DIY Hard Lotion Bars

Hard Lotion Bars

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Are your hands dry and cracked?  Do you struggle with itchy rashes?  Could your feet use some serious softening?  What about your elbows?

This hard lotion is amazing!  I’ve been making it for several years now.  We use it mostly on our hands and lips, but you can use it anywhere you’ve got skin.

I highly recommend these hard lotion bars for anyone struggling with dry or irritated skin.  You can make it yourself or buy it online.  Read on for more details…

My Story

Older Brother and I both struggle with irritable skin, rashes, eczema, etc.  My worst complaint is a persistent rash which centers around my ring finger.

At one point it got completely out of control, spreading to each finger on both hands.  It left me unable to wear my wedding rings for months on end, plus I thought I might actually lose my mind from the intense itchiness.

After doctor consults, steroid prescriptions and months of itching, I finally consulted a friend whose daughter suffers from severe eczema.  She gave me a “lotion cube” from a large batch she’d made herself.

After THREE DAYS of using this lotion, my rash was gone.  

Needless to say, I immediately bought all the ingredients and whipped up a batch myself!

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Mini-muffin size, from two different muffin tins

Note: Since then, the rash has continued to lurk just below the surface of my skin.  Sometimes it flares up and drives me absolutely bonkers!

Without undergoing expensive testing, the best explanation my doctor and I have come up with is that it’s stress-related. It’s the last-straw-result of my overloaded immune system.  (In other words, when my immune system can’t take any more, it uses the rash to signal “I’m done!”).

It’s beyond the scope of this post to examine the myriad internal factors that can contribute to skin issues like rashes, eczema, acne, etc, but I’m also suspicious that my rash is diet-related.  As some of you may know from first-hand experience, it can be very tricky to pin point the exact contributing factor of a rash.  For me, I think it’s related to dairy and eggs. More on that another time, perhaps….

The main point for the purpose of this particular post is that these lotion bars help keep my skin issues at bay.  My ultimate goal is to remedy the internal situation that causes the rash, but in the meantime, I need a safe and effective way to combat the insane itchiness.

Hard Lotion Bar
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Hard Lotion Bar (mini-muffin size in 1/2 oz round tin)

Here’s what you need to know:

1. You can buy hard lotion bars or sticks here.

These bars are awesome, and come in three varieties.  The Bee Silk Bars are similar to the DIY recipe listed below.

While you’re there, check out the other natural skincare products like this goat milk soap.  (My husband loves the shave bars, and my kids adore the hard lotion sticks.)

2. Or you can make them yourself.

Scroll down to the 4-minute video tutorial.

For the DIY route, choose one of these options:  

  1. Buy this DIY kit. This is a great option–cheaper than buying the already-made bars and much less work than ordering separate ingredients and supplies.
  2. Order your own ingredient & supplies by following my instructions below.  This is definitely the most affordable method.


Use the following three ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio.

Why these 3 ingredients?

The bars are hard because of the beeswax.  The coconut oil and shea butter do the moisturizing and healing, and the beeswax forms a protective layer over the skin to lock in the moisture and prevent further damage from water, etc.

You can experiment with less beeswax if you want a softer bar.  (I did that for one batch that I used for lip balm.  See below).

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Where to find the ingredients:

About the beeswax…

It’s a long story, but one time I wound up ordering a 2-lb block of beeswax and MAN, that stuff is SO HARD to cut up.  I had to use a hammer and chisel and lots of elbow grease.  Never again…

Do not, I repeat, do not order beeswax in a block.  Order the beads or pastilles.

You will NOT need 2 lbs. I used that 2-lb block to make a HUGE batch of lotion bars, both for our family and to give away as gifts and I still had plenty of ingredients left over. 

heart mold
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I found this heart mold (and its twin) at a local thrift store. It works perfectly for hard lotion bars!


You can use almost anything!

  • Ice cube molds
  • Candy molds
  • Mini muffin tins
  • Muffin tins
  • Super mini loaf pans


  • Small bars work best for little hands and for gift giving.
  • Bar soap size is nice for adult legs or larger areas of skin.
  • Keep the end result in mind: what type of container will you use?  Make sure your bars will fit inside the designated tin, jar, or bag.
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Mini-Heart in a 1/2 oz round tin


Just follow the steps in Renee’s helpful video tutorial below, which is only 4 minutes long and will explain everything you need to know.

