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DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars Recipe {non greasy}

We’ve had another mild winter and wet spring, so the mosquitoes are starting to come out in full force.  Thankfully, I’ve got my essential oil bug spray, my “Bug Away” essential oil mason jar candles, and these essential oil bug repellent lotion bars to help keep mosquitoes, flies, gnats, ticks, and other bugs away.

I love that they’re made with organic butters, oils, and essential oil, so they’re all-natural and deet-free.

Simply glide the lotion bar over skin and rub in to help keep mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and other bugs away.

They really work, smell great, aren’t greasy, and leave your skin silky soft.

Give this recipe for homemade “bug away” lotion bars a try.  I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

If you do get a mosquito bite or two, a rash, or other summer-time itchy skin, then here’s my recipe for my favorite anti-itch sticks.  They’re all natural and made with the soothing goodness of essential oils (of course!)  Make them ahead and keep them handy in your herbal first aid kit.  Carry one of these handy sticks around with you while hiking, camping, swimming or just hanging out in your yard this summer.  Just rub over bug bite, and it will start calming skin.  Itch relief in no time.

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

What’s in my non-greasy bug repellent lotion bars?

There are a lot of blog posts with pretty much the same recipe of coconut-oil-and-beeswax bug repellent lotion bars.  I’ve tried that in the past, but they’re MUCH too oily, waxy, and greasy for my liking.  While my bug repellent lotion bars are made with a couple extra ingredients, it’s worth it to have non-greasy, non-waxy lotion bars.

beeswax – While beeswax is great for skin (softening, soothing, and nourishing), its main purpose in these solid bug repellent lotion bars is to keep them solid.  Beeswax has a  high melting point (about 144 degrees F).  When you combine beeswax with butters and oils that are liquid or have a lower melting point, the beeswax helps to keep them solid even if the temperature creeps up a bit in the summer.  So “why not just use beeswax and essential oils?”, “why do you need the other butters and oils?” you might ask.  Two reasons: (1) beeswax is, well, waxy – not the best feeling on skin and (2) you want a solid lotion bar to melt when it touches your skin (98.6 degrees F); beeswax has too high of a melting point on its own.

kokum butter – If you’ve tried my soft & silky whipped body butter or fizzing bath melts , then you know how great kokum butter is.  Kokum butter is similar to cocoa butter in that it’s a slightly brittle butter and has a high melting point (about 100 degrees F).  However, unlike cocoa butter, kokum butter has almost no scent.  Plus kokum butter is a dryer butter, meaning it absorbs more quickly into your skin and leaves a dryer, less greasy feeling — a wonderful quality in a lotion bar!! — who wants to have greasy arms and legs when you’re just trying to have some summer fun without bugs?

mango butter -This is another great, underused butter.  Mango butter is similar to shea butter in that it’s a soft, smooth, creamy butter that melts around 87-90 degrees F.  But unlike shea butter, mango butter has a very light, subtle scent.  This is a big win for those who find the strong nutty scent of shea butter outputting.

babassu oil– Babassu oil is similar in consistency and melting point to coconut oil, but babassu oil has several benefits over coconut oil that make it a great choice for this recipe.  Babassu oil is lightweight and soaks into skin faster than coconut oil, resulting in a less greasy feeling.

apricot kernel oil – While apricot kernel oil is a great moisturizer, it is a “dry oil“, meaning that it absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave much of a greasy feel.

arrowroot powder – Adding arrowroot powder to whipped body butter and lotion bars is magical!  Arrowroot powder cuts down on the greasy feel of the lotion bar and adds leaves skin feeling silky smooth.

essential oils – I give suggestions below for three different essential oil blends to keep away mosquitoes, flies, gnats, ticks, and other bugs.  Want more info or to customize a blend based on what essential oils you have on hand?  Check out my Bug Spray post – it talks a lot about which essential oils people have found to be helpful in keeping bugs away.  There’s even a handy chart showing which essential oils people have found to be best for repelling mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and ticks.

