small measures with ashley: homemade lip balm


Brrr!!! I don’t know where you are, but here in the mountains of western North Carolina, it’s cold. Seriously cold. Dangerously cold. And while I can layer up in wool and flannel, bracing most of my body from the ravages of dry, frigid weather, I can’t hide my face. My face takes it straight on, turning tight, parched and achy, as do my lips. Cracked lips would be my wintertime lot were it not for some serious intervention in the form of lip balm (my face, meanwhile, is receiving a bit of TLC via creams, oils and moisturizing masks).

For today’s Small Measures, I’m offering up a do-it-yourself recipe for creating a healing lip salve to protect your own kisser. Perfect for locking in moisture and keeping lips smooth, this balm can be easily and affordably made. It also makes a perfect stocking stuffer or addition to a holiday package of homemade bath salts and a warming, spicy tea blend (check out this link for some Small Measures body care ideas from last year).


All that’s needed to get started are a few ingredients and some very basic kitchen equipment. You will also need some sort of vessel for holding your finished balm. I’ve listed some suppliers for sourcing containers at the end of the recipe; you can also easily repurpose previously used glass or metal lip balm containers. In the image above, I simply painted and then sanded the lids to achieve an “antiqued” finish.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe and container sources after the jump!

I’ve always felt that the best part of making your own body-care products is the ability to customize them to your (or your recipient’s) fragrance preferences. Lip balm is no exception. In the recipe provided below, feel free to add any essential oil or combination of your choice. If minty freshness is your thing, go for peppermint or spearmint essential oil. If you prefer a floral fragrance, consider a few drops of lavender (which naturally contains antiviral, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, perfect for healing lip infections and keeping others at bay). Want a kiss of spice? Spring for cinnamon or clove oil. There really is no wrong way to go about scenting your balm.

Lips of Bliss Balm

The Goods

  • 4 tbsp. natural beeswax, grated
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 5–10 drops essential oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp. honey or glycerin-based food-grade flavor extracts, such as almond, orange, lemon, etc. (optional)

The Deal

1. Place grated beeswax into a heatproof glass dish (one with a spout and handle is ideal). Add coconut oil to the container (the oil will be solid at room temperature).

2. Add 1 1/2 cups water to a small/medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil and place glass dish with beeswax and coconut oil into the middle of the pot. The beeswax and coconut oil will begin to warm and melt; give the liquid a stir with a metal spoon to fully incorporate the two ingredients.

3. Once melted, remove the glass container from the pot and set on a kitchen cloth or trivet. Turn the heat off on your stove.

4. Add essential oil of choice and flavoring agent, if you’re using one. Stir with the metal spoon to distribute evenly.

5. Pour mixture into your container of choice; cover with a lid.

6. Allow to fully cool. Mixture will be solid at room temperature.

7. Makes enough for one 2-ounce container. For larger batches, simply multiply ingredients by the amount of 2-ounce jars you wish to make.

Here’s a list of companies offering lip balm-suitable containers for sale (check your area natural foods stores and craft suppliers, as well):

Cracked-lip crisis solved! What about you? Got any go-to suggestions or standbys for keeping your kisser in tip-top form? I’d love to hear them! Otherwise, here’s hoping that you’re warm, hydrated and properly moisturized from head to toe this winter! — Ashley

Eva

I love this idea, both for a gift and because it’s great to know what exactly you are putting in and on your body!

Lydia

This is great.Wonder about adding some drops of Vitamin E – while traveling on the road, I find that a bottle of Vitamin E in oil form has saved dry lips, and also taken care of cuticles. Makes this salve also useful for fingertips during the day?

krys

That looks a lot less expensive that buying Burt’s bees. I have 20…can’t ever find any. I’ll get right on that. Thanks. Happy Jolly Winter to you.

jeannette

I make my own lip balm using a similar recipe… sometimes I use cocoa butter and almond oil in addition to coconut oil (but always keeping the same ration of “oils” to beeswax.) I buy containers from SKS Bottle and they have always been good providers of containers for me (also make hand lotions!). I use the lip balm tubes and they make great gifts!

Alli

I am pretty obsessed with lip balm, and this really post really makes me want to try making my own! Is there any way I could add some sort of coloring to make it extra pretty that is still healthy?

Nicole*

i didn’t know you were in western NC Ashley! I live in Raleigh! and I visit Asheville a lot because I have family there. that’s awesome :) small world.

Autumn

This is wonderful! Can’t wait to make this and share with my close friends!

