My first adventure in homemade lip balm has been a huge success. I adapted a recipe from Simple Gifts: 50 Little Luxuries to Craft, Sew, Cook & Knit and was super happy with the results.
Since this recipe calls for beeswax, and I’d heard that beeswax can be tricky to work with, I found a cheap ($1.99) pot from my local thrift store to use solely for the purpose of making homemade beauty products. I purchased all of my supplies from a local apothecary, which I recently discovered and immediately became enamored with: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary & Supply. It’s a completely enchanting shop and worth checking out the next time you are in the Boulder area. As always, I recommend sourcing as much of your project materials from local businesses whenever possible.
With my new used pot and my supplies in tow, I was ready to enter the world of DIY beauty products. I used the following recipe which will fill six 1/2 ounce lip balm tins:
2 Tbsp (22.5 grams) beeswax chips
2 Tbsp (28.7 grams) shea butter
3-4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (Use less for a thicker balm)
3 vitamin E capsules
25 drops of peppermint essential oil
You’ll also need:
Six 1/2 ounce (15ml) tins to pour the mixture into (You can also use more smaller containers or fewer larger ones. Aim to buy 3 ounces worth of containers or reuse old chapstick tubes, tins, or jars.)
Cheap-o pot or pan or a double boiler (an old glass bowl or glass Pyrex measuring cup would serve this purpose nicely)
A regular pot (only for water)
Metal Tongs (for sterilizing your tins; a colander will also suffice)
Sterilizing the tins:
1. You’ll want to start by sterilizing your tins (skip this step if using plastic tubes) . Preheat your oven to 200°. In the meantime, place the tins in a pot and fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Allow them to sit for a few minutes before fishing them out with your metal tongs. If you don’t have tongs (or this seems tedious) you can pour the whole thing through a colander and then pick them out with your hands once they are cool (this is what I did).
2. Place the tins on a cookie sheet and slide into the oven for 10 minutes, or until dry. Voilà: clean tins! Now you are ready to melt the beeswax.
Making the lip balm:
1. The first step in this recipe is to melt the beeswax chips and the shea butter. The recommended method for this is to use a double boiler to reduce the risk of burning the oils. Since I didn’t have a double boiler, I used the heavy-bottomed pot that I found at the thrift store and melted the beeswax and shea butter over VERY low heat, stirring almost constantly. This process took close to 20 minutes, so be patient if you are using this method. If you have a double boiler, use it. Even a glass bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup that you can set inside a pan of boiling water will work great.
2. Once these two ingredients are melted, add the olive oil. Continue stirring until all three ingredients are melted together.
3. Remove from heat and squeeze the punctured vitamin E capsules into the mixture. Add the essential oil and stir gently. This mixture tends to cool quickly and the beeswax will begin to solidify. Work quickly, or come back to your stove burner for a few moments to re-melt any leftover wax drippings.
4. Spoon the mixture into your clean, dry tins. I added about two teaspoons of the liquid to each tin and then assessed which, if any, needed more or less. Wait until the lip balm is cool before adding the covers. You are done!
Note: There is a final step that I added to the recipe. After I had poured the liquid into the tins, there was some leftover, hardened mixture on the spoon and around the edges of my pan. I slowly reheated these oils, scraping with a rubber spatula. Since the beeswax cools and hardens so quickly, the leftover drippings that I added to the tins looked like gloppy paste. To create the smooth consistency I wanted, I put the tins back on the cookie sheet and into a 200°F oven for 10 minutes to gently remelt the lip balm. Then I let it cool to a smooth finish and my lip balms were ready for gifting!
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