Sleepy Time Lotion Bars for Valentine’s Day
It only took one bout of moderate cradle cap with my firstborn to realize, I should NOT be washing my newborn with soap everyday.
You read that right. Newborns do little other than eat, sleep, poop, and cry for a few months, but when they start crawling and eating table food? Oh boy. What a mess!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Cradle cap. While some cases can be attributed to a natural, innate overproduction of skin cells or underproduction of sebum (our skin’s oil), a lot of cradle cap cases (especially the mild ones) can be attributed to over-washing your baby—which creates these conditions in babies who probably won’t see any skin difficulties down the line.
In American society, we are PRETTY obsessed with cleanliness and personal hygiene. A mixture of our puritanical Christian founders and a huge soap advertising campaign after the Civil War (you can read more about the history of American’s obsession with cleanliness in the book Chasing Dirt: The American Pursuit of Cleanliness.
As I started researching our skin’s properties and how oil production works (I’ve had my own issues with it in my battle against acne), I decided, we’d start bathing him with soap every other night and just warm water the other nights. He still had some dry skin, so I backed off on the soap even more until I found a good balance.
Once he started crawling, baby-led weaning, and playing in the mud, that changed! We still alternate every other day (except of course, in instances of poop-splosion, illness, mud, sand, etc). the other nights, we do a bubble bath and rinse with plain, bubble bath water.
Both of my kids’ skin stays pretty healthy, but sometimes—especially now that this crazy winter is also super drying—they get little dry patches here and there. In this case, I whip up these super easy, divine-smelling-sleep-inducing, relaxing little morsels of lotion bars.
No, this recipe does NOT contain essential oils. I am the super-paranoid mommy, and I do not use almost any essential oils around my kids. They are just TOO STRONG!
I have lost count of how many blogs I’ve read of people recommending unsafe essential oils for babies and young children, or recommend improper dilutions—which is SUPER dangerous for—especially those children under 6.
If you’ve read my Cold Sore Soothing Lip Gloss recipe, you know I’ve talked about this before, often preferring to infuse a carrier oil with the actual herb, rather than essential oils, which can dissipate quickly and are very expensive. I DO use essential oils, but for very specific preparations, and not often around my kids (ages 2 and 4 at the time of this writing).
You have the option to add natural mineral shimmers, which will color your lotion bars, without causing a glitter-overload (wait, is that a bad thing?) and these are soothing both to the skin, and to little minds that need to fall asleep.
Let’s discuss the ingredients:
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The perfect emulsifying agent to suspend all of the carrier and essential oils, beeswax acts as a great barrier from moisture. Which means that it doesn’t want to let moisture in or out. Think really thin, leather gloves for your skin.
Caledula-Infused Olive Oil
Calendula blossoms have been used for centuries in folk and herbal medicine to speed wound healing and reduce inflammation in the skin. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information:
“One of the experiments carried out in 34 patients with venous leg ulcers to determine the therapeutic efficacy of ME on the epithelialization of lower leg venous ulcers revealed significant acceleration of wound healing by producing epithelialization. Research conducted on cream preparations containing seven different types of marigold and rosemary extracts, revealed that such creams are effective in experimentally induced irritant contact dermatitis when tested on healthy human volunteers.”
Not only is it a good healing accelerant, it’s also good for dermatitis (mild allergic reactions of the skin). For these reasons, I always keep calendula-infused olive oil in my herbal remedy cabinet. Almost all of my homemade body products contain it!
Shea Butter and Coconut Oil
I don’t use much of these in this preparation, because sometimes it can feel grainy or greasy, but it adds some nice moisture and smells lovely. These can be left out, but I like the extra creaminess they add to the overall lotion bar.
The list of health benefits of chamomile (both German and Roman types) is long and exciting! For our purposes, (German) chamomile has been shown to help improve and soothe eczema, speed wound-healing, act as a sleep aid, and lower anxiety. You can read more benefits and suspected benefits about this amazing (and one of my favorite) herbs here.
I always keep a big bag of bulk, organic chamomile in my herbal medicine box, because, aside from a relaxing tea, I LOVE adding it to beauty preparations! It’s scent is perfect for adding a “sweet” or “apple” smell to perfumes and lotions, plus it has some lovely healing properties.
**Note: “A relatively low percentage of people are sensitive to chamomile and develop allergic reactions. People sensitive to ragweed and chrysanthemums or other members of the Compositae family are more prone to develop contact allergies to chamomile, especially if they take other drugs that help to trigger the sensitization.”
