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Paraben-Free Lotion: MadeOn Hard Lotion Bar {REVIEW}

Made On Hard Lotion great for eczema

Although I get horribly cracked hands in the winter, I might not the very best person to test lotions. I always forget to apply them regularly. That said, I was still excited to try MadeOn’s hard lotion bar on my extremely dry hands for the very first time.

The day the product sample arrived in my mailbox, my hands were cringefully, stingingly cracked, which I thought was rather appropriate.

I was quickly taken by the hard lotion as soon as I started using it, and particularly as that year wore on. It’s been “my brand” ever since.

Dry Skin? Cracked Hands? You’ve come to the right place…

I bet all of us know someone who could benefit from a serious lotion, or perhaps you’re simply looking for a moisturizer made with natural ingredients.

There are plenty of natural lotions available out there, but for me anything with only 3 ingredients made by a work-at-home mom who I know cares for her customers wins out over a long ingredient list and a bigger company.

MadeOn’s hard lotion is truly one of my ultimate favorite products EVER.

MadeOn was the very first company I worked with after I started blogging back in 2009, and over the years Renee and I have developed a pretty awesome partnership and friendship.

I also make a big huge order every Christmas to give out lip balms and mini hard lotions as gifts. With three (ish) ingredients, this lotion is my ultimate favorite, and the fact that it remains quite frugal is even better. That Renee has become a good friend and is a model mother, entrepreneur and woman of faith makes me all the more proud to promote her products.

I’ve become kind of a hard lotion pusher.

In the past few months alone, I’ve given my pocket bar of Au Chocolat lotion away to two different moms, one whose hands looked too painful to ignore at Bible study and another who was wondering what some rashy-looking spots were on her 3-year-old.

At this point, we’ve been using MadeOn lotions for many years in the Kimball household, and they’re totally a mainstay. At last count, they’re in at least 11 places in our house!

MadeOn Hard Lotion. Paraben-free and all natural

This isn’t just another “look what the blogger got in the mail to review” photo. This is the result of traveling around my house, in every bathroom, in coat pockets, in my purse, my husband’s nightstand, the changing table. This is what happens when you fall in love with a product and use it for years. (And I just realized that I have a few Bug Block bars around too, but since it’s out of season I forgot to include them in the photo!)

The BeeSilk right in the center is our original tin from 2010, refilled many times. It lives in the kids’ bathroom and gets used quite a bit in the winter on dry fresh-out-of-the-bath skin. I LOVE that I can keep buying refills and reuse the tin and therefore avoid causing any waste.

The lavender BeeSilk is mine from my travel kit – I use it as deodorant in a pinch! I also really enjoy using a roll-on I got from the MadeOn store a while back. We use it for everything.

And around the outside clockwise: Simply Soothing diaper cream, nearly gone, BeeSilk Jr. small and large (it’s softer), our downstairs lotions, Au Chocolat from my own nightstand, refilled many times, and the smaller “pocket bar” that is in my purse.

I always have a handful of lip balms and pocket bars ready for gift-giving opportunities, and they’ve saved me many a time! For those of you looking for homemade gift ideas, you can buy the DIY kit and make your own lotions and safe body products to give away.

Positive Attributes of MadeOn’s Hard Lotion Bars

  • made of food safe ingredients
  • only 3 ingredients (beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil)
  • no parabens (read more specifically about the dangers of parabens)
  • absorbs quickly
  • works on severely cracked or dry skin
  • improves eczema
  • for use on hands, body, and even face!
  • produced by a work-at-home-mom
madeon hands

I am just so impressed with all that this lotion can do. My kids have eczema from time to time, and I felt so good to be able to put a product on their skin that (a) worked and (b) was made with real ingredients that I know are safe.

I took my own Monday Mission challenge to “get the parabens out” and checked the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, and MadeOn scores a ONE – no hazard at all. That is a serious recommendation.

I can think of only one drawback to this product.