Jessica

I love this idea! What a great gift this would be, along with some other homemade goodies. Are there essential oils that anyone recommends, or would recommend not using?

Cassie

This is too cute! I needed a good idea for the finishing touches of a friends birthday present! (andI already have beeswax!) Thanks for sharing. :)

kalanicut

My man would flip for some awesome homemade lip balm. He’s a big stickler for ingredients and it’s tough to find moisturizers or balms of any kind that don’t have harmful ingredients in them. Thanks so much!

Kristina

Perfect mom-daughter project to do with my seven-year-old, and she can givem these to her friends for the holidays…love it! (Plus I agree with the other Burt’s Bees user–Look forward to making my own peppermint-scented balm.)

Jessica

I’m allergic to coconuts and coconut oil. Is there something else I can use instead?

KimJ

*Nicole! I’m in Raleigh too!
I also didn’t know Ashley was in NC. NC represent! :)

I can’t wait to try to make some lip balm – Christmas presents!

Susana

Does anyone know of online stores that sell beeswax and the coconut oil?
I would love to make it this week as gifts for a few of my co-workers.

Kirsten

Sounds so doable – thanks!

Just be sure to go easy on the cinnamon oil, it’s a skin irritant.

When I had my daughter, I was using my lanolin nipple salve on my hands overnight and they were just beautiful. Not so glamourous (and definitely not vegan!) but it worked and it was something I had around.

EngineerChic

Susana – Blue Corn Naturals sells beeswax online (and beeswax votives). I’ve ordered from them & been happy with the purchases. For the coconut oil I’d go to my local health food store, they have it in jars (looks like very white mayonaise) because it’s often used in baking trans-fat free foods. It can be used as an alternative to shortening. Might as well get the food-grade stuff & use it in some pie crusts, cookies, or other baked goods for this time of year.

cajeta

Can you add vanilla? would it take the place of the honey or be an addition?

fxfairy

I’ve lost this recipe more than once. So, now here it is again. Thanks!

Also, dry skin/lips/around the eye suggestion:
Before bed fill the sink with very warm water and soak a clean face cloth while you apply a thin layer of olive oil (or Vitamin E or Almond oil) over your face and neck. Then lay the squeezed out warm cloth on your face for a moment or two before gently wiping it off. No need to towel dry.
If the weather is really severe I also do this in the morning before applying any make up.
Olive oil is inexpensive (buy pure Italian or Californian not rough blends) and your skin will glow for you.

Linda

Can you do this in a double boiler instead of melting the beeswax and coconut oil in glass jars? This looks great for the holidays.

jen

Moving to Asheville in a few months – love that so many people there are DIY-ers!
thanks for the recipe – best part about making your own is knowing what you’re putting on your skin! can’t wait to try it.

Laura

Anyone know where to get bees wax in Australia? The sun and salt air this time of year is a killer for cracked lips! And what a great DIY for Christmas!

Crystal

This is a nice idea but I would encourage your readers to make sure the essential oils they choose are lip safe. Cinnamon and clove oils can be irritating. Citrus oils may cause sensitivity if exposed to sunlight. Ask me how I know LOL! Any reputable supplier should be able to tell you which oils are safe for use in lip products. Just saying…

Heather

Can’t wait to try making some! I only wish I had thought to do this when I went to school in Boone. I totally understand what winters in the NC mountains do to your face :)

ashley english

alli-i haven’t experimented with adding color personally, but from what i’ve read, you can just add a bit of some natural lipstick when melting the beeswax and coconut oil.

nicole*, kimj, and brittany-n.c. in the hizzle!!!!!

jessica-you could substitute shea butter for the coconut oil and achieve the same results.

susana-i purchase my beeswax from a local purveyor: http://www.esoulshine.com/Beeswax_Blocks.htm. you can pick up some coconut oil online from the vitamin shoppe: http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=SA-7014&sourceType=cs&source=FG&cm_mmc=Shopping%20Engines-_-googleproduct-_-Coconut%20Oil%20Unrefined%20-%2014%20Ounces%20Liquid%20-%20Other%20Essential%20Fatty%20Acids-_-SA-7014&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=SA-7014

cajeta-you could definitely add vanilla. i’d put in about 1 tsp. and keep the honey, too, using 1/2 tsp. of it.

linda-absolutely. a double boiler works just as well.

jen-you’re going to LOVE it here!

crystal-thanks for your comment. contacting essential oil manufacturers for information on their lip friendly oils is a great idea. however, a number of prepared lip balms, such as burt’s bees products, actually do incorporate the use of both cinnamon and clove oils. that said, if you have a known sensitivity to those ingredients, then it would be advised to steer clear of their use in the homemade lip balm recipe detailed above.

