I originally made these lotion bars for my husband. His primary job is as a rock mason and the mortar and rough stone often leaves his hands dry, cracked, and bleeding. At night, I put salve on them, and while that helped a lot, it just wasn’t enough.
Lotion bars have a long history of helping the toughest cases of cracked, dry skin, while dandelion oil is particularly useful for alleviating the chapped skin and soreness that comes along with manual labor. This combination has been excellent for his skin. He rubs the bar over his hands several times while watching TV each evening. There’s no messy salve to deal with and he can use it on the spots that are most bothering him.
To make these you’ll need to first make a dandelion flower infused oil. Right now, my back yard is filled with dandelions, so I’ve been making up large batches of oil to use for projects throughout the rest of the year.
With proper storage, the oil should be good for around 9 months to a year. You can add the liquid contents of a vitamin E capsule as an antioxidant if you’d like to extend the shelf life further.
Gather flowers from places that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals or used as a bathroom site for your pets. Dandelions often have bugs or ants on them, so let the container sit outside for a few hours before bringing in.
They’re a pretty important food source for several little critters this time of year, so don’t pick any one area clean; for every 1 dandelion you pick, leave 2 or 3 behind. (For those who are worried about hurting honeybees by picking dandelions – contrary to popular belief, there are better food sources for them; THIS ARTICLE has more information on that.)
Since dandelions have a high water content, let the flowers completely dry for a few days before infusing in oil to avoid potential mold and bacterial contamination.
Spread your dandelions out on a clean dishtowel or paper towels in a single layer to air dry. (You can let them dry for a week or two and while some might turn to fluff, they’ll still be fine to use.)
When you’re ready to infuse your oil, fill a jar about halfway with dandelions, then fill the rest of the way up with oil. I like using sunflower oil since it’s especially helpful for damaged skin. You can also use olive, sweet almond, avocado, hemp, and other such light oils. The size of the jar will depend on how many dandelions you have. If you have a few, use a small jar. If you have a lot, use a large jar. Don’t get hung up on precise numbers here – just go with your instincts.
For a faster infusion: Set the oil and dandelion filled jar down into a pan of gently warmed water. Let the jar stay in the heated water, with the burner set to low, for a few hours then remove, cool, and strain. Keep a close eye on things to make sure the oil doesn’t overheat.
For the longer method: Cover the jar and set in a warm place for about four weeks before straining. A sunny windowsill works well.
(NOTE: While dandelion infused oil is wonderful for making your own DIY body care projects, it’s not meant to be used as a food source or for cooking purposes.)
For more details about making the oil, check out my post on making Dandelion Salve, HERE.
Once your oil is finished, you’re ready to make your dandelion lotion bars! They are super simple to make. If you can melt chocolate, you can make these.
Dandelion Lotion Bars
- 1 part beeswax
- 1 part shea butter (or mango butter)
- 1 part dandelion infused oil
- a few drops of lavender essential oil, optional
I usually make a batch using 1/4 cup of each ingredient, but you can size it however you like. That amount will fill almost two dozen small (one-inch) hearts or several larger sized shapes. For molds, you can use candy molds, silicone molds, or even canning lids (as shown below.)
Measure out the beeswax, shea butter, and dandelion oil into a canning jar or heatproof container. I use a recycled tin can for this project for ease of cleanup.
Set the container of ingredients down into a pan containing an inch or two of almost simmering water, creating a makeshift double boiler. Allow the water to indirectly heat the contents until the beeswax is melted. Overheated shea butter can get grainy, so keep a close eye on the mixture and remove from heat as soon as it appears almost melted. A few stirs with a chopstick or spoon will complete the melting process.
If you’d like at this point, you can add a few drops of lavender or other skin safe essential oil, but I often just leave these plain.
For my husband, I make rounds that fit perfectly in his hand, using a canning lid as a mold. Just set a canning lid with ring down on a sheet of waxed paper and pour the hot lotion bar mixture into it. Let it completely set up and cool, but not for too long, before turning upside down and pushing it out. Smooth the edges with your finger.
You can store smaller sizes in a jar or tins out of direct heat and hot areas. Whenever your skin feels dry or rough, just rub the bar over your skin. The heat of your body will melt it just enough to leave a light moisturizing layer that absorbs in much quicker than a salve does.
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