Melissa K Norris of Pioneering Today has several great reasons you should make your own lotion bar.
- They are made from 3 natural ingredients (Bee’s Wax, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter OR Cocoa Butter).
- They are easy and quick to make (takes less than 10 min).
- You love how LUSH massage bars smell and feel and want to make them cheaply at home.
- However, the most powerful reason you can buy and use local bees wax for lotion bars is because it supports some of the poorest youth in the country.
Here is my application of Melissa K Norris‘ wise counsel and why lotion bars serve far more than just dry skin.
Meet an elder advisor and youth society member from the Honey Lodge Youth Enterprise, a Program of the Native American Advocacy Program (NAAP). Having attended the Mitchell Technical Insitute’s Local Foods Conference in November 2016, I was able to meet these impressive women at their display, who sold jewelry, books, honey and bees wax.
This non-profit organization serves the Rosebud Indian Reservation located in south central South Dakota, and presently includes within its recognized border all of Todd County. Todd County ranks as the second poorest county in the U.S. The unemployment rate is over 80%, 29% are homeless and 59% live in substandard housing. Only one-third of students on the Rosebud Reservation have a high school diploma. And sadly, the Rosebud Reservation is one of two reservations with the lowest life expectancy rate.
When the Native American Advocacy Program was facing lack of funding for youth programs and also looking at the unemployment challenges facing Lakota youth, they turned to their own youth members to participate in creating solutions. Knowing that they needed to look beyond bake sales and raffles to fund their own activities, the Society began discussing actual business ideas that could fund programming to fit their needs and desires and not be beholden to the funding organization. The Society wanted to develop their own social enterprises that reflect work they are interested in and capable of doing to support activities they design and desire. Out of these discussions the Society, with NAAP’s consensus, came up with 3 realistic and feasible ideas: Cultural Tourism, Bee Keeping and honey sales, and a Medicinal Herb Trail and sales.
All participants discover vital skills of business and service alongside seasoned staff, mentors, and Elder advisors and learn how to be good employees, how to run a bee/medicinal herbs/tourism business, and what it takes to sustain their Society activities.
So how can you support the Rosebud youth? Consider supporting their business by purchasing their honey and bees wax. The following is how I used bees wax for a Valentine’s Day gift, however, you can apply Melissa K Norris’ recipe year-round. Below is her video and detailed instructions. After doing this once, I’m fairly certain you’ll need only to remember measuring equal weight of ingredients over a double boiler. The rest is blissfully easy!
- Using a food scale, weigh out equal amounts of beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter OR cocoa butter. You’ll have an easier time using beeswax pellets for measuring. I used the bees wax sold by Honey Lodge at $2/bar with little added cooking time.
- Using a double boiler, or a small saucepan and a large glass measuring bowl, melt beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter until it turns to a liquid. If you plan to scent with essential oils, remove from heat and add ten drops of combination of your choice. I used Cleanse (lemon grass and tangelo) from Hobby Lobby.
- Pour into molds. I used a heart-shaped silicone ice cube tray from IKEA. But you can use soap molds, silicone cupcake liners, or parchment paper lined containers. Whatever mold you use, make sure it’s something you can easily pop the hardened bars out of and stick in the freezer for 30min.
“Wipe out your measuring bowl while it’s still warm for easier cleaning and then wash with hot soapy water. I use the small amount of the lotion still clinging to the inside of the bowl to rub on my feet and elbows. Be sure to put socks on as the soles of your feet will be slippery until the lotion is all the way absorbed. Let’s say I learned that one the hard way…”
Once the bars harden, pop them out of the molds and stop yourself from using them all yourself. These will be among my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts and I can’t wait to share them!
If you have local sources of bees wax or recipes to use it, please share on GleanforGood.net. As always, we love your photos, stories and ideas!