Beating the Winter Blahs

January 18, 2011

The grey of winter has settled here in Northern Colorado, and the kids and I are doing are best to stay warm and cozy. This is always the time of year when I find myself in need of self-care and nurturing, heading into the herb closet to make salves, soaps and bath remedies.

Over the past few days, a lot of lotion bars have been made, wrapped, stored and gifted. In anticipation of a new little one, diaper ointments and baby oils have been thoroughly researched, and the kids and I have found and modified our favorite recipes.

Lotion bars are one of the true great inventions. A solid bar of beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter and a touch of lavender makes these smell great, and are a fun way to get the nutrients that the skin needs with out the worry of the kiddos spilling oil all over the floor.

Made into a massage bar form, these are a great gift for just about anyone, and are always part of our Valentine’s Day gifting to friends and family. I am sure that there are tons of recipes for many different types of lotion bars, but our favorite has been a quick and easy combo of oils and beeswax that gives the bar a solid texture that melts to the warmth of the hands.

4 oz of beeswax
4 oz cocoa butter
4 oz shea butter
2 oz Jojoba oil
10-15 drops of lavender essential oil
Melt everything together in a double broiler and pour into ready made molds. Allow to harden for 24 hours, remove from the molds and allow to harden for another 24-48 hours.
Enjoy!
To combat colds, flus and the general blahs of winter, the boys and I try to do steam inhalations as often as we need, especially living at above 5000 ft where the dryness is about more than you can take in the winter months. We have an endless combination of dried herbs and oils that we use, but lately we have been loving a combo of peppermint, spearmint and ginger root. 
A few tablespoons of your favorite herbs, a few essential oils (if needed), some hot water and a towel can make any winter day a little bit easier. I have been surprised by my kids love of steam, and their willingness to stand over a bowl of hot water, taking deep breaths, for a good 20 minutes. It really does help to alleviate many of the issues that we see during the winter months, and no matter what, it always feels a bit relaxing as well. 
The winter months can be rough, but I always feel like a few home remedies can make the devastating effects of the weather a little bit easier. 

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Q January 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm

love the way that you take care of your family….just reading your post brings a sense of tranquility to me. stay nourished.

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Sunshine Mama January 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I've heard of lotion bars just recently, but was not sure how to make it. Thank you for sharing the recipe. My son and I have dry skin all year round, but in the cold Alberta winters, it gets quickly out of hand if we're not careful. I recently discovered that pure grapeseed oil works really well for us, but I would not want to carry a bottle of oil around with me. These bars would be perfect to keep with us, so we can use it when we need to. I've also been using peppermint essential oil for my family to help up with the winter blahs. I just wrote a post on it actually :) It really helps us feel calm and happy.

Stay warm!

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neptune7 January 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Where do you get your molds for this? Ice cubes ones?

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Its_Lily January 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Lotion bars are a wonderful idea. I just saw a bottle of lotion in my d-i-l's knitting bag, and being the type of person I am, I immediately saw red flags because of the brand. I didn't say anything about that, but I asked her about why she carried it. Said her hands get dry from some types of yarn. Do you know if the lotion bars would leave a residue when she's knitting?

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PlainandJoyfulLiving January 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Love the simplicity of this. Can these be used like soap?
Where do you buy your cocoa butter and oil?
Warm wishes, Tonya

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samthehamsmom January 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Looks great! Is it bad that I want to eat your first picture…YES IT IS BAD!

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elizabeth January 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Oh what wonderful winter "treats". We just started making hand lotion and love it, but I can see wonderful uses of lotion bars. What type of molds do you use?

Blessings, Elizabeth

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emmalina73 January 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I can smell the yumminess, you've inspired me to make something nice!

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daisy January 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

LOVE this! x

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daisy January 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Also what can I use for a mould at home? Can I use empty yoghurt pots and such like?

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Amanda January 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I, like other posters, am curious about your molds. Where do you find them? Also your ingredients. Any pointers you can give would be wonderful! My 12mo baby girl was just diagnosed with eczema; the first in our family. So I am looking at all kinds of soaps/lotions/etc that can be used.

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beth curtin January 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I'm visiting blog friends to see how to get out of winter gloom. This recipe looks like it would help. Thanks! love, Beth

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Citysister January 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Where do you find these different oils?

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Beetnik Mama January 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Okay, our brainwaves are so tuned to the same frequency lately, it's getting downright scary! I have "Organic Body Care Recipes," by Stephanie Tourles sitting in front of me right now. It's full of easy, yummy skincare formulas. I'm planning to make the Vanilla Honey Lip Balm with my girls to give out as Valentine's gifts.

I love the lotion bar idea, too. Thanks!

