A good quality DIY lip balm is one of my skincare essentials, so today I’ll show you how to make it at home. In fact, this recipe is absolutely gorgeous and you can put it to work on nearly every area of your body!
This balm is different from the vegan lip balm I made last week. As well as being luxuriously scented, it’s also designed to re-hydrate and tackle those unsightly patches of dry, flaky skin that we all have but won’t admit to. I tend to make more of these during late autumn through to early spring, as cold and windy weather is one of the skin’s nemeses.
Balm For More Than Just Your Lips
When we talk about moisturizing balms, it’s easy to think about just making them for the lips and skin. But actually, they can help soothe and stimulate the mind as well as the body.
As a kind of aromatherapy technique, essential oil-infused balms can be applied to the temples or pulse points for their mood-altering properties, and if I’m gifting I’ll keep the person in mind when choosing the essential oils (e.g. lavender for insomniacs or lemongrass to invigorate all day long).
The Basic Lip Balm
You’ll find I’ve included many variations of this recipe below, and it may seem daunting which one to go for. But don’t worry, start with my basic DIY lip balm with beeswax and shea butter, then go from there! More on the different variations and recipe adjustments that you can play around with later.
- 5g Shea Butter
- 5g Cocoa butter
- 5g Olive oil
- 10g Sweet almond oil
- 7g Beeswax
- 5 drops Rose essential oil
- 3 drops Geranium essential oil
- Small, lidded glass, aluminum or plastic containers (must be PET) or Lip Balm Tubes
A quick tip: I’ve used mostly imperial grams for this recipe, simply because they’re such small measurements, and measuring volume with tsp/tbsp is just not accurate enough. If you’re going to be working with such small batches, we strongly recommend getting a jewelry weighing scale.
- Heatproof bowl/container (Pyrex glass beaker is perfect)
- Clean teaspoon spoon or small hand whisk
- (Optional) Pipette
- (Optional) Jewelery weighing scale
How To Make Lip Balm:
Step 1. Pour or place all of your oils and butters (excluding your essential oils) into your heatproof container. I find heatproof, glass beakers are the best option for this job. Place the beaker into a saucepan of water, taking care to make sure the water is lower than your beaker’s rim (this is called a water bath). Simmer over a low heat so that your butters melt into the oils slowly.
Quick tip: I sometimes use a microwave to speed this part up. Nuke it in 30 second increments and make sure you’re not using any metal.
Step 2. Once melted, remove from the heat and saucepan and allow it to sit for a short while. Do not allow the mixture to thicken. If it does thicken, pop it back in the saucepan, melt and have another go.
Step 3. After a little less than a minute of waiting, the mixture should leave a sort of residue on the sides of the beaker. At this point add your essential oils, a pipette can come in real handy here, and stir well.
Step 4. Working quickly as not to let it cool, pour your mixture into your chosen glass, aluminium or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic storing container. If you have to spoon it in, you’ve let it cool for too long (that’s okay, just means the surface will be less smooth on the finished product).
Do not attempt to melt the mixture again like in step 2, as the essential oils have now been added and will lose their active properties or scent when subjected to heat. Sometimes this happens to me when I’m a bit absent-minded and I warm it up again without thinking, but I never throw it away. You still have a lovely balm, and the rest of the oils and butters are still excellent for your skin.
Important tip: Resist the urge to lid as soon as you’ve decanted your mixture into the container. I always let it cool completely before I lid, as this prevents the build-up of the evaporated mixture from smearing the underside of the lid as well preventing any mildew from growing in the balm (it will have an awful smell if this happens and must be thrown away).
How To Use The Lip Balm:
- There are a whole range of uses for this beyond dry lips, as I’ve already said. It’s great for scrapes, bumps and bruises, so if you’re a mummy (or daddy) keep one in your purse as a cure-all for your kids adventures and antics.
- My DIY lip balm produces a mixture that doesn’t fully sink into the skin, with a little sitting on the surface to create a barrier between your skin and airborne bacteria. But don’t worry, the ingredients are so natural and skin friendly that it still somehow allows your skin to breath.
- It can also be applied to large areas of dry skin and several times a day. The limbs, ankles, feet, hands, face, chest, back, baby’s bottoms and pretty much any part of the body can benefit from this. I’ve even used it as a prewash treatment for my hair, and people I know have used it to soothe the itch of a new tattoo (keep it clean though and lose the essential oils) or keep their beards looking healthy.
- Apply to the temples or pulse points as a beautiful perfume that can soothe the mind, invigorate the senses and ease tension throughout the body through aromatherapy (more on this later).
- When using any balm, try to make sure your skin and fingers are clean first.
