Saturday, June 16, 2012

Homemade Lotion Bars

After completing our first honey harvest this year, Justin and I had a few pounds of beeswax. Let me just say that I know now why that stuff is so expensive. We cleaned it up by boiling it with water like the instructions here. It was a long process over the course of a week and a half.
Beeswax is a quite diverse material and you can make a multitude of products with it. All said, I decided I wanted to use a small portion of it to make solid lotion bars. I purchased one from a craft show several years ago and it was wonderful. I found a simple recipe online that goes like this:
1 part beeswax (I used 2 ounces)
1 part shea butter* (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons)
1 part coconut oil** (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons)
*Shea butter came from the Daytona flea market. It was $9.99 for a pound. **Coconut oil was from my local Piggly Wiggly in the cooking oil section. This container was $6.
Since this was a small batch, I used a mason jar instead of a pot for easier handling and pouring. I wouldn’t recommend you use a pot you ever intend to cook with because beeswax is nearly impossible to remove once it’s on a pot.
I also laid out my mold, scented oils, and pre-measured materials for easy mixing. Don’t forget to label which fragrances you’re using so you don’t get them mixed up later!
Melt the beeswax in a double boiler on low to medium heat. This takes a while. I would guess about ten minutes for even this small batch.
Once the beeswax is melted, add the coconut oil and mix until melted together.
After that, add the shea butter. I read online to always add the shea butter last because it can get grainy from the heat.
I used my handy dandy OveGlove for easy grip and help with pouring. My canning jar lifter made getting the jar out of the boiling water much safer.
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I then poured the mixture into a candy mold. I would ideally have a cute honeycomb or bee themed mold but I grabbed this from Michaels because I didn’t want to have to wait for shipping.
I used bergamot essential oil for two of the molds and special fragrance oil from the soap making section of Michaels for the other two. They closely resemble my favorite Bath & Body Works scents: Plumeria and Pearberry. The final two are unscented. Let me warn you here. Justin and I did not like the smell of the shea butter. It was hard to mask with the oils so next time we might use cocoa butter. I have read online that cocoa butter is more pleasing to some people.
After about an hour, the wax should have cooled and they’re ready to pop out.
I bagged mine up in simple brown paper bags and marked the scents for my family and friends. I have had some lotion bars that seem to be harder and less likely to melt at room temp. I think we can add just a bit more beeswax to counteract the low melting point. You definitely don’t want to make these and leave them in your car on a hot South Georgia day! My next step is to find some small tins and smaller molds to make them a little safer in case anyone accidentally leaves them in the heat.

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