Winter in the Midwest can feel like forever. And it takes a toll on your skin. It's always the backs of my hands and from my knees down that get it the worst. I should probably wear gloves more often and stop going to the gym every day in my workout capris because exposed skin during the winter months is a big no-no.
A few years ago my youngest sister-in-law introduced me to a store at the mall that specialized in natural body care products. I fell in love with these products, especially their in-shower exfoliating lotion bar, but holy heck that stuff gets expensive. This year, I decided to make my own.
I could have used every single ingredient that is listed on the store's website for the product I was trying to duplicate but honestly, I'm just not that into essential oils. I kept things simple instead with:
Why cocoa almonds? Why not! I had them in the house and figured they would add a little more exfoliation since they are drier than raw almonds. Plus, they smell heavenly! I picked up cocoa butter and Shea butter from People's Food Co-op here in Rochester in the bulk food section.
Before I got started, I set up a makeshift double boiler with the sauce pan filled about halfway with water and placed a shallow glass bowl on top. I turned the stove on medium-low heat.
I then measured out 3 - 4 oz of cocoa butter and Shea butter using my Polder kitchen scale. I don't think it's quite necessary to use exactly the same amount of butters when making this lotion bar.
I placed the butters in my makeshift double boiler and they slowly started to melt. I wouldn't worry about mixing the butters while they are melting because they do a pretty good job of melting evenly on their own.
While the butters were melting on the stovetop, I ground the rice and coco almonds in my NutriBullet. I decided to make this batch with rougher exfoliants by having bigger pieces of rice and almonds. You have to remember that these are the pieces that will fall off in your shower or sink so be prepared to wash them down the drain. For my next batch I will grind everything into small pieces since by then my skin will not need as much exfoliation.
When the butters are melted, carefully pour them into a smaller container like a glass measuring cup. This will make it easier to pour the mixture into the molds. Add the dry ingredients to the melted butters and mix. At first, the heavier dry ingredients like the almonds will fall to the bottom and the rice will float to the top. The mixture is NOT ready until everything is even. If after you stir everything and there is a layer of butters at the top, the mixture is not ready. You can speed up the process by cooling the mixture in the fridge and stirring it every 5 minutes or so. Be careful not to let it set completely though. However, if this happens, you can easily soften or melt it again in the microwave.
When the mixture has cooled enough and everything is even, pour it into your choice of molds. I used basic soap molds and a silicone tray mold to make smaller pieces for the kitchen sink.
Place your molds in the freezer to speed up the hardening process and they should be ready in about 10 minutes. They will easily pop out of the molds when they look shiny!
Now that I know how easy and affordable these are to make, I will never have to feel guilty about spending money at that mall store again!
One recipe made 3 bars or 1 bar and a tray of 9 mini cubes for me.
I keep the mini cubes by my kitchen sink since when I'm in the kitchen I'm constantly washing my hands. My knuckles and cuticles dry out terribly in the winter and these lotion bars are exactly what they need!