Friday, August 09, 2013

Making Bee's Wax Intensive Lotion Bars

I really love the Burt's Bee's stuff. A friend has Bee Bar lotion that she loves. After a bit of thinking, I decided to make bee's wax lotion bars with bee's wax that we had left over from a previous season. The process was a lot more work than I expected, but it was all very interesting.
I gathered the ingredients. I wanted to make sure that it was not too expensive to make.
I spent part of one evening separating the comb from the frames. It was harder than I expected. Once it was dark, I went inside and thought nothing of it. The next morning I went to gather the comb and found that now that the bee's were up and searching, I had created a giant, wild bee party. It was a little alarming. Frankly, I felt kind of stupid. I should have known better. I had a meeting to go to and I did not want to have a swarm in my back yard. After a bit of problem solving with my smart husband I decided to fill a trash can with water, put the beekeeper suit on and put the combs, as well as the wax, in the water. This meant that the bees dissippated. I felt kind of bad about getting them all excited. I am sure that the searching bees went back to their respective hives with tales of unbelievable bounty, only to have their hopes dashed by me. Oh well.
I drew out the comb and put it in nearly boiling water in a pan that I picked up from the thrift store for this process. It is important to not actually boil the wax as that changes its texture and properties. I used a slotted spoon to pull out the yucky stuff that floated to the top. I put them in a colander to separate out the good wax. I threw that away and then poured the wax and water through the strainer into the bucket below, being very careful to not spill or splash.
I repeated this process three more times. I was amazed at how little actual wax there was. I think the wax moths must have eaten a lot of it. The people in the videos below show thick cakes of wax. They must have a ton of wax to process. I will do this again this fall once we process this season's comb. Perhaps it will yield more than this old stuff.
As the material cools, it separates out. The wax is on the top. The propolis is next, followed by dirt. I took a butter knife to scrap off the bottom two layers of stuff. The people in the video leave the wax to cool over night. I did that, but I was under a time crunch to get the wax clean, so I sped up the process, waiting only until the wax cooled a bit, instead of letting it all cool completely. This made it much easier to remove the propolis and dirt. Now I was ready to make the bars.
I did a survey on Facebook to get ideas about nice scents to use for lotion bars. When I went to the health food store, I felt overwhelmed looking at all of the options. Lots of people suggested lavender, orange and sandalwood. A few thought tea tree would be nice. Other nice ideas included cinnamon, rosemary & mint, vanilla. I was almost sure I was going to do some grapefruit scented bars. The small bottles of essential oils were expensive so I settled on peppermint. Then I encountered the Apothecary Tinctura store where I could buy the oils by the drop as long as I had a container. They had even more scents. I almost picked Geranium and Orange. Then I found the spruce essential oils and knew that was the ticket.

In order to make the actual lotion I first melted the coconut oil in a canning jar that was in boiling water. Once that was melted I added in the shea butter. That was a bit more tricky to get into the jar without dropping some into the boiling water.

After that had melted I added in the grapeseed oil and the wax. I did not have any vitamin oil. I stirred it with a cheap chopstick so as to not get wax on any of my good spoons.
Once it was all melted I added in the essential oil and then poured that into my silicone muffin forms. Some people pour theirs into small tins, but I wanted my bars to be able to be used on the arms and such so the cake / muffin shapes made more sense. The cooled very quickly.
Ellie tried one out and declared them to be good. I was about to make 14 bars with the recipe below. Now I need to find an interesting and fun way to package them.

Bee's Wax Lotion Bars

1 C Bees Wax
1 C Shea Butter
1 C Coconut Oil
1/4 C Vitamin E (I did not have this, so I left it out)
1/4 C Grapeseed Oil
Quite a few drops of essential oil. (I used 35-40 drops for this amount of mix. The number of drops you need depends on how strong the scent is.

Melt the bee's wax, shea butter and coconut oil. Add the Vitamin E and Grapeseed oil, stir, then add the essential oils. Stir; pour into the molds.

Here's are simpler recipes that I did not use. The grapeseed oil and the vitamin E oil add extra properties to the lotion that I like.

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup of shea butter
1/2 cup of bees wax Melt and pour.

Makes 12 -1/2 in thick body bars.


1 part Coconut Oil
1 part Pure Beeswax
Essential Oils

Basic Conversions:
1/4 oil same as 2 oz or 4 Tblespoons (1/2 ounce beeswax, same as 1 Tablespoon)

Processing Wax from Beehives:

Wax, Part 1 - What to Do With Old Honey Comb

Wax, Part 2 - Melting Bee's Comb

Wax, Part 3 - Gathering and Processing Bee's Wax Cakes

Wax, Part 4 - Wax Part 4 - Propolis and Clean Wax processing

Homemade Beeswax Hand Lotion/Cream & Body Butter Recipe

How to make your own lotion bar

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