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Simple all natural lemon basil solid lotion bar recipe. Or sub the lemongrass and basil essential oils with eucalyptus and camphor for an herbal vapor rub!

Lemon Basil Solid Lotion Bars with Essential Oils

This lemon basil lotion bar recipe is a wonderful way to care for skin. Formulated with a refreshing scent combo of lemon and basil essential oils, this hard lotion not only moisturizes and conditions dry skin, but it also smells amazing! Discover how to make solid lotion bars to alleviate dry skin. Plus, be sure to check out my other essential oil blends to try with this skin care DIY. 

solid lotion bar with essential oils

DIY Essential Oil Lotion Bars

I’ve been wanting to learn how to make lotion bars for quite some time. However, I wasn’t quite sure what to use for the mold. Not wanting to go to the extra expense of purchasing molds at this point, I kept putting this project off. Then I polished off a 3.6 oz. single serving of Starbucks Java Chip Frappucino Ice Cream one night. That’s when I realized that these little ice cream containers make perfect molds for making DIY solid lotion bars! I just washed it out like I would any other dish. Then set it aside to dry.

Alternately, if you’re pinching pennies at the moment like I am, you can also use a muffin tin as a mold. A silicon muffin mold would be ideal if you’re you’re planning on making soaps and solid lotion bars to gift this holiday season.

If you enjoy fresh clean scents year round, or are simply looking for a fresh, fun fragrance for summer, than this is one beauty DIY you have to try! As lemon and basil are popular fragrances during the summer months, I scented this solid lotion bar recipe with those essential oils. In addition this invigorating essential oil blend, I’m also providing additional fragrance ideas you can try as well! One of which is an essential oil blend that helps to alleviate the symptoms of allergies and colds.

The natural, lemon and basil essential oil blend I used to create this homemade solid lotion is just perfect for summer! I like to use this product all over my body when I’m suffering from dry skin. However, it also works great as a cracked heel balm for rough or dry feet. After all, keeping our feet moisturized and looking great is a priority if we’re going to sport sandals or hit the beach while the weather’s hot. Keep reading for more!

Essential Oil Combinations for Lotion Bars

You don’t have to scent your homemade lotion bars with essential oils. However, I prefer to use lightly scented products for their aromatherapeutic benefits. Following are some of my favorite essential oil combinations for lotion bars:

  • 1 part lemongrass + 1 part basil: Not only is this essential oil blend refreshing and uplifting, but basil essential oil is naturally antibacterial. And, like lemongrass essential oil, it can also help to repel biting insects that are popular during the hot summer months.
  • 2 parts eucalyptus + 1 part camphor: This blend works great when you rub this hard lotion onto your chest. It helps soothe symptoms associated with allergies and colds such as coughing and chest congestion. For the homemade lotion bar recipe below, I advise using 30 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and 15 drops of camphor essential oil in place of the lemon and basil oils. Then rub the finished product onto your chest as needed to relieve symptoms.
  • 3 parts eucalyptus essential oil + 2 parts peppermint + 2 parts blood orange +1 part rosemary + 1 part tea tree: This orange eucalyptus essential oil blend is one of my favorites as it has so many different applications for health, home and skin care. Not only is this an uplifting fragrance blend, but it also provides a slight cooling sensation. Therefore, it’s perfect for DIY lotion bars for after sun care.
  • 1 part lavender + 1 part lemongrass: This is the epitome of the perfect summer scent. It smells just like you image summer would and blends two popular essential oils together equally for a fresh citrus, floral fragrance.
  • 1 part patchouli + 1 part peppermint: Another lightly cooling essential oil blend, this combo contains patchouli for its ability to promote healing. While patchouli is classically a very strong scent, the peppermint tames it to a pleasant level that most people won’t find overpowering.
  • 1 part peppermint + 1 part lavender: Lavender and peppermint is another classic scent. This essential oil blend is great year-round, not just the summer months.

How Much Essential Oil Do You Put in Lotion Bars?

I recommend using up to .5% (or a half percent) essential in lotion bars. To figure this, add up the total weight of all the ingredients. Then take a half percent of that total to determine the amount of essential oils to put in your lotion bars. If the amount of essential oils needed is small, it may be able to figure out how much essential oil you need in drops.

If calculating the amount of essential oils needed in drops, I suggest using 6-12 drops of essential oil per one ounce of product. This is dependent upon the usage rate for the essential oils you’ve chosen to make your essential oil solid lotion bars. (As some essential oils have a higher usage rate than others.) For example, when making my lemon basil lotion bars, I used 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of product. 

Another helpful tidbit to remember when adding essential oils to your lotions, is that you can convert drops to a liquid measurement. 20 drops of essential oil is roughly equivalent to 1 mL which can be measured using a graduated transfer pipette.

