Herbal Intensive Lotion Bars
Lotion bars are of one of the best treatments around for repairing dry, calloused and sore hands!
They also make great gifts for those who work or play hard with their hands. In our house, they’re invaluable for healing the damage that being a rock mason does to my husband’s hands.
In this recipe, I combined 4 of my favorite herbs:
- arnica flowers – approved by the German Commission E for topical use for inflammation, bruises and joint pain
- comfrey leaf – a source of allantoin, which is a cell proliferant
- dandelion flowers – high in lecithin and act as a mild analgesic (pain reliever)
- goldenrod flowers – used in traditional salve remedies for aches & pains
but you can mix and match other herbs to create your own variation.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way.
Herbal Intensive Lotion Bars
(These lotion bars are made with equal parts, by volume, but can be remelted and adjusted to suit your climate and preferences.)
Ingredients for Lotion Bars:
- 1 tablespoon (about 14 g) shea, mango, avocado or cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon (about 12 g) beeswax
- 1 tablespoon (about 10 g) herbal-infused oil (see how to make, below)
- a drop or two of essential oil (try lavender to relax muscles, or peppermint to cool pain)
- a pinch (about 1/16th of a tsp) arrowroot or tapioca powder (helps lotions bars have a silky, less-greasy feeling)
If you can’t find all of these ingredients locally, check online at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Directions to Make:
Combine the butter, beeswax and herbal-infused oil in a heatproof jar or container. (You can use a canning jar or upcycle a tin can for easier cleanup.)
If you’re adding tapioca powder, you can put that in as well. Set the jar down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, forming a makeshift double boiler.
Place the pan over a medium-low burner and heat until the wax and butter are melted.
Remove from heat, stir well and add in essential oil, if you wish. Pour into a mold.
This recipe will make one large lotion bar, the size shown, weighing around 1.25 oz (around 35 g). You can double, triple, etc as needed, to make as many as you wish, or you can pour in smaller molds (like candy molds or silicone ice trays).
I used a beautiful Milky Way bee mold. It makes a lotion bar that fits perfectly into a 2 oz metal tin, for safe storage.
Some butters are softer/firmer than others – cocoa butter will make a harder bar, avocado butter, a softer one. If you find that your lotion bar is too hard, you can remelt it and add a little more oil. If your lotion bar is too sticky, you probably have too much butter. Melt it again and add a little more beeswax. If your lotion bar is greasy or oily feeling, you probably have too much oil or should look for a more absorbent oil (examples: rice bran or grapeseed). During cold weather or if you live in a cold climate, your bar might be firmer or may need a little extra oil. In hot weather or climates, add a little extra beeswax to keep it from melting slightly during storage.
You can always tinker with the recipe in order to get it just the way you like!
How to Make Herbal Infused Oil
First, choose one or more herbs that are known for healing chapped, dry skin like these:
- Violet Leaf
Or helpful for relieving aches and joint pain, like these:
- Dandelion Flowers
- Arnica Flowers
- Elder Leaf
Fill a half-pint jar around 1/4 to 1/2 of the way, with one or more dried herbs. Next, pour your chosen oil over them, until the jar is filled, almost to the top. (Sunflower, olive, sweet almond or avocado are a few good oil choices to start with.)
Stir to remove air bubbles, then either cover with a cap and tuck away to infuse for 4 to 6 weeks, or, for a faster method – set the down into a pan containing a few inches of water and heat over a low burner for around 2 hours or so.
Once infused to your satisfaction, strain the oil into a clean, dry jar. It will have shelf life of around 9 months to a year and can be used to make lotion bars and other items, at your convenience.
HERBAL SALVES & BALMS
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I just love reading your posts you inspire me so much , thank you x
Thank you for the kind words! :)
I wanted to ask you about putting botanicals into soap because recently I found an article about soaps going mouldy from contents like fruit and botanicals. Have you had any issues of this type? And with infusing botanicals into oils like this recipe, are there any dangers involved with bacteria? I got a little nervous about my soaps when I read that article. The pic they posted was horrible. It was a science blog. Cheers Jan. Also, what size tins are the lotion bars sitting in here? They look gorgeous by the way :-)
Hi Sarah, Thanks! :) Those are 2 oz tins from here: https://www.specialtybottle.com/tinflatcontainer2ozwscrewtopcover.aspx If you infuse your oils with completely dry herbs, there’s no pockets of moisture for bacteria to grow in. I wonder if they infused oil with fresh herbs? I have had those spoil on me, so don’t use that way any more. I’ve been making all sorts of soaps for… about 13 years now I think? And have never had a soap get moldy. I’d love to see the science article link – I enjoy reading things like! Sometimes, I find out new things that completely changes how I do stuff, so it’s always good to read and learn. From what I understand, the high pH of soap acts as a preservative to whatever you use in it. Still, you never want to add fresh herbs or flowers directly stirred into the batter before pouring because those will definitely spoil.
Never used lotion bars before so how exactly does one use these lotion bars
Hi Janeen! Lotion bars are sort of like a chapstick or solid salve for your body. You rub them over really dry areas like hands, elbows, knees and feet. My husband is a rock mason and he uses them when he sits down to watch a movie or something at night. He takes one and just rubs it over the most damaged spots on his fingers and then works it between his hands for a few minutes at a time. You could also use it right before bed and let it absorb in overnight.
