Many people suffer with dry and chapped lips during the winter months. Cold and windy weather in particular are often a cause, also colds and flu can leave you with very sore, red flaky lips too.
There are many commercial lip balms available. However, the ingredients used by many of the well known companies are worth thinking about before you use them. Many contain petroleum jelly, mineral oils and synthetic waxes; and inevitably as we all lick our lips we not only absorb this through the blood vessels in our lips we ingest it too. There have been many reported health concerns about the use of these ingredients (by products of the petrol industry) and I prefer not to use them at all.
You may also find that you are constantly re-applying lip balm – this is often due to inherently drying qualities of many of the ingredients, preservatives and fillers in commercial lip balms which initially provide moisturisation but actually strip your lips of their natural oils at the same time.
Luckily it is actually very simple and cost effective to make your own natural lip balm and avoid using nasty ingredients on your lips. You will also find with a beeswax lip balm that your lips feel soft and protected without having to constantly re-apply lip balm so you actually use less and the product will be cheaper in the long run than buying off the shelf.
Beeswax can be combined with various natural botanic butters and oils to make a basic lip balm.
By varying the ingredients you use and the proportions you can also vary the consistency and the properties of the lip balm.
The beeswax protects the lips and the oils used provide moisturisation.
Essential Oils can be used to add aroma, flavour and for their therapeutic properties.
If you want to make a lip balm in a stick you will need to make a slightly harder balm than if you want to make a lip balm in a pot, for example.
If your lips are very chapped and sore you will need a softer balm, with more healing base oils such as Calendula and anti-inflammatory essential oils such as German Chamomile included. A soft balm will be easier to apply, will not irritate any broken skin and will help soothe the lips as well as moisturise them.You way like to combine something like aloe vera gel with the wax and oils.
Many oils can be used with the wax to make lip balm. Sweet Almond and Olive Oil are good, effective inexpensive oils to try. Jojoba is more expensive but has a lovely consistency and colour and is very rich in Vitamin E so adds shelf life and nourishment to any lip balm.
Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Coconut Butter are easily available and bring texture and natural flavour to the balm.
Herbal and macerated oils such as Hemp Seed and Calendula are very healing to damaged, broken and chapped skin and can be used with other botanic oils or alone.
A very simple recipe using just three or four ingredients can be used to create a natural lip balm. The method is very straightfoward.
Please see the recipe for my Cocoa Butter and Spearmint Lip Balm below. You can adapt this recipe; the method will remain the same.
If you buy beeswax in blocks it is a good idea to grate it or shave it before melting it.
If you use essential oils please take care when handling them. Check that they are good quality, in date and appropriate to use on the face/ skin. Peppermint should not be used on the face of children under 5. Citrus oils add a lovely aroma and flavour but citrus oils are photosensitizers so should not be used before sunbathing or usng sunbeds.
Vitality Aromatherapy Cocoa & Spearmint Lip Balm
This recipe will make about 8 x15ml pots or 16 x 7ml sticks.
You can half the recipe if you prefer.
It is a useful recipe as suitable for pots or sticks.
The lip balm will keep happily for 6 months if kept in a cool place.
50ml Sweet Almond Oil
25g Cocoa Butter
Approx 40 drops Spearmint Essential Oil(optional)
Weigh your ingredients and add all except the essetnial oil (if using) to a pyrex jug or similar heatproof container.
Put the jug into a bain-marie (use a saucepan with a few inches of water) over a gentle heat.
Melt the ingredients, stirring occasionally to ensure the beeswax has completely dissolved.
Carefully take the jug out of the water and turn off the heat.
Let the melted balm cool slightly and then add the essential oils if using. Stir well.
Carefully pour the balm into the containers and allow to set.
Put the lids on.
Its good practice to label the balms with the date you made them or a use by date 6 months later.
This advice is intended to allow you to make balms for your own use not for commercial sale.
A useful site where you can buy containers – sticks and pots, beeswax, butters and many ingredients you can include in your home-made lip balms is:
A site that sells kits with all you need to make lip balms at home is: http://www.bath-bomb.com/pages/lipbalmkits.html (they use flavour oils which I don’t advocate but it is an alternative to essential oils which involves less safety precautions, and you could always leave them out and use vanilla extract or similar if you don’t want to add synthetics but don’t have essential oils).
I buy organic beeswax and essential oils from www.materiaaromatica.com