Basically, you’re going to…

  1. Create a double boiler with a Pyrex measuring cup resting in a sauce pan of boiling water.
  2. In the measuring cup, you’ll melt equal parts of all three ingredients until completely liquified.
  3. Then pour into molds or lip balm tubes and allow to harden.
  4. Optional: immediately before pouring into molds, you can add essential oils of your choice.  doTERRA is my brand of choice.  Order doTERRA oils here.  I recommend Wild Orange, Lavender, Rose, or Frankincense.

Can’t see the video?  Watch it here.

Procedural Notes

  • I do not have a double boiler, so I use a large (8 cup) Pyrex measuring cup and hook the handle over the side of a large cooking pot.
  • Use a disposable stir stick (I used a long wooden skewer, the kind you’d use to make shish-ka-bobs on the grill).
  • Try to wipe out your Pyrex cup (or whatever you use) immediately and thoroughly with a paper towel.  Then wash with hot, soapy water.  Once the beeswax hardens, it is difficult to remove.  If it does harden, just heat the measuring cup again until the wax melts, then wipe.  


How to use hard lotion bars

These bars are not at all like liquid lotion and can take some getting used to.  Here’s what you need to know…

  • The bars are HARD and will soften up when body heat (from your hands) is applied.
  • Use them anywhere on your body!  Again, it helps to warm them up first by rubbing in your hands, or you can break off a piece and rub that into the affected area.
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Round Tins: 4 oz, 2 oz and 1/2 oz


My favorite storage container for these little bars is a small, round tin.

  • 1/2 oz: These are pretty tiny.  My small hearts (from the red mold) fit perfectly in these.  I can also fit a very shallow mini muffin bar in this tin.  This size is not easy to find in a large purse!  But it works well for storing in a small space, like a desk drawer, bedside table, for traveling, etc.
  • 1 oz I actually do not have any tins in this size, but without having tried it myself, I would think this size would work great for mini muffin bars.
  • 2 oz:  I’ve never made regular muffin-sized bars, but I think they would fit in this size.  Especially if you keep the bars shallow.
  • 4 oz:  These seem pretty big to me; I think they take up too much space!  But they may be a good option for certain storage situations or mold sizes.

Custom Labels

We use this lotion so heavily and give it away so frequently that I had custom, waterproof labels made for our tins.  I love them!

Want to order these exact labels, or design your own?  Get 15% off your entire order (of any labels) with my special discount.

Check out the details here: Special Deal on Custom Waterproof Lables {for All Your DIY Needs}.

Sorry, the gal who used to make my labels went out of business.  But I’m sure you can find other Etsy sellers or creative ways to label your homemade hard lotion.  For reference, my labels read: “Hard Lotion: Apply body heat from hands to soften and distribute.  Use anywhere you have skin!”

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Homemade Hard Lotion Lip Balm

To make lip balm

  • Follow the same recipe, using less beeswax and/or more coconut oil.
  • Order empty lip balm tubes on Amazon.
  • If you fill all your lip balm tubes and have extra lotion leftover, just make more lotion bars!
  • I used a tiny glass dropper to transfer my hot lotion liquid into each lip balm tube.  The dropper came from an empty bottle of liquid stevia.  I had to throw the dropper away afterwards, as it was impossible to remove the hardened lotion from inside the glass tube.  You could also use a plastic pipette.
  • OR, just buy lip balm here.

Have you tried hard lotion?

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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Susan on 10/17/2012 at 11:05 pm

    Tea tree oil (either mixed in a very mild lotion, which I prefer, or a few drops by itself) clears up the very itchy rash I get around my wedding rings in the winter. Might be worth a try. I don’t get the rash anywhere else and have never really asked a doctor about it, I just assumed it was from the metal in my rings or air not penetrating the space.

    • yankeehomesteader on 10/18/2012 at 7:36 pm

      Susan, I’m glad you reminded me of this! A while back, I was experimenting with tea tree oil on the rashes on my hands. I definitely think it was helping, but then I ran out. Recently ordered more and just applied some this morning! Glad you’ve had success with it, too. Have you tried DoTerra’s Melaleuca?