How To Gift This Lip Balm:
I find these DIY balms make such wonderful homemade beauty gifts! Make up some labels out of paper or card to affix to the container with glue or tape. I like to handwrite these as it gives it that personal touch. You could also stick little fake flowers, rhinestones, ribbons and more to give it that sparkle!
Personalized lip balm will always be received better so think about the loved one you are gifting to and try to match it to them.
These are great to give in tubes with a wind-up mechanism for easy application to the lip, face and temples. When giving multiple tubes, a fabric pouch with an assortment of scents, colors, fragrance oils or aromatherapy essential oil blends with different properties is a fabulous to gift in (see pic below).
Lip balms are pretty forgiving and flexible when it comes to ingredients, and you’ll find that when you make your own lip balm you can substitute nearly everything or tweak the measurement ratios to your liking!
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
When I’m just looking to make a quick balm that smells nice, I just throw in any essential oils I like the smell of. Try opening the bottles and wafting them towards you in different combinations to build a quick scent profile that you like. If your selection of essential oils is small or like me you have a thing for peppermint, using just the one essential oil is fine too.
However, balms are perfect for infusing the aromatherapeutic properties of essential oils as well as smelling wonderful. I could go on and on about how great essential oils are for this, and all the different properties each essential oil has. Maybe take a look at our essential oil use page to learn more about that.
Here’s a few examples of essential oil blends and their application for aromatherapy:
8 drops Bergamot
3 drops Geranium
3 drops Grapefruit
3 drops Lemon
3 drops Lime
2 drops Grapefruit
2 drops Lemon
2 drops YlangYlang
Wake Me Up
3 drops YlangYlang
3 drops Bergamot
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Chamomile
2 drops Cedarwood
This one can be quite strong, but then so are my hangovers!
10 drops Neroli
5 drops Sandalwood
More info on all of these oils can be found on my essential oil use page.
Fragrance oils, which are a blend of preselected scents suspended in oil, are an excellent alternative to essential oils and come in many varieties. You can get hold of blends which are made to mimic popular perfumes, colognes, flowers and even food! Fruity, chocolate, honey and vanilla are all firm favorite fragrance oils for lip and body balms.
Scent preference is very subjective, so use what you’re comfortable with or enjoy. You could even omit them completely for a cheaper, scent free balm – though butters and oils still have their own subtle aromas.
Butter and Oil Substitutes
The butters and oils can be substituted for many different types. The balm above contains shea and cocoa butters, but you could easily use something like mango butter. Same for the oils, as avocado, jojoba, calendula and so on can be used instead if you know your skin prefers a particular variety.
Keep the melting point of butters in mind before making a rash decision, as you may need to increase the amount of beeswax if you choose very soft butters. Maybe combine a soft and a hard butter, like I have. You could also adjust the ratio of hard to soft butters (e.g. 3g cocoa to 7g shea, which will produce a softer balm) to alter the consistency of the final product.
Beeswax is essential for most DIY lip balms, but sometimes is not necessary when making a particular type (see something below). Although the consistency can be altered by tweaking the ratios or types of butters, I always find it easier to just increase or decrease the amount of beeswax slightly.
If you need a thinner balm use 5g of beeswax instead of 7g. If you live in a hot, humid country you probably won’t want to do this unless you’re planning to store in the fridge. This will give you a slicker balm that will more readily collect when you skim the top of the mixture with your finger. I wouldn’t recommend decreasing the beeswax if you are planning to store in a lip balm tube, as a thinner balm will not wind up the tube properly. You could even add more beeswax if you like; be careful, too much and the balm will become brittle and cracks will appear.
When gifting a this, remember that beeswax is not vegan, as it’s made by the honey bee. Substitute it for olive wax to keep your meat and animal product free friends happy! Check out my Vegan Lip Balm recipe here
Coloring Your Balm
You may want to combine your new favorite balm with a chic tint for your lips. Why decide between lipstick and DIY lip balm when you can have your cake and eat it too? Cosmetic colors are readily available online, and won’t break the bank either. Micas are great and come in powder form.
Stir in very small amounts at a time, right before you add any essential oils, in increments of about the size of a grain of rice until you achieve the desired tone.
If your mixture hardens before you’ve done this, just melt it again (unless you’ve already added essential oils). If you’re lazy, like me, you could cut a couple of slithers from your favorite lipstick and pop it in when melting the butters and oils. It won’t be as vibrant, but it will give your lips a subtle, healthy glow!
For more colorful lips, try making your own lip gloss!
Have fun making a lip balm at home, feel free to ask any questions below in the comments. And remember to come back here and post a photo when you’ve made it!