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My body is super lame when it comes to allergies and skin sensitivities. Many, many times I have played the game “what caused those hives?” with answers varying from a cat scratch or dog “kiss”, to the stainless steel back of my watch face, to fragrance or other chemicals in soaps, body washes and lotions.
After realizing that some of my skin irritation was caused by topically applied products, I started making most of the products I put on my skin from real, natural ingredients. The first necessity was an everyday soap and body wash which I wrote about here, and the second was a moisturizer. After a quick google search, I found that coconut oil alone can be used as a skin moisturizer. Considering I haven’t died from eating coconut, I figured it would be safe to put on my skin (this time I was right…almonds seem to be another story). I found this coconut oil at Trader Joe’s:
I love coconut oil as a face and whole body moisturizer. It works really well for my skin, makes it glow witohut looking oily, and has the added benefit of naturally being about SPF 4. However, to survive the dry New England winter, I noticed my skin was still peeling on my face. I did a little research and found in this Red and Honey Post that because coconut oil absorbs quickly (which is good for not making skin look greasy), it doesn’t moisturize deeply. I found many excellent reviews for argan oil as a skin moisturizer, and have friends who have told me how great it is. I have been using certified organic, 100% pure & natural Radha Argan Oil. I first apply coconut oil to my face, then use just 2-3 drop of Argan oil for my entire face. This leaves my face silky smooth and glowing.
While I love my coconut oil and Argan oil regime, I sometimes need a heavier moisturizer. By combining coconut oil with cocoa butter and beeswax, I made a moisturizer with a higher melting point that seals in moisture better than coconut oil alone. Plus, lotion in solid form is great for air travel 🙂
Due to variability in the form of the ingredients, and how sensitive this recipe is to the ratios of each ingredient, I used a kitchen scale to weigh the coconut oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax. Too much beeswax and the lotion will not melt on skin; too much coconut oil and the bar will melt in your hands before you can apply it to your body.
After some trial and error, this is the recipe I like
37 grams beeswax
55 grams cocoa butter
55 grams coconut oil
15 drops liquid vitamin E (or 2-3 vitamin E tablets, pierced and liquid squeezed out)
Optional: red raspberry seed oil (I used 10 drops)
Optional: essential oils for scent and additional skin benefits (I omitted)
Yields: about 3/4 cups lotion, which resulted in about 17 mini bars, about 0.3 ounces each.
- Weigh the beeswax, cocoa butter, and coconut oil in a microwave safe glass container.
- Microwave on 50% power for 5 minutes, stirring every 30-60 seconds. If the wax isn’t completely melted at this point, microwave for an additional 30 seconds on full power, then stir. Continue microwaving, stirring every 15 seconds, until the wax has completely melted.
- Add the vitamin E, red raspberry seed oil, and essential oil(s), if using. Stir to evenly distribute.
- Pour into molds.
- Let cool and solidify for several hours or overnight.
I use silicone ice molds to make mini lotion bars. Any silicone or plastic mold, or even ice cube molds, should work.
Tip from my friend at Dry Creek Soaps: If you have trouble removing the lotion from a plastic mold, freeze for a few hours, “crack” the mold like an ice cube tray, and flip the mold. If any lotion bars remain in the mold, firmly smack the mold upside down on the counter.
This lotion is also a good consistency for lip balm; it can be poured into lip balm tubes as well. I reused some empty tubes I had (because yes, I actually manage not to lose chapstick before it’s gone).
In case you want to know more about what is in these bars, here’s some information about each of these ingredients:
coconut oil – great overall moisturizer, natural SPF 4, moderately high comedogenic*
cocoa butter – moisturizes, seals in moisture, moderately high comedogenic*
beeswax – seals in moisture to protect skin, moderately low comedogenic*
vitamin E – antioxidant, moderately low comedogenic*
red raspberry seed oil – SPF 40 in pure form, in this lotion adds minute SPF
*comedogenic ratings from Beneficial Botanicals
I found all ingredients for this recipe on Amazon. You may also be able to find them at natural food stores. I typically buy my coconut oil at Trader Joe’s or BJ’s Wholesale Club.
Beeswax – be sure to purchase unfiltered unless you’re prepared to filter your wax. I like the small pellets because it melts easier than a block.