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Anna January 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Oh, I've bought lotion bars, but never made them. LOVE this idea! Thank you so much for the recipe and the idea to put my stuffed up little one over a bowl of hot water with some herbs tonight. Not sure why I haven't thought of it before.

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melissa January 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

Oh what a great idea. I feel nurtured just reading this post :) Thanks for sharing!

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Kelly January 19, 2011 at 2:08 am

I am interested in your molds too. Love the looks of this recipe – I can't wait to try it! My skin has been so dry.

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Kerry January 19, 2011 at 2:21 am

Oh my, I want to try this so badly! You amaze me mama! Such great ideas!

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adkmama January 19, 2011 at 2:43 am

you have the best recipes! These bars look creamy dreamy. I bet they are amazing for babies.

XO, J

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Andrea January 19, 2011 at 3:14 am

Mmm…those lotion bars look good enough to eat! Can't wait to try out your recipe!

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lacey January 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm

they all sound good enough to eat!

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Denise January 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I have never heard of lotion bars – may have to give this a try.

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perches January 19, 2011 at 4:55 am

How lovely! This is the first time I've heard of lotion bars, and your homemade recipe sounds delightful. And the steam baths, oh your description makes me want to run out immediately to the herb store. We will definitely do that this week. Thank you for the inspiration :)

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erin January 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I've been fighting a cold for a week. The kind that is accompanied by a headache and constant stuffy nose and sneezing. I think I'm going to try some steam inhalations. Thanks Heather. :-)

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agambroult January 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

this is a well-timed post — right before I came here I was at amazon, buying Rosamary Gladstar's herbal recipe book :)
the thought of an "herb closet" makes me giddy, and I am in the process of staring one of my own. SO very much to learn first, but your lotion bars seems like a good place to start!

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shannon January 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

These look so super fabulous. I usually shy away from projects like these but you have me inspired once again, enjoy these last few weeks of being pregnant. How exciting!

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Angela January 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thanks for the recipes! I have been looking into and making some remedies myself. I love how your kiddos are so into it. I think I will try making some nuturing salves with my own children! Thanks for the inspiration!
xo, Angela

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twigandtoadstool January 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm

What a wonderful recipe!!! Definately going to try this out next week! I want to incorporate more homemade beauty products in my life!
xo maureen

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Nina - Tabiboo January 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

That all sound so divine and looks absolutely gorgeous. One of the things I would like to try and 'master' this year is how to make my own soap and your post has given me lots to think about.

take care

Nina xx

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Patty-Jean January 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Some good inspiration for me today…as I've noticed some sniffles this morning! Lavender here we come – Thanks!
A couple of days ago I finished up a batch of deodarant using a similar recipe only a less the beeswax and plus some baking powder and lots of extra essential oils….so far it's working.

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Julia January 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm

These lotion bars look like pure luxury. The winter blahs are definitely setting in around here and this could be just the antidote.

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mamaacorn January 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I had just mentioned to my family a few days ago that I wanted to make some lotion bars and needed to find a recipe.

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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Thanks Nina! I have loved making soap in the past, and I think that it is a great project to take on in 2011. When we switched from commercial soap to homemade, I was honestly surprised at home many of our skin issue disappeared. I can't wait to read about your journey. Be well, Heather.
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm

They smell good enough to eat too :). There is a faint chocolate smell that I just adore catching a wiff of throughout the day.
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I think that they would be good for older babies, about 6 months or up. When I had Jake they told me that using a very light oil, like apricot was the best for them and their tiny pores. These bars are pretty heavy, but so nourishing.
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Thanks Maureen :). I have to admit that bringing more homemade bath and beauty products into our lives has seen a big difference in skin irritations. There is a book that I really love called Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair that is worth looking into. So many great basic recipes. Enjoy!
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm

One of the things that we have in our natural health food store that I am so grateful for are these small bags of herbs of every kind. The reason that I like is that I am not big in buying herbs in bulk. I get lavender and chamomile in 1lb bags from Mountain Rose organics, but that is about it. Everything else that I use, I buy in a few ounces at a time (once our stash from the growing season has been used up), and then just make a run a few times a year as we need things. It is worth exploring, and can normally be found in those tiny food stores. For winter, I make sure we have spearmint, peppermint, sage, lavender, chamomile, elderberries, ginger root, calendula, and a few others. Some get made into teas, some into salves, some into oils. They stay pretty \”fresh\”, and it is awesome to have an herb closet to go to for what is needed.
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm

