One small step: upgrade your moisturizer (sans-plastic)

Yes, indeed, friends. I am falling a bit behind. Because life and work and holidays and homeschooling are happening over here, and sometimes even a weekly blog post feels like a lot to keep up with.

Thank you for your patience, and for joining me on this journey to greater sustainability, one small step at a time. What say you instead of calling this a weekly challenge, we call it a bi-monthly to weekly challenge? Please and thank you for your understanding. Now let’s get on with it!

~ Rachel 


For challenge 7 in One Small Step, I want to get personal, and look at what you use to moisturize your skin. Most of us keep a big plastic pump or squeeze bottle of lotion in the house, plus a thick plastic pot (or two) of rich body cream in the bathroom or bedroom.

This week, I want to offer you a more sustainable alternative to lotions and creams: the humble and often overlooked lotion bar. (Yes, I’ll even share a DIY recipe later in the post!)

What are the benefits of lotion bars over lotions or creams? There are many!

Lotion Bar > Lotion

  • Lotion bars can be sold plastic-free: If you mindfully purchase or choose to DIY, lotion bars normally arrive without the disheartening plastic packaging. That’s an easy win in my book. LüSa Organics lotion bar tins are refillable, as, of course, are the bars you make at home.
  • Lotion bars are always water-free: When you purchase a lotion your bottle contains more than 50% water! That adds up to a higher carbon footprint, as the product is made, packaged, and shipped. A lotion bar, on the other hand, is water-free. This means they are lighter to ship, require no synthetic preservatives, and are super concentrated and long-lasting. And because cream and lotion are simply an emulsion of water and oil, you can create a similar experience with this water-free product by simply wetting your hands before application. Easy-peasy.
  • Lotion bars are preservative-free: Because there’s no water in a lotion bar, they lack a place for mold and bacteria to grow. That means no need for synthetic preservatives! A win for your skin (and for the earth).
  • Lotion bars are super concentrated: A tiny amount of lotion bar goes a very long way. That means you can buy or make one small tin, then use it for months. No need for filling your trash bin or recycling bag with lotion bottles week after week.


You can find our very own line of Lotion Bars (that we’ve been making since 1997) here, including my go-to, Unscented Calendula, or four essential oil-scented varieties from uplifting citrus to grounding patchouli, energizing peppermint to relaxing lavender.

Order one or more LüSa Lotion Bars (including our zero-waste refills) this week, and a note of “ONE SMALL STEP” to your order notes.  We’ll tuck a free sustainable gift in with your order (a scratch-and-dent, organic bar soap sample–palm oil-free, of course). 

Or DIY your own with the simple recipe I created for you. Find it below!


DIY Zero-Waste Lotion Bar Recipe + Tutorial

While I would be most delighted if you purchased Lotion Bars, that’s not in everyone’s budget or lifestyle. So a simple DIY lotion bar recipe follows if you’d like to try to make your own!

Worth noting: the way the lotion bar feels on your skin and how quickly it absorbs after application will vary widely with the types of oils and butters you choose. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.

Also worth noting, some skin types find coconut oil to be quite drying (counterintuitive, I know), so I have not included it on the list that follows. If you make a lotion bar using coconut oil and do find it to be drying, try again with a more moisturizing oil. Conversely, if your lotion bar is quite oily, it could be on account of your oil choice (using straight olive oil, for example), which does not absorb as readily as other ingredients. Keep experimenting until you find a formula you love.


  • 1/4 cup liquid oil of your choice (we love jojoba oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil best, but you could even try working with the olive oil from your kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup moisturizing butter of your choice (try shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter)
  • 1/4 cup grated beeswax


Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a double boiler. Gently warm over simmering water until just melted.

Step 2: Remove from heat, and stir to combine. Pour into an unlined, unoiled muffin tin or small heat-proof dish.

Step 3: Allow your lotion bar to cool overnight. Tip out of the muffin tin. If it won’t release, pop into the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, then tip out. Store in an upcycled tin or other storage container.


Are you already a lotion bar convert? How do they compare to conventional lotions and creams in your experience?

You can find the entire One Small Step series here, or click through below for individual posts:


Last Chance for Holiday Delivery!

As many of you move toward more sustainable living and giving, I wanted to reintroduce you to LüSa Organics, my artisanal organic body care company, and remind you that if you’d appreciate delivery before the holidays, today is the deadline to place your order.


We are a small team (really small!), based out of Viroqua in rural Wisconsin. Everything we create is made by hand, using organic herbs (often locally sourced) and organic oils. We never use synthetic fragrance oils, preservatives, or colorants.


