Homemade Lotion Bars

by Daisy on 11/23/2008

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What is a lotion bar? It is a soap-hard manifestation of moisturizer you can make yourself that doesn’t go bad and doesn’t contain:

. . . and stuff like that.

And lotion bars are child’s play to create. So easy. The only somewhat exotic ingredient is beeswax, and that really isn’t exotic at all. Ask your local beekeeper or find some online or in some craft stores. Vegans can substitute candelilla wax for beeswax.

I have a Cadillac lotion bar recipe, but I will lead with the, um, shall we say Ford Escort of lotion bars.


1 part vegetable shortening
1 part vegetable oil
1 part beeswax

Melt the shortening and beeswax a double boiler or a little pan in a bigger pan of simmering water. Stir in the vegetable oil. Pour into cups/molds and let cool. Pop out of “mold” and it’s ready to use. The beeswax will fragrance the bars with a nice, light honey smell, or you can stir in a little essential oil before you pour it into the molds.

To use: Let the warmth of your hand melt a little of the bar and rub into dry skin–hands, feet, elbows, etc.

Yes, it’s oily at first. It’s REAL. And it does absorb in.

Here’s the Cadillac version:


1 part shea butter
1 part avocado oil
1 part beeswax
1200 IU vitamin E (1 lg. capsule) per every 6-8 oz. other oils
essential oil (optional)

Melt shea butter and beeswax in a double boiler or small pan in larger pan of water on the low heat setting of the stove. Stir in avocado oil and vitamin E and essential oil (optional). Pour into mold(s) and allow to cool. Pop out of mold if desired or leave it in a dish and scrape off a little as needed.

Note: Shea butter can occasionally become grainy. To avoid this, use just enough heat to get your ingredients to melt. Once your ingredients are blended, cool your mixture quickly by pouring into shallow container(s) in a cool room or popping it into the fridge to cool (not the freezer).

P.S.: A little light reading about that stuff in lotions and other bath and body care products:

{ 328 comments… read them below or add one }

Tomato Lady September 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Pam–Here’s an article that may help: http://www.natural-soap-directory.com/sell-soap.html#price

Also, Etsy has a lot of soap sellers and is a good place to see what the market looks like out there for soap. Look for soap with comparable ingredients and sizes and packaging and see what their sales look like to see if they are selling at that price. Best of luck!

Pam September 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

What else can be used in stead of vegtable shortining to go along with the olive oil and bees wax.Also correct me if i’m wrong but if you add more bees wax the harder the body bar will be.And the less you use the bar will be softer. Is this right? I also wanted to let you know i love your site and thanks so much for all the post and answering my questions so fast.Thanks for being their to help me with my new buisness ideas with all your receipes.GOD BLESS

Tomato Lady September 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Pam–You can use any solid-at-room temperature fat, such as shea butter, avocado butter, and the like. Yes, more beeswax means harder bars, less, softer bars. Thank you and you are WELCOME, Pam! Hope you are blessed in your venture. Are you going to have a website?

Pam September 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I hope to have a web site soon but i’m new at this and not to computer savy.I hope to have one real soon.I’am in the process of looking for some round tins for my body bars but no luck as of yet.Is it ok to keep the body bars in the fridge until they are ready yo be pkged and sold?I need to find a site that has tutorials on pkging and labeling also .How would i ship these bars if i have an order come in for them.THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ANSWERS

Tomato Lady September 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Pam–For packaging, you might try http://www.specialtybottle.com, soap supplies businesses, and other similar sellers. The bars should be fine at room temp, but for longer storage the fridge would probably keep the ingredients and essential oils more potent. For a clearinghouse of great craft business ideas and information, go to http://www.oneprettything.com and click on “Crafty Business Resources” in the right hand column. If you go the Etsy route, http://www.everythingetsy.com is a website that has lots of information on etsy-specific selling. Both sites have info on presenting your wares for sale and shipping, too. Keep us posted! You can also feel free to contact us at littlehousemail.gmail.com, if there’s anything else we can do to help.