KatieR

Hendersonville here!! We’ve been here for almost 9 years now, transplanted from St. Louis. LOVE the mountains, and wish we could do more hiking…now we are restricted to mostly enjoying them by scenic drives. But thank you for the post about the dry skin/lips solution. I really need something for my fingertips, which keep cracking and splitting from working with clay. (Christmas rush — yay and ugh at the same time) Wonder if the lip recipe would help…

Cheryl

My daughter and I made this — it was fun and easy. We used 100% food grade beeswax candles, which we had in our cupboard — simply cut off the top and bottom ends and pulled out the wick and scissor-cut them into pieces. We made the first batch exactly as suggested, but for our second batch we found some improvements: You can use a ceramic ramekin and heat the wax mixture in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Much easier. We used a bamboo skewer for stirring because it was disposable and the wax was hard to get off the spoon. And we increased the amount of coconut oil by about 1/2 tbsp. because the first batch had the consistency of Chapstik — great staying power on the lips in rough weather, but hard for fingers to dig out from a small jar. Our second batch was more pleasantly glossy on the finger for use. We flavored our with peppermint oil and a homemade essential oil of glycerin (baby oil) infused with rosemary.

KimJ

Ashley – Could you give us an idea of how much 4tablespoons is compared to 1/4lb. block of beeswax? I’m not sure how much to buy. Would the lip balm be similar to making lotion in the sense that you keep your wax to oil ratio the same no matter how many different ones you add?

ashley english

kimj-A 1/4 lb. block would be plenty. 4 Tbsp. is equal to 2 ounces. There are 16 ounces in a pound, so a 1/4 lb. block should give you 4 ounces, roughly 8 Tablespoons.

elisa

lovely. i’ve used shea butter as one part of similar balms as well, and if i don’t use honey i use it to rub into dry hands and the ends of dry hair – in fact i can use it as a pomade. it is great to be able to make different scents for different people. my little children are fond of rose. x

Sarah @ Still Life Mercantile

I just was at a local (albeit particularly fantastic) natural foods store and they had all the ingredients. They had beeswax sold by the pound in little “pucks” in the bulk spices section. Wouldn’t have known to find it there but once I asked someone it made sense. Just ordered a bunch of slide tins too and can’t wait to make them for stocking stuffers!

Jules

Thanks for the great tips as always, Ashley!

I just had to say that I am a regular D*S reader and had already read this post, but today I was clicking around on Bundle.com and this link was at the bottom of an article, along with links to Time Magazine and NYTimes articles…D*S is running in the big leagues now ;) love it!

Heather

My husband and I have been making our own chapstick for about 10 years. Low effort high yield is what we are all about for Christmas! We buy chapstick tubes online, make our own labels and use eyedroppers from the pharmacy to fill the tubes. About 2 hours of work for 100 tubes of chapstick!

KimJ

I made my lip balm a few days ago and just a warning to put out there – everything that the melted beeswax has touched cannot be used for anything else now – cheese grater, a couple of spoons and pyrex measuring cup are covered and I cannot get it off!!!

I also found that I needed more oil/butter added to the wax. I added more coconut oil and a little canola oil and still think it’s a little too tough for a balm. My advice would be to make your concoction pour it in 1 container and let it harden if you need to make changes just add it back to your full batch and tweak until you are satisfied.

I also don’t think grating the wax is necessary – I haven’t tried it but would imagine small chunks would be fine.

grace

kim

to get rid of that excess wax just put those items in a large tub (or sink) full of very hot water. the wax will rub off gently after it warms up :)

grace

Ashley

kim-i prefer a very sturdy lip balm myself, so i created my recipe accordingly (this balm really, really stays put for lengthy stretches as a result). if you prefer a glossier, softer balm however, then, yes, some additional oil will be necessary.

caroline-huh. i’m not sure why that’s happening, especially with such a small amount of honey. was your honey perhaps crystallized, or exposed to water? try warming your honey jar in a bowl of hot water first to fully liquify it before measuring out the 1/2 tsp. and see if that helps.

