Lip Balm

I’m a lip balm lover.  Always have been, always will be.  I used to adore the thousands upon thousands of flavours available and if there was a new brand, I would ‘need’ to try it.  Then I read that the average woman eats about two pounds of lip balm every year.  Around that same time, I also started learning about all the random, potentially toxic ingredients in lip balm and I thought it’d be best if I started making my own.

Now, older and wiser, I’m thinking that the two-pound mark might have been a bit exaggerated – because the first batch I made came up to a cup.  That lasted me for several years – it seemed like it was going on forever – so I even used a large portion of that base to turn into body butter (because I didn’t want the oils to go rancid before using it all up).

An old issue of Healthy Directions gave the best guidelines on making your own lip balm:

  • 20% beeswax
  • 25% solid at room temperature oil (e.g. coconut oil, palm oil, shea butter, lanolin)
  • 15% brittle at room temperature oil (e.g. cocoa butter, palm kernel oil)
  • 40% liquid at room temperature oil (e.g. sweet almond oil, olive oil, castor oil, avocado oil)

Below is my recipe (which makes about 3 tins – this obviously depends in the size of your containers, but I didn’t want to create massive quantities of lip balm…urm…again, LOL).  It was weighed and written in grams because I’m not a fan of instructions like “add 0.75 of a teaspoon” or “add 1 1/4 of a teaspoon”.  Not sure why I hate it so much, but everyone has their weird quirks right?  If you don’t have a scale, feel free to use the percentages as written above and scale it to whatever measurements you prefer – word to the wise, avoid using “cups” as your standard – because you will end up with a LOT of balms.

Makes: 20 grams (or about 0.7 ounces)
  • Lip balm tubes/tins
  • Extra tin or container (For any extra lip balm that doesn’t fit into your tubes/tins.  I suggest metal, so you can easily reheat it in the oven and transfer into your new tubes, when the time comes).
  • Suggested: Glass squeeze dropper (This makes it easier to transfer your melted lip balm base into the tiny containers.  I used extra hot water and either a pipe cleaner or reusable straw brush to clean the insides – the hot water helps melt the balm into a liquid and the pipe cleaner/straw brush to scrub the insides)
  • Suggested: Digital scale because math stresses me out (and you might be the same).
  • 4 grams wax (e.g. beeswax or vegan alternative)
  • 5 grams coconut oil
  • 3 grams cocoa butter
  • 8 grams avocado oil
  • Melt all ingredients over a double boiler.  (A double boiler is a plain pot of water directly on the stovetop, with a heat-proof bowl sitting on top -> the water shouldn’t really touch the bottom of this bowl.  Your ingredients go into the heat-proof bowl and are gently heated until just melted together).
  • Once it’s all melted, stir and divide into your containers.
  • Allow to cool at room temperature or place carefully in the fridge until it solidifies.
  • Try using an infused liquid oil instead of ‘plain’ avocado oil.  See recipes for lemon balm infusion here, or vanilla bean infusion here for some ideas.  I like the vanilla for the heavenly scent it imparts onto the oil and the lemon balm is said to be great for cold sores.  Calendula infusion is also great for nourishing the skin and lips – but obviously not, if you’re allergic to it.  ***IMPORTANT: If you are using an herb-infused oil, be sure you’re really familiar with the herb’s properties.  For example, if you wanted to use St. John’s Wort Infused Oil because you’ve heard that it is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, it might not be such a great idea because it may be photo-reactive to people with fairer skin (which means your skin and the e.o. will react in the sun).  The skin on your lips is also more delicate than ‘regular’ skin, soooo, I wouldn’t want that, even if I’m not fair-skinned!  Some herbalists suggest that St John’s Wort is protective of sun damage – so, since we don’t know for sure, I’d err on the side of caution – always!  To my knowledge, lemon balm, vanilla, and calendula do not have these potentially adverse properties :D.
  • I avoid adding essential oils to lip balm!  Some are photo-reactive (like those yummy citrus-y ones which sound like a good addition to lip-stuff but totally might backfire on you).  Others smell too herbaceous and medicinal for my liking (on the lips, anyways, LOL).  And others are ridiculously strong, so even after you dilute them in carrier oils – and they might make your lips tingle.  And if you accidentally add too much, that tingle becomes a burn.  Don’t ask how I know.  So, I personally don’t use them on my lips but I’ve heard of some commercial lip balms that contain lavender.

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