Try Something New: How to Make Lip Balm & Lotion Bars
About 40 years ago, consumers began asking for skin and lip products made with natural ingredients. Several companies (like Maine’s Burt’s Bees, founded in 1984; New Hampshire’s Badger Balm, founded in 1995; and Georgia’s Savannah Bee Company, founded in 2002 – to name just a few) were quick to recognize the trend towards quality products that were made with natural ingredients and essential oils. The consumer demand for these products has created a very profitable industry that is growing.
During the pandemic we have followed recommended guidelines to not gather with friends and family. Since we are home more, we need activities that are fun and help connect us with our family and friends, and our creative sides. Making your own lotion bars and lip balms will do that.
There are at least three perks to making your own skin products:
- It’s a nice benefit to know exactly what is in the product you are using on your skin.
- The cost of making the product is typically much lower than what you pay to buy the product from a company, mainly because you aren’t paying for a “name brand” and all the costs that come with a product, such as advertising and shipping, etc.
- Dry, itchy skin and chapped lips aren’t confined to winter months or the pandemic; this activity can provide you with year-round benefits. But I warn you, making your own products is very addictive!
The first step to making lotion bars and lip balms is to find a recipe that you like. I’ve offered some recipes below, but Pinterest is a great resource, or you can do a Google search for recipes if Pinterest isn’t your cup of tea. The second step is to purchase the supplies needed.
You will need to purchase several ingredients to make lotion bars and lip balms. I have provided a comprehensive list of supplies needed to make both. If you’d like to start with one or the other, see the recipes to make up a list.
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- Coconut Oil (virgin or refined solid coconut oil is best)—Coconut oil is a rich source of Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals. It has healing properties to soothe dry skin and chapped lips, acts like an emollient, and softens and moisturizes the skin and lips.
- Shea Butter—Shea butter is an exceptional healing agent for dry and chapped lips. It is supremely rich in fatty acids and antioxidants which help heal dry skin and make lips smooth and plump.
- Cosmetic grade Beeswax Pellets—Bees wax is an antibacterial binder. A combination of bees wax, oil and shea butter creates a lip balm or lotion bar that’s firm at room temperature but softens when applied. Bees wax can be found in cosmetics, sunscreens, and baby products.
- Carrier Oils (your choice)—Carrier oils are used to ensure the oil is absorbed into your skin. Learn more and find oils here.
- Essential Oils (optional)—This is where you can add scent. Here is a website that can guide you.
- Containers—You’ll need tubes or tins for your lip balms. Lotion bars can be stored in a mason jar or some other receptacle. Room temperature of about 68 or 70 degrees is best.
- Molds—I use chocolate candy molds for the lotion bars. I prefer the lotion bars to be on the small, single use size and these come in so many fun shapes and sizes. You can even use a muffin tin or an ice cube tray. Use what pleases you.
- Whisk—You’ll want a special whisk just for this activity.
- Funnel—Find a heat resistant funnel you can use for this activity only.
- Double Boiler or Glass Bowl—I have a glass bowl that I use just for making bars and balms. I place it over a regular pot, and it works great. It’s totally up to you what you use.
- Food Dye—Use food dyes to add color if you’d like to try that.
- Measuring spoons—Again, you’ll want a set just for making lotion bars and lip balm.
DOS AND DON’TS
Do NOT forget the beeswax. Beeswax is the binder. It is the ingredient that gives the final product shape and holds all the other ingredients together.
Do NOT experiment before you attempt the recipes first. Please try the recipe as stated and once you master how to make the product, you can experiment then.
Do NOT use the same tools for making lotion bars and lip balms that you use to cook food. Beeswax and essential oils aren’t easy to get off. It’s just better to have separate utensils.
Do experiment once you have mastered the basic recipe.
Do make more! Any of these recipes can be doubled or tripled.
Do personalize with essential oils, food dyes, shapes, sizes, and different carrier oils!
HOMEMADE LIP BALM RECIPE
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Servings: 8 lip tubes or containers
- 3 tbs. coconut oil (1.38 ounces)
- 1 tbs. sweet almond oil (.48 ounces) or jojoba oil, olive oil, avocado oil may also be used instead of almond oil
- 2 tbs. beeswax pastilles (1 ounce)
- 20 drops essential oil (optional)
- 8-10 tubes or tins of empty lip balm containers
- Remove the lids from the lip balm containers (for tubes: secure them upright with a rubber band to keep them from falling over while pouring).
- Measure the coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and beeswax and pour them into a double boiler.
- Turn the heat on low and let the coconut oil, almond oil, and beeswax melt completely.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the essential oil(s).
- Pour the mixture into the upright tubes. Leave a little room for expansion while cooling.
- Allow the lip balm to set and then cap the containers (overnight is best).
- This recipe will fill 8-12 lip balm tubes or tins.
LOTION BAR RECIPE
I found a basic recipe online, several years ago, and after a lot of adjusting, I came up with this version.
I don’t like using beeswax that smells like beeswax so I found unscented purified white wax pellets on Amazon. However, use what you like!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Servings: depends upon size of mold(s) used. There are a lot of fun molds out there!
- 25 oz of coconut oil
- 25 oz of pure beeswax or carnauba wax (vegan)
- 25 oz of shea butter
- Essential oils (optional)
- Heat coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax together in a double boiler or glass bowl over a saucepan over low heat. It helps if you break up the beeswax into small chunks (if you don’t opt for pellets or flakes) because it takes a while for the wax to melt.
- Once the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax are melted and in liquid form, remove from heat and stir in the essential oil(s). Try with just about five drops at first. More drops (up to 20 drops) can be added if you don’t think the scent is strong enough. Less is more to begin with! Add food dye during this stage too.
- Pour the mixture (while still in liquid form) into the container or mold of choice, don’t fill to the top to allow for some expansion while cooling.
- Allow bars to harden overnight. This is important.
- You can also place the molds/containers in the refrigerator if you need to speed up the process.
- During the pouring process, place your containers somewhere to keep any pouring mishaps in check. I use a metal cookie tray covered with two layers of wax paper, but you can use anything/or anywhere that is easy to clean up any spills.
- Wipe out the measuring bowl or double boiler while it’s still warm, for easier cleaning.
- Add essential oils, a few drops at a time, stirring slowly to blend. Then you can choose to add more, one drop at a time, until you get the level of scent you want.
- Add food dye, also a few drops at a time, stirring slowly until fully mixed. Then you can choose to add more drops until you get the shade you are looking for.
- Store lotion bars and lip balms at room temperature. They do not do well left in warm locations. Cool temperatures won’t hurt them, but the product won’t soften easily to apply to skin or lips.
- I typically purchase at least the 1 lb. container of each of the coconut oil/shea butter/beeswax because it’s more economical in the long run, but keep an eye on the cost. Comparison shop!
Reminder: if you don’t like the texture, smell, or shape, experiment! You can adjust the amount of beeswax but remember that it’s the binder and binders can’t be left out entirely. You can try a different binder but do some research. Remember, it’s up to you and your imagination!
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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.
About Charlene Sullivan
Hello, my name is Charlene Sullivan. I am a member service consultant in Brattleboro. I have a background in business and history education. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know people and find out what I can do to help them. I like to read, watch movies, and travel to historically significant places. When I am not at work I am with my husband and our cats.