Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back to basics: Lotion bars - wrap-up and link-o-rama!

I hope you've enjoyed this series of posts on lotion bars. If you're a beginner, I hope you've learned enough to try a few variations of these wonderfully simple and awesome bars. If you're a veteran, I hope I've given you a few ideas on how to see the humble lotion bar in a different light.

I haven't made lotion bars in what seems like a long time - well, Christmas - but I've really enjoyed making quite a few of them for this series of posts. I had forgotten how satisfying the immediate gratification of a product I could use right away could be! Melt, pour, take out of freezer, use, evaluate instead of waiting to check viscosity or waiting to bottle or waiting to use it in the bath, and so on.

A few thoughts about lotion bars before we move onto our next topic...

Packaging your lotion bars - You can use tins or containers, but consider using cellophane bags or those chocolate foils from the cake decorating shops. Just make sure you label your lotion bars as "not edible", especially if you like food based fragrances like I do!

Consider the season - If you make lotion bars today, consider where to store them. If you are experiencing 30˚C days (like we are in B.C.), get them into the fridge or freezer or a cool dark place if you aren't using them right away. Or modify your recipe to handle the heat by using a butter with a higher melting temperature (like cocoa, sal, or kokum butter) or more beeswax.

Choosing your moulds - You can make lotion bars in various sizes from small to large. I like to use chocolate moulds and silicone ice cube trays to get loads of small ones in cute sizes, but plastic soap moulds work well. If you don't have any moulds, consider using a small metal cupcake baking pan! Line it with cute cupcake liners and pour your lotion bars in there. Just make sure the people to whom you give your lotion bars know these aren't edible! (If the weather is cooler, you can even make some icing with a stiffened whipped butter!)

Have fun playing! Lotion bars are a great way to try out different oil and butter combinations before moving on to lotion making, which takes many more ingredients and a lot more effort. You can learn a lot by actually feeling the oils and butters on your skin, and it's a great way to see which combinations feel great together and which ones to avoid. I know a lot of people want drier lotions and lotion bars are a great way to take it from theory to practice!

If you enjoyed making the basic lotion bar, why not check out these posts from the past for further reading?
And if you can make lotion bars, why not try these products, which are very much like lotion bars?
Join me tomorrow when we take a look at balms! 

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