomek!), Kalley, Danny, Stephie, and Nancy as well! Whew...hope we didn't miss anyone...)
It has been a lovely weekend. My little sister Jenny stopped by for a quick visit on her way through town with her friend Shea before leaving this morning for a road-trip down to the Redwoods and back up along the Oregon coast. Jenny is a senior at Whitman college this year and really starting to be quite the independent young woman. You never really appreciate your siblings as much as you should when you were younger, but now that we are both growing up, I am so glad to have my sister. She is considering moving to Portland for awhile after she graduates, which would be really great. It has been almost 8 years since we lived in the same state... and we get along much better now than we did back then...
So in honor of Jenny's birthday, I made some solid lotion bars that she had asked for awhile ago. Lotion bars are a great gift and are awesome for several reasons. Since you control what ingredients go into the bars, they don't contain all those nasty chemicals in most skin care products that you might want to avoid (read about it here in my post about homemade face wash). You also can customize the scent and ingredients however you like.
I prefer the solid lotion bars to the homemade liquid version because they are less perishable. Whenever you mix water into oil (as you do for most homemade lotions) bacteria will eventually begin to grow in it. With solid lotion bars, you don't have to worry about that. They also are less messy to make, store, and even to use. To use the lotion bars, you just warm them in your hands for a few seconds and then rub them over your skin. A thin layer of the lotion is left on your skin and you never have to worry about squeezing out too much lotion again!
Finally, they are incredibly easy to make. There are many recipes out there (such as this one from Common Sense Homesteading), and many more potential variations that you could experiment with. Here is the version I made for Jenny this weekend, but once you get started be sure to have fun playing with all the different options!
Coconut Oil, Lavender, Lemon Hard Lotion Bars
1/2 cup shea butter (could easily be replaced by cocoa butter)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs Beeswax (pastilles or grated)
20 drops essential oils (15 lavender & 5 lemon in this case)
1. Place a mason jar in a pan of hot water on stove-top (Note: you may want to place a cloth on the bottom of the pan or remove the jar when the stove is actually on to prevent the jar from breaking). You could also use a double boiler, however beeswax is difficult to ever completely clean off, so unless you are willing to dedicate a pan to all your future beeswax related projects, I find dedicating a mason jar is often easier.
2. Add the coconut oil and beeswax to the jar and stir until it is melted. Then add the shea butter, stir until just melted and then remove from the heat (shea butter should only be heated gently).
3. Add in the essential oils and then quickly pour the liquid into molds. I used an old cupcake tray, but it might be easier (and make prettier bars as well) if you use silicone molds such as these Daisy Flower Silicone Molds.
4. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing from the trays. Placing them in the freezer for a few minutes will make it easier to remove them from the mold.
Have fun experimenting and Happy Birthday Jenny!
(This post was also shared on the Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Mondays, The Backyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays with a Twist, the Down Home Hop, Home Acre Hop, From the Farm, Old Fashioned Fridays, and the Maple Hill Hop.)
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