What is a Lotion Bar? + A Basic Lotion Bar Recipe, 5 Ways

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DIY solid lotion bars are a natural alternative to traditional lotion. They work wonderfully for dry skin and last a long time. Lotion bars are a wonderful, natural alternative to traditional lotions that are easy to make at home. I’m sharing my basic lotion bar recipe with you today, and 5 easy ways to customize it to make it your own.

Want to know a secret? This is the very same recipe I used when I sold my own products for several years. These little lotion bars were a customer favorite, and I could hardly make them fast enough!

What is a Lotion Bar?

A lotion bar is a solid, concentrated bar of moisturizing goodness. It is made of natural, nourishing oils and beeswax combined to make a body lotion that is in solid form.

Lotion bars are far more concentrated than a typical liquid lotion because they do not contain any water, and the handheld bars look like a bar of soap. Because they contain no water, lotion bars do not require any preservatives and are shelf stable for at least 6 months.

Why Should I Use a Lotion Bar?

There are lots of amazing reasons to skip traditional lotion and use lotion bars instead! Here are my top 5 reasons to use lotion bars:

  1. Lotion bars are made with completely natural ingredients and they are SO fabulous for your skin!
  2. Lotion bars are super concentrated because they contain no fillers, additives or preservatives – just the good stuff your skin needs.
  3. Lotion bars are extremely portable, especially if you store them in a metal tin like I do. They fit perfectly in a purse, diaper bar or car console for any dry skin emergency (but don’t leave them in the car during summer months – they melt!).
  4. Lotion bars are completely customizable if you make them yourself. With my lotion bar recipe you can use any scent you like and even customize the oils to meet your own skin’s needs.
  5. Lotion bars are inexpensive. A little goes a long way when you are using a lotion bar, so they are very cost effective.

How Do I Use a Lotion Bar?

It is easy to use a solid lotion bar! You simply rub it on your skin, and the heat from your body slowly melts it. I especially love them for dry feet and hands, but they can be used all over the body just like a traditional lotion.

I find lotion bars do not absorb as quickly as many traditional lotions, so I like to spend a little extra time rubbing it in.

What Do I Need to Make Lotion Bars?

If you already make some of your own skincare products you will likely already have some of these ingredients. You’ll need:

I have used all of these molds for lotion bars, and they all make similar sized bars. These will also all fit in these metal travel tins that are perfect for storing and gifting lotion bars.


Lotion Bar Recipe

These basic bars will have a slightly sweet, chocolatey scent because of the cocoa butter. They are perfectly wonderful as is with no additional scent added! I actually prefer them unscented for babies (and have a special baby lotion bar recipe below). However, I do love them with a variety of different essential oils added.

Lotion Bar Recipe by Weight

My preferred method for creating any body products at home is to measure my weight because it makes a more consistent product. This is easy to do with a normal kitchen scale (I use this one). If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use the recipe below that measures by volume.

  • 1.2 oz Beeswax
  • 0.4 oz. Shea Butter
  • 0.7 oz Cocoa Butter
  • 0.9 oz. Almond Oil
  • 0.3 oz. Jojoba Oil
  • 50 drops (apx. 1/2 tsp) essential oil of choice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin e oil (optional)

Lotion Bar Recipe by Volume

  • 1/4 cup Beeswax
  • 1 Tbs. Shea Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Cocoa Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Almond Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Jojoba Oil
  • 50 drops (apx. 1/2 tsp) essential oil of choice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin e oil (optional)


  • Add beeswax, shea butter and cocoa butter to a double boiler and slowly heat the oils until melted.
  • Once melted, turn off the heat and add the almond and jojoba oils.
  • Lastly, add essential oils and vitamin E if using.
  • Pour into silicone mold.
  • Let bars sit until completely hardened, then carefully remove from mold.
  • Best if used within 6 months.

This recipe makes 5 small, handheld lotion bars using a mold very similar to this round silicone mold. Each finished lotion bar is approximately 0.7 oz.

DIY homemade lotion bar recipe with 5 variations to make it your own. Lotion bars are easy to make, super concentrated and need no preservatives. #diy #lotionbar #naturalbeauty #diybeauty

5 Versions of Lotion Bars

Margarita Lotion Bars

Use the basic recipe above and add 35 drops lime + 15 drops lemon essential oils at the end before pouring into molds.

Lavender Lotion Bars

Always a favorite, add 50 drops (1/2 tsp) lavender essential oil in the basic recipe above.

