Have you ever noticed that the more you use lip balm, the more “addicted” to it you become?
That’s because most lip balms that you buy at the store are LOADED with inflammatory and irritating ingredients. Instead of soothing and healing your lips, they’re just making things worse.
In this post, I’ll be discussing these popular questions & sharing my favorite lip balm DIY recipe with you:
- Is lip balm bad for you?
- Which lip balms are safe to buy?
- What did our ancestors use?
- Can I make my own lip balm?
Is Lip Balm Bad for You?
Yes and no; it completely depends on the ingredients!
Look at the Classic Original Chapstick for example.
I used the crap out of this in high school and college because I didn’t know any better. I would panic anytime I didn’t have it with me because my lips would be cracked and dry if I didn’t slather it on every 30 minutes. If you look into this popular product, you’ll find that there are 18 ingredients. EIGHTEEN.
White Petrolatum 45% Skin Protectant, Arachidyl Propionate, Camphor, Carnauba Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Isopropyl Lanolate, Isopropyl Myristate, Lanolin, Light Mineral Oil, Octyldodecanol, Oleyl Alcohol, Paraffin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Red 6 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, White Wax, Yellow 5 Lake.
Not only is that a lot of ingredients for a simple moisturizer, but many of these are tied with developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity.
…WHAT?!? You mean that product that I’m putting on my lips and swallowing throughout the day?
YES. That one.
Here are some of its ingredients according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG):
- Propylparaben – associated with development & reproductive toxicity, allergies, immunotoxicity, and endocrine disruption
- Fragrance – associated with allergies, immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, and irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)
- FD&C Yellow No. 5 – associated with allergies, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, persistence & bioaccumulation, and non-reproductive organ system toxicity. It also has contamination concerns with cadmium and biphenyl-2-ylamine.
- White petrolatum – associated with non-reproductive organ system toxicity and has contamination concerns with PAHS.
- Methylparaben – associated with allergies, immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and biochemical/cellular level changes.
- D&C Red No. 6 – contamination concerns with aniline and cadmium.
Do you remember Lip Smackers?
If you were a pre-teen in the 90’s like I was, I’m sure you had every flavor in your mini-backpack, too.
The ingredient list is simply appalling. Drumroll please….
RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, CETYL ACETATE, BEESWAX/CIRE D’ABEILLE, EUPHORBIA CERIFERA (CANDELILLA) WAX/CIRE DE CANDELILLA, FLAVOR/AROMA, POLYBUTENE, PARAFFIN, SESAMUM INDICUM (SESAME) SEED OIL, COPERNICIA CERIFERA (CARNAUBA) WAX/CIRE DE CARNAUBA, HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, MINERAL OIL/HUILE MINERALE, ACETYLATED LANOLIN ALCOHOL, MICROCRYSTALLINE WAX/CIRE MICROCRISTALLINE, TRITICUM VULGARE (WHEAT) GERM OIL, STEARIC ACID, STEVIA REBAUDIANA LEAF/STEM EXTRACT, SUCRALOSE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, PROPYL GALLATE, CITRIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, TOCOPHEROL, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYL HYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE. MAY CONTAIN: BLUE 1 LAKE (CI 42090), IRON OXIDES (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), RED 6 LAKE (CI 15850), RED 7 LAKE (CI 15850), RED 21 LAKE (CI 45380), RED 28 LAKE (CI 45410), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), YELLOW 5 LAKE (CI 19140), YELLOW 6 LAKE (CI 15985).
WOW. That’s literally all I can say.
Go grab your products and look them up HERE to see how they pan out.
Which Lip Balms Are Safe to Buy?
The good news is that if you don’t want to make your own just yet (but you will once you see how easy it is!), there are some good ones out there.
Here are a few that contain simple, REAL ingredients:
- Makes3 Organics – Ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax & shea butter.
- Bee Bella – Ingredients: beeswax, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, lanolin, rosemary extract, orange peel oil.