Pam September 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm


Tomato Lady September 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Pam–Here is a link that may answer some of your questions about labelling requirements: http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/reprint/inhomeskincarebusiness.asp. Also see: http://www.natural-soap-making.com/INCI.html and http://www.lavera.com/education/ingredient-questions/ingredient-labeling-rules
For containers to put bars in, search soaping/skin care bulk suppliers like http://www.essentialwholesale.com, http://www.brambleberry.com, http://www.glorybee.com, http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com, and similar online sellers.
To make your products stand out from the competition, do a lot of experimentation with family and friends and ask for their feedback concerning what they really like about your stuff, and follow their advice.
I’ve never had shortening mold on me, even after years in the cabinet, although it did yellow and develop an off-smell. No mold, though.

Pam September 10, 2011 at 8:28 pm


Tomato Lady September 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Pam–One part is one measure of “something.” One ounce, one pound, one tablespoon, one gallon, one . . . well, you get the idea. Using “parts” tells you the proportions of ingredients in relation to each other. Since skin care products like this are best made using weight, let’s use weight as an example, say if you wanted about a pound of end product, you would use 5 ounces solid fat (like shortening or shea butter), 5 ounces of beeswax, and 5 ounces of liquid fat (like olive oil). You would have a yield of 15 ounces (one ounce short of a pound), perhaps more with a dab of essential oil in there.

Deb September 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Oh, this is so perfect! I can add this to my soap line!

Pam September 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Hi i need some help and ideas and receipes for melt and pour soap for men.Also some receipes and ideas for melt and pour some for removing greese and oil and dirt from your hands .and a hunters soap.Thanks so much

Tomato Lady September 13, 2011 at 6:20 am

Pam–I’m stumped this time–never made melt and pour. Try a search on melt and pour recipes for men and I bet you will turn up some good ones. I imagine you can use the same scrubbing ingredients lye soapers use for scrubbing soaps, like coffee grounds, powdered pumice, crushed nut shells, oatmeal, and I’ve had a good result with poppy seeds-very scrubby.

Sophia September 20, 2011 at 6:33 am

Hi, i found this website by chance and i find its contents really fascinating. Its amazing that questions are answered here for real.
I want to start experimenting on making my own soap and moisturising cream bars and i’m hoping you could help me with tips and recipes. I’m very familiar with essential oils and i have some collections too. I use them mainly for massage purposes.
Pls can you help?
I hope to hear from you asap.

Pamela September 20, 2011 at 7:10 am

Hi! I really liked your article and am going to try making the lotion bars… I am currently shopping on Amazon for my ingredients and have a question about beeswax… Do you use refined or unrefined? I can’t find much info on the 2 except that unrefined has more nutrients but particles and refined lasts longer.. I’ve been telling my 10y old daughter for the last year that we would make our own lotions and soaps, and she is going to be so excited! Thanks for your info and help!!

Tomato Lady September 20, 2011 at 7:19 am

Pamela–Thanks! I use beeswax that is yellow–either from my own hive or from an online supplier. Here is an explanation of the different types. I love the light honey scent of the yellow and don’t find the color to be a minus as far as the appearance of the finished product is concerned. Hope you and your daughter enjoy your new projects!

Tomato Lady September 20, 2011 at 7:23 am

Sophia–The soap recipes on our site are found if you look under our header and scroll over “Crafts” then down to “Lye Soaping.” Next, for our other skin care, go one over to “DIY” and down to “Body Care Products.” We also love Kathy Miller’s Soap site: http://www.millersoap.com. Let me know if you have any more questions! Best of luck!

Deb September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am

Hi! I saw that Pam was looking for soap recipes for men. I don’t know if you use fragrance oils, but wholesalesuppliesplus.com has all kinds of soap scents for men. You can add pumice powder or even corn meal to your soap. I’ve never made melt and pour soap, but I think you just add the ingredients after the soap is melted, then pour into molds as usual. I would add the oil first, mix well, then the abrasive. Someday I’m going to get brave enough to add rope to my man soap. That would be cool!

Deb September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hi, Tomato Lady! I just had to share the good news that I found a local beekeeper who sells beeswax for $3.00 per pound. Using some of my money from the soaps that I have sold (You helped me with the recipe!) I am going to buy some beeswax and start making lotion bars as well. Thank you so much! Once again, awesome site!