      • Susan on 10/22/2012 at 10:39 pm

        I am very interested in DoTerra, and really need to talk with someone about it. I am a bit confused by the name Melaleuca…I used to buy products from a company called Melaleuca (where I discovered my tea tree oil…I used their body lotion with tea tree oil in it and have become mosquito free after being eaten alive for so many years). Is this the same company? BTW, saw you in church on Sunday and you looked stunning:)

        • yankeehomesteader on 10/24/2012 at 6:58 pm


          I’d be more than happy to talk with you anytime about DT. And I’m researching the “melaleuca” issue right now….will let you know what I find out. (I actually wondered the same thing when I first heard of DT’s Melaleuca oil).

          Stay tuned!

        • yankeehomesteader on 10/24/2012 at 6:59 pm

          PS–Thanks for the compliment. It was probably the eye makeup. 🙂 I got a little carried away that morning.

        • yankeehomesteader on 10/24/2012 at 7:10 pm

          Here’s what I’m told by one of my “oily experts”:

          “Melaleuca” is the scientific name for the tea tree plant.
          The company Melaleuca uses that oil in most of its products.

          (Melaleuca, the company, is NOT the same as DoTerra).
          Hope that helps!

  2. kathy on 06/03/2013 at 5:02 pm

    Ok, you’ve inspired me. I ordered shea butter and beeswax. Woohoo! 🙂

    • Kathleen on 06/03/2013 at 6:54 pm

      Good for you! You can do it! 🙂 And you will love the lotion bars.

  3. Paula Steele on 08/14/2013 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Kathleen,
    this sounds like a great quick recipe. My friends and I have been making lip blams and lotions for, oh maybe 5 years now? We’ve been finding a great response from using infused oils along with the shea butter etc…I made some two days ago with jajoba oil infused with Calendula, St.John’s Wart, Plantain and Comfrey and sometimes I also infuse with purple clover. All of these plants are good for skin rash, burns, irritations. COmbined with aloe and hydrosols the cream is really ,mmmm, mmmm good!
    But then you have to whip it so to avoid the whipping step your method sounds great.
    Maybe, though, your skin would respond to the infused properties of some of these herbs? Have you tried them?

  4. Janet on 11/08/2013 at 12:04 am

    What is the recipe? I thought I had seen a recipe at one time, but can not find it. Earlier in the post you said equal amounts… how much? 4oz each?

    • Kathleen on 11/11/2013 at 8:28 pm

      Janet–Yes, the ratio is 1:1:1. So you can use any amount, as long as you do equal amounts of each ingredient. It all depends on how many bars you’d like to make. I usually do about 8 ounces if I’m stocking up for my own family, and up to one pound/16 ounces when making tons of bars for essential oil classes and/or gift-giving purposes. I think 4 ounces would be a great amount for your first time. I hope that helps!

      • Janet on 11/11/2013 at 11:11 pm


  5. Elizabeth on 01/09/2014 at 8:35 am

    I started making homemade lotions and bars about two months go and I’ll never go back to the paraben, junk-laden store-bought stuff. In looking for new recipes I stumbled upon this page. When I read about the reasons for your switch to natural products they sounded very similar to mine. In case you haven’t tried it yet, aloe is an absolutely wonderful thing to add to any of your products. I have a rash that came up for the first time about 10 years ago. It’s almost all gone except for two tiny spots that lurk on the bottom of each foot, but if I get really stressed it flares up and spreads all over the soles. This has happened twice, and it takes a year to run it’s course. It’s icky and oh-so itchy. It took a biopsy to find out it was Lichen Planus. NONE of the prescriptions helped at all, but aloe vera gel does…. AND Mountain Rose Herbs sells it in the powder, gel, and leaf.

  6. Tammy on 09/07/2014 at 12:05 am

    I am enjoying your site. I am a current Doterra user, and lover of all things natural. I plan to try your hard lotion recipe, but am a bit confused. Can I add EO to the recipe? I read your post top to bottom and didn’t see where it is addressed. i would love to add lavender, OnGuard, etc. THoughts?

