Winter weather is tough on my skin. The humidity drops outside and I’m indoors more using dry heat. If you are like me, you tend to spend longer in hot showers. Remember, I’m a southern girl, and anything less than 55 degrees is COLD, lol. I help combat the dry skin by making lotion bars. But not just any lotion bar…I use sunflower oil that has been infused with dried calendula flowers. Our garden provide us with a lot of fragrance, beauty and healing gifts.
If I had to choose only one skin care herb to grow, I would choose Calendula. It is also known as pot marigold, and has amazing healing and nourishing properties as well as protective, anti-aging and moisturizing qualities. I infuse dried calendula flowers in sunflower oil before I make my salves, lip balms, and lotion bars. I like sunflower oil because it is lighter on the skin, and inexpensive. Don’t use fresh flowers, they contain water, and will mold. To make an herbal infusion, place dried flowers in a jar with a lid. I use a large mason jar, and fill about half full. I then pour my sunflower oil over the flowers to the top of the jar, pushing the flowers down into the oil. Shake well. Replace the cap, and place in a dark place for 4-6 weeks. (I put mine in a closet in my craft room) When I’m ready to use, I strain out the flowers and toss onto the compost heap.
HOW TO MAKE LOTION BARS.
I use a 3:1 ratio when making lotion bars because you want them solid. This means I use 3 parts oil and butters to 1 part beeswax. Beeswax makes the lotion bars solid. If I make a salve, I may use a 4:1 ratio or 5:1 depending on how soft I want the salve.
This is my recipe to make 3 2 oz bars.
3 ounces of infused sunflower oil with the flowers strained out.
1.5 ounces shea butter
1.5 ounces coconut oil
2 ounces beeswax (I use the pastilles or beads. They are much easier and quicker to melt).
I have a scale (like the old Weight Watchers food measuring scales) that I purchased at Walmart. It measures in grams and ounces. When I make soap and teach soap making classes, I measure my ingredients in grams. But for this recipe use ounces. Zero the scale. Put your container o that you are going to mix the ingredients in on the scale. Zero again. You can do one ingredient at a time, zeroing after each ingredient. For example, add the infused oil and zero, then the coconut oil, zero the scale, etc.
- Place the ingredients in a glass jar or measuring cup. Fill your cooking pot 1/3 to 1/2 full of water and turn on medium.
- Place the container inside the pot and and just when it starts to come to a slow boil, turn the heat to low and allow all the ingredients to melt, stirring occasionally.
You don’t want to melt the ingredients in a microwave. Slow melting will prevent the shea butter from becoming “grainy” which gives your lotion bars a rough texture.
- Being careful not to get burned (the glass container will be hot, use a mitt), pour the melted oil into a silicone mold. I’m using hearts for Valentines, but I have pretty flower shaped, Easter egg, and honey bee molds. You find them at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, or order below.
- Allow the bars to cool. It will take a couple of hours unless you place in the refrigerator. I just leave mine on my kitchen counter to cool ( away from small hands to pull off if you have children in the house). Tip: If you are cooling in the refrigerator, place the mold on a cooking tin before filling. Once they cool, they will easily pop out of the silicone mold. Allow them to air dry for a couple of days before storing.
- Store your lotion bars away from heat. I use 2oz tins to place mine in, or you can place in a simple zip lock bag. To use your lotion bar, simply rub it between your hands or directly onto dry skin areas, such as elbows and heels. The solid bar will soften due to the heat of your skin.
I hope you will make a few of these bars for yourself and for friends. I have a friend with psoriasis who loves the way they make the rough dry areas on her elbows feel soft. She also says it reduces the redness. I add a few drops of lavender essential oil to hers after I pour into the mold.
Most of these ingredients you can find locally. (Be careful buying beeswax from craft stores. It is for candle making, not for skin care.) If you can’t find a local beekeeper who sells it, I have included a resource below. I also buy the yellow shea butter which is unrefined. The white has been bleached. A resource is also included below.
All of these products are the ones that I buy and have been happy with the results. You can find a smaller container of coconut in your local grocery store. I buy the large for soapmaking.
You may also enjoy this post on making a Calendula Salve
Buy beeswax here
Buy Coconut Oil here
Buy dried Calendula Flowers Buy Heart Shaped Silicone Mold Here
Buy unrefined shea butter here
Until next time!
Live, laugh, garden
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