I’ve been so pleased with the results I’ve gotten from making my own facial care products I thought perhaps the rest of my skin would also benefit from cutting out more chemicals. Going more natural. Knowing 100% for sure what I’m putting on my body. For a very long time now I’ve been plagued with two rather large patches of eczema on my forearms. I don’t know when they first appeared, though I’m pretty sure I did not have them when I lived in Minnesota or North Dakota so I presume it is a result of the drier climate of the Colorado Front Range. Or perhaps my just getting older…
I had recalled reading about blends of essential oils that are purportedly good at calming skin and reducing or even eliminating eczema so I pulled out my aromatherapy book for some guidance and inspiration for concocting my own chemical-free moisturizer. The other inspiration for these lotion bars was one I had purchased at the local farmer’s market a year or two ago. I loved the convenience of the bar lotion, but the bars were too big for me to get through before the oils in them started to go rancid. To be fair, I wasn’t using it as my main moisturizer and not religiously either. But I also thought having a smaller bar that I could perhaps put into a tin and carry with me in my purse or my knitting bag would get used more regularly because it would be readily at hand.
I did some searching for lotion bar recipes on the Internet, of which there are many. Several claimed to be non-greasy. I took notes and combined those with what I’ve learned about various base oils (unscented or low-scent oils and creams) and essential oils to formulate a version I thought would work well for me. I’ve found the combination of Grapeseed and Jojoba oils work really well at balancing out my skin on my face and never leaves it oily so I used that in place of the often called for Sweet Almond oil (plus, I know I’ll be safe to play with my friend’s children who have nut allergies). For a bar form of lotion some oils that are solid at room temperature were required as well as beeswax. Shea butter is fantastically moisturizing, but can be somewhat soft at room temp but cocoa butter is very solid and also a good moisturizer so I used both of those. I also added a bit of vitamin E oil as it has preservative powers and is extremely good for troubled skin and even helps to prevent scarring. To top it off I used a mix of Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Bergamont essential oils with a very light hand. In fact I don’t think anyone would be able to name the oils used from smelling the bars. I think my hands mostly smell slightly of honey and beeswax.
I’m quite pleased with the result. The bars moisturize well and have definitely reduced my eczema patches. I suspect if I was a little more diligent about applying it I could possibly clear them up fully. They are still a tad greasy at first application. You have to melt those solid oils and the beeswax base to get it on so that makes sense. It stays greasy as long as you are rubbing it in and creating heat from the friction of rubbing your hands together. But as soon as I stop the rubbing it soaks right in and I’m good to pick up my knitting, or even use the touch screen on my phone. I can feel the effects of an application for hours. Even DH notices when I’ve used it, saying how soft my hands feel!
My First Lotion Bar
- 2 oz Beeswax, use local if you can
- 1 oz Shea Butter
- 1 oz Cocoa Butter
- 2 T (1 oz) Grapeseed Oil
- 2 T (1 oz) Jojoba Oil
- Contents of 3 Vitamin E Capsules
- 4 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- 2 drops Bergamont Essential Oil
In a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup (I use one dedicated to making beauty products), melt the beeswax, shea butter and cocoa butter. Cook in 30 second bursts and stir just until everything is melted. These products like to set-up when cool, so stir with something that has a small surface area as solids will built up on the stirrer. I use BBQ skewers, you could also use a coffee stirrer or chopstick. Once fully melted add the remaining ingredients - the oils. Pour into molds that have been oiled and let sit until fully set, about 1 hour or so.
For these I used 39 cent fluted tartlet tins from a big box home store and filled 6. They made roughly 1 oz bars. I really like the size. It fits really easily in the hand and if I find a tin to store them in it should travel well too. I put the extras in the freezer to extend their shelf life, wrapping each individually in a bit of plastic wrap then placing them all in a freezer bag. I did run a test on one and left it in for 4 days then thawed it and it seems to perform the same.
As I mentioned previously, the scent is very light. For a batch this size you could certainly double the amounts if you don’t mind a bit of fragrance and it should increase the anti-eczema properties. I’m sure I’ll tweak the recipe as I become more experienced, but I wanted a record of what I’ve done with this batch so I can build upon my past efforts.
Have you ever made your own moisturizers for you or a loved one with troubled skin? What oils did you find worked well?
ETA: I’ve since discovered that not only is it a good idea for me to leave out Sweet Almond Oil, but some people who are allergic to nuts may also be allergic to the shea butter and possibly avocado oil. So if you are making these for people with nut allergies, be certain to do your own research as to what is safe and perhaps try patch tests of the questionable ingredients on the person it is meant for before making the bars.