Our team spent the past year transitioning our products into zero-waste and reusable/recyclable packaging, reducing our plastic waste by over 96%. It was a huge undertaking that has taken our business to a new level of sustainability, and we couldn’t be more delighted.

From biodegradable deodorant and lip balm tubes to refillable aluminum sugar scrub pots and glass oil bottles, the new packaging has been met with enthusiasm by so many.


If it feels good for you to share some of our handmade, sustainable, palm oil-free body care with those on your gift list, today is the deadline for orders! Visit our website, and stock up on all the sustainable goodness you’re wanting.

Use coupon code “HAPPYHEALTHY19” for a free gift with every order. (A holiday surprise, chosen especially for you.)

Offer good through Friday, December 13, 2019.

Thank you for supporting what we do, and cheering us on as we make these changes toward greater sustainability.


Our new addition

tummytonic.jpgWe’re so happy to announce our newest addition to the LüSa Mama Care product line: Tummy Tonic!

We designed Tummy Tonic for your first trimester–or any time you want to support a happy, healthy tummy. Made with organic jojoba oil and a blend of essential oils, you can dab a little on your pulse points, or simply sniff straight from the bottle.

Tummy Tonic ingredients:
Organic jojoba oil, and essential oils of peppermint, ginger, spearmint, lavender, lemon, and frankincense.

You can find Tummy Tonic on our website here.

Use coupon code “HAPPYMAMA10” for 10% off your Tummy Tonic purchase! Offer good through 2/1/19. Coupon can not be combined with other coupons or promotions.


Giveaway: natural mosquito & tick repellent

20180508-DSC_1323 8.04.35 PM

As you have likely guessed, we spend a good deal of time outside – hiking in the woods, exploring the hills and valleys of the Driftless, and setting of for our favorite foraging, hiking, or paddling places.

Yes, I take my kids into the woods – desipte living in one of the most Lyme disease prevalent areas of the country.

Why the confidence? Because from early spring through late fall, we never (literally: never!) set out for the prairies or woods without applying our natural insect repellent, Shoo.

Day after day we rely on Shoo for tick, mosquito, and (when we’re further north!) biting fly protection.

We feel safe and confident when we use it, and so do our kids.


But that’s just my take. Here is what our customers are saying about Shoo:

“This is the best bug spray we’ve used, hands down.”

“I think bug spray is on the top of our always wearing list!”

“Best bug spray ever!”

“It’s our go to spray! It works and is safe for the whole family.”

“This is a summer must-have for us!”

“This is my all time favorite product that you offer!!”

“Best bug spray around. My family loves it!”


I’m hosting a giveaway for a 4 oz. bottle for you (and, if you choose, for a friend that you tag) on both the LüSa Organics Facebook and Instagram pages! Instructions for entry can be found on each page, and I’ll draw a winner next week. (If you don’t have access to Facebook or Instagram, feel free to simply leave a comment below and I’ll happily add your name to the drawing.)

In the meantime, order a bottle of shoo and add a comment to your order of ““SUMMER BONUS” to your order notes, and I’ll include a free lip balm of my choice when we ship!

Offer expires 6/1/18.

You can find Shoo (along with all of our outdoor essentials) here!

Safe, effective bug spray for the whole family. Effective on ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies. #naturalbugspray #naturalinsectrepellent #rosegeranium #lymedisease


Going palm oil-free


It’s official – we’ve washed our hands of palm oil.

(Cue confetti!)

Beginning today, every LüSa Organics product is 100% palm oil-free.

It’s a change we’ve been working toward for years, and we couldn’t be more pleased. (All this, and just in time for Earth Day.)

Why did we make this change?

To put it simply: palm oil is unsustainable. (Read the reasons why here.) It’s an ingredient we avoid for our family when buying crackers or other packaged food at the store, so why were we using it in our soap?

Even if our palm oil was “better”, we wondered, did that really make it “good”?

Because despite the palm oil we have used for nearly a decade being certified orangutan-safe, certified deforestation-free, and organic, we didn’t believe that it was going far enough.

Because we believe that any added demand on palm oil (yes, even of the sustainable sort) increases demand globally.


Help us celebrate this milestone with free soap! For every 4 bars of our new formula soap you buy, enjoy a 5th bar free. Choose from our Classic Soap Line or Goat Milk soaps.

To redeem simply order 4 or more bars of soap from the categories above, then add a comment to your order notes of “PALMFREE for ME” and we’ll add the extra bar or bars when we ship.

Offer good through April 25, 2018. Retail customers only, please. Locavore soaps not included.


The logistics of making this change were boggling. Team LüSa rose to the occasion and pulled it of with style and ease. I’m so thankful for the unflagging LüSa family; our passionate, conscientious customers; and for successfully pulling off this colossal transition.