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.
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.
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
step 2: add 1/2 cup kokum butter
step 3: add 1/4 cup mango butter
step 4: add 1/4 cup babassu oil
step 5: add 2 tablespoons apricot kernel oil
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.
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).
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
step 8: add 1/4 cup arrowroot powder and stir well, making sure there aren’t any lumps
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.
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.
step 11: once lotion bars have cooled and hardened, pop them out of the silicone mold.
step 12: store lotion bars in handy portable tins like this
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
Here are a few other essential oil posts that I think you’ll like:
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