Turn your favorite fall drink into LOTION BARS! This easy lotion bars recipe without beeswax is the perfect vegan alternative for your homemade massage bars.
I’ve been obsessed with Chai lattes lately. Everywhere I take a “coffee break” I’m looking for the perfect Chai. A silky foam top with warming spices and sweetened with vanilla …
It only felt right to turn this comforting drink into heart-warming massage bars!
These vegan lotion bars make a great addition to your fall or winter skincare routine. And since this recipe makes 3, why not give them as gifts for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve!
How To Make Lotion Bars without Beeswax
This lotion bars recipe without beeswax is inspired by my DIY Vanilla Latte Lotion Bars recipe.
You only need 3 all-natural basic ingredients to make them and they will last you through all of fall and probably winter as well. Because even when you only make this recipe once, you get about 3 full-sized lotion massage bars.
The base of these massage bars is a simple blend of moisturizing cocoa butter, shea butter and almond oil.
Let’s take a closer look at the wonderful natural ingredients that these lotion bars are made of.
Cocoa Butter as a Wax substitute
Cocoa butter is our primary, base ingredient. This ingredient is what holds the massage bars together.
Just like wax in other lotion bar recipes, cocoa butter will harden at room temperature.
That makes this recipe the perfect vegan alternative for the classic hard beeswax lotion bar recipes you can find online.
Not only will cocoa butter make your massage bars smell amazing (if you use the unrefined version that is). By making butter the primary ingredient you also get a much softer, creamier lotion bar experience.
Cocoa butter is a gorgeous moisturzing butter on its own. But you’ll notice that if you try to rub pure cocoa butter on your skin, it’ll feel quite brittle and dry.
That’s where creamy shea butter comes in. The soft, buttery texture of she butter adds some softness to the bars, without turning them into a melting mess.
Shea butter is a readily available ingredient that’s used a lot in homemade skincare recipes. And since shea butter has a relatively long shelf life, I like to buy a big tub and have it in my stash at all times.
Other popular skincare butter and possible substitutes for shea butter are avocado and mango butter. They both have a drier feel to the skin. So if you find that lotion bars are generally too greasy for you, try one of these options.
To add yet another moisturizing ingredient to the list I used a small amount of almond oil in this recipe.
I chose almond oil because it’s readily available and a popular choice for DIY skincare. An added bonus is that this oil has a relatively long shelf life as well.
You can swap almond oil for another carrier oil that you like. Great choices are jojoba oil or avocado oil.
You don’t have to add a carrier oil. For example, in my book DIY Beauty I share a recipe that only uses cocoa and shea butter!
You can also replace the shea butter and carrier oil with extra virgin coconut oil. When solid at room temperature it has a similar creamy texture than what you would get from mixing shea butter with a carrier oil.
Optional: Vitamin E oil
You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil to help maintain the shelf life of the ingredients in these lotion bars.
Oils will go rancid after some time as they are exposed to air and light. This process is called oxidization.
Even if you keep excellent care of your ingredients, it’s inevitable that at one time they will start to oxidize. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that helps slow down that oxidization process. And that’s the end of that chemistry lesson (#beautynerd).
Since all of the ingredients listed above have a fairly long shelf life, the addition of vitamin E oil isn’t really necessary. There’s a good chance you’ll finish your products well before their expiration date.
Only if you were to use a carrier oil with a shorter shelf life, like grape seed oil or evening primrose oil, adding vitamin E oil is highly recommended.
Do lotion bars need a preservative?
Vitamin E oil will only slow down the oxidization process, it will not preserve the products.
Because these lotion bars are ‘anhydrous’, meaning that they are only made with oil-based ingredients, this recipe does not require a preservative.
You need water to grow bacteria. Since no water or water-based ingredients are used to make these massage bars, technically you don’t need a preservative to keep germs off.
The shelf life of the finished lotion bar will be similar to the one of the ingredient with the shortest shelf life. So do lotion bars expire? Yes, I use between 6 and 12 months as a rule of thumb.
Maybe you sensed it already, but there’s a big BUT coming up here.
This only works if you keep your lotion bars in tiptop shape. So keep all water away from your homemade lotion bars.
That means you can’t use them in the shower and that you should always store your lotion bars in a cool, dry place.
You can always add a broad spectrum preservative that works for oil-based products if you prefer.