Deb September 20, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Well, I got the beeswax tonight. It was VERY unrefined, to say the least. Dead bees, brown spots, wierd smell, very YUCK. I started cleaning it tonight, and to make a very, very long story short, I got a piece clean enough to make a prototype lotion bar. Cleaning will resume at a later date. (We won’t mention the pan mess.) anyway, I am in love! I added a drop of vanilla fragrance oil. MMMMM. The lotion reminds me of Bag Balm. I might get some rose smelly to put in it, and call it Goat Milker’s Hand Salve or something. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Tomato Lady September 21, 2011 at 6:06 am

Deb–Yes, been there. Isn’t it fun, though, when you get that first bit of clean, yellow wax? Such a delight. You remind me, I have pics of beeswax refining that I need to turn into a post. Glad it’s working out so cool for you. Love it!

Deb September 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

Finished the refining process today, and have my first lotion bars done. Orange vanilla! And yes, it was worth the trouble. It felt good to put the chunks of wax in the container, all clean and ready to use!

Leanne September 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Hello! I am new to all this and am hoping to try your lotion bar recipe(s). I, too, was searching for packaging for them when and if I make them to give as gifts or sell. I found a couple of good options, but can’t vouch for the company as I have not ordered from them. But it was just what I envisioned to package them in. Here are the links.



I’ll let you know how they turn out if I make them.

tammy October 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

From August 1st-I am going to try the beeswax, jojoba, coconut oil combination for Christmas gifts. If the bar is too soft can I remelt and add more beeswax?

Colleen October 20, 2011 at 7:56 am

Good morning from Texas. I just wanted to tell you that I am happy I visited here and read through the comments. I am not planning to make these for sale, though I may make some for gifts. I AM SO impressed with the way you go about answering the questions from others. It is very apparent, to me, that you have a kind and generous soul. May God bless you.

Tomato Lady October 20, 2011 at 8:16 am

Colleen–Thank you so much. It may seem like more than it is, but since these questions come in over a period of time, it is very doable to answer them. I really love our readers. They feel like an extension of family. Many blessings to you.

Sarah October 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I am so excited to have found this website! I’ve bought some lotion bars before and love them, but how much more fun to make my own!!!! Can I use coconut oil for them? It is my favorite oil!

Tomato Lady October 21, 2011 at 6:28 am

Sarah–Glad you found us, too! I would say, about the coconut oil, yes, you can use it. I haven’t made any using coconut oil myself yet, but I think they would be just fine. The only thing that I would think about is that, since coconut oil has a lower melting temperature than the shortening or shea butter used in these recipes, that it might get a little softer at temperatures above 70 degrees or so, but otherwise would be a lovely oil to use. (I’m assuming you mean for it to substitute for the solid-at-room-temperature oils. If you mean to substitute it for the liquid oils, I would say then ignore this advice). If I’m being clear as mud, let me know.

Julie Walls October 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm


My first batch of your Luxury Lotion Bars (above recipe) is now chilling in the refrigerator. :-)

A few questions arose as I was in the process of making them, so I hope you’ll advise me for the future.

I added a bit of Lemon Verbena essential oil, and wonder if it would have hurt to add a little green coloring.

For scented bars, is it necessary to use essential oils, or might the fragrance oils used in soap work just as well?

When you say, “1200 IU vitamin E (1 lg. capsule) per every 6-8 oz. other oils”, is that for each oil, or the sum of all oils? I assumed that meant per each oil. My measurements were 4 oz. of each ingredient for a total of 12 ounces, therefore I used 2400 IU (or somewhere in that vicinity) of the Vitamin E . I found it difficult to extract the Vitamin E oil from the capsules. Most of it stuck to my fingers, so I may have added too much or too little.

Lastly, how in the world do you clean up this mess? LOL…I mean, my double boiler, spoon, measuring cups, etc. are all covered with the hardened waxes & butters. Won’t that be harmful to put down the drain? I’m thinking maybe I should scrape most of it off before washing everything.

Sorry for the lengthy questions. I certainly appreciate your time and knowledge.