As hard lotions are a leave on product, you want to use less fragrance than you would for a wash off product such as soap.

Homemade Lotion Bars with Essential Oils

© Rebecca D. Dillon

This refreshing lemon basil solid lotion bar recipe with essential oils is a wonderful way to naturally moisturize and condition skin. Like a traditional lotion, but more concentrated, this natural skin care product is formulated without water. As such, it creates a solid, hard lotion bar that melts into skin on contact. The product can then be massaged into skin the same as a moisturizing body cream or liquid lotion.

This simple DIY solid lotion bar yields one 3 oz. lotion bar. However, the recipe can easily be increased by simply doubling the recipe once, twice, or as many times as you like to reproduce this product in bulk.

Lemon Basil Hard Lotion Ingredients

It’s easy to make solid lotion bars. These bars are primarily comprised of three basic ingredients: beeswax, shea butter and a carrier oil. Essential oils are then added for a natural fragrance. To make this homemade lotion bar with essential oils, you will need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 oz. beeswax: I used beeswax pastilles rather than a block of beeswax for its ease of use. Unlike a solid beeswax block, beeswax pastilles come in an easily manageable form that is ready to be melted  — no grating or shaving necessary! This ingredient is used to solidify the lotion bar mixture so that it stays solid when not in use. Beeswax also acts as a humectant, locking moisture into skin, and works to protect skin from the elements. If you prefer not to use beeswax, check out the plant based wax alternatives below. Or learn how to make hard lotion bars without beeswax here.
  • 1 oz. refined shea butter: Shea butter lotion bars are one of my faves! I used refined shea butter for this homemade lotion bar with essential oils as it lacks a noticeable odor. It also have a higher melting point than unrefined shea butter making it the better choice for natural summer skin care products. This moisturizing body butter is used for its unique properties that nourish and condition skin. Cosmetic body butters are rich in essential fatty acids that penetrate dry skin to keep it hydrated, soft and supple. 
  • 1 oz. olive oil: A liquid carrier oil is necessary to keep your DIY essential oil lotion bars from being too hard. They help to reduce the melting point of the lotion by softening the hard lotion just enough that it melts at skin temperature. Therefore, when the lotion is massaged onto skin, some of the product melts into skin and remains behind. For this particular recipe, I used olive oil as it’s easy to source at grocery stores. However, you can substitute the olive oil with another carrier oil of your choice.
  • 15 drops lemongrass essential oil: Used to scent this body care product, lemongrass naturally repels mosquitoes and other biting insects. Therefore, it’s a popular ingredient when crafting mosquito repellent recipes for summer skin care. In addition to its insect repellent properties, this oil also antibacterial and anti-fungal. It also has a fresh and uplifting aroma that’s commonly diffused to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.
  • 15 drops basil essential oil: This essential oil is used in aromatherapy to uplift spirits and reduce symptoms of anxiety. It’s commonly diffused in order to stimulate, clarify, calm, fortify, energize and uplift the mind. When used in skin care, basil is much loved for its anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it beneficial to acne prone skin, but this oil also contains vitamin C which can help lighten skin and even skin tone.

Tools and Equipment for Making Lotions Bars with Essential Oil

There’s a small number of tools and equipment necessary to recreate this skin care recipe. You will need to acquire the following before getting started:

  • Mold: You will need a mold that holds approximately 3.5 oz. — making those mini ice cream cups a great option! (Come on. You know you want an excuse to buy coffee ice cream.) I chose to use an empty 3.6 oz. container of my favorite ice creams — Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino — that I simply washed out and allowed to dry. However, you can also use a silicone muffin cups or these super cute flower shaped silicone baking cups. You can also use a silicone muffin pan or a guest size round silicone soap mold.
  • Glass Pyrex measuring cup: You need a heat-safe container to melt and mix the ingredients. If you don’t have Pyrex, you can use another microwave safe container of your choice.
  • Microwave: As most of us have a microwave in the home, you will use it to melt the ingredients called for in this homemade lotion bar recipe with essential oils. If you do not want to use a microwave, you can use a double boiler instead.
  • Spoon: A spoon or other kitchen utensil is necessary to mix the ingredients for this recipe once they have been melted.
  • Digital Kitchen Scale: An accurate scale that weighs in ounces is required to make these hard lotion bars.
  • Graduate Transfer Pipette: You will need either a transfer pipette or a dropper to add the correct amount of essential oils to this solid lotion bar recipe.