Citrus Burst Lotion Bars

Use the basic recipe above and add 20 drops of orange and 30 drops of grapefruit essential oils.

White Chocolate Mint Lotion Bars

Skip the shea butter and use all cocoa butter instead for a subtly chocolate scent. Combined with peppermint essential oil these lotion bars smell almost edible!

  • 1/4 cup Beeswax
  • 3 Tbs. Cocoa Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Almond Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Jojoba Oil
  • 25 drops (apx. 1/4 tsp) peppermint essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin e oil (optional)

Lotion Bars for Babies

This gentle version for babies uses avocado oil instead of almond oil and contains no essential oils. These lotion bars work wonderful for baby massage before bed.

  • 1/4 cup Beeswax
  • 1 Tbs. Shea Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Cocoa Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Jojoba Oil
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin e oil (optional)

Customize your own Lotion Bars

There are really endless possibilities for lotion bars. You can use the basic lotion bar recipe above and customize with your favorite scents and oils.

You can also customize the base oils you use in this recipe if you do not have all of the ingredients, or to suite your own preferences. The proportions for this recipe are 34% beeswax, 32% plant butter (cocoa, shea or even mango!) and 34% liquid oil.

I have had success using avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil and grapeseed oil. The results will be slightly different based on the properties of these oils, but you will still have a solid lotion bar that is wonderful for your skin. I encourage you to play around with your favorite oils to see what works best for you!

How do I Store Lotion Bars?

To maximize their shelf life, lotion bars should be kept in a closed container when not in use. My favorite way to store lotion bars is in these small, metal tins. They are easy to transport in these and they very giftable in these reusable metal tins.

Lotion Bars Make Great Gifts!

These little bars of oily goodness are perfect stocking as stuffers, teacher gifts and shower favors. My personal favorite way to gift lotion bars is paired with my homemade cuticle oil in a gift bag as a ‘Mini Mani’ gift set.

Let me know how these turn out if you make them! I love hearing what scents you choose!


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39 thoughts on “What is a Lotion Bar? + A Basic Lotion Bar Recipe, 5 Ways”

    • you could try avocado oil instead of jojoba, or increase one of the other oils instead. But I highly recommend jojoba oil – it is so wonderful for skin!

  1. Not sure if you’ll see this in time, but what could I substitute for cocoa butter? I have shea, beeswax, jojoba, almond, essential oils, and coconut oil on hand if needed.
    Could I simply increases one of the others?

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Yes, I’d go with olive oil as a substitute, as jojoba is much thicker and will give a different consistency at that high of a percentage. Avocado oil or sunflower oil are also good substitutes for almond oil.


    • It sounds like you left out the beeswax, which is a key ingredient to keep it solid. I also don’t include coconut oil in my recipe because it melts so easily. If you try my original recipe it won’t melt at room temp, only if it’s left out at high heat 🙂

  3. Hello,
    I am excited to try this. Can I use goat milk in the recipe? If so can you suggest amount and process? Thank you !!

    • Hi Lori – I have not ever added milk to lotion bars, and think they would quickly go rancid with the addition of milk since they contain no preservative.

    • It will not melt at room temperature, only high temps. I wouldn’t leave it in my car in the summer, but room temp in the house is just fine 🙂

  4. Hello Karla
    I have arthritis in my fingers & I love to crochet and I don’t want to stop. I would like to try the Lotion Bars for Babies. I us CBD oil for my arthritis, osteoporosis, and i have a hard to getting to steep at night. I would like to know what I can put in the Lotion for Babies for pain & swelling and can i us CBD oil in the lotion bars?

    • Hi Roberta! For babies my preference is unscented, so I would leave out all essential oils. The rest of the ingredients will be great for babies!

      I love your idea to add CBD oil to the lotion bars! I have not tried that yet myself, but have it on my list of things to experiment with! Yes, you can absolutely add CBD oil to this recipe. Add it last, after everything is melted when you would add the essential oils. I’m not certain on how much to add, but probably several droppers full at least.

      Have you tried turmeric for your arthritis? Of course you can take it in capsules because it is a strong anti-inflammatory that is great for the entire body. But you can also apply it directly to where the pain and swelling is. Add turmeric essential oil to these bars, or make a roller ball with the turmeric essential oil and apply it that way. My dad actually has done this for arthritis and has had great results! It has a strong, earthy smell, so I like to mix with lavender or something similar.