Tomato Lady October 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Julie Walls–A little green coloring would be fine. Too much, of course, and you could end up with green hands. (Halloween IS around the corner, BUT. . . )
I use essential oils because I’m all green and crunchy, but if you have nothing against fragrance oils, the recipe would work with them just the same.
I should have specified I meant for the sum of all oils, but I don’t think you will have a problem with the extra E. If the bars are a little tacky, though, that might be the reason, but again, I doubt it will be a problem.
Ah, the mess. The worst offender for me is beeswax, with hardens the most. I try to use a tin can to melt my beeswax in, and then just dedicate that can as my beeswax can to save for next time. Definitely scrape and then wipe out your containers, etc., before washing in the sink or dishwasher. Not good for drains. If you wipe your containers on an old cleaning rag, you can use it to polish your furniture later! Good luck! Let me know if you have any more questions.

Laura October 27, 2011 at 6:20 am

Hey, great idea. I’m vegan though so can’t use beeswax. What can I use instead?

Tomato Lady October 27, 2011 at 7:45 am

Laura–You can use something called candelilla wax.

Rhonda October 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

I am new to all of this, so when you said vegetable shortening and vegetable oil – what is the best to use? I know different oils have different smells and textues (like being to heavy). Also, when melting this do I need to use an old pot or are you able to clean up a good pot? Any info would help, I’m newbie ; )

Tomato Lady October 28, 2011 at 7:25 am

Rhonda–Hi and welcome! This is meant to be easy and no-fuss–you can use whatever you have on hand or you can get at the supermarket. For shortening, Crisco or a store brand is fine. A vegetable oil blend, canola or (my favorite) olive oil, light or ev, either one. The beeswax is the only thing that is really tough to get out of a container. Once it is blended with the oils it is much easier to clean out of things. For melting beeswax by itself, try using an old tin can set in a water bath. Once you use it you can recycle it or save it for the next time you melt beeswax. Wipe out the pan you use to melt everything together after you’ve finished using an old cleaning rag or paper towels. You can rub the excess on wood furniture or your skin, of course. Once the pan is all wiped out you can wash it with hot water and use it as before. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Julie Walls October 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

Thank you for the informative response to all my questions.

I saved all of the residual wax that was left stuck to the utensils and plan to break it up and put in small silicone molds in the microwave. Hoping this will work…I’ll let you know.

Pat B November 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Hi just found your site! (Thanks to Tip Junkie! ) I am allergic to bees so I can not use Bees wax. Can you tell me if you sell these lotion bars with the other Candelilla wax? in them. I have a lot of things going on and can not do another crafty project BUT my hands are so dry and hurting! Can you help me out? Thanks, Pat

Tomato Lady November 13, 2011 at 6:50 am

Pat B–I don’t make them to sell, but these folks do!: http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&q=vegan+lotion+bars&order=most_relevant&ship_to=US&view_type=list
Just check out the individual ingredients lists and hopefully find the one for you. Good luck and thanks for hanging out at our site!

brooke November 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I am trying to make solid lotion bars for the first time. I am having difficulty with the smell. I am using 1 part yellow beeswax, 1 part unscented cocoa butter, and 1 part oil. I am up to 180 drops of 2 different scents but to me they still just smell only like beeswax. Do I simply need to add more fragrance???

Tomato Lady November 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

brooke–How much oil, etc. is in one part? How much you use will depend on what you are using to scent the bars and the total volume of wax/oil/butter. I use essential oils and usually about 1-2 tsp. does the trick for around 12 oz of lotion bars. If you are using fragrance oil, I don’t have any experience with them, but I imagine the ratios would be similar. Follow your nose.

Bec Clarke November 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Oh my goodness I never realised they were so easy. I make soap and this sounds so much easier.
I have all the ingredients and then some. I am going to try some this week.
I assume that Coconut Oil can be used as my shortening as it is solid at room temp??

Tomato Lady November 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Bec Clarke–Yes! lots easier than soap! If you live in a cool climate it will probably be fine. Just remember that coconut oil starts to liquify at around 72 degrees so it may be a little softer than the shortening. You can use a solid fat like shea butter which has a much higher melt temp if you want to sub for the shortening in warmer weather.

Emma November 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm


I have a question about the vegetable shortening. What would you recommend? The most obvious one is Crisco, but I don’t like using it because of the trans fats and hydrogenation going on in it. Do you think lard would work? Is that too gross?