How To Add Scent to Lotion Bars
Now that we’ve got our base recipe covered it’s time to see how we can spice these lotion bars up! (pun intended).
Naturally Scented: vanilla & chai spices
I used the seeds of one vanilla bean to give my massage bars that classic whiff of vanilla.
I know vanilla isn’t a traditional chai latte ingredient. But they often use it in this hipster acclaimed beverage to add that extra sweet note.
By using the seeds of a vanilla bean you also create an added dramatic effect. The seeds will float in the mixture and give it that speckled appearance.
I didn’t find the seeds to bother me much. It did not make the bars grainy at all and you barely notice they are there.
Next up is the Chai. For the chai spices portion I decided to stick to ground cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.
If you’re using a pre-made chai mix, make sure it doesn”t have any added ingredients like sugar in it.
The actual mix for a chai latte also contains cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Truth be told, I didn’t add these because A. I didn’t have them in my cupboard and B. the iconic smell really comes from the cinnamon and cardamom.
The spices will have a tendency sink to the bottom. No matter how hard you try (ask me how I know). To keep some of the spices from sinking I put the molds covered in the freezer for a couple of minutes to speed up the cool down process.
Cinnamon is said to help with acne and even eczema but some people also find cinnamon irritating on the skin. Test the lotion bars first on a small patch of your skin. You can also just use the ‘up’ side of the bars instead of the side with all the spices.
Fragrance and Essential Oils
Another way to add scent to your lotion bars is to use fragrance oils or essential oils.
I actually managed to find a Chai Tea Scented Fragrance Oil. Combine it with a vanilla fragrance oil if you’re as obsessed with vanilla chai lattes as me.
You will only need a tiny amount. Always follow the instructions from the brand when it comes to using fragrance oils and remember that a little goes a long way.
Alternatively, you might prefer to use essential oils instead.
Always read the contraindications and instructions that come with your essential oils.
Essential oils are very concentrated so the smallest amount will do. I do not recommend adding more than 10 drops of essential oils in total to this recipe.
Now, that’s enough chatting! Below you can find a simple fall-approved lotion bars recipe without beeswax that anyone can make at home.
- Melt the cocoa butter and Shea butter together using the double boiler method. You do this by placing a pot or double boiler insert over hot water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil (almond or another carrier oil of your choice) to the melted mixture. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Take the double boiler off the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- Add vitamin E oil, if using. Stir the mixture until combined.
- Add the seeds of 1 vanilla bean or vanilla fragrance or essential oil (follow brand instructions).
- Optional: add 1 to 2 teaspoons of pure ground chai spices to the mixture. Stir everything together until everything is combined. Alternatively, you could use chai fragrance oil or a custom blend of essential oils (see above).
- Pour the mixture into your molds and wait until about 2 hours or until the lotion bars have set and cooled. Most of the spices will sink to the bottom. You can place the molds covered in the freezer or fridge to harden faster.
Store your lotion bars in a cool, dry and dark place. A tin or closed box is ideal.
These lotion bars should keep up to 6 months.
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Now all you need is someone to massage you!
And if you’re looking for more fall inspired homemade beauty tutorials, here’s a great selection of posts from my blogging friends!
These easy to make sugar scrub cubes exfoliate, moisturize and cleanse your skin all in one simple step. They’re made with melt and pour soap, shea butter and coconut oil for gentle cleansing. Plus, they’re scented with essential oils and dried flowers so they’re both non-toxic and all-natural.
Learn how to make three fall-inspired DIY sugar scrub cubes: fall bouquet, cinnamon churro and caffè mocha from Kim & Kyla (A Life Adjacent)
These rebatched soaps are easy to make with bars of soap, ground oatmeal, and an apple pie spice essential oil blend.
Turn hotel soaps into these adorable apple pie spice oatmeal doughnut soaps by Cari (Everything Pretty).
As we transition from summer into fall, our skin needs change. With cooler temperatures and drier air, we can all use extra hydration in our skin care routine.
These easy homemade bath bombs with essential oils are made with natural, moistursing ingredients that hydrate your skin while you enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of the essential oils.
Celebrate autumn with three fall bath bomb recipes! Pumpkin spice, pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin pie bath bombs create cozy fall vibes while you relax in the tub. Tutorial from Cyna & Irena (Country Hill Cottage).
AAAAND … If you like any of these DIY tutorials than don’t forget to put a pin on it! 🙂