Today’s DIY project looks and smells so divine it’s almost good enough to eat! Inspired by Terry’s chocolate orange, a classic British confectionery, my mini lotion bars will make the perfect last-minute stocking filler, as well as keeping your hands soft and nourished, which is especially important since many of us will have hours of gift-wrapping fun ahead. (Ahhh, the mere thought of handling endless rolls of wrapping paper and sellotape is making my hands feel dry already!!)
The key ingredients in these lotion bars are beeswax, sweet almond oil and avocado butter:
- Beeswax keeps the lotion bars solid and acts as a barrier on the skin to help prevent moisture loss.
- Sweet almond oil is a great emollient.
- Avocado butter is deeply conditioning.
To re-create the warm, sweet scent of chocolate orange, I’m using cocoa butter and a combination of essential oils (sweet orange, lemon and benzoin). The subtle honey scent from the beeswax also adds to the sweetness.
Argan oil, a thick and non-greasy carrier oil rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, is included for added luxury. Natural vitamin E (tocopherol) soothes dry and itchy skin, plus it slows down the oxidation process in the oils (which is what causes rancidity), so I’m using it to help extend the shelf life of my lotion bars.
Finally, some golden mica is added for a hint of shimmer.
Because the lotion bar is solid, you can keep it in a tin and not worry about it squirting out of a tube and making a mess in your pocket or bag by accident!
Ingredients and tools
- 22.4g beeswax
- 22.4g sweet almond oil
- 16g avocado butter
- 8g cocoa butter
- 8g argan oil
- 40 drops (1.6g) natural vitamin E
- 20 drops (0.8g) sweet orange essential oil
- 10 drops (0.4g) lemon essential oil
- a few “blobs” (0.4g) of benzoin
- a sprinkle of golden-coloured mica
- silicone mould (I used a Christmas-tree-shaped ice cube tray!)
- a heatproof measuring jug
- a small saucepan
- a heatproof stirrer
The above will make around 80g worth of lotion bars. If you prefer a harder bar, you can try upping the amount of wax and/or butter slightly, or reducing the amount of oils. The amount of essential oils I have used in this recipe amount to 2% (1.6g) of the combined weight of all the ingredients (80g).
- Clean and dry your utensils before starting.
- Prepare a double boiler by first filling one-third of a small saucepan with boiling water, and leave it on the stove to simmer.
- In a heatproof measuring jug, add in the beeswax. Carefully lower the jug into the saucepan of hot water. The heat from the water will gradually melt the wax.
- When the wax has melted, turn off the heat but leave the jug in the saucepan. Add in the cocoa butter and avocado butter, and gently stir until both have also melted.
- Now add in the sweet almond and argan oils, and stir (don’t let the mixture harden; if it does, turn the heat up a little for 20 seconds or so).
- The mixture should now resemble golden syrup. Take the measuring jug out of the saucepan, wipe its base dry with a towel; let the mixture cool down a little. Keep stirring it though – don’t let it solidify.
- Once the mixture has cooled down to the point where you can comfortably wrap your bare hands around the jug, add in the essential oils and vitamin E drops. Stir to mix everything.
- For a subtle shimmery effect (it’s Christmas, after all!), sprinkle some golden mica into the mixture and mix thoroughly.
- The mixture should begin to thicken now, so now is the time to pour it into the cavities of your mould.
- Leave the mould in the fridge to harden for a few hours before popping the lotion bars out.