J. Ray Ryan

Hi,

I tried out this recipe a couple days ago and I have to agree with Kim J. The stuff is almost rock solid. I’ve looked up different recipes since then and most would use less beeswax and more oil/butter. I’m going to stick with it, but it was disappointing at first. Still, I’m really glad this post got me to try it–it is a simple and fun process.

julie

for healthier cheaper color, what about coloring it with beets? juice a beet, heat liquid on stove until it reduces to a thicker dye, and add a few drops while you’re making the balm. just a theory. i’ve never tried this.

Jennifer

I finally got around to making some lip balm and love it! I used rosemary oil and a little bit of vanilla. It smells much better than any I’ve ever bought. It is a little bit more solid than most, but it definitely stays put! I’ll definitely be making it again.

Jaclyn

Hey! I just came across this recipe today. This is such a cool idea and I want to try this out! I know I may be a little late in posting, but I have a question if anyone can answer…

What purposes do the last two ingredients serve? I just need some more clarification there. Is the honey or flavor extracts strictly for the flavoring? And are the essential oils strickly for aromatic/healing/etc. properties? If I just wanted the moisturizing of the beeswax and oil and a little flavor, could I just omit the essential oils?

I would love to make a lemon or citrus flavored lip balm, but am worried about adding essential oils. I have heard citrus essential oils can cause irritation with sun-exposure and I don’t really know what essential oils to add that wouldn’t take from a citrus flavoring. Any ideas?

amya

Hi Jaclyn – I asked Ashley to weigh in here. :)

Her response:
the honey or extracts are strictly for flavoring purposes. the essential oils can be multipurpose, though. for the most part, their function is one of fragrance, and, as such, can certainly be omitted. some oils, however, such as lavender, are antibacterial, offering a medicinal property as well. citrus essential oils, in large quantity, can cause sensitivity in some individuals. if you know yourself to be sensitive, i would advise you to definitely avoid such oils.

thanks! -amy xo

Jaclyn

Cool! Thank you so much!

That little extra clarification helps :) …Off to make lip balm!

Jaclyn

So I just made this lip balm and something seems to be off. In the comments above, it is said that about 1/8 of a lb. would yield 2 ounces or 4 tablespoons for the recipe. So I grated that much. It was way too much. I added an extra tablespoon coconut oil to soften it up a bit. Now I have two 2-ounce tubs and one chapstick tube full of lip balm that is too hard to use or melt/absorb into my lips. Plus, the lip balm doesn’t taste bad, just the honey and flavor is barely noticeable (after I added extra). I’m not sure what is going on.

Brittany

What is the expiration date on this receipe? I noticed some other ones have a 3 week shelf life.

BHP dla pracodawców

Thank you for another informative web site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such info.

Emily H.

So I am waiting for this to cool right now. I found it on Pinterest, in case you wanted to know where I found you. :) I subbed shea butter for half of the beeswax and used Hawaiian honey. For flavor, I did a dash of pure vanilla extract and the innards of two vanilla beans. This smells so incredibly wonderful, I want to eat it. I made an extra for myself. :) Used rinsed out baby food jars and tripled the recipe and it worked great. I can’t wait for it to cool. Because I used a honey that’s pretty thick, I had some issues with separating. The honey wanted to hang out at the bottom. So once I poured it in the jars, I just kept shaking it until it was thick enough to stay mixed. Oh my God, did I mention how good this smells? I can’t wait to see how it works! I’m sure it will be fantastic! Thanks for the recipe and for helping me make a special and personalized gift for my friend and sister.

Anna

Thank you for a simple and inspiring recipe!
Another idea for jars is to recycle (or would it be upcycle? Anyway, we washed them carefully, then put them in boiling water, before using them) the little plastic containers used for contact lenses. That way one little gift can include two different flavours, even two different recipes: http://kyrkkaffe.libris.se/?p=3630

Diana

I live in the desert of AZ where the temperature has gotten as high as 131 degrees and we have dry heat. I am always using lip medix. My lips dry out real bad. Thank you for this recipe.

Sarah

I looked on the sites you provided for lip balm containers. I don’t see any that are 2 oz. Would 1 oz containers be enough? (‘m thinking of making these as gifts). If not- where did you find your 2 oz ones? :)

Thank you!

Amy Azzarito

Hi Sarah –
I think the 1oz would be fine. Great gift idea! -Amy

Sarah

I just made this and followed the recipe perfectly… It was hard as a candle. I had to chip it all out of the containers, reheat it, and I doubled the coconut oil. It was a quite a bit better, but still pretty hard.

marynette

i really love lip balms and now that I have a recipe i’ll definitely try it, no need to buy lip balms and I can make my own lip balms with my favorite ingredients and scents!thanks!

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