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

How to make homemade bug repellent lotion bars with essential oils?

step 1:  add 1/4 cup beeswax to heat-safe glass measuring cup or bowl

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 2:  add 1/2 cup kokum butter

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 3:  add 1/4 cup mango butter

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 4:  add 1/4 cup babassu oil

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 5:  add 2 tablespoons apricot kernel oil

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 6: Melt the beeswax, oils, and butter using the double boiler method

Place heat-safe glass measuring cup/bowl in a saucepan of simmering water over medium-high heat.

Stir occasionally.

Heat until everything is completely melted.  This could take 15 minutes.  Be sure that the beeswax is completely melted with no specs or particles remaining (otherwise the beeswax can reform and the lotion bars could be grainy).

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 7:  Once everything is completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

Then add 162 drops of essential oil (this is a 3% dilution) and stir well.

 

Here are 3 options for essential oil combinations to use to help keep bugs (like mosquitoes, flies, and ticks) away.

 

bug repellent essential oil blend #1

100 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil

62 drops geranium essential oil

 

bug repellent essential oil blend #2

82 drops lemongrass essential oil

40 drops lavender essential oil

40 drops geranium essential oil

 

bug repellent essential oil blend #3

82 drops citronella essential oil

40 drops lavender essential oil

40 drops spearmint essential oil

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 8:  add 1/4 cup arrowroot powder and stir well, making sure there aren’t any lumps

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 9:  pour lotion mixture into silicone mold (like these cute bug-shaped silicone molds) and let them cool & harden completely.  This can take a couple hours at room temperature, or you can speed it up by placing the mold in the refrigerator.

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 10:  Beeswax is tough to clean up once it’s hardened.  Make clean up easier on yourself, by wiping out the measuring cup (and any utensils you used) with a paper towel.  Then wash as normal.

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 11:  once lotion bars have cooled and hardened, pop them out of the silicone mold.

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

step 12:  store lotion bars in handy portable tins like this

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

 

Here’s the bug repellent lotion bars recipe one more time:

add the following to a heat-safe glass measuring cup or bowl

1/4 cup beeswax

1/2 cup kokum butter

1/4 cup mango butter

1/4 cup babassu oil

2 tablespoons apricot kernel oil

melt using double boiler method

remove from heat and let cool for a couple minutes

then add 162 drops essential oil (3% dilution) and stir well

then add 1/4 cup arrowroot powder and stir well, making sure there aren’t any lumps

pour into silicone molds

allow to cool and harden completely before popping lotion bars out of molds

 

How to use bug repellent lotion bars:

  • Swipe over skin wherever you want a bug deterrent
  • Be careful not to use too much or it will be greasy
  • Rub in
  • Allow the lotion to absorb into you skin.  if it’s not fully absorbed in 2 minutes, you’re applying too much.
  • Reapply as needed

 

Where to get supplies?

beeswax buy here

kokum butter buy organic, raw kokum butter here

mango butter buy here

babassu oil buy organic, cold-pressed babassu oil here

apricot kernel oil buy organic, cold-pressed apricot kernel oil here

arrowroot powder buy organic arrowroot powder here

silicone mold get bug silicone molds here

tin containers – I got mine at The Container Store, but you can find similar tins here and here

 

Here are a few other essential oil posts that I think you’ll like:

Homemade Essential Oil Sunscreen {water resistant, SPF 30+, rubs in completely, and not sticky or overly greasy}

DIY Bug Spray That Really Works!

DIY Anti-Itch Stick Recipe {made with essential oil}

easy to make “Bug Away” Essential Oil Mason Jar Candles (repel mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and other bugs & insects)

Homemade Peppermint Cooling Spray

15 Summer Room Spray Recipes to Freshen Your Home

After Sun Spray {made with essential oils}

25+ Best Summer Diffuser Blends

DIY Dusting Powder Recipe with Essential Oils

Be Safe- Essential Oils and the Sun

DIY Cooling Peppermint Foot Cream {to refresh tired feet}

DIY Stinky Shoe Spray Recipe

Foaming Hand Soap in 21 Spring & Summer Scents

Best deals for essential oil supplies— diffusers cases, spray bottles, carrier oils, essential oil tools

soft & silky body butter with essential oils

lavender, oatmeal, & milk bath soak for dry skin

 

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Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care.  Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Disclaimer: Please know that this website contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. The price is exactly the same for you as it would be without the affiliate link.  Thank you for supporting me in this way.