The hard lotion is, obviously, hard. You have to rub it a bit between your hands to soften it and allow it to penetrate your skin well. Busy moms, tired and running off to bed, sometimes are too lazy for even 20 seconds.

DIY Hard Lotion Bars

I have always respected that MadeOn doesn’t have a bunch of “proprietary secrets,” and in fact, Renee shares videos of how to make the lotion and the recipes with anyone. Her customers are almost like students in her class as far as how she gets to know them, cares about them and shares her knowledge.

If you’ve never tried MadeOn lotion, you’re missing out. My mom even orders from Renee occasionally, and Renee will tell me that she noticed my mom in the store that week and to tell her hello – it’s like living in a small town!

We Finally Met in Person!

To get your own hard lotion click here and take advantage of $5 off orders of $30 or more of MadeOn products using code: kitchenstew5

An Interview With MadeOn’s Founder

I’ve enjoyed MadeOn’s lotion, bug bar, and lip balm since I became acquainted with Renee Harris, the mastermind behind it all, through Kitchen Stewardship® many years ago.

Her ingredients are super safe, and she’s always fiddling to come up with some new product. It’s been a blast to be on the ride with her!

We’re constantly emailing ideas back and forth, and I wanted to take a moment to share the joy of knowing Renee with the rest of you, so we worked up a little interview. Renee and I hit it off right away because we’re both conservative mamas who love their families, like to cook with whole foods, and think the earth is an important resource. I knew she was a keeper when I found her NFP info site, Sweeter Than Honey.

Now you guys can fall in love with her, too:

1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship®: I can’t help it. I have to start with the name, because I’ve been curious since I opened my first lotion bar. Where does “MadeOn” come from?

Renee Harris of MadeOn Hard Lotion Bars

Renee Harris: I decided to name my business “MadeOn” because on each handcrafted lotion bar, I write the date the bar was “made on” to show authenticity and freshness. I got the idea from a container of high quality sea salt my mother-in-law sent me from Southern France. Each can has the signature of the French worker who packaged it, to seal it with a personal touch. It’s worked out beautifully since then because my products have no preservatives (which often irritate the skin), and a six month shelf life, so the freshness factor is something else I get to emphasize.

2. Katie: Some days I can barely get dinner on the table, and I only have two kids. You, I believe, have slightly more than that. How do you balance running a business and running a family?

Renee:  I get that question quite a bit and my quick answer is, “all seven didn’t come at once!”
Really, I’ve learned a lot as our family size grew and when I gave birth to twins when my older two were ages four and two, I quickly realized how much my older two boys could contribute to the household. While tandem nursing, they were very helpful in bringing mom water, the telephone, or putting together simple snacks, and we had plenty of time to develop their love of learning through a lot of book-reading (later translating that into homeschooling, which they’ve become fairly independent with).
As the family grew, my children have taken pride in learning new skills that benefit the family – they love to cook (we devote our Fridays to cooking), and because I’ve granted them more responsibilities in and around the house on the days that I’m busy growing my business, they’ve become kidpreneurs and are sought out by our community when neighbors need odd jobs done.
If moms are allowed to brag here, I’ll point you to their blogs so you can see what types of hobbies and skills they’ve developed. Click here and check out the blogs of the last five submitted bloggers, who are my older five children (and if you have a child who blogs, please submit the blog to our website! Blogging is a wonderful way for young people to develop their writing skills and get focused on one particular topic).
Renee Harris of MadeOn Hard Lotion Bars
About the big family part: as part of being good stewards of the life that God gave us, my husband and I take seriously the responsibility we have with being good stewards of our fertility. Like the parable of the talents, what do we do with our fertility? End it (sterilization)? Choke it (chemical birth control)? Delay it? Or nurture it?
By choosing to nurture it, we’ve practiced Natural Family Planning over the years to keep our health in top shape. But along the way, we’ve also learned a lot about priorities. Because those lessons involve many factors (finances, our culture, child rearing, expectations from others), we started a website several years ago to encourage Christians in the area of Natural Family Planning:
We balance it all by taking out or changing what gets in the way, and you’ll get the gist of that from our website.