- Moroccan Magic– Ingredients: sunflower oil, beeswax, argan oil, coconut oil, lemon essential oil, vitamin E, rosemary blend, thyme essential oil, calendula blend.
- Kind Lips – Ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, shea butter, jojoba oil and vitamin E (I would only use the “unflavored” kind. Their flavored ones had “natural flavoring,” which is too obscure for me).
The scary thing is it actually took me a long time just to scrape these few together. There’s a lot of crap out there that is promoted as being a clean product, but it’s really not. It’s just fancy marketing.
What Did Our Ancestors Use?
Highly processed lip balm in a plastic tube is certainly a modern take on something humans have been using to heal chapped lips for centuries.
- In ancient Egypt, it was common to use beeswax mixed with olive oil or almond oil
- In ancient India, it was common to mix powdered bael fruit with a woman’s milk to make a paste (Read more about ancient cosmetic practices in India here)
- However, on the homestead of North America, beeswax was commonly mixed with animal fats such as tallow and lard! (I feel another tutorial coming soon related to this…!)
You can see that the theme here is combining a natural fat source (animal fat or oil) with a binder, such as beeswax. It’s pretty simple, really!
Can I Make My Own Lip Balm?
ABSOLUTELY, and you should!
Not only is it super simple to make (only 4 ingredients!), but it’s incredibly cheap. I priced it out a few years ago and it came out to like $0.14 a tube! They make lovely gifts or stocking stuffers and would be a fun craft to do with your friends or kids.
What are you waiting for? Let’s do this!
Lip Balm DIY Ingredients:
- Empty lip balm tubes: THESE are the ones that I use.
- Beeswax: If you are able to find this locally, that’s the best! Otherwise, I would recommend an organic, unbleached product like THESE beeswax pellets (it’s what I’m using in this tutorial).
- Shea butter: I’ve been using THIS one for years and I love it!
- Coconut oil: I like to purchase my coconut oil in bulk because it’s great for everything from beauty products to frying up eggs.
- Vitamin E oil: This is optional, but vitamin E is an antioxidant that will naturally keep your carefully crafted lip balms fresh for months to come. THIS is the one that I’ve been using and it’s fantastic!
- Essential oils: You can use anything you’d like here, but lemongrass is my favorite. Everyone loves it!
- Double boiler: If you don’t have one yet, now is great time to get one. THIS is the one that I use. You’ll find it useful when creating oil infusions with herbs, plus other DIY items that require gentle heat.
Lip Balm DIY Instructions:
Get your double boiler going while you gather your supplies. I use a small/medium pot of gently boiling water and add my double boiler on top.
Once the water is boiling, add 2 Tbsp beeswax and stir occasionally until melted. I find that a wooden chopstick works great!
Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil and 5 drops of essential oil.
Reserve a small amount in your double boiler and allow the tubes to cool. You’ll notice that the contents shrink slightly as it cools, so I like to top them off with the reserved amount a few minutes later.
Thank you for using my Lip Balm DIY Recipe and let us know what you think in the comments 🙂
Lip Balm DIY Recipe
- Measuring spoons
- 15 Empty lip balm tubes
- 2 Tbsp Beeswax organic, unbleached
- 2 Tbsp Shea butter organic
- 2 Tbsp Coconut oil organic
- 1/4 tsp Vitamin E oil (optional)
- 5 drops Essential oil(s) I like lemongrass
- Boil water in a medium pot, then add your double boiler
- Add beeswax to the double boiler, stirring occasionally with a chopstick until melted
- Add the coconut oil and shea butter to the double boiler, stirring again until melted
- Remove from heat and stir in the vitamin E oil and essential oils
- Carefully pour into the empty lip balm tubes (my double boiler has a pour spout, which makes it simple!)
- The contents will shrink slightly as it cools, so I save a little extra in my double boiler to top off the tubes a few minutes later.
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