Are you looking for a quick and easy gift idea? How about making some hard lotion bars?
I hesitated about writing this post before the holidays, since some family members and friends will find these in their Christmas stockings [hey, act surprised, ok?] but they are so easy that I had to share in case you need a last-minute gift idea.
Hard lotion bars are a solid form of lotion that you apply to your dry skin. The ingredients are high-quality and work hard to combat dry winter skin. Just hold a lotion bar in your hands; the warmth of your skin will soften the hard bar after a few minutes and you'll be able to rub in the lotion. Dry elbows and chapped hands will soon be soft and beautiful again.
Plus they contain just three ingredients. You might even have them all on hand already.
Yes, just three ingredients: coconut oil*, cocoa butter*, and beeswax* (affiliate links). You can use shea butter instead of cocoa butter if you wish, and the coconut oil can be changed to sweet almond or olive oil. You can even use herb-infused oil if you wish. The third ingredient is beeswax. I used beeswax pellets, but you can use unrefined beeswax or any other form you prefer.
You'll also need some kind of mold. If you're a soapmaker you might have some single-size soap molds* on hand. I used some silicon muffin cups that worked great.
All the recipes I found online for hard lotion bars called for equal amounts of the three ingredients, so I started with one ounce of each as a test batch. I measured each by weight. These three ounces gave me three one-ounce bars, filling each muffin cup about half full. It would probably fill one soap-bar-sized mold. (See this previous post if you want to learn more about measuring by parts.)
I was very happy with this test batch and made a larger batch later on.
Melt the beeswax first, using a double boiler. I use the "crafter's version," a clean empty can set in a pan with about an inch of simmering water. I gently pinched the side of the can to make a sort of pouring spout.
Once the wax is melted, add the cocoa butter and coconut oil. It won't take long for them to melt, so don't turn your back on it.
When everything is liquid remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few seconds before pouring into your molds. If you plan to include essential oils, add to the mixture before pouring. I didn't want an overwhelmingly strong scent so I used a drop or two of peppermint essential oil to compliment the slight chocolate scent from the cocoa butter. I think that lavender or sweet orange would also be nice.
That's it, you're done! Set your molds aside and let the lotion bars harden; you can set them in the refrigerator if you're in a hurry, but they will harden quickly even on the counter. Pop them out of the molds and you're finished.
Keep your lotion bars at room temperature. If your house is hot in summer you could put them in the refrigerator, but the cold will harden the bars and they will be harder to use. I keep mine in an Altoids tin in my purse to keep it clean.
Isn't that easy?
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My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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