3. Katie: You’ve been coming out with new products every month, it seems, with the hair butter, scented lotion experiment, and now the diaper cream. What gives? How do you come up with these ideas?

Renee:  It starts from either a personal need or suggestion from a customer, and then the process is:

  1. recipe searching online
  2. testing on my family
  3. testing with friends or loyal customers
  4. testing with others who may have never tried my products
  5. online survey and occasional follow up
  6. submitting to Environmental Working Group for a low hazard rating
  7. adding it to the product line.

The best part is getting my Facebook people to help me out with ideas and suggestions.

  • The BeeSilk Lotion Bar: my primary product and best-seller was the result of looking for something online to combat my major dry skin issues and when I found it worked and was so easy to make, it turned into a business that’s been a blast to run
  • Lip balm: it’s what happened when I applied the lotion bar to my lips on one particularly dry, chapped lip day
  • Second Life Hair Butter: a few people using the Beesilk Bar told me they used it for their hair. Huh? My next project was to make it a softer consistency and the timing was just perfect to test it by a friend who had just adopted a few children from Ethiopia.
  • Bug Repellent Bar: my kids sleep out on the deck on hot summer nights, so when the mosquitoes arrived to attack them last summer, I took advantage and made up the Bug Block Bar.
  • Au Chocolat Bar: I LOVE the smell of chocolate, so this was out of pure selfish reasons that I made this bar, using cocoa butter instead of shea butter.
  • Simply Soothing Diaper Rash: I have a two year old who loves fruit… need I say more? Actually, it was his little bum, and several inquiries from various people, that brought this project on.
  • Custom Scented Bar: I did this out of customer request, but in the end, I decided it was too much work and I was afraid it would be too difficult to please each particular customer with the amount of scent they want in a bar. I’m not totally opposed to doing it, and I’ll gladly create a scented bar on occasion, but it’s not my main focus.

Not everything works as planned:

  • Belly Butter for Pregnant, Itchy Moms (created out of personal need, and requested by a local pregnancy spa; it worked well but the scent was quite strong – wheat germ oil and cocoa butter made it smell like a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie)
  • Natural Sunscreen/Tan Enhancer (I played around with it but then got busy so I may revisit this one next year; in the meantime, the rash cream could work as a sunscreen!)

4. Katie: What’s the most important driving force behind the ingredients you use?


  1. Effectiveness.
  2. Simplicity.
  3. Ingredients found in Nature.

In that order.

It used to be that when I tried various products to combat my dry skin, I wasn’t concerned about what was in the product. My fingers had so many cuts, I could barely perform the day-to-day tasks of running a busy household. So I have to admit I was a bit shocked that something as simple as the lotion bar recipe could moisturize my dry skin and heal up my cuts, but it did!

It just so happens to line up with my cooking philosophy. If I want to add broccoli to tonight’s dinner, I could have my sons open a frozen package of chopped broccoli, boil out all the nutrients and drain, add a can of mushroom soup, heat, and serve over white pasta. They might experience a hint of broccoli flavor in there. (By the way, a can of soup alone has 14 ingredients in it!)

Or, I could allow my children to really develop a true taste for broccoli by steaming it, adding a drizzle of high quality olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Four high-quality ingredients and it’s all extremely healthy, not to mention tasty.

The same goes with the lotion (that is, high-quality ingredients that are healthy… but I don’t promise it to be tasty!)

One quick story on the diaper rash cream, my latest product. Coconut oil is amazing on the skin and many moms use it alone for diaper rashes. They told me that although coconut oil works okay, they have an issue with the greasiness, and to be effective with fighting rash, it needed something else. Zinc oxide is that something else that works amazingly well on rashes. Combine the two and you have a thick liquid. Add beeswax to the mix and it suddenly becomes creamy, with about the same consistency as Desitin, but without the white mess and fishy smell. And I promise you, it’s just as effective. If you’re a cloth diaper user, it’s even better than Desitin because it won’t leave a residue on your expensive cloth diapers.

