By Debra Hasbrouck
Photos by Debra Hasbrouck
Keeping your lips feeling healthy and smooth can be challenging, especially in the winter. Finding relief is tricky, considering that many commercial products contain artificial fragrances, camphor or alcohol – which can dry your lips even more.
One simple solution is to make your own lip balm with natural, moisturizing ingredients. It’s surprisingly easy to create a high quality product that can soothe and protect your lips. Starting with a basic formula of one part oil, one part wax and one part butter, you can develop custom recipes. There are also many fun ideas online for creating homemade gifts.
First, make sure you have everything ready: ingredients, a scale or measuring cups and spoons, a double boiler (I used a large heat-resistant pouring cup with a handle, set inside a pot of simmering water,) utensils (wooden chopsticks work well for stirring,) pipette dropper or funnel, pot holders, paper towels and containers. If using tubes, twist them down and remove the caps. I punched holes in a empty cereal box to hold my tubes in place for filling.
Lip Balm Recipe
1/2 oz (1 Tblsp) Sweet Almond Oil
1/2 oz (1 Tblsp) Coconut Oil
1 oz (3 to 4 Tblsp) Beeswax
1 oz (1/4 cup) Shea Butter
15 to 20 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
Beeswax note: I purchased pastilles, but you can grate bars of wax. For a vegan product, candelilla wax is a good substitute. If using essential oils, flavors (oil based only) or colorants, make sure they are lip-safe. For SPF you can add non-nano zinc oxide. Some things to remember before heating: Wax gets very hot when melted. Never melt wax directly on the stove – it can reach its Flash Point, where flammable vapors might be produced. In case of fire the mixture must be smothered – never use water to extinguish a wax or oil fire. Do not leave unattended while melting.
DIRECTIONS: With water just simmering, melt oil and beeswax in top of double boiler. Stir often, making sure no water gets into mixture. Once melted, add Shea butter, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and let cool for two minutes, then stir in peppermint oil. Carefully pour mixture into tubes or jars. (It is much easier to fill tubes with a pipette or medicine dropper.) If the wax cools too much and starts to harden, you can re-melt in hot water. I made a double-batch and set aside ¼ cup for lip scrub. Then I filled 12 tubes with basic balm and colored the remainder with ¼ tsp “rose pearl” mica. To make exfoliating lip scrub, I re-melted the ¼ cup of mixture, cooled it a few minutes, then added 1 Tblsp white sugar and 1 Tblsp red jojoba beads. I then poured into labeled lip pots. For the holidays I plan to combine homemade lip balms, lip scrub and soap (see November 2014 issue) as part of a unique, personal gift basket.
IMPORTANT: When cleaning up, wipe all containers out with paper towels before washing. The mixture (especially the wax) can cause a serious plumbing clog. For ideas, supplies and to watch tutorials, you can go to www.brambleberry.com.