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Bottled lotions will always get the job done for chronically dry skin, but lotion bars offer the same moisturization in a much more enticing package.
What are Lotion Bars?
Just like there is liquid soap and bar soap, there are liquid lotion and lotion bars too. Essentially, lotion bars are compressed, solid hunks of lotion at room temperature, typically made from ingredients such as beeswax, cocoa butter or shea butter, vitamin E and some essential oils for bar firmness and fragrance. Because they’re water-less solids, lotion bars are easily transportable and involve less packaging waste, so they’re more convenient and eco-friendly.
How to Use Lotion Bars
Lotion bars soften upon contact with body heat, so the ideal time to use one is after a warm shower. Once you’re dried off, start to warm up the lotion bar in your hands. Depending on your preference, you can get the lotion on your hands and rub your body that way or you can gently drag the lotion bar across your skin and massage the moisturizing benefits directly. (That’s our preferred way to do it because it feels absolutely fantastic.)
That’s it. If your lotion bar came into a tin, make sure to put it back or, in the same way as bar soap, set it aside someplace where the bar has time to resolidify, lest you end up with lotion all over. Be careful not to leave the bar in sunlight or an especially warm room because it can start to melt. And remember: Less is more. It doesn’t take much to hydrate and moisturize your skin.
Now that we’ve covered some basics, check out some of the best lotion bars below. And if you’re more of a DIY kind of guy, we’ve included a how-to at the end to make your own luxurious lotion bars at home.
1. The Mod Cabin Essential Lotion Bar
For an all-around great lotion bar to leave on your sink counter for daily or weekly moisturizing, The Mod Cabin’s Essential Lotion Bar has got your back, your body and even your bare hands.
Made from shea butter, beeswax and bran rice oil, this 4-ounce unscented lotion bar comes in at a couple of ounces bigger than most lotion bars, so it’ll keep on delivering the relief from dry skin you need. Plus, it’s TSA friendly, like most lotion bars because they’re not liquid and ships in a tin, so storage is as easy as popping the top on and dropping this bar into your top drawer.
2. Lush Charity Pot Coin Body Lotion Bar
Lush is one of the best in the body pampering business. The Lush Charity Pot Coin Body Lotion Bar may be small at .3 ounces, but its combination of fair trade butters and oils will nourish the heck out of dry skin wherever it may be, but especially on hands and feet. It has a very faint floral scent with notes of vanilla, ylang ylang, moringa and rosewood, but the best part is the “charity pot coin” part. Lush donates 100% of the purchase price to human rights and environmental justice organizations. To renew your skin and support great causes while you’re at it, buy a few of these cheap little high-quality Lush lotion bars.
3. Mountain Madness Soap Solid Lotion Bar
For another top-notch bar, we like the Mountain Madness Soap Solid Lotion Bar. Shea and cocoa butters and olive oil go to work to hydrate and soften skin, and the lemon and rosemary essential oils leave a strong lemony fresh scent. It also ships in a tin for tidy storage, whether you’re throwing it in the bathroom drawer or a dopp kit before a trip. Wherever your rough patches are, this lotion bar will take care of them without making a mess or leaving your skin feeling too greasy. (Remember that a little goes a long way!)
4. Kosmatology Free & Clear Organic Lotion Bar
BEST LOTION BAR STICK
Lotion bar sticks are packaged just like deodorant sticks. They’re easy to apply and super travel friendly, which is why we like the Kosmatology Free & Clear Organic Lotion Bar. Shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil lead the way to moisturize your skin, and it’s PETA-certified as vegan and cruelty-free.
Just twist the knob at the bottom to expose more of the bar and apply directly to your skin wherever you are.
5. ClimbOn All Purpose Lotion Bar
BEST HAND LOTION BAR
ClimbOn All Purpose Lotion Bar is a go-to for the rock climbers who inspired it and who would know better about repairing rough hands than they do?
But this lotion bar can handle more than your hands. They don’t call it the All-Purpose Lotion Bar for nothing. Cracked lips, cracked heels, a dry nose, calluses and more are on the menu too — pretty much anything an outdoorsy person might regularly deal with.
Unlike other options, this formula skips the butters in favor of a bevy of plant oils and beeswax. But it still holds shape fine and rubs onto skin well and, of course, moisturizes pretty darn well too. And with its small 1-ounce size and recyclable tin, it’ll be easy to bring on any adventure.
6. Wizard At Work Large Body Lotion Bar
BEST BODY LOTION BAR
The Wizard At Work Large Body Lotion Bar lives up to its name. Though it’s not the biggest lotion bar on this list, at 3 ounces, it’s still plenty big for repeat body coverage and months of moisturization. We also like that you can choose unscented or from a ton of different fragrances, though we’d recommend keeping it simple with a classic like sandalwood.
7. Bird’s Organics Lotion Bar
BEST MOISTURIZER BAR
Though all these lotion bars qualify as moisturizer bars, we’re calling the Bird’s Organics Lotion Bar the best because it’s simply made, a hefty 3 ounces and does indeed moisturize extremely well. It’s firm but goes on smoothly with just a little bit of warmth. Use it on hands, feet or any other sensitive or dry body skin for fast-absorbing rejuvenation.
8. Lush Therapy Massage Bar
BEST MASSAGE LOTION BAR
Whether to treat yourself or a partner, the Lush Therapy Massage Bar is just a specialized lotion bar meant to melt on skin contact for a massage quickly. But you can skip the massage part and just use this 2.4-ounce organic lotion bar for the luxurious moisturizing effects of cocoa and shea butters as well as its pleasant neroli and lavender fragrance.
9. Kate McLeod Grounding Stone Solid Body Moisturizer
If you’re swearing off liquid lotion for good, a lotion bar subscription from Kate McLeod could be just the ticket. For a discounted price, you can get the Kate McLeod Grounding Stone Solid Body Moisturizer delivered monthly.
Made with cocoa butter, multiple skin-enhancing oils, and vetiver and bergamot for fragrance, this lotion bar quickly melts and glides across the skin, leaving it feeling softer and generally on a whole new level of awesome.
How to Make Lotion Bars: DIY Lotion Bar Recipe
If you’d rather mess around with making your own lotion bars, they’re easy to make at home with just a few ingredients, namely, cocoa butter or shea butter, an oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, and beeswax. (If you want fragrance, you can buy a scented essential oil of your choice to use as well). Unless you’ve got some flexible molds handy, you’re going to need at least one mold too, and if you want to safely store them in a closet or cabinet, some reusable metal tins will help a lot.
According to Common Sense Home, start with equal portions of each of those ingredients. Let’s say 2 ounces of cocoa butter, 2 ounces of coconut oil and 2 ounces of beeswax. For a firmer bar, use half as much oil.
- Place the cocoa butter or shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax into a heavy bottom pot on low heat.
- Begin stirring the ingredients around and regularly stir until everything is melted.
- Once everything is melted and thoroughly mixed together, remove the pot from the heat. If you would like to add essential oil for fragrance, do it now.
- Pour the mixture into the rectangular molds or these Celtic knot molds for a fancy look.
- Allow the lotion bars to fully cool and set before removing from the mold. You can stick them in the fridge to speed up the process if you like, though the bars don’t need refrigeration.
And voilà! You’ve got a bunch of highly moisturizing and portable lotion bars for yourself or to gift to others.