Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lip balms and lipsticks

Lip balms are fun and easy to make - to be honest, it's the flavouring that's the hardest bit. A lot of companies use scent, not flavouring, so go for a lip safe fragrance (Brambleberry has some great choices) and you'll save yourself the headache of learning to sweeten properly. (You can include some essential oils that also have a taste, but avoid the citrus ones - I know, I love lime! - because they can make you photosensitive! Mint is always nice, as is vanilla.)

There's quite a simple formula you can use, and you can tweak to your heart's content. (This is a formula created by Majestic Mountain Sage and it's the best one I've found...)
20% beeswax
25% soft butter (coconut oil, shea butter, mango butter)
15% solid butter (cocoa butter)
40% liquid oil

(If you want to make this a vegan friendly lip balm, use 10% candellia wax and up the soft butter by 5% and the solid butter by 5%)

My personal favourites...
20% beeswax
25% soft butter - aloe butter (10%) and shea butter (15%)
15% cocoa butter
40% liquid oil - aloe oil (10% soothing), calendula oil (2%, soothing), castor oil (10%, for shine), and shea or fractionated coconut oil (18%)

NOTE ON OILS: I am a big fan of olive oil as a humectant, which is something lovely in a lip balm, but it tastes kind of weird, very olive-y. You can try it. I didn't like it, and I really wanted to like it! Try to find ones that don't have a lot of flavour like the fractionated coconut oil or shea oil.

Melt all ingredients in a heatproof container in a double boiler. When all the ingredients have melted, add your fragrance or flavour oil, sweeten (optional), then pour into lip balm tubes or pots.

If you are using the lip balm tubes, note that as your lip balm cools, it is going to get a dent in the top. You can live with it, or top it up with a little bit of your left over lip balm, or make it too high and cut the top off. I don't worry about it too much, but some people like it to be pretty! (See above for picture of dent!)

Please check out the Majestic Mountain Sage site for this great recipe on how to incorporate honey into your lips balms. Personally, I love glycerin or honey in a lip balm, but some people aren't fans of lanolin because they think they are sensitive to it. Very few people are, in fact, sensitive to it, but it's an ingredient people want to avoid. The lanolin acts an emulsifier in this recipe, so it is necessary.

FLAVOURING: You will want to use about 3 to 5% of your total weight in flavouring. Most supply stores offer great flavourings for lip balms (or you can use icing/chocolate flavourings by Lorann Oils from cake or chocolate decorating shops), all of which are not sweetened. If you are going to sweeten your lip balms, you can try using powdered stevia or liquid stevia (oil based, not water or glycerin based) and it is a matter of trial and error. Try a drop, taste it, see if you like it. If not, add another drop, and so on. When you like it, pour it into your lip balm containers and let set.

The lipgloss to your right was left uncoloured on one side...but ruby red mica was used in the other side. This is coloured just enough to give it and your lips a tiny hint of colour, as it was intended for a 5 year old!

Anne-Marie (The Soap Queen, fantastic owner of Brambleberry and Otion) has an amazing blog you should check out regularly, and she has posted fantastic tutorials on lipstick making...
When incorporating colours, here are a few hints...
  • use oil soluble titanium dioxide in lipsticks. The water soluble will not mix well!
  • if you want a sheer lip colour, use micas only. If you want an opaque one, use some titanium dioxide and lip safe ultramarines, iron oxides, and magnesium thingies.
  • before pouring into the tube or pot, pour some on a piece of paper and let set (or a wooden popsicle or coffee stir stick). Try it on your lips. If you like it, pour it. If you want more colour, mix it in, then try the test again.
  • WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! I cannot stress this enough. Even if you think you're going to hate the colour, write every single bit down so you will remember later. Because you'll probably like it and want to kill yourself for not making notes!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the lip balm recipe! It looks good, I will try it.
I do have a question: It says to use 15% hard butter. But I dont like the smell of my cocoabutter ( and cant quickly come up with the deodorized version). Could I increase my wax instead?
Im planning on using:
Beeswax, mango and shea butter, Calendula infused SAO and Casor oil.
Im just not sure how this would change the percentages.
Thank you in advance. I really enjoy reading your blog!!!