Tomato Lady November 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Emma–Not tried lard, but I say go for it. I’m a big fan of experimentation with this stuff. Never know until you try!

Ellie November 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Hi there! I use Lush lotion bars and have found that they are way too oily for my skin. Is this recipe oily as well? if so, should I just add more beeswax (say, 1.5/1/1 ratio of ingredients) to make it less oily?

Thanks so much!

Tomato Lady November 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Ellie–Hi! I’ve never tried Lush so I can’t compare, but here’s my take on the feel of the bars in this recipe: They are oilier (and remain so for longer than) your typical liquid lotion (Vaseline Intensive Care, Curel, etc.). They just have a different feel. I tend to apply it when I have a few minutes to lounge around–I can’t put it on my feet and then walk around the house immediately, for example. The oily feel does go away after a few minutes, though. If you alter the proportions it will be a harder bar, take a bit more elbow grease to get it on your skin, and probably be less oily–although I’ve never experimented with that myself. Some people add in a little something powdery to cut the oily feel, like cornstarch. Some people try using soy wax in place of beeswax (and up the proportion of wax as you suggested) for less oil without sacrificing ease of use (soy wax has a lower melting temp than beeswax). Hope this helps, and enjoy!

Tina Almario November 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Girl you blow me away with your knowledge! I agree you are a true blessing to those of us who are less “skilled” in these matters. I will attempt to make my lotion bars this weekend for Christmas gifts, all our gifts we give will be homemade this year. Recycled shirts into scarves, old water vase gems turned into fridge magnets using scrap book paper, homemade vanilla extract….I’m so excited!!!!!

sharon December 7, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hi, this has been an experience reading all the comments. I love it! I stumbled on you site when I was looking for a solid lotion. I used your ratio :1part solid-shea, 1 part liquid-coconut &, avocado oils with jojoba, 1 part beeswax. A few drops of immortelle & lavendar essentio oils, together, all of these heal and contain natural perservatives. If in a hurry, buy molds and small tins at Michaels Craft Store, the Party Barn or any place that sells tins for wedding or shower favors! Buy address labels and list all your ingredients! Ladies read up on the ingredients and add whatever oil suits you needs! I am making mine to sell at a Christmas Fair. Good luck and have fun! Mery Christmas

Tomato Lady December 7, 2011 at 9:10 am

Sharon–Thank you, and thanks for the advice! Like your recipe. Hope the fair is a success.

Ginny December 8, 2011 at 8:13 am

To Brooke et al:
I deal with Essential Oils quite a lot (they have a VAST amount of health benefits). One thing that I can point out that may be part of the source of frustration is that Essential Oils in the US are only required to be 5% of the actual oil on the label to be sold as an “essential oil.” What this translates to is that there can be a HUGE variance of smell, texture, and actual content to what is purchased from a store as an “essential oil.” I ONLY deal with therapeutic grade essential oils, and for good reason. I use mine for the incredible list of health benefits (everyone knows lavender is nice, but it can help heal cuts and scrapes as well as reduce a hayfever reaction, marjoram can reduce muscle pain, lemongrass is good for ligament issues, geranium is good for nerve problems, cypress helps with circulation and inflammation, peppermint relieves headaches, oregano can reduce the length of a cold, frankincense is has powerful cancer fighting properties, clove can remove warts, the list goes on and on) but in order to get the benefits, you’ve got to have quality oils. So if you’re simply purchasing from a health food store, the quality may be suffering, which is likely why the smell isn’t as intense. It doesn’t take many drops of the oils I use to scent things, and long after the scents seem to have faded, I find that they are still working away for whatever benefit they have.

Now I’m going to have to find a source for beeswax, avocado oil and sheabutter… I have a blend of oils that helps with arthritis pain that I made for my mom. Boy would she love it if it came in a lotion bar!!

Alicia December 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

For the “Everymans Lotion Bar” Recipe, how much of each ingredient would I need to use in order to make 4 or 5 bars? Thanks!

Tomato Lady December 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Alicia-An easy way to make four almost half-cup bars is to use 1/2 cup (4 oz.) each of oil, shortening, and beeswax. You could easily get five slightly smaller bars from this size batch as well. Good luck!

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