 

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion Bars -- all-natural and deet-free recipe to keep mosquitoes & ticks away. smell great & non-greasy

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By | 2017-06-11T18:53:23+00:00 |Essential Oils|26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Sheryl May 22, 2017 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Which essential oil combo do you prefer?

    • Sarah Lewis May 25, 2017 at 11:54 am - Reply

      I’m a big fan of the smell of lemongrass and lavender together so my personal favorite is lemongrass, lavender, and geranium. But the lemongrass can attract bees, so if you’re allergic to bees or just afraid of them, then I’d choose another option.
      Another great combo that I really like is lemon eucalyptus oil and geranium essential oil. Smells great and lemon eucalyptus is the only essential oil that the CDC recommends for repelling mosquitoes (read more here).

  2. Sara May 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! How does this hold up when you are out in the heat? Do they melt in the sun?

    • Sarah Lewis May 25, 2017 at 11:47 am - Reply

      They will melt if they get too warm. I’m not sure of the exact temperature when they’ll melt, but I’d guess it would be that 80-85 degrees they will soften and above 85-90 degrees they will completely melt.

  3. Debbi May 24, 2017 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Great

  4. Michelle May 26, 2017 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Any suggestions for a substitute of the mango butter? I’m highly allergic to mango (we are taking epi-pen allergic) so I have to be very cautious when trying organic / homemade skin products. I love lotion bars and in Florida where I live, bug repellent is a must!

    Thoughts? And thank you!!

    • Sarah Lewis May 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Can you use shea butter? It’s a great substitute for mango butter. Mango and shea butters have a similar consistency, texture, and melting point.

  5. Jamie May 29, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing these fantastic recipes. I am new to essential oils and homemade/Diy HBA products. What would you recommend as a substitute for the bees wax so I can make these vegan? TIA

    • Sarah Lewis June 1, 2017 at 6:47 pm - Reply

      I haven’t used it yet, but I’ve read that Candelilla wax is a good vegan substitute for beeswax. The general rule of thumb seems to be cutting the amount of wax in half when using Candelilla wax (because Candelilla wax is so much denser than beeswax). So in this lotion bar recipe, you might want to try using 2 tablespoons Candelilla wax instead of the 1/4 cup beeswax. Please let us know how it goes.

  6. Mary June 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I noticed that your recipe made 5 bars using the cute bug moods that you did. How much did it cost you per bar in the end? Trying to see if these make cost effective gifts. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Sarah Lewis June 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Mary,
      Sorry, since I just use ingredients I have on hand and make these for friends and family, I haven’t calculated the cost per bar.
      Sarah

  7. Sarah June 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    When you talk about how many drops of essential oils you say 3% dilution what do you mean by that?

    • Sarah Lewis June 5, 2017 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      This recipe uses a 3% essential oil dilution, meaning that out of 100 “drops” – 97 “drops” will be carrier oils/butters and 3 drops will be essential oil.

  8. Esthet June 4, 2017 at 6:43 am - Reply

    Can these be used on children?

    • Sarah Lewis June 5, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      For kids 3 months-2 years, I suggest using bug spray with age-appropriate essential oils. Apply the bug spray to clothing and not the child’s skin.

      For kids 2-10, you’ll want to do some research to see what you’re comfortable with. This recipe uses a 3% essential oil dilution, meaning that out of 100 “drops” – 97 “drops” will be carrier oils/butters and 3 drops will be essential oil. Some people are comfortable using a 3% or greater dilution on kids, others prefer a lower dilution. You can adjust the # of drops of essential oil accordingly. For example, if you want to use a 1% dilution than use about 50 drops essential oil. If you want to use a 2% dilution, then use about 100 drops essential oil. *also research your essential oils to see which essential oils you’re comfortable using with your children. For example, lemon eucalyptus is great but the CDC recommends not using it for kids under 3.

