Easy DIY: homemade lip balm & giveaway

I’m a self-confessed lip balm junkie, so what business I have making the stuff when I have more than I can use already, I don’t know. Excess isn’t green. But I figure that my predilection for lotions and potions is a fairly minor eco-sin in the greater scheme of things, and it’s good to know how to make the things I use.

If you look through a bunch of lip balm recipes, you might be a little intimidated by the apparent precision necessary. Don’t be. It’s not an exact science, and it’s hard to go seriously wrong. Lisa at Style Essentials was kind enough to send her [ridiculously simple] lavender lip balm recipe my way. It called for just three ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, and essential oil. (No preservatives are necessary, though you can add a drop or two of vitamin E if you’re concerned.)

Of course I improvised, keeping the basic ratio (2 parts solid to 4 parts oil) the same. I ended up using approximately 1 part plant butter to 1 part beeswax to 2 parts oil, and I’m quite happy with the consistency (smooth, not too soft, but reasonably melty). You can probably use any good quality, skin safe oil (safflower, jojoba, avocado, almond, etc.) and plant butter (shea, cocoa, mango) combination and achieve decent results. The honey seller at the farmers’ market sells beeswax for $1 for a one ounce stick, making this a pretty inexpensive DIY project. A food scale would probably be helpful, but I managed without one.

For containers, I cleaned and reused small plastic sample jars and metal tins I had lying around. Do not boil (even briefly!) the clear ones that mineral makeup samples come in  — the lids will warp. Yes, I found this out the hard way.

These are the exact formulas I tried this time. Endless variations with different butters, oils, and scents are possible. Have fun!

Beeswax takes the longest to melt. Be patient!

Lip Balm Recipe #1: Creamsicle
2 TB meadowfoam oil
1/8 oz beeswax (not having a food scale, I cut up a 1 oz bar into eighths)
1/8 oz mango butter (crumbly, so it came to about 1 loosely packed teaspoon)
5 drops organic orange (or tangerine or mandarin) essential oil
3 drops vanilla absolute

Place oil, beeswax, and butter in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until completely melted. Turn off heat, allow mixture to cool slightly (5 minutes or so? just to decrease evaporation of the essential oils), and stir in essential oils. The vanilla absolute will have to be whisked in fairly briskly because it is not oil soluble. Use a plastic dropper or spoon to put the melted solution into desired containers. Let cool before capping. Yields about 4 small 1″ diameter jars.

Notes: the meadowfoam oil feels quite slippery. Consistency is slightly softer than recipe #2.

Lip Balm Recipe #2: Lavender Vanilla
1 TB sweet almond oil
1 TB kukui nut oil
1/8 oz beeswax
1/8 oz mango butter
6 drops organic lavender essential oil
2 drops vanilla absolute

Same instructions as above. I’m not as happy with the lavender/vanilla scent combo and am not sure I would try it again (lavender mint might be more interesting). The kukui nut oil has a slight but noticeable scent.

Giveaway time!

You know how lip balm takes a long time to use up? Even though these were pretty small batches, it would take me a long time to use this much lip balm on my own, so I’d like to offer creamsicle lip balms to two of my subscribers. (If you really want a lavender one, you can choose that one instead.) Sorry, but due to the beeswax, they are not vegan.

How to enter: be an RSS or email subscriber and leave me a comment telling me how you subscribe. That’s it. Dead easy.

The giveaway ends next Friday, June 3rd, or thereabouts. Winners will be chosen randomly.

15 responses to this post.

  1. Fabulous! What fun it has been to share recipes and now see the final outcome of your project. My next batch will have to be cremesicle. That just sounds too yummy.

    Reply

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thank you much for convincing me that lip balm wasn’t rocket science!🙂 If you have mandarin essential oil, I would try that instead of sweet orange for its brighter, tangier scent.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Sparrow on 05/27/2011 at 22:55

    Hi! I subscribe by email. Those recipes look excitingly easy Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  3. thanks for this. I make lipbalm for DD but need to be careful which products I use for myself, so your’s sounds perfect. I didn’t realise it was so foolproof to be honest.

    If you’re interested in the one I make for DD (and have made for others which they have all claimed is the best balm they have ever used; even on nappy rash and dry hands LOL!) I have the recipe on my site: It’s the healing lip balm one and I use manuka honey in it: http://littlegreenblog.com/family-and-food/bodycare/home-made-recipe-lip-balm/

    This isn’t an entry into the comp by the way – shipping to the UK would be a huge waste of resources😉

    Reply

    • Hey Mrs. Green,
      Your recipe looks great! And a lot more precise than mine…maybe I should invest in a food scale at some point. It’s not considered essential in an American kitchen, but not having one sure makes it hard to follow international recipes.

      I’ve always been too cheap to get sandalwood essential oil, but I know it’s supposed to be great for the skin. If we lived closer by, I’d offer to swap…

      Reply

  4. Oh …. well …. I cannot resist a lip balm giveaway.🙂 And thanks to both you and Mrs. Green for the recipes … I might just have to try this out myself. Can I ask … what is vanilla absolute? I’m an email subscriber … thank you for your generosity in sharing your lip balms, and recipes, with us! 🙂

    Reply

    • Heh, I thought I’d see you here.🙂 Vanilla absolute is like essential oil, except the vanilla has to be extracted with a solvent (ethyl alcohol). It’s much stronger than vanilla extract, and it should not be irritating at the concentrations I used it.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Carrie on 05/28/2011 at 13:05

    You can find easy-to-use lip balm bases here: http://www.LipBalmTubes.com I like them because they’re all natural and they also have a vegan base if you want to avoid beeswax. Hope this helps!

    Reply

    • Thanks, but I’m happy to tinker around with the oils and butters I already have! I would have considered getting a vegan wax (candelilla or soy) at the time I was ordering from Mountain Rose Herbs, but it’s hard to turn up beeswax from my local organic honey seller.

      Reply

  6. That looks great! I’m subscribed on RSS. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  7. Posted by Denise Yribarren on 05/28/2011 at 20:01

    Hi! I am quite thrilled reading your blog. Very few of my friends are especially concerned with green living so I read the blog as a personal “visit”. I subscribe via e-mail. Thanks.

    Reply

  8. Yay, more homemade lip balm recipes! I’m so well stocked for now that I won’t make use of these for a while, but I’m glad I’ll know where to go when the time comes.🙂

    Reply

  9. Hey Jennifer,

    Sounds like a good time cooking!🙂 I’m wondering if it’s possible to make solid perfumes this way, too. I bought one at my local whole foods, but the smell is wrong. Hm, maybe I’ll try it and then let you know… In fact, I’d be interested in learning how to make more face/body products. Do you have any resources?

    Oh, and thanks for the offer.

    Best,
    Jen

    Reply

    • Hi Jen,
      There are some recipes at Majestic Mountain Sage (http://www.thesage.com/recipes/recipes.php), but some of them contain preservatives, which I am eager to avoid. I usually look at a bunch of recipes and advice and cobble my own. Probably not the best way to do things, but fun in a science experiment type of way.

      I’m sure you could make solid perfumes using higher concentrations of essential oils (careful, though — too high and they may irritate your skin). Mandy Aftelier has a great book on natural perfumery called Essence and Alchemy if you want to mix up your own!

      Reply

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