Homemade lotion bars are popular because they are convenient, full of healthy skin ingredients, and make wonderful gifts. If you have tried a lotion bar before and didn’t care for it, please give this winter lotion bar a chance. I have spent time testing different lotion bar recipes and this is the clear winner for moisturizing dry skin in the winter.
Vanilla Bean Winter Lotion Bar
A lotion bar for the winter is very different from a lotion bar for the summer.
I’ve tried a lot of recipes for lotion bars and have to wonder if the recipe creators are actually using them. Many look beautiful but they are waxy and difficult to apply. With colder temperatures in the winter, a lotion bar with beeswax will feel more like rubbing a candle on your skin than lotion.
Note: in the summer, I do add beeswax to firm up the bar and hold moisture in once applied. I will share the recipe I use for that bar in the summer.
I have very dry skin, and in the winter it is even worse. Forced air heating and hot showers strip the moisture and make my skin dry and itchy all over. Besides drinking a ton of water to hydrate from inside, I have found that a cocoa butter and coconut oil lotion bar combination works best for me. They are both a solid at room temperature (in the winter) and melt at body temperature. If your home isn’t too warm, you can easily keep a bunch of these lotion bars in a container, and they won’t melt until they are rubbed onto your skin.
Make these lotion bars in candy or ice cube trays so they are just the right size for a few applications. An ice cube sized lotion bar will last two showers if I apply it to my whole body. These bars absorb quickly and leave my skin silky. They don’t leave me feeling greasy at all.
Ingredients and Materials
Makes 12 mini lotion bars
- 55 g cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 10 drops vanilla essential oil
- Small Turkish coffee pot
- Ice cube mold
Melt the oils over medium-low heat in a Turkish coffee pot (or a small pot with a pour spout). I use this pot for all of my natural skincare recipes because it is tall, has a long handle, and a spout.
Stir constantly and keep a watchful eye on the oils. You want them to just reach the melting point and not overheat.
When the oils have melted and combined, add the vanilla essential oil and stir well. Vanilla essential oil is dark and gives the lotion bars the vanilla bean appearance of small brown specks without adding vanilla beans.
Vanilla sold as an essential oil is quite different from vanilla extract. Vanilla essential oil has an oil base, whereas vanilla extract is in alcohol. It won’t have the same results if you swap them out. Vanilla essential oil is not truly an essential oil because it is not extracted through distillation. It can sometimes be called vanilla absolute or oleoresin as the resins of the vanilla bean are extracted through a chemical process. You can swap the vanilla essential oil for another essential oil if you choose. Lavender and sweet orange are nice for this bar.
Immediately pour the melted oils into an ice cube tray. Place the tray in the refrigerator to cool for two hours. Store the finished winter lotion bars in the fridge if your house is quite warm, although they should do just fine at normal indoor temperatures.
Melt the lotion bar by rubbing it in the palms of your hands. The oil/butter will melt, and you can then apply it to the rest of your skin.
For many, many more natural skincare recipes and gift ideas, check out the Natural Skincare Series!
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