How to Make Homemade Lotion Bars with Essential Oils

Here to how to make homemade solid lotion bars with essential oils for your clean beauty routine:

homemade lotion bar recipe with essential oils

1. Start by weighing out the beeswax and shea butter. Place in a glass measuring cup, then melt at reduced power in your microwave and stir. Next, weigh out the olive oil and stir into the beeswax and shea butter mixture. Now simply add 15 drops each of the lemongrass and basil essential oils and stir. Pour the liquid lotion mixture into your mold and set aside to cool. You can quickly speed up this process by placing the filled mold in the refrigerator or freezer.

diy hard lotion

2. Once your shea butter lotion bar has cooled and completely solidified it’s ready to be removed from the mold. I popped my upcycled ice cream container mold in the freezer for a minute or two. As the ice cream mold is wax lined, my solid lotion bar slid right out once I was ready to remove it from the mold! If you used a silicone mold, simply turn the lotion bar out of the mold used.

solid lotion bar recipe

3. Now all that’s left is to package your lotion bar to your liking. A 4 oz. plastic jar is perfect for this.

How to Use Homemade Lotion Bars

To use, simply rub onto skin and massage in. As this homemade lotion bar is scented with natural essential oils, you can also use this product on your lips.

Lotion Bars FAQ

If you’re new to making lotion bar recipes, it’s common to have questions about how to formulate the recipe in addition to other questions about this product. Following are answers to common questions you may have when starting on your skin care journey. After which, I provide more lotion bar recipes for you try once you’re comfortable with the process.

How Do You Make Bar Lotion?

It’s incredibly easy to formulate a custom lotion bar! To make a basic recipe simply use equal parts of a carrier oil, beeswax and a semi-solid butter. To make them without beeswax, combine equal parts of a carrier oil, plant based wax and a hard butter that’s solid at room temperature. You would then weigh out the ingredients and melt them together to combine. Once mixed, simply pour the solution into molds and allow to harden.

How Do I Scent Solid Lotion Bars?

Scenting DIY solid lotion bars with your favorite fragrance is an incredibly easy task. You may use either fragrance oil or essential oils to scent your solid lotion bar recipes. To do so, you will need to make sure you don’t exceed the recommended usage guidelines for the fragrance you’ve chosen. When scenting hard lotion bars with a fragrance oil, generally you should use no more than 2% of the total recipe. For essential oils keep the maximum amount used between .5%-1% depending on the oil.

You will add the fragrance to this solid lotion after all the ingredients have been melted and mixed. Simply allow the concoction to cool slightly before adding the scent. Then weigh out the required amount and mix in. At that point, you can then pour the lotion mixture into your molds.

Do Lotion Bars Need a Preservative?

As lotion bars are an oil based product and do not contain water, they do not need a preservative. Most solid lotions have a shelf life of 6-12 months. However, the extent of the shelf life depends primarily on the ingredients used as well as the freshness of the products. Choosing fresh, shelf stable ingredients with a long shelf life ensure that your hard lotions last longer. However, you can add an antioxidant, such as vitamin E oil, to your formulations to help extend the shelf life of the oils and butters used to prevent them from going rancid.

Vitamin E, while not a preservative, acts as an anti-oxidant in creams, lotions, baby products, and other cosmetic and skin care products.

How Long Do Homemade Lotion Bars Last?

Expect your homemade lotions bars to last up to one year with proper use and storage.

Why Are My Lotion Bars Too Soft?

There are several reasons your lotion bars may be too soft. It could be the climate that you’re in or it could be that you added too much oil to the recipe. As DIY solid lotion bars are made using natural ingredients, they are highly susceptible to temperature changes. I know that in the winter some lotion bar recipes work fine. However, in the summer, they are much softer. This is often due to a drastic change in room temperature from one season to the next. However, you can firm up the recipe by reducing the amount of carrier oil used or by adding additional wax or butter.

How Do I Make My Lotion Bar Harder?

If your lotion bars are too soft once fully solidified, there are steps you can take to make your lotion bars harder. To do this, remelt the ingredients. Then add additional beeswax and/or a hard butter to the mixture. You can experiment as needed until you find that perfect ratio for your climate. After adding the additional ingredients, simply pour the lotion back into the mold and allow to harden.

How Do You Keep Lotion Bars from Melting?

Lotion bars are heat sensitive. Otherwise, they wouldn’t melt at skin temperature. As this skin care product is designed to melt at around 98°F or less, it is important to protect them from heat to prevent melting. Therefore, I recommend that you store your hard lotion in a temperature controlled environment. Placing the bars in a protective tin or other container and keeping them in a cool, dry location will help keep them from melting in between usage.

How Do You Make Lotion Bar Recipes without Beeswax?

Wondering what you can use instead of beeswax in a lotion bar? The answer is plant based wax also know as vegan wax.

