Patreon Q&A: Creating less greasy feeling, more glidy lotion bars? A few thoughts and a formula

In the January Q&A for Patreon subscribers, Emmi asked: I have been experimenting with lotion bars. Though I do like the butter/wax/oil bars, they are a bit too greasy for me, and not so glide-y. I’m thinking of trying next with some butter/jojobawax/caprylic capric triglycerides. I’m not sure if the triglycerides improve the glide enough, so I’m thinking about adding some propanediol, any thoughts from this? The hardest part propably is mixing it with oils, but I still have some varisoft, so could I use it for the emulsion? I also have lecithin but dunno how would it work.

Few questions about oils and rancidity. I know e-vitamin helps the oils not going rancid, but how will I know that how much does it add the shelf life of the oils? Also if adding preservatives, do they have any part on preserving the oils?

It popped my mind that how long do these lotion bars, shampoo bars, conditioner bars etc. take to cure? I have understood that it would be better to wait a bit before using them.

Let’s work through this one question by question, which may take a few posts!


Lotion bars or any other anhydrous products – products that don’t contain water – will be greasy as they’re composed of greasy ingredietns. There are some things we can do with them – alter the oils, alter the butters, and so on – and the only way to know if you like them is to make a small batch to try it out.

As an aside, it strikes me that the things that tend to feel less greasy on our skin, like mango butter, may contribute to the lack of slip and glide? I know beeswax feels very draggy to me, too . 

One of my secret weapons in the fight against super greasiness is babassu oil. (I heard some groans back there! I am not paid off by the Babassu Advisory Council to mention it all the time!) This is a silky, glidy, less greasy cousin of coconut oil with a similar melting point – 24˚C or 76˚F. I use it as part of the liquid oil of a lotion bar so it’ll melt when it hits my skin.

Fractionated coconut oil or caprylic/capric triglycerides are lovely, very light, thinner than water emollients that feel less greasy on our skin. I think it will increase the slip and glide a bit, too.

As I mentioned in this post, these may or may not be the same ingredient. More on this shortly…

I like to include dimethicone and cyclomethicone in a lotion bar to add some slip or glide, and, as you can see from this more complicated version of a bar with cetyl esters, silicones, and esters, you can make something less greasy and glidier by choosing different ingredients.

As an aside, I’ve been playing with so many esters over the last year that I can’t wait to share with you!

This formula is a variation on this one, Swift’s favourite lotion bar formula, which I’ve modified a million times as I added new ingredients to my workshop. (I’m currently trying it out with castor wax and sunflower wax, and I’ll share the results when I’m happy with them!) You can use any oils you want for the “liquid oil” ingredient. In my latest iteration, I used ethylhexyl palmitate, a very light, liquid, non-greasy ester, with fractionated coconut oil. This version will feel quite light and non-greasy on skin.


29.5% liquid oil – 15% ethylhexyl palmitate, 14.5% fractionated coconut oil

25% beeswax

25% cupuacu butter

15% babassu oil


3% dimethicone

2% cyclomethicone

0.5% fragrance/essential oil

Melt the heated phase until liquid. Remove from the heat, and dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and fragrance/essential oil. Mix with a spoon, then pour into molds or containers. Let set, then use.

You could do all kinds of interesting things with this formula, and the possibilities are quite honestly endless. You could try some oil soluble extracts, and there are so many options, like green tea, mallow, calendula, chamomile, aloe vera, orchid, strawberry, and so many more. You can also buy oil soluble proteins, like multigrain, egg* (one of my new favourites)

Hmm, seems like a good idea for an e-zine. Oh wait, I just wrote one on this topic! (If you were a $10 Patreon subscriber for the month of January 2018, this was the e-zine you received.)

Related posts:

Facial products: Using oil soluble extracts

Making an anhydrous eye gel using cera bellina

Join me shortly as we try to address a few more of Emmi’s questions!

How do you make your lotion bars or other anhydrous products less greasy? What’re your favourite ingredients to include? Have you tried this formula? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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