    • Kathleen on 09/10/2014 at 7:38 pm

      Tammy-You can totally add EO’s. Keep in mind that it’s best not to heat them, though, so try to add them as close to the end as possible. For us, I just keep it simple and unscented. We use the lotion/lip balm all over the body and for a variety of purposes, so I just keep them plain and treat things with oils as necessary. But I’ve always thought it would be fun to experiment with adding oils…keep me posted if you try it! 🙂

  7. Emily on 11/10/2014 at 6:15 pm

    I ordered 1 lb each of Shea and beeswax from MRH. I would like to make lotion bars for Christmas gifts this year. I want to start with a small batch of 4 oz each. What’s the best way to measure the Shea butter? 1/2 cup = 4 oz or do we need a scale?

    • Kathleen on 11/10/2014 at 7:45 pm

      Emily–Technically, you should use a scale. Practically speaking, I do not. 🙂 Yes, I just use about a half cup. If you don’t want to use a scale, you can try your small batch and see how you like the bars. If they’re too soft, melt down again and add more beeswax. If they’re too hard, add more coconut oil or shea butter. I hope that helps! Good luck with your bars! Your gift recipients will love them.

      • Emily on 11/13/2014 at 12:51 pm

        Thanks so much!!!!

  8. Diana on 02/13/2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hello, thank you for your information! I want to make the hard lotion and wondering.. instead of having to pour into molds, could i not just pour into the tin containers?

    • Kathleen on 02/13/2015 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Diana–Pouring the mixture directly into tins is not recommended unless you want to dig out the hardened lotion with your fingernails. 🙂 You want your lotion bars to be smaller than the tin, in order to be able to remove the bars for use.

  9. Tulip on 02/25/2015 at 1:29 pm

    I’m looking to make this work with 4 different essential oils as well. My homemade mix of coconut oil and EOs has a lower melting point now after adding the EOs, so I’m looking for a recipe that will keep it solid. This is an older post I see, do you still recommend using Mt. Rose or would using DoTerra work just the same?

    • Kathleen on 02/26/2015 at 1:07 am

      Hi Tulip, Yes, I still love Mountain Rose Herbs. You definitely don’t want to use doTERRA’s Fractionated Coconut Oil for this, as FCO remains in liquid form. You want regular coconut oil that will solidify in cooler temperatures. Also keep in mind that essential oils should not be heated. To add EOs to hard lotion bars, you’d want to wait until your lotion is cooling in the molds. To make a harder bar, try adding a bit more beeswax. Hope that helps! 🙂

  10. Michelle on 03/02/2015 at 4:51 am

    So does this go onto the skin like a soap since it’s hard? Have you ever made lotions?

    • Kathleen on 03/03/2015 at 2:13 am

      Michelle–The bars are hard until the heat from your hands softens them. We rub them back and forth in our hands until they’re softened, then apply all over our hands (or lips, or wherever). Then rub into the skin. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Michelle on 03/03/2015 at 2:45 am

        Yes, thanks. That helps a lot. I gotta try this! Thanks so much!

  11. Lisa on 03/04/2015 at 3:51 pm

    I’m totally excited about trying to make your lotion bars! For about a year now, I’ve been experimenting with EO’s in my soaps and lip balmswhich I make in small batches for my family and friends.

    Just recently I recently stared using DoTerra EO’s myself and am learning how to use them in more of my recipes as well as a health aid what really got me excited was your post about the itchy rashes you use these hard lotion bars for. Such a wonderful idea!

    Thank you for such a great sharing blog! Love it!

    • Kathleen on 05/11/2015 at 5:28 pm

      Have fun, Lisa! 🙂

  12. Lori on 05/11/2015 at 3:43 am

    I have a friend who is vegan. Can I substitue soy wax for the beeswax? If so, would it be the same amount? Thank you!

    • Kathleen on 05/11/2015 at 5:29 pm

      Lori–I don’t know anything about soy wax, sorry! Good luck, and let us know what you find out…

  13. Lisa on 06/06/2015 at 8:54 pm

    I put the ingredients together as demonstrated and it hasn’t gotten hard. Any ideas what I can do about that? Should I put it in the fridge? Should I store it in there?

    • Adrienne on 06/06/2015 at 11:15 pm

      Sometimes they do take a while to set up, especially if its warm in your home. If I’m in a hurry I’ll stick mine in the freezer for a few minutes until theyre hard. Good luck!

      • Lisa on 06/07/2015 at 12:20 am

        Thank you!

  14. Heather Link on 10/21/2016 at 3:04 am

    Hi I love this idea, but was wondering if I could substitute something for the coconut oil? Both my kids are allergic to it.

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