      CBD and turmeric sounds like a great anti-inflammatory combo that might work for you!

      Here’s my favorite turmeric essential oil from Plant Therapy (affiliate link): https://www.pntrs.com/t/TUJGR0ZGSEJGTUhLSExCRkxNSUlI?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.planttherapy.com%2Fturmeric-co2-extract-organic%3Fv%3D1653

      Hope this helps! Let me know how everything turns out!!

      • If I used the tumeric and lavender essential oils, would I just divide the amount of oil equally? I think your lavender recipe calls for 50 drops. So 25 of each? Thank you!

  5. Hello. I cannot wait to try this recipe. I am interested in making the original lotion bar recipe and like sweet almond oil, do I add this as an essential oil or replace the regular almond oil with this? This will be my first time making this.

    • This does not lather, it is basically lotion in solid form. I have never mixed with melt and pour, so don’t know how it would turn out. My guess is that it would be a slightly less lathery, but very moisturizing soap 🙂

  6. I grew lavender in my garden this year and want to infuse that with one of the oils before making the bar. Have you ever used Hemp oil, how would you suggest going about that?

    • Hi Sarah! I LOVE that you want to infuse your homegrown lavender in this! What a wonderful way to use your harvest! I have used hemp oil before, and it will work well in this recipe. You can use it in place of all of the liquid oils so that you get the most lavender aroma from your infusion. Here’s what I would do:
      Choose a liquid oil to infuse your lavender in, and make it the primary liquid oil in your recipe. If you prefer hemp, go with that.
      You can either do a warm or cold infusion of your lavender with the oil.
      For cold infusion: Place your lavender buds in a jar and cover them completely with oil. You can make as little or as much as you like, and use the infused oil in other recipes as well (it would be great in scrubs or my cuticle oil recipe!). Make sure the flowers are completely submerged in the oil. Cover with a bag (or use a dark glass jar) and place in a warm spot for 2 weeks.
      To do a warm infusion, measure your lavender and oil and put in a pan over low heat. do NOT let the mixture boil! Keep the temperature below 120 degrees to maintain the integrity of the lavender. Heat on low, covered, for 2-5 hours. Cool and store in a jar.

      When you’re ready to make your lotion bars, add the infused oil after you’ve melted the wax and butters. I prefer not to heat infused oils if at all possible, so add it last, stir quickly and pour into your mold.

      I hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out!!

  7. Is there any texture or absorbency difference between using avocado oil instead of the almond oil in the baby version?

    • Hi Rebecca,
      There is no difference in texture or absorbency that I have found in using avocado oil versus almond. I swap out the almond in the baby version only because of nut allergies and lots of people like to avoid nut products for babies. However I’ve used almond oil on my babies with no issues and no allergies 🙂

    • Hi Kristie – I’ve never used avocado butter, but if the consistency is similar to shea butter, I think it would work well! Let me know how it turns out – I’ll have to give avocado butter a try!

  8. I find that at higher temperatures, essential oils like orange flash off and can’t retain the scent. With lower temperatures, the butters start to solidify. How do I tackle this ?

    • Hi Nupur – thanks for your question! I always add the essential oils AFTER I’ve removed the butters and oils from the heat. So I heat the oils, wax and butters to just melted, remove from heat, and then stir in essential oils. I work quickly at this point, since the butters will start to solidify pretty quickly. But I always have enough time to thoroughly mix in essential oils before it solififies. I have found citrus oils do still retain their scent when I do it this way. Hope this helps – happy making!

    • Hi Carol! I have never worked with soy wax before so am not sure how the consistency compares to beeswax. But I have used Carnauba wax and it works really well! I like this brand: https://amzn.to/2V7BM81
      You could also try Candelilla wax (https://amzn.to/2Ehr1u7). Both are vegan. Soy wax should work if it has a hard consistency at room temperature.
      Let me know how it works out for you!

  9. I’m so excited to try this recipe out! I love that you break it down by weight and volume. Weighing ingredients can definitely make a big difference sometimes. I love lotion bars, but lately I’ve been using more lotions. This just gave me the kick I needed to make some for me my kids. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

  10. Is there a substitute for the beeswax? My mom is allergic to it, but I would love to make the hot chocolate bars for her dry, chapped hands.

    • I have actually used almond oil in my baby version before with good results! However, I substitute it in this recipe since lots of people are careful about using any nut products on young babies because of potential allergies. Hope that helps!


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