Lisa Reidzans Schmock said...

Review of the Lip balm Recipe
A little background first! I’ve been addicted to Lip Balm for years. I have one in each room of the house and I carry two in my purse! Several years ago I came across MMS as I wanted to try my hand at making my own bath and body products, and followed their lip balm recipe exactly. Since I quit smoking in 2011, I’ve become very sensitive to smell and taste, and have only been able to tolerate Chapstick Green apple. I came across Point of Interest a cpl months ago I think, and I have a new addiction ;p~. On to the review.

My Recipe:
20% Beeswax
25% Shea Butter – Refined
15% Cocoa Butter – Deodorized
37% Oils – 50/50 Avocado and FCO
1% Flavor Oil
1% Sweetener
1% Vit E

This recipe feels soooo soft and creamy on my lips. I played around with a bunch of different ingredients. Mango butter felt too dry to me for my lips. Regular Cocoa Butter was way too chocolate smelling for me. I love the feel of Avocado oil, use it in pretty much everything. Has Vitamins B, A, E and a shelf life 1 year. I try to only use oils that have a shelf life of 1+ years. Used FCO cause I have a lot of it, shelf life 2 years at least. I figure more Vit e can’t hurt ;) Flavor oil and Sweetener I play around with a lot too..
I melted all the ingredients together except the Vit E, flavor and sweetener. After melted and cooled to about 165F I added the last three ingredients. Packaged in .15 oz lip balm tubes. I will definitely keep making this lip balm. The only thing I’ll monkey around with is the flavor and sweetener levels. Although I have been thinking of swapping out the white beeswax for some natural beeswax. See if the honey aroma carries through to the solid balm. I may try different oils in place of the FCO that have more goodies in them. We’ll see though cause I just love this lip balm.

Anonymous said...

In order to add 15% Zinc Oxide to the Mountain Sage recipe, would it be best to remove the 15% brittle butter or alter the oil to compensate for the additional ingredient?

Tonia Waters said...

Love the recipe but I would like a "stiffer" lip balm. I reworked the recipe and added 5% more of beeswax. It was still fairly soft for me. What ratio would you suggest to get a "stiffer" balm. I know adding too much will create drag and I am trying to avoid that. What would you suggest that I do? One more thing have you ever used e-wax in your lip balms? I saw it in a recipe and wondered what it would bring to the lip balm. What is your opinion? :)

gina said...


I am very new to the DYI world but it looks like making a lip balm is not too difficult...so one day I may venture out and make one!

In the meantime, I was wondering if you know of any lip balms that are highly moisturizing but don't contain any fragrance, essential oils, or vitamin E because I believe all these dry out my lips - I just want the simplest formula that will offer the most moisture without color or fragrance. I am using plain old Vaseline now but I'd like something heavier.

Thank you so much!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

No, sorry, Gina. I make my own so I know very little about commercial products. I really encourage you to make your own! It's super easy and takes less than an hour!

Pam said...

Hi Susan I am going to make some lip balm for my daughter. I'm wondering how much E.O. to add. I am going to use spearmint-it is lip safe.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Spearmint is lip safe, but be very sparing with it as it can tingle!

Michelle said...

Thank you for writing this! Can you expand on lanolin use in lip balms? Is it only needed if honey/botanicals are added? What percentage of lanolin do you suggest? Is there any replacement for it for people who are sensitive to it?

Thank you! I love your blog!

Lehni R. Kersher said...

i used the info here to help me guesstimate a test batch, 15% candy (double refined candelilla wax from tkb), 10% mineral oil, 1% vitamin e, a few drops stevia+flavouring, qs lanolin anhydrous. quite stiff but manageable, i'm going to drop the candy to 10% next time with 15% mineral oil :) I have those little wind-up tubes and a batch of 16g filled only 3 tubes so i'm guessing (for small batches) that i should assume around 5g per tube next time.