anhydrous products. What are anhydrous products? It means "without water", and they are products made with oil soluble ingredients. Because they don't contain water you don't need to use a preservative (although I suggest 0.5% to 1% Vitamin E to keep the oils from going rancid), and you can usually package them in something other than a bottle (like a chocolate foil, bag, or tin). You also don't have to worry about emulsification (bringing oil and water together) because all your ingredients are in one phase (oil being one phase, water being another).
Oil based ingredients are pretty obvious - oils, butters, essential oils, fragrance oils - and include silicones, as well. When buying an ingredient, check the INCI or the information from the supplier to see if it is oil soluble. Water based ingredients would be things like water, glycerin, aloe vera, hydrosols, and surfactants. So you can't include those things in your anhydrous products. (Again, you can find oil based aloe vera oil or butters, so that's not to say you can't find things that might work well with an oil based product.)
What happens if you mix a water based thing into an oil based thing? You will get separation. Oil and water don't like each other (check your salad dressing to see this in action). If you add a water based thing - glycerin - to an oil based thing - shea butter - it will eventually seep out as the water and oil repel each other (this isn't exactly true, but it's easier to explain it this way...)
What exactly are lotion bars? They are solid, oil and butter based (anhydrous) bars made with beeswax, liquid oil, and butter. You melt, fragrance, then pour them into a mold or something like a deodorant container or tin and use them to seal in moisture wherever you need it. I think of them as giant lip balms for your body!
A basic recipe for lotion bars...
33% liquid oils
33% solid butter
1% fragrance oil
Weigh all three ingredients in equal amounts in a Pyrex jug, then heat until all the solids have melted. Add 1% fragrance oil (by weight) and pour into a mold or deodorant container. Let set. Use. Rejoice.
This is a fairly basic recipe and the lovely thing is that you can tweak it to your heart's content, using a variety of oils and butters. (Check out the posts on oils and butters to see what would work for you!)
For your first bar, try something really basic and use that as an example bar of what you want. Try sunflower, safflower, or soy bean oil (all available at the grocery store) with cocoa butter and beeswax. This will give you a good baseline for what a basic lotion bar feels like.
TWEAKING THE BAR!
The hardness of your butters is important here. If you use all cocoa butter in your lotion bar, you're going to have a very hard bar. If you use all shea butter in your bar, you will have a softer bar. So consider how soft you want your bar to be. A softer bar will be squishier, but will definitely melt at body temperature (great for a massage bar).
For an after bath bar, I'd choose...
- sunflower oil - a great emollient (about 20% of the bar)
- hempseed oil - I can use this in a lotion bar as I'll be using it quickly, and it is fabulous for my skin (about 13%). I will need to add 1% Vitamin E in this bar for sure!
- cocoa butter - it lays down a protective barrier to trap in moisture
For a foot lotion bar....
- avocado butter or avocado oil - a heavy oil great for really dry and chapped areas
- mango butter - if I use 33% mango butter, it'll be quite soft, but very emollient
- avocado butter & mango butter (equal amounts) - a quite soft, but emollient bar
For my lips...
- olive oil - a great humectant (draws water from the atmosphere) about 1/2 the oils amount
- aloe oil - a great healing oil (not making a claim here, but it is awfully good!)
- aloe butter - the goodness of aloe in a butter - but very very soft (about 15%)
- cocoa butter - to harden the bar and offer great emolliency
You can add anything you like to a lotion bar recipe, as long as it is oil soluble. So hydrosols, water, aloe vera liquid, and other water soluble ingredients are right out! Hunt around for butters and oils. I've recently picked up aloe butter and aloe oil, so I can have the goodness of aloe in an anhydrous bar.
10% fractionated coconut oil - this is a very light oil, very emollient
25% sunflower oil - conditioning for the skin
3% rice bran oil - high in Vitamin E
30% mango butter - creamy and emollient
2% IPM - (an ester) IPM helps greasy things feel less greasy and sinks in quickly
2% cyclomethicone - this silicone helps with the glide
2% vitamin E - to prevent rancidity and good for my skin
Melt all but the cyclomethicone and fragrance oil in a heat proof container in your double boiler. When all the ingredients have melted, add the cyclomethicone and fragrance oil, then pour into a mold or twist up deodorant container. Let set. Use!
This is a bar intended to start melting at your body temperature, that's why I used all mango butter.
- Packaging: Wrap them in foil and label them, then present in a nice cellophane bag.
- Chocolate molds and silicone ice cube trays are great for molding lotion bars!
- Packaging: Find some nice tins for portability!
- Make sure you label your lotion bars so you know which one you loved best or so your giftee knows what they are getting! Please note on your labels that these are NOT EDIBLE even if they are adorable and smell great. (A co-worker tried to eat one I scented with pecan praline!)
Lotion bars are incredibly easy to make and wonderful to use. They're portable and non-liquid, so they're great for long flights or camping trips. Play with the butters and oils to find a recipe your skin loves!