You’re the best! Inspiring & helpful. The information you share along with your amazing creations go above & beyond, always!
Thank you for the kind words Sharon! :)
Finding your newsletter in my email each month is always a pleasure. I can’t wait to open it and see what great information you have for us! Thank you for all that you share with us.
Thank you Pam! I appreciate the encouragement! :)
More great recipes from you that I will need to try!
Thank you Beth – I’m happy you like them! :)
I have some yummy rose incense, powdered form. I was wondering if you think this would work to infuse with the oil.
I’m not sure specifically what rose does, but I sure love the smell.
What do you think?
Hi Lisa! Rose incense sounds lovely – do you know what else is in it besides roses? Roses are great for your skin, some people feel that they help those with rosacea. They’re soothing and cooling. The fragrance uplifts your spirits and can help those who are sad. I like to put them in anti-aging products too.
Here’s where I made an infusion with rose petals and made a salve:
Lotion bars are so awesome! Yours are so cute and sound so nourishing with the arnica and comfrey. Thanks for sharing this with us! =)
Thanks Anne-Marie! :)
Love your lotion bar recipes Jan. I have a question. Does the FDA regulate lotion bars as a cosmetic and do they fall under the FDA jurisdiction even if you don’t make any claims of healing or so forth?
Hi Annie R! Anything that you put on your skin (except bar soap) is going to fall under the FDA jurisdiction.
It’s a confusing topic for sure, with lots of government speak to sort through! :)
when you infuse oils is it best to only use one herb at a time or can you put two or three herbs into the oil to be diffused?.. love your site.. cant wait for spring to gather some dandelion heads… thank you so much for sharing
Hi Candace, Either way works great! Most of my infused oils are made with one herb, but there are some that I always use together in recipes (like arnica & comfrey), so I infuse them in the same jar. I am SO looking forward to spring too – it’s getting closer! :)
thank you for this link-and I see you combined herbs here that I was thinking of for the dandelion salve-awesome
I’m glad you found it helpful! I hope the salve helps out too! :)
Jan, I was wondering about any drying effect the coconut oil can have on skin. Ive read a couple things saying coconut can actually dry the skin. My niece is going through chemo and I want to give her something with no smells and all natural good stuff. But chemo can dry out your skin and I dont want to add to her trouble. Ive noticed on my lotion bars in the past(made w/coconut oil) it doesnt really moisturize much. Ive been making soap for about 15yrs and always use coconut oil. Just started last year with hard lotion bars. Any wisdom on this would be awesome. I will try this recipe, sounds amazing!
Hi Laura! I know quite a few people use coconut oil in their lotion bars with good results, but for me personally, I find them drying as well, so prefer using liquid oils that nourish like avocado, jojoba, sunflower, etc.
I’m so happy to find your website. I read about your recipe at the willow and sage magazine. . Your recipes looks amazing. I buy your book yesterday at amazon. I can’t wait for read it. I also visit the stores you recommended online. I will order the ingredients.
I will try with first the osteoarthritis for mom. I’m so excited. I have a very active little girl so I hope she can give me a break during the day to make it.
But thank you for sharing your knowledge.
God bless you
Hi Nelly! Thank you so much for buying a copy of the book! I’m glad to hear that you like it! How nice of you to make something for your mom too – I know she’ll love it! I love making things for my parents as well; it’s a nice feeling to know I’m helping them feel better with the things I make. :)
Sorry to post here but am unable to post in the dandelion and honey soap blog, it is not active as far as I can tell. Dandelion season has passed per say here in Northern Vermont. I would love to make an infusion. Since the season has passed, would using dandelion tea (tea bags) at the organic store be ok to use? How would I infuse with an oil? Do you think using tea bags would alter the infusion or should I remove the tea from the bag then infuse? In your comments you wrote you only infuse the flower (with a little bit of stem in there), and using dandelion tea is this made only from the flower or is this and/or the root, or leaves and flower?
Thank you so much. You are amazing, and thank you for sharing so greatly as you do!!
Have a lovely evening!
Hi Sarah! I had to close some of my oldest blog posts because the spam comments on them were getting out of control. Sorry for the inconvenience! It’s fine to ask a question on any post though – I try to respond to all that I see! :)
You could try to use dandelion tea bags, but I suspect those are made mainly from root and/or leaves. The flowers help give the soap a subtle golden color, plus are are high in lecithin & other helpful-for-skin components that I’m not sure are duplicated in the other parts of the plant.
A great alternative to dandelion is to use a similar dried flower, such as calendula or chamomile. You can make the soap the exact same way, only using one of those instead and you’ll get a similar result.
I hope that helps & happy soapmaking! :)
Love your plain instructions. Thank you.
Hi Janice! Thank you for your comment! I’m happy that you found the instructions easy to follow! :)
I was looking on bramble berry’s site to learn more about natural colorants, primarily/initially to use for lip balms and lotion bars. I know some are recommended for lips, but an these pretty much be used for lotion bars as well?
Hi Laurie! Yes there are some natural colorants you can use in lotion bars. I’ve used chlorella infused oil for green, alkanet root infused oil for pink and annatto seed infused oil for yellowish color. I buy all of those powders through MountainRoseHerbs.com.
Some clays also work to tint lotion bars, such as rose clay, purple clay and French green clay. I buy the first two clays at Bramble Berry and the French green clay at Mountain Rose Herbs too.
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