Again: effectiveness, simplicity of ingredients and all-natural.

You can see why Renee and I continue to work together!

Thanks, Renee, for sharing your story and inspiring me to get even closer to simplistic and all-natural ingredients in all of my body products. I’m getting there! You can visit MadeOn HERE.

How We Creatively Co-Brand

Over the years as Renee and I have connected as entrepreneurs, we’ve enjoyed brainstorming new ways of sharing our products with customers.

We “co-brand” the Bug Block with my Family Camping Handbook each summer by offering the eBook as a freebie for Renee’s customers, and we incorporated one of her chocolate peppermint lotion recipes into my Smart Sweets dessert eBook (along with a coupon code for $3 off – p. 84 if you have the book!).

What I have for MadeOn is brand loyalty, for sure, but I feel like I’m out of the mainstream consumerist society, and I like the view from here.

Are you on a mission to find an all-natural skin moisturizer? What are your favorite paraben-free personal products?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

41 thoughts on “Paraben-Free Lotion: MadeOn Hard Lotion Bar {REVIEW}”

  1. Pingback: Cumin Chickpea CrApes | wacklipate

  2. Sara via Facebook

    My hard lotion is not so hard right now! We are having unseasonably warm temps right now in central Virginia and I refuse to turn on the ac!

  3. My journey began when my husband got skin cancer and we went to the drug store across from Mayo Clinics to find him a good skin block. They were all commercial and I thought for sure I had seen some on warning lists. We bought Nutragena thinking it looked the most “natural.” Wrong! I’ve been checking the ingredient database and found it doesn’t even block the different rays that it says it does! I’m really angry that we did everything we could to protect my husband’s exposed skin (face) yet were mislead. It’s up to us now. Thanks for the opportunity.

  4. I work in a research setting – and need to wear latex gloves all day….yikes! My poor hands get so dried out and cracked and I can’t seem to get them back to ‘normal’

  5. As much as I would love to stumble, digg or tweat.. i don’t think I am ready for that yet but I did email 6 of my dry skinned friends about this giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity!

  6. MadeOn hard lotion has only been around since 2008?! Color me impressed! Obviously I visited her site and learned a bit including the fact that the average gal has at least 120 chemicals spread all over her body as a result of cosmetic products… and to what expense! I was also impressed with how reasonably priced the HardOn products are. Thank you!

  7. I am a special ed teacher who works at the children’s homes. I am always washing my hands!!! My hands are a wreck as a result and the half-used bottles of useless products that line my shelves or get regifted to others in need is crazy! I just unloaded a bunch on to a girlfriend who has crazy cracked feet like me (too much info I know). I ache for spring when my cracked and bloodied hands and feet finally get relief 🙁 adding shea butter into my daily routine has helped tremendously but I always have one really bad episode a winter!

  8. My hands usually get very dry and crack in the winter, but so far this Spring the situation hasn’t improved like it normally does with warmer weather. They’re so bad that my younger sister recently asked what was wrong with my knuckles! They need help!!

  9. I use a dab of lotion on rare occasions, but what helped my peeling, cracking, bleeding hands more than anything is a very regular dose of cod liver oil!
    .-= Peggy´s last blog ..When life gives you a headache… =-.

  10. We are totally going to try this! My son’s excema has been bad because we can’t control his diet at daycare… plus with warmer weather and shorter sleeves, he scratches all day and night. I would love to see how the MadeOn soothes his itchy rash! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I wasn’t going to post for [or even read] this because we’re trying to rid our home of extraneous bottled products… but I was surprised to read about the hard bar with recyclable/reusable container! Just the product we’ve been looking for..It’s like MadeOn was MADE for US!

  12. Between dry winters and hard water my hands make me look 30 years older, that is never good! I have yet to try a natural alternative to my current hand cream but anything that would actually work on my dry cracked and sometimes bleeding hands would be welcome.

  13. I learned that Renee of MadeOn suffered with dry skin for years and began looking for a cure/lotion when her son started suffering from seasonal eczema.

