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Making a non-greasy lotion bar WITHOUT beeswax is much easier than you think.
It is so much more affordable, and you will know exactly what you will be putting on your skin.
In this article, I will share with you an incredibly simple DIY Non-Greasy Lotion Bar Recipe that smells like vanilla and works like a charm on moisturizing the skin.
Here’s a quick preview of the contents of this article:
- What is a lotion bar?
- How to make non-greasy lotion bars (WITHOUT beeswax!)
- Ingredients for the Non-Greasy Lotion Bar
- Non-Greasy Lotion Bar Recipe
- How to use the Non-Greasy Lotion Bar?
Let’s jump right in!
What is a lotion bar?
A lotion bar is a solid, concentrated moisturizing bar. It melts once it is in contact with the skin. Usually, “lotions” contain butter, oil, and water/liquids.
However, we will skip the liquid ingredients in this recipe to make the bar long-lasting. Because of that, the lotion bars do not require any preservatives and are shelf-stable for over a year.
How to make non-greasy lotion bars (WITHOUT beeswax!):
Some lotion or body butter bars contain beeswax to stay solid. Unfortunately, where I live, I can’t easily find wax. Another thing is that it leaves a bit of a waxy, odd feeling, which isn’t my favorite.
Furthermore, beeswax isn’t vegan-friendly, so one more reason (for me) to avoid it. Using solid butter, like cocoa and shea, we can still create quite a firm and hard lotion bar.
The essential part is to use at least 80% butter to 20% oil ratio to ensure that the lotion bar will stay solid.
DIY Lotion bar benefits:
- It is highly moisturizing and soothing for the skin.
- It is made with 100% natural ingredients.
- It is super simple to make – melt, pour in a mold, freeze – that’s it!
- It is perfect for carrying on trips, as it is easily portable.
- It is incredibly affordable, and a little goes A LONG way.
- Both the texture and the scents are fully customizable!
- It is a fantastic gift idea.
Ingredients for the Non-Greasy Lotion Bar
- Cocoa butter: Provides deep hydration and is absorbed by the skin relatively quickly. It improves skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles. (1)
- Shea butter: Moisturizing, softening, anti-inflammatory (1), and suitable for all skin types. You can use refined or non-refined shea butter. A good substitute ingredient is mango butter, but the lotion bar will be harder since it is more firm than shea.
- Safflower oil: Anti-inflammatory (1) and helps stabilize the skin barrier’s health while keeping irritation away. Safflower oil is a fast-absorbing oil, making it great for this non-greasy lotion bar recipe. It is suitable for sensitive skin. An alternative you could use is grapeseed oil (but it may change the consistency of the final product).
- Tapioca starch: It will help thicken the homemade lotion bar while making it less greasy since tapioca is a great oil-absorbing agent. You can use arrowroot, too.
- Essential oil: You can use any essential oil you have on hand. I used vanilla fragrance oil. I recommend avoiding citrus oils since they are photosensitive. Also, ensure you get 100% pure, certified organic (if possible) therapeutic-grade essential oils.
- Additionals: You can customize this lotion bar recipe by adding rose or calendula petals, cinnamon sticks, etc.
Before any DIY product, it is a good idea to perform a patch test to ensure your skin won’t react negatively to an ingredient. To do a patch test:
- Apply a little bit of the product/ingredient you want to use on your inner forearm. Wait for 24 hours. You can also cover the area with a bandage.
- After 24 hours, check the skin. You are good to go if there’s no sign of hives, redness, or irritation.
Non-Greasy Lotion Bar Recipe (Vegan & Without Beeswax)
4 tbsp organic cocoa butter (52g)
2 tbsp pure refined organic shea butter (27g)
1 and a half tsp safflower oil (19g)
1 tbsp tapioca starch (7g) or 1 ½ tbsp (~10g) for an even less greasy feeling
35 drops of vanilla fragrance oil
1. Melt the cocoa butter and shea butter on low heat.
2. Then, add the safflower oil and the tapioca starch, and mix well.
3. Once the mixture cools down, add your preferred essential oil. (to cool it down faster, you can transfer it to another container or add it to the fridge for 5 – 10 min)
4. Next, pour the mixture into a silicone mold; if you don’t have it, you can use metal tins.*
5. Put in the freezer for an hour and a half (or a bit longer if you put it in the fridge), and then remove the silicone mold/tins.
- * Make sure to line the metal tins with paper, so you can easily remove the lotion bars once they get solid. I didn’t add paper the first time, and it was hard to take them out (+ I ruined the pretty shape of the bar).
- If you live in a very hot climate, it’s best to store it in a tin, in the fridge.
- The mixture should cool down when you add the essential oil. The smell will evaporate if you add it while the mixture is still hot.
- This recipe makes 2 medium bars or 3 smaller ones. Double the ingredients to get 4-6 lotion bars.
Where to get the materials for the lotion bars, plastic-free:
- Silicone whisk or a metal whisk
- Silicone molds – I used this one (the one with the hole) and this one (the ”spiral” one). I couldn’t find the diamond mold, but here’s a similar one (heart shape). You can use any other molds you have. It will work well with reusable silicone cups or metal tins (lined with paper).
- Metal tins – For storage and gifting! You can use any other container you have on hand.