My husband and I started using straight baking soda as deodarant about 8 years ago (just a small amount on the fingers and then rub), and I could NEVER go back to anything else. It works so perfectly, and just feels so much better knowing exactly what is being put on such a sensitive area. Thanks for sharing your recipe :).
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I was kind of surprised by how easy making the lotion bars can be, and that recipe will make about 8 small bars, and 4 large ones, which is really economical as well. I make one set of large bars for the family for winter, and then make a smaller set to gift at Valentine's Day (this year I even included them for Christmas). They are really fun, make your house smell amazing, and are a treat for the body.
It always amazes me how little we use steam baths or inhalations as well. I went back to using them when we moved to Colorado and I could not stand the dry air, but my mom had used them while we were growing up so often. They really do help a ton, and leave you feeling so much more refreshed as well. Hope you are feeling better soon.
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I found all of the oils at my local health food store. If you can't locate them there, one resource would be Mountain Rose Organics. They carry the shea butter and cocoa butter, and I am thinking that they may carry the beeswax too. We get our beeswax from a local source in our area, which is becoming more common to find. Hope that helps :).
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm

There have been moments where I thought that the idea of a lotion bar was really silly, but I think what I have found is that you can get some of the heavier oils and butters into one product that is really nourishing for the skin. I have come to love them, and could not live without them throughout these harsh months. Hope you enjoy!
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

You sweet pregnant mama :)
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm

The lotion bars are really pretty heavy, and they do leave a residue. The ones that I make are for pretty heavy use, and I use them daily for skin protection.
I really take issue with regular lotions as well. They can be so toxic, and much more drying in the long run.
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm

These lotion bars are so nice and heavy, and they are perfect for early morning or before bed. I would recommend using them right after you get out of the shower or bath, while the skin is still warm and the pores are open. This allows for the maximum amount of protection, and I find that I still feel it a bit even after 8-10 hours of application. That just amazes me.
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geepeace January 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I am so excited to try this one!!!

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farhana January 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Can anyone tell me where can I buy the ingredients from?

Thank you.

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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

The molds that I used are from this store http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/soap-mold-q… but you can also use just about anything, from muffin pan molds to so many others. I like the idea of a massage bar, and I buy bar molds that will last me through a lot of applications, but really anything that you can find in your house will work perfectly.
As for the oils and herbs, I am lucky enough that I have a small store in my town that carries organic oils, and small bagged herbs that I can get as needed. I would recommend Mountain Rose Organics as a source for the butters and oils. I also get my beeswax at a local source during farmers market season, and I just make sure to buy enough to last me through the winter and spring. This is becoming a more comon product to find from local sources, even in the winter time. I hope that this helps :).
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Yoghurt pots, muffin pans etc would work really perfect. As long as it is sturdy and can withstand heat, it will do great. I have used my muffin tins for large, round bars, and then bundt pan molds for smaller bars. Works perfect.
Heather Fontenot
” target=”_blank”>http://www.shivayanaturals.com
” target=”_blank”>http://www.rhythmofthehome.com
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

The molds that I used are from this store http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/soap-mold-q… but you can also use just about anything, from muffin pan molds to so many others. I like the idea of a massage bar, and I buy bar molds that will last me through a lot of applications, but really anything that you can find in your house will work perfectly.
As for the oils and herbs, I am lucky enough that I have a small store in my town that carries organic oils, and small bagged herbs that I can get as needed. I would recommend Mountain Rose Organics as a source for the butters and oils. I also get my beeswax at a local source during farmers market season, and I just make sure to buy enough to last me through the winter and spring. This is becoming a more comon product to find from local sources, even in the winter time.
I use the lotion bars as soon as I get out of the bath or shower, while the skin is still warm. It goes on so smoothly, and the protection lasts throughout the entire day.
Hope this helps :)
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Shivayamama January 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

The molds that I used are from this store http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/soap-mold-q… but you can also use just about anything, from muffin pan molds to so many others. I like the idea of a massage bar, and I buy bar molds that will last me through a lot of applications, but really anything that you can find in your house will work perfectly.
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Nicola @ Which Name? January 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Oh, lovely!
Nicola

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Val January 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

Lotion bars look intriguing how do they work ?

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Julia B January 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I have been thinking about these for days…Its meant to be, I just pulled out a bin of supplies I had stashed from former attempts at balms and potions, and in this bin were all the ingredients (exactly half a batch in measurements) to make these lovely bars…I can't wait!

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M.J. January 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I am not sure how I found you, I think through Twig and Toadstool, but I LOVE your site!! I just started making my own soaps and when I found this page, I was ecstatic!! Looking forward to exploring some more and thanks for the recipe!!

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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Lotion bars are best used after a shower and bath, when the skin is still warm. Their main purpose it to be able to use heavier oils, like shea or cocoa butter, with ease. We use them in the same way as oil and lotion, but just as greater protection throughout the Winter.
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Val January 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm

…that sounds like a practical idea Many Thanks I was quite puzzled :0)

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adsfarm.co.uk January 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

The way you take care of your kids is admirable! I like your making soap hobby…I'll try to make a soap myself.

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Stephinie February 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

oh my, these look fantastic!

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