Lip balms are one of the easiest herbal preps to make – the recipe is flexible, you can easily customize it with your favorite oils and herbs, and you can even give them color and shimmer without using any synthetic ingredients. You can make lip balms just for color, or make them medicated to treat canker sores or chapped lips, or with sun protection to prevent burns – there are so many options! Depending on your chosen materials and container, you can make your own lip balms on just pennies to dollar for what you would spend buying them at the store. These beautiful balms pictured here are made with organic avocado oil infused with alkanet, organic cacao butter, local beeswax, mica, and are poured into glass .25 oz jars. Materials cost about $1.50 for each lip balm – at the store, a product of this quality and amount would easily cost about $10! And you know exactly what is in your cosmetics when you make your own.
For simplicity, here’s the most basic recipe for making lip balms that will have some moisturizing and protective properties on your lips. You need just two ingredients: oil and beeswax. I recommend using an organic, healthy, stable oil like olive oil or avocado (rich in fatty acids) and beeswax from a local beekeeper. If you can’t find local beeswax, find genuine beeswax (and don’t use a craft wax). If you are vegan, try carnauba wax – its plant derived, a little harder than beeswax, so you will have to adjust your recipe as desired by using more oil).
Basic Lip Balm
4 parts oil (in volume – use a measuring cup)
1 part beeswax (in weight – use a scale, or get it weighed if you buy it at store)
So, for example, if you wanted to make 5 ounces (in volume) of lip balm, you could use 4 ounces oil and 1 ounce of beeswax. Even though the beeswax is measured by weight, you will be pretty close to 5 ounces in total volume!
You just need to melt and mix the ingredients before you pour them into your lip balm containers. Melt the beeswax first, then put in the oil. Since you will need to melt beeswax (and you may never get all the beeswax out of the container you melt it in!) here are a couple suggestions:
-Use a designated small pot or double boiler
-Use a designated mason jar, and place it in a simmering pot of water on the stove
When the wax and oil are all melted together, pour it into a glass or metal container that has a spout, and then use that container to carefully pour it into your lip balm containers. If the lip balm begins to harden in your pouring container, put it over a flame or hot water bath to re-melt, and continue pouring.
The balm will take just a few minutes to solidify, and you are done!
Fun & Therapeutic Embellishments for Basic Recipe
This is the fun and creative part – there are so many ways to customize the basic recipe to you own needs and desires! You can make them medicinal, incorporate sunblock, color, simmers, in any combination!
Herbal Infused Oils
You can add medicinal properties or color to your balm by using an herbal infused oils in your recipe. You can easily make your own herbal infused oil with fresh or dried herbs – learn how here. If you want some herbs to help sooth burned or damaged lips, try lavender, calendula, rose or chamomile. If you want a balm to prevent and treat canker sores, try St Johns Wort (you must use it fresh flowers) or lemonbalm. For sun protection, try Japanese knotweed – its the highest plant source of resveratrol and its sun-protective factor is oil soluble.
If you want to add color, use alkanet root (available through on-line herbs stores). Unlike other herbal infused oils, you can use relatively little (1 tablespoon per 8 oz of oil) and the root will change the color of the oil into a deep, beautiful rosy wine color within a few hours.
Adding butters can make your balm creamier and add more therapeutic benefits as well. Try replacing a quarter of the beeswax in your recipe with pure shea butter, for a creamier consistency that offers more protection from moisture loss and even some sun protective benefits. You can do the same with cacao butter, an excellent addition to help heal damaged and chapped lips, and protect the lips from cold and wind.
Essential oils are very concentrated herbal preparations that have numerous therapeutic benefits, in addition to being a fun way to scent your balms. Two of the most used essential oils in lip balms are lavender (soothing, skin healing) and peppermint (invigorating, also anti-viral, so a good addition for canker-healing lip balm). I like to add the essential oils to the empty balm containers, and then pour in the balm (this avoids heating them up and dispersing them quickly into the air). Because essential oils are so potent, don’t use more than 6-8 drops per ounce of balm, and avoid using citrus oils that can increase photo-sensitivity and result in sunburn. Look for essential oils that are pure, non-synthetic, and unadulterated.
An easy, natural way to get a shimmery finish to your lip balms is to add mica to your recipe. Mica is naturally occurring mineral that poses no health risks (unless you inhale a lot of the powder and get it into your lungs – not a risk in lip balm!). I look for sources on-line that are pure mica (and not colored with synthetic chemicals). You can experiment with various levels of shimmer – I typically add about 1/8 of a teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon per ounce of lip balm after the oil is mixed with the wax. Stir it thoroughly to ensure even distribution.
Other Helpful Tips
- Don’t be afraid to experiment! If the consistency or color of your balm is not what you wanted, you can always remelt it and add more ingredients as needed.
- If your balms don’t set with a nice flat finish, and you want to use them for gifts, just place them on a cookie sheet in the oven on low heat and they will melt down and then cool with a nice flat finish.
- Keep your balms out of the direct sun and extreme heat. If they melt, they will cool and solidify again, but you want to avoid opening them when they are melted so they don’t spill out on you!
What creative embellishments have you used with lip balm? Let me know!