DIY: Moisturizing Winter Lotion Bars

Winter can be very harsh on the skin. With dry conditions, icy air and wind exposure,  it’s important that we keep our skin protected from the harsh elements.

Here are some simple ways to protect your skin:

  • Like many things in life, the key is a healthy lifestyle. Stay hydrated and eat lots of vegetables and protein. Be sure to move around and try to get in at least 20 – 30 minutes of exercise per day (this can be as simple as a stroll around the block).
  • As temperatures decrease, it’s also important that we wear warm clothes and enough protective layers to stay warm. The great thing about layers is that if you’re too hot, you can always remove some.
  • Wear sunglasses and a mild sunscreen. The winter sun reflecting off snow, can do major damage to our skin. So give your face a little TLC and apply a mild sunscreen and throw on your most fabulous pair of sunglasses.
  • Finally, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. One of my new favorite ways to moisturize that’s low-cost, natural, and DIY is making lotion bars. The ingredients are simple and most can be found in grocery stores or online. Lotion bars are also eco-friendly, because they don’t require a container or bottle.

Moisturizing Winter Lotion Bars

Start out with a small amount and see if you like it. I used 2 ounces for each ingredient (note: 1 oz coconut, 1 oz avocado, to make 2 oz). I used my kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. If you don’t have a scale, you simply take about 4 TBSP of each ingredient to make  1  bar. My recipe made a total of 5 bars.

  • 1/3 shea butter or other butter of choice
  • 1/3 oil (i used  coconut and avocado oils)
  • 1/3 beeswax pastilles (can be found at mountainrose.com)
  • essential oils (I used 15 drops of lavender, this is optional)
  • 5 drops of vitamin E oil (optional)
  1. Place butter, oil and wax pastilles in a double boiler, Pyrex glass measuring cup or heat-resistant glass bowl.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. You want enough water in the pot to cover the bottom two inches of your pan, cup or bowl. Don’t heat the oils and wax directly in a pan.
  3. Place pan in the larger pan and allow ingredients to melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted,  add in your essential oils and vitamin E oil, if you wish and mix well. Pour oil into a silicon baking mold, glass dish, or a washed out milk carton. I used silicon baking molds, because it was really simple to unmold.
  4. Let the oils cool and solidify before removing them from the mold. I waited about 4 hours.
  5. After about 7 – 8 hours you should have a beautiful lotion bar that you can rub over your skin to moisturize.

How I use it:

  • Not in the shower, these should not be wet.
  • I apply the bar right after I get out of the shower on humid skin (not soaking wet). This seals in moisture and leaves my skin moisturized and radiant. The heat from your skin warms the oils and allows them to absorb into the skin.

Have you made any fun DIY recipes lately? How do you protect your skin in the winter?

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LoPo’s Frenemies: Kimmaytube Leave-In, cold water/vinegar rinses and heavy oils

Before I discovered my hair was low porosity, I was all about closing my cuticles with low Ph products or cold water and locking in moisture with heavy oils such as shea butter and coconut oil. Coconut oil has many health benefits and I really wanted my hair to enjoy being coated in it, but it just did nothing for my hair but exacerbate its dryness. Just imagine low porosity hair as a spong covered in cling wrap, if I proceed to cover the cling wrap in oils, the moisture is just not going to reach my hair, no matter how hard I try. After I realized this, I made some major adjustments to my regimen.

1. I stopped using Kimmaytube leave-in. The original recipe, which comes from famed Youtube personality Kim Love, contains:2 tablespoons of Kinky Curly Knot Today + 2 tablespoons of  aloe vera juice + 2 teaspoons of castor oil +2 teaspoons of jojoba oil. 

This leave-in left me with frizz, white residue and dry hair. My hair felt coated and tacky. Once I removed the oils and the aloe from the mixture, essentially leaving me with just leave-in, I saw an immediate improvement. Again, I’ve tried to make my hair love aloe, because it’s such a wonderful natural hair product, however, my hair just despises it!

2. I stopped doing vinegar rinses/cold water rinses. Again, great all natural products and techniques to enhance shine and seal the cuticle. For my low porosity hair not so great. My story would start like this, I’d wash and condition. After my conditioner, my hair would feel nice and detangled and soft. I’d then pour my vinegar rinse or freezing cold water over my head and my hair would instantly shrink up and frizz up. I’d then spend the next hour trying to apply creams and serums to regain the moisture.

3. After my cold water/vinegar rinses, I’d follow by sealing with shea butter or coconut oil. My hair would shine like a new penny for the first day. The second day it was both dry and oily. It was like I was suffocating my hair, any hope of moisture was ruled out by the fortress of oil I’d applied. It took me a long time to accept that my hair doesn’t always need oil. It was only until one day when I spent hours trying to wash out layers and layers of shea butter– not fun! I know that coconut oil is one of few select oils that can penetrate the hair shaft. That’s fine and dandy, but my hair just wasn’t having it.

Eliminating these three stages, has not only saved me a lot on time, but also money. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best. Now I know my hair:

  • doesn’t mind some light oils like jojoba and sweet almond.
  • loves water based creams for leave-ins (if it’s not water based, I add water to it).
  • can handle a small amount of aloe or shea butter on the ends. I think this is because this part of our hair is the oldest and most susceptible to damage.
  • hates to be rinsed in cold water and is not a friend of vinegar.

I attribute eliminating these products from my hair regimen to contributing to fast and healthy growth. Believe me, I’ve had set backs and had to cut and trim here and there, however, after I started figuring out what worked for me, that’s when my hair started to flourish. I’ve included pictures below of my hair, one year after going natural in 2012 and this month, two years after going natural.

Did you use any products or techniques for a long time, only to discover they did more harm than help your hair?