The above recipe creates a solid lotion bar with beeswax. However, you can also make lotion bar recipes without beeswax. To do this, you will need to substitute a plant based wax for the beeswax called for in your recipe. However, you cannot make a straight swap as beeswax and other plant based waxes have varying melting points.

There are several types of plant based waxes you can use to make hard lotion bars with dandelion oil. They include the following:

  • Carnauba WaxCarnauba wax is a hard wax that comes from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree. It has a melting point of 80 to 86 degrees.
  • Candelilla WaxCandelilla wax is commonly used as a vegan substitute for beeswax. It comes from the leaves of a Mexican shrub. It’s melting point is between 68 and 73 degrees.
  • Rice Bran WaxRice bran wax isn’t sticky, so it’s a good wax to use in a dandelion lotion bar recipe. It has a melting point of 79 to 85 degrees.
  • Sunflower WaxSunflower wax doesn’t feel sticky on your skin. It has a melting point of 74 to 80 degrees.

To determine how much vegan wax you need to substitute with beeswax, you need to do a little math. First determine the percentage of difference in the melting point from one wax to the other. (Beeswax has a melting point of between 144° and 147°F.) If the wax you have chosen to use in place of the beeswax has a higher melting point than the beeswax, then you would decrease the amount of wax you are substituting by that percentage. If the wax has a lower melting point than the beeswax, then you need to increase the amount of wax in the lotion bar recipe by that percentage. (A percentage calculator comes in really handy for this task.)

How Do You Make Lotion Bars Less Greasy?

If you’re experiencing greasy lotion bars, you can make a few simple tweaks to help this product absorb faster and skin into skin rather than sitting on top of it. To do this, opt for carrier oils and butters that have a fast absorption rate. You can also choose carrier oils that are known as dry oils, such a camellia seed, coconut, hemp seed and rosehip, as these oils absorb quickly and aren’t greasy once applied.

In addition to choosing oils and butters known for their quick absorption rates, you can also add a small amount of tapioca starch or arrowroot powder to the formulation.

What Are the Benefits of Using Lotion Bars?

There are number of benefits you’ll enjoy when using DIY lotion bars as part of your natural skin care routine. Following are some of the benefits:

  • Lotion bars can be used all over your body, are are especially suited for hands and feet due to its intensely moisturizing properties.
  • There’s also no water in this recipe, so solid lotion bars protect skin in a similar way to a salve. Additionally, this means you won’t have to worry about your lotion going bad and you don’t need a preservative.
  • Another benefit of hard lotion bars is that you can place these solid lotion bars in a tin and carry them in your purse. They are easy to use on the go without the fear of a lotion bottle spilling, busting or leaking in your favorite bag or purse.
  • Lotion bars are made with ingredients designed to quench and nourish dry skin. Therefore, the butters and oils used to make this product moisturize and condition skin.
  • Beeswax is such a wonderful ingredient. When used to make solid lotion bars with beeswax, the wax not only helps keep skin hydrated, but it also forms a barrier on skin that offers natural skin protection.
  • This product, as it’s made using natural ingredients, is a clean beauty product for natural skin care.
  • As lotion bar recipes are formulated without water, they are more concentrated than traditional lotions. As such, they moisturize better than many traditional creams and lotions found on the market today.

Homemade Lotion Bar Recipes with Essential Oils

If you like my lemon basil solid lotion bar, then be sure to try these other homemade lotion bar recipes with essential oils:

  • After After Sun Lotion Bar: This skin soothing lotion is made with aloe and a simple essential oil blend to help relieve sunburn pain and promote healing. This vegan friendly solid lotion is made without beeswax, so it’s a wonderful solution for sunburned skin.
  • Halloween Lotion Bars: Created using fun Halloween silicone molds, these homemade lotion bars are scented with a combination of cedarwood and lavender essential oils. While the addition of biodegradable glitter makes these ideal for homemade gifts.
  • Solid Lotion Bar Recipe without Beeswax: This vegan lotion bar is ideal for plant based, botanical skin care. It’s made with soothing oat butter, plantain infused olive oil and lavender essential oil for a fresh summer scent. 
  • Massage Melts with Essential Oils: This solid lotion recipe is designed for use with massage. It contains a natural essential blend that helps with pain relief.

For more lotion bar recipes as well as DIY essential oil gift ideas, be sure to follow me on your favorite social media accounts. You can find Soap Deli News on  FacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.


  • Michael

    July 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Hello, I love your blog, so many things that inspire me, this one specially. I’m a Melt and Pour guy { call me a wimp if you want, but that is ok}. I made a Clear Lemon Verbena Basil Bar Soap using 1 LB Clear M&P Soap, 1 Whole Lemon, Leaves from some Lemon Verbena and 15 drops of Basil Essential Oil. I used a loaf pan and it came out looking really good.

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