Lavender has long been used in folk medicine as a sleep aid, to help with relaxation during times of anxiety, to soothe headaches, and in skin preparations for dry, cracked, and eczema-prone skin. This is another bulk herb I keep in my natural beauty box, because it has wide-reaching benefits (and suspected benefits). Also, I REALLY love making Lavender Lemonade (this recipe is for basil lemonade, but subbing the basil for half a teaspoon of dried lavender will give you a lovely flavor) in the spring and summer. You can read more about this herb here.
In this tutorial, we’ll cover how to make herb-infused oil, then get to the actual lotion bar recipe.
Before I get to the supplies list, I want to take 2 seconds to let you know that 99% of the supplies listed in ALL of my tutorials, come from Amazon. Their prices are usually equivalent or cheaper than many craft stores (except for basic or heavy supplies, like acrylic paint). I do comparison checks for myself while making the tutorials, to make sure the price is better than craft and hobby stores! For this reason, I very much recommend signing up with Amazon Prime.
Signing up is free, and so are your first 30 days. If you just want to order the supplies, then decide it’s not right for you, or you won’t always use it, canceling is always an option. I know that with two little ones, having Prime has helped with ordering random things, that I need, but don’t have time or sanity, to load my kids in the car, drag them around an obscure store to find one thing, get to school on time, and stay on top of my business. I’ll say it loud and proud, I LOVE Amazon Prime!
If you haven’t heard about all of the perks, one year’s membership covers free 2-day shipping on so many items. The vast majority of the supplies (and other products) I recommend are included in this free shipping! Plus, you get access to Amazon’s streaming service (Downton Abbey and Man in the High Castle are worth it alone) and Amazon Music Unlimited. If you plan to be doing any of my tutorials, or are starting a new crafting hobby, I cannot recommend Amazon Prime’s 30-Day Free Trial enough. Okay, enough of my shameless pitch (that’s totally worth it), on to the supplies!
To Make your Infused Olive oil, You’ll Need:
- 1/3 cup dried, organic Chamomile Flowers
- 1/3 cup dried, Organic Calendula Flowers
- 2 tbls dried, Organic Lavender Flowers (you could use more lavender if you are particularly fond of it, this amount makes a very light scent of lavender)
- Small Strainer
- Sterilized Canning Jar (I use recycled jam or pickle jars)
- Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (the cheapest I’ve found is at Aldi)
To infuse your Olive Oil, there are two ways:
- Stuff a sterilized jar about half-way full with completely dried herbs and cover with olive oil (fill the oil up to the top of the jar, because the leaves will swell), set it in a warm, dry place for about 2-4 weeks, shaking it every few days.
2. Place a 1:2 ratio of herb to oil in a crock-pot and infuse on low for an hour or two.
Drain your infused oil through a cheesecloth or strainer into another sterilized jar for future use
To Make your Sleepy Time Lotion Bars:
- 1 Tbls Organic Beeswax (Carnauba Wax for vegans)
- 1/2 Tbls Organic Shea Butter
- 1/2 Tbls Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 3 Tbls Organic Calendula, Lavender, and Chamomile Infused Olive Oil (this link is to calendula-only infused olive oil)
- **Optional: Cosmetic-Grade Mineral Shimmers
- Heart Shaped Silicone Mold (I used one-inch hearts)
- Pyrex Measuring Cup
- Mix all butters, oils, and wax in your Pyrex jar, and set it in a pan of simmering water (use canning tongs or an oven mitt to protect yourself from the steam and hot glass!)
- Stir with a bamboo skewer or silicone spatula until completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat (with your tongs or mitt) and add desired shimmers (1/8 tsp is plenty for tinting it)
- Carefully pour your mixture into your mold and set in a place out of reach of children to cool.
- Once completely cool, pop them out, and store them in a clean glass jar or metal tin.
I like using these on my kids’ dry skin or rub a bit on their feet or back to calm them down for bed. Make sure to do a spot test before applying to large areas of the body!! All three herbs can trigger allergies in people who have seasonal allergies to certain pollen, so it is important to test before too much soaks into the skin!
These would make cute teachers’ gifts for Valentine’s Day or for giving to aunts and grandmas. Have fun with mixing your colors and feel free to comment any questions! If you like this recipe, feel free to subscribe to this blog or follow my “DIY Natural Beauty” board on Pinterest for more recipes and ideas!
**Information and recipes found on this website and corresponding videos have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This is experiential and anecdotal information only. Please seek advice in changing health routines and habits with your healthcare professional.