  14. I follow you on twitter and tweeted:

  15. Both my kids have eczema and I only want to put safe ingredients on their skin!

  16. I can’t stand dry hands, but have noticed that even though I apply lotion frequently, my hands are looking old and scaly. I wonder if it’s the parabens, petroleum products, etc., in the lotions. I’ve just switched to better lotions.

  17. Since I’ve come back from Japan my hands are always dry. Now I just cleaned up my shelf from all the products that included paraben and I need hand lotion.

    I’m already a follower of Kitchen Stewardship 😀
    .-= kanmuri´s last blog ..Mountain of Boxes =-.

  18. I visited and learned about Renee’s story of why she created MadeOn bars for herself and her son.

  19. My hands are dry and cracked in the winter so I’m always looking for a lotion that will soothe and hydrate without any harmful ingredients.

  20. I use lotion daily on my hands, so wonder how I would do with the hard source. I would be willing to give it a good try in order to avoid questionable ingredients.

  21. Julie @ Practically Spent

    Interesting read. A ZERO!? I’ve never seen it either. Great to know. I’ve got hands that are washed about a bazillion times a day & are exposed to some seriously harsh winter weather. Thank you!
    .-= Julie @ Practically Spent´s last blog ..WDYD? Wednesday – Blog Frog =-.

  22. My daughter has horribly dry, cracked hands, especially in the winter. We don’t even live up north…can’t imagine if we did. I’ve looked all over for a natural, affordable and effective remedy. Our 2-step process for now is this: a thin layer of olive oil rubbed in plus a layer of lanolin rubbed in on top. She does this at bedtime, and it does prevent sore, bleeding cracks!

  23. I don’t like it when my body (especially my back) is dry and itchy but I can’t reach it.

  24. I seriously have horribly irritated and dry, dry, dry hands. I showed them to my general practitioner a few weeks ago. She asked me what I have been dipping my hands in. Water. That’s all I could tell her. She, of course, recommended a product that is not natural. I am sure I wash my hands way too much, but I am a terrible multi-tasker and am always going back-and-forth between dirty tasks (like scraping the poop off my toddler’s cloth diaper) and preparing food. I don’t sit still well and have to be doing something even if I am waiting only a couple of minutes before I need to take the next step in preparing a meal, for example. Since my hands have gotten so bad this winter, I have tried to only go back-and-forth between tasks that don’t require I rewash my hands, but they still need some major healing and re-hydrating. I’ve found a lotion that I like, but it might break the bank if I continue to need it as often. I keep hoping the warmer weather will help, but no luck so far. I’m excited to try MadeOn and will probably buy some if I don’t win, but I’d love to win some! I’m not too interested in the Skin MD as I’ve read not to use personal care products with glycols.

  25. I have several bottles of lotion from my couponing days, but have now started researching more natural products. The dilemma, use what I have first or just switch to more natural? I have dry skin, but always forget to moisturize. Maybe knowing that I’m putting natural ingredients on my skin would help me to moisturize daily.

  26. I went to the DIY section of the Madeon Hard Lotion site and ordered the ingredients to make the lotion myself, it’s very easy and much less expensive. The products can be ordered through Oils by Nature and Renee gives you a discount code for 5% off. The real bonus for me was when I was ready to check out-there was an option to pick the order up. I learned they are in Ohio, just a half hour from my home. I saved all shipping fees as well.
    Will be making lotion next week.

  27. Being the daughter of a dermatologist who never recommended anything natural in his life, making the switch to natural skin products has been a slower journey for me, although it’s easier to choose natural for my kids. However, I do wish I didn’t have to rely on prescription creams and would love to find natural products that could really work on my dry skin. I have times where the skin on my fingertips start cracking and it is awful! I also have chronic ring finger dermatitis!

  28. In the winter I usually use Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula to help my cracking skin. Now want to go look it up in Skin Deep.
    .-= nopinkhere´s last blog ..Veer Right =-.

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