- Cocoa butter – From Real Plastic Free (UK) Etsy (US & International), Zero Waste Bulk (US), Byo Long Beach (US), The Green Jar (Canada), or Replenish Refill (Australia).
- Tapioca starch – Amazon (box packaging, but it might be with plastic inside) or from Zero Waste Bulk. Check locally for plastic-free options (in paper/bulk).
- Shea butter
- Safflower oil
- Vanilla fragrance oil
How to use the Non-Greasy Lotion Bar?
The lotion bar will melt upon contact with your skin. Rub between your hands and apply, or rub the lotion bar directly on any area of your body (arms, legs, elbows, knees, etc.).
- 4 tbsp organic cocoa butter (52g)
- 2 tbsp pure refined organic shea butter (27g)
- 1 and a half tsp safflower oil (19g)
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch (7g) or 1 ½ tbsp (~10g) for an even less greasy feeling
- 35 drops of vanilla fragrance oil
- Melt the cocoa butter and shea butter on low heat.
- Then, add the safflower oil and the tapioca starch, and mix well.
- Once the mixture cools down, add your preferred essential oil. (to cool it down faster, you can transfer it to another container or add it to the fridge for 5 min)
- Next, pour the mixture into a silicone mold, or if you don’t have it, you can use metal tins.**
- Put in the freezer for an hour and a half (or a bit longer, if you put it in the fridge), and then take out of the silicone mold/tins.
- * I made the lotion bars two times - once with 1 tbsp tapioca, and another time with 1 and a half tbsp tapioca. The end result was very similar, and I liked how it turned out both times. With 1 and a half tbsp tapioca, is a tiny bit less greasy, but the difference isn't that huge.
- ** Make sure to line the tins with paper, so you can easily take the lotion bars, once they get solid. I didn’t add paper the first time, and it was hard to take them out (+ I ruined the pretty shape of the bar).
- If you live in a very hot climate, it’s best to store it in a tin, in the fridge.
- The mixture should cool down when you add the essential oil. If you add it while the mixture is still hot, the smell will evaporate.
- This recipe makes 2 medium bars or 3 smaller. Double the ingredients to get 4-6 lotion bars.
How long do lotion bars last?
The lotion bar can last up to 1 year since all the ingredients have long-shelf-life. You can check the expiration date of each ingredient, just in case, but it should last not less than 1 year. Just make sure you keep it away from water and other contaminants.
How to make lotion bars harder?
Make sure that you use more of the firm butter and less of the oil – the 80:20 ratio should be fine. If your bars come out too hard, remelt and add 1-2 tbsp more oil.
How long does it take for lotion bars to harden?
- In the fridge: Approximately 3-4 hours.
- In the freezer: About 1,5 hours.
- On the counter: Overnight.
Can you remelt lotion bars?
Yes. If you want to change the lotion bar, you can remelt it. Since most essential oils are heat-sensitive, the key is not to overheat when remelting on a double boiler.
If you feel the lotion bar has lost its scent during the remelting process, add a few extra drops of essential oil.
How do I make my lotion bars less greasy?
To make sure the lotion bar is less greasy, you can:
- Avoid butter and oils that the skin doesn’t absorb fast. Instead, use specific ones that are fast-absorbing by the skin.
- Use tapioca starch, an oil-absorbing agent that will make the lotion bar less greasy.
Why are my lotion bars (still) feel a little greasy?
Lotion bars can leave a bit of a greasy film on your skin because they are made of butter & oil.
Even though we will use ingredients that the skin absorbs faster, there might still be an oily sensation, at least at the beginning. If you want to make it even less greasy, add an additional half a tbsp of tapioca starch.
Can you add cornstarch to lotion bars?
Yes – if you don’t have tapioca starch, you can use cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
How do you keep lotion bars from melting?
The bars will start melting if you hold them too long, and they melt quickly once in contact with your skin.
Try to use them a bit faster, and avoid keeping them in your hands for too long.
Additionally, if you live in a very hot climate, you should keep the lotion bar:
- In the fridge, in a metal tin, or in a sealed jar.
- Wrapped in a wax wrap/small container in a cool cabinet.
Lastly, if your lotion bar ends up being too soft, you can remelt and add more of the cocoa butter since it is the main ingredient that keeps everything together.
What makes lotion bars sticky?
If your lotion bar is too sticky/tacky, you probably have too much shea butter. Remelt it and add more oil (if it’s already hard) or cocoa butter (if it’s on the softer side).
Why does my lotion feel grainy?
It may be because of the shea or cocoa butter. Sometimes they become grainy. Often, it can happen due to the temperature and how fast (or slow) they cool down after being melted.
If the lotion bar feels grainy, remelt over low heat, and cool down quickly. To cool down the mixture fast, place the mixture in the fridge/freezer or in an ice bath (a bowl filled with ice).
Also, melt the butter over low heat for at least 10 minutes. (add the shea butter in the end).
All in all –
- Making a DIY non-greasy lotion bar is simple & affordable, and easy to keep your skin smooth & moisturized.
- It doesn’t require beeswax; you will need 5 main ingredients (shea butter, cocoa butter, oil, and tapioca starch).
- Using the lotion bar is easy; it will melt in contact with your skin.
- It isn’t greasy because of the tapioca starch, which absorbs quickly into the skin.
- It is the perfect gift for friends and family.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or have made any variations of the DIY recipe. 🙂
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