Herbal Lotion BarsHard lotion bars are semi-firm and can be rubbed onto the skin to create a healing lotion. They are great for dogs who have dry cracked skin abrasions and itchy irritations. They can even be used to moisturize your dog’s ear flaps, nails and nail beds and can be used for your cuticles and fingernails too.
These are relatively easy to make and its fun to do, it's like making a salve, but involves different proportions of wax to oil. Batches can be customized and made differently by slightly altering the ingredients. Get creative and you can make them in any shape or size you choose. They make great gifts as well.
Some Additional Ideas for Making Medicinal BarsInsect Repellent Bars for Dogs and People Too (DO NOT USE ON CATS)To the recipe below, add the following essential oils. These oils help to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, etc.
- 10 drops of Lavender essential oil (repels)
- 4 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil (repels and kills fleas)
Just rub a bar lightly between clean hands and apply a small amount of lotion into your dogs fur (to areas the dog can not lick) on top of the head, around the neck, down the back (spine) and on the top side at the base of the tail. To keep fleas away, a light rub should be applied as above, several times a week.
Arthritis, Muscle Pain and Bruising Bars
Use infused oil of Hypericum in place of the regular oil in the recipe below. Use the lotion from a bar to ease pain and inflammation in affected joints. Works well for deep muscle pain, back pain and painful bruises too (Hypericum is non-toxic and OK to use in areas that can be licked).
Hot Spots and Allergy Skin Bars
Substitute Calendula and Chickweed ‘infused’ oil for the jojoba or grape seed oil in the recipe below. Calendula is healing to the skin, it has antibacterial properties and it also helps to close wounds. Chickweed has strong anti-itch properties. It is excellent for calming allergic skin reactions like flea bite dermatitis and grass allergies. This infused oil recipe is safe for cats because there are no added essential oils. Both Calendula and Chickweed herbs are non-toxic.
The following recipe makes about seven one-ounce herbal bars. If you like, you can increase the ingredients to make larger batches.
To make the bars you will need...
- 3 ounces of beeswax
- 1.5 ounces of cocoa butter
- 1.5 ounces of shea butter
- 3 ounces of jojoba or grape seed oil or an herbal infused oil
- Molds or small tins with lids
- Saucepan (use one that you keep reserved for recipes that contain wax and oils)
- Something to stir with (I use an old wooden spoon or a tongue depressor)
- Essential oils (optional - see suggestions below)
Measure out the wax and butters by weight. Begin by melting the beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter. I use a double boiler. If you don't have one, float a smaller pot inside of a larger one containing simmering water (don't let any of the water in the base pot accidentally get into the mixture).
Stir continuously to avoid burning the butters and the wax.
Once the butters and wax are melted, you then add the oil. This is measured by volume and can be any food grade oil. I prefer jojoba or grape seed oil. Both of these oils are “dry” oils, meaning they are absorbed into the skin easily. Olive oil can be used but it will leave an oily residue and feeling on the skin, hair or fur.
To make this extra special you can infuse the oil with medicinal herbs
. I usually use calendula or hypericum (or both). If you’ve never infused an oil before you can learn how here
. If you don’t have time to do this step and would rather purchase infused oils, refer to the links at the bottom of the page.
When the oil is added to the melted materials the butters and wax may solidify a little.
Just continue stirring over low heat
until the mixture is completely melted. Oils will become rancid far more quickly when they are exposed to high heat and herbs can loose their medicinal qualities, so limit the degree of heat on the mixture as much as you can.
When everything is melted and the mixture is removed from the heat, you can stir in your essential oils (optional).
Lastly, pour or ladle the mixture into molds or small tin containers.
MoldsYou can purchase silicon molds in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Once the lotion bars have cooled and set it’s really easy to remove them from this type of mold. You could also try using muffin tins, or shaped metal molds. I usually grease the tins with a small amount of coconut oil before pouring the mixture in.
Don't disturb the molds until the bars have completely cooled. If you bump them or move them at all the surface will crack and you’ll loose the smooth appearance. When cool and solid, pop them out of the mold or tin and they are ready to use.
Little tin containers offer more protection to the bar and could be carried in purses etc. If using tin containers make sure the inside is smooth all the way to the top of the container, this is so that when the lotion bar solidifies it can easily slip out. If there is a curled lip at the top rim you’ll have a hard time getting it out! If you live in a hot climate or make them in the summer I strongly recommend using this type of tin to store the bars.
Store the finished shapes in a cool place. If they get too warm they will melt.
Don’t forget to make a label and package insert of the ingredients and what they are used for.Resources
Hypericum (St. John’s Wort)