It’s a lot less expensive than I expected, and it’s easy to make! However… it’s really experimental. Let me tell you what I’ve had success with, and I’ll share my basic recipe I found worked well.
One resource that was really helpful was from an old post over at Bleu Arts on how to make your own lip balm recipe. I used it as a jumping-off-point, to create this basic recipe:
1 Tbsp. Paraffin Wax
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 tsp. Petroleum Jelly
1/4 tsp. Vitamin E oil (I used 5,000IU – you could also just add a capsule or two but my store didn’t have any. This is also totally optional, the vitamin E just helps to preserve whatever you make.)
From here, I add my extras. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. LOL. Today’s recipe worked. ;)
So for the basics: I got the paraffin wax at Hobby Lobby in the make-your-own-candle section. It freaked me out a little that it was for candles, but there’s instructions right on the box for using it in canning food, to seal your jars. So while it’s not edible per se, it is food safe, so I feel okay about putting it on my lips. I used my 40% off coupon, so this 1 lb (that will last me for all eternity, I suspect) was only like $2.50. The petroleum jelly I picked up at the dollar store. That’s 2/3 of your recipe for less than $3 and will last for many, many batches. The coconut oil is straight from my cupboard, but you can find it at pretty much every supermarket in the baking aisle. You could also use olive oil. Heck, you could probably use any vegetable-based oil, though don’t quote me 100% on that as I haven’t tried it.
Now, the Vitamin E oil is going to be the “specialty” ingredient, and the most expensive. I found my bottle (it’s not pictured) in the skin care area at my supermarket. I picked it up when I wanted to try a bath cookie recipe (which turned out totally gross) so I had it already. You can omit it, but it’s a preservative that’s also good for your skin. So it’s nice to add if you really want your lip balm to last. I understand most drugstores have the capsules, though I haven’t bothered to buy any because I have my $7 bottle that is about 12 oz. so I am not going to run out anytime soon. So while it is a bit pricey and you may not want to bother if you don’t think you’ll make much lip balm, over the long run the cost-per-batch is really low. Just keep an eye on your balm if you choose not to use it, and if it starts to smell funny or changes color, throw it out. I would definitely add vitamin E to anything you plan to give as a gift.
Aside from the vitamin E, the place you’ll spend money on lip balm is honestly the little tubs you’re going to pour it into. I found a few different options while at Hobby Lobby – and coupons will definitely help. The paint aisle has some tubs that are intended to store mixed paints. These were $3 for a dozen ($0.25 each). Those just have a pop-on, pop-off lid. What I liked a lot better were some screw-cap bead storage containers, but at $3 for just a pack of 4, that’s a bit more expensive. (The drawback to those was the hot-pink lids. Fine, if your gloss is clear or pink, but kind of clashy if you’re going for the cinnamon red I made.) I’m sure an online search will find you plenty of places that sell lip balm supplies.
In my reading I have seen people recommend things like old film containers and recycled jewelry… I would not go there, personally, it’s not worth it being potentially toxic to save that whopping $0.75, to me. No matter what you buy, wash it very well, with soap, in the hottest water you can stand. Anywho… back to the recipe and some things you can do.
My recipe made up 8 of these little tubs. Here is what I added to the cinnamon one that worked out so nicely:
1/2 tsp. honey (to make it taste good)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (to make it smell/taste good)
a little chunk of a dollar-store lipstick (to make it tinted slightly)
break up your wax so that it will melt up more easily. I just sliced mine into think slices and crumbled them up.
You can either mix these things in a heat-safe bowl or pyrex measuring cup that’s sitting in a small saucepan of hot water – making sure not to get any actual water into your recipe. You will probably want to get some sort of dropper to pour your balm into those tiny containers if you go that route. Or you can do what I did, just be really careful not to scald or burn yourself:
Put all your ingredients into a freezer bag and seal it up. You don’t need a big bag, I was just out of quart-size ones. Run it under hot tap water for a couple minutes, to soften up the oils. Go get your tubs ready for pouring. You don’t want to hassle with it when you have hot balm. :) Put them on a protected surface like an old towel, or a few sheets of paper towel. It can get messy. Make sure they are as level as possible.
The melting point on paraffin wax is 135 degrees (F) so those probably won’t melt in your bag. But mix it all up as well as you can – the tap water will liquefy the oil and petroleum jelly. Do NOT burn yourself when you do this next part (seriously, I can’t be responsible for how hot you heat your water, here – just sharing how I did this next part). I heated up about a cup of water in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. The water should be hot but not boiling. If you’re nervous, use a thermometer here.
Then, I just dipped my bag into the hot water. I used a spoon to stir it… sort of. It was still inside the bag, it just mixed it up inside there better.
It should be totally liquid in there now. Handle with care from here on out. You want to be able to maneuver the bag, without burning yourself, of course.
Nip a TINY corner off the bag. Remember, it’s pretty liquid in there.
Now, pour it into your pots. I made a little bit of a mess. This is why you want a few layers of paper towel down first. And I can’t imagine straight-up trying to pour this from a measuring cup.
You can clean up the drips with a Q-tip, and wipe the pots with paper towel. If you invest in a dropper, you likely won’t have this mess, but I went the cheap route. ;)
When you’re done, you have a nice, inexpensive beauty product you can gift easily, you’ll just need to invest in a couple of ingredients. You will probably want to add a label, if you plan to give these away.
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