      I use these with the recipe as written for adults and kids older than 10.

  9. ANGELA Dobbs June 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Tried each if these recipes. Going camping soon and we will see which one works the best for us. Instead of putting it in molds we poured it into deodorant containers. It’s great! No mess and my kids can do it themselves!

  10. Kim Soler July 6, 2017 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Hello
    I have just made your bug repellent non greasy lotion bar. I rather stupidly put in 82 drops of geranium e.o, 40 lavender and 40 lemongrrass, will this still be OK ?

    Also will it be safe to uuse on young children ?

    Thank you in advance

    Kim

    • Sarah Lewis July 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      Yes, that should be fine. It will likely have a fairly strong floral smell from the higher amount of geranium, but that should help keep the mosquitoes and other bugs away.
      Essential oil safety experts, recommend that lemongrass shouldn’t be topically on kids under 6.

  11. Lani July 15, 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Sarah,
    I weighed my ingredients instead of using measuring cups as I wanted to halve the recipe so that I could try 2 of the eo combinations. I did use a measuring cup for the arrowroot. However, I’m thinking that it was a lesser amount than if I had weighed it as my bug bars are kind of greasy. Can I remelt everything and add more arrowroot? Or will that ruin the eo’s I mixed in?

    Thank you in advance 🙂
    Lani

    • Sarah Lewis July 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Lani,
      Yes, you can re-melt the bars and add more arrowroot. I’d melt the bars using a double boiler over water that is just barely simmering. That way the essential oils will keep their therapeutic properties and scent.

  12. Teresa July 17, 2017 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I recently mixed up a batch to give it a try. Mine came out softer then the standard cocoa butter/coconut/beeswax recipes I’ve seen and tried. Is this the way yours turn out also? Is there a way to make them a little less soft? I don’t want them to melt too much in the summer heat and these feel like they might. I do really like the feel of it on my skin much better. Definitely less greasy feeling.

    • Sarah Lewis July 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Mine have been firm, but we have air conditioning running pretty much all summer.
      To firm yours up more, I would try adding more beeswax. Beeswax has a very high melting point (144 degrees, I think), so adding more of that will raise the melting point and firm up the entire mixture.

  13. Liz July 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Sarah,
    I love this recipe and the shapes. I looked at the tins on the sites you recommended. Are they 4 inch tins?

    • Sarah Lewis July 23, 2017 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Liz,
      The one in the photo from The Container Store is roughly 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 x 1-1/4 inches. So the 3-1/2 inch tin should work great.

  14. Jamie Lockard July 23, 2017 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Sarah,
    Imagine my surprise and delight to happen upon a favorite ex-coworker as I was searching various essential oils posts. (Great blog, by the way!) Had a question about the “162 drops” of oil. I have trouble keeping my count just trying to measure out 5 cups of flour. Is there an easy conversion into teaspoons, tablespoons or cups?

    • Sarah Lewis July 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Wow! Hi, Jamie! So great to hear from you.
      You made my night. It was so fun to read your note. That’s amazing to me that you stumbled on this. Love it!

      To answer your question, there are roughly 100 drops of essential oil in a teaspoon. So here are the approximate conversions:

      bug repellent essential oil blend #1
      1 tsp (100 drops) lemon eucalyptus essential oil
      5/8 tsp (62 drops) geranium essential oil
       
      bug repellent essential oil blend #2
      3/4 tsp (82 drops) lemongrass essential oil
      a scant 1/2 tsp (40 drops) lavender essential oil
      a scant 1/2 tsp (40) drops) geranium essential oil
       
      bug repellent essential oil blend #3
      3/4 tsp (82 drops) citronella essential oil
      a scant 1/2 tsp (40 drops) lavender essential oil
      a scant 1/2 tsp (40 drops) spearmint essential oil

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