i'd like to first address the myth about lip balm addiction. you may
have heard that once you start using lip balm, you can't stop. well, in
all honesty, the myth is no myth. but the so-called addiction is not an
addiction in the physical or psychological sense. what happens is, when
balm is applied to the lips, the wearer tends to lick the lips
...especially if the balm is flavored. this constant licking gradually
removes the balm and leaves the lips dry, which requires the application
of more balm ...and so the cycle goes on. people who don't wear balm,
don't lick their lips, and except for extreme atmospheric conditions,
their lips don't dry out ...thus no need for lip balm. this might seem
like an unpleasant predicament to be in, but lip balm wearers don't seem
...or maybe there is something physical going on here. to paraphrase the text from one source:
<<...many [commercial] lip products on the market today use paraffin wax, petroleum jelly, and/or mineral oil, sometimes all three. these purely synthetic bases create the illusion of "moisture" because they siphon the natural oils produced by the body directly from your lips, creating the need to re-apply indefinitely. the end result is that even those who are not chronic "lickers" get...and yet another source had this to say about commericial lip balm:
<<...lip balm made with petroleum jelly is ineffective. at best, since petroleum jelly isn't absorbed by the skin, it provides only a short-term fix for dry, chapped lips. and since it keeps the skin from breathing, it can, if used frequently, actually make your lips more chapped. it works by slightly moisturizing the surface of the lips and trapping the moisture there, thus temporarily making the lips less dry. but to keep your lips moist, you need to frequentlyall the more benefit in creating your own natural lip balm.
|• lip balm ingredients|
|• my recipe|
|• instructions for making|
beeswax, butters, and oils over low heat; mix well; when mixture has
cooled slightly, add flavoring, sweetener, color, vitamin e; pour
into containers. if using tubes, overfilling gives the lip balm less of a
sunken top when cooled. you can place your balm in the refrigerater for
quick cooling and immediate use.|
note: refrigeration is also beneficial if your balm contains shea butter, since the "quick cooling" prevents the graininess that can occur with shea butter when it's heated and then cooled. this refers to balms and butters and does not apply to soaps, lotions, or creams.
this product is extremely flexible and hard to mess up. the quantities and ingredients can be modified and mixed and matched to one's own taste. want a harder balm, add more beeswax - want a softer balm, add less beeswax or more oil - want a creamier balm, add more butter - need a healing balm, use emu oil - want to include vitamin-e, incorporate the liquid or the contents from a capsule; etc.
a note on coloring: you may desire to tint your balm ...a color corresponding to the taste. the operative word here is "tint". you want to add only enough coloring to color the balm, not impart any color to your lips. there are several sources that supply cosmetic grade micas that are suitable for coloring your balm. this is the most likely option if you're making balm for commercial purposes. also, because the colors are so intense and the [powder] difficult to measure in small quantities, this option is best applied when making large quantities.
one other option is "tkbtrading". included in their varied line of coloring for soaps and cosmetics, they offers a line of pigments especially designed for lip products. the [powdered] dye is finely milled and pre-dispersed in oil, making it easy to work with.
for smaller batches (and the occasional tube) for your own use, coloring can be achieved by adding a "small" scraping from a lipstick tube. but what if lipstick is not an option, (i.e. you don't wear it, it doesn't come in the desired color, you don't want to ruin your expensive cosmetics)? the solution: "crayons". if non-toxic crayons are safe for children to eat, the small amount needed to tint your balm is undoubtedly safe. and a box of crayola 24s only costs about a buck and offers a wide variety of color options.
a note on flavoring: the essential oils that can be [safely] used as flavorings are the citrus oils* (grapefruit, lemon, lime, [sweet] orange, and tangerine), peppermint and spearmint. there are also many edible "flavor oils" that are made specifically for this purpose. the amount used is generally 2% of the total recipe; depending on the strength of the flavor and, of course, personal taste. flavoring gives aroma, but no actual taste. the aroma tricks the mind into thinking it's tasting. essential oils and flavor oils, (unless so-labeled), are not sweetened. the addition of a sweetener is required to create an actual "flavor".
(* although citrus oils are not toxic, they can be photosensitizing, leaving [some people's] skin susceptible to sunburn, so these should be used with caution. in fact, if you're making lip balm for use by others, it would be prudent to stick to flavor oils.)
a note on sweetener: adding sweetener can be a tricky thing since most sweetening agents are water-based, and the balm is oil-based; the two don't mix. many recipes suggest using honey. honey is water-based; it doesn't work -- (not without an emulsifier). -- it occurred to me that lecithin might be used as a [natural] emulsifier to incorporate the honey. this, however, is conjecture since i've not yet tested this theory.
-- another option is to use powdered stevia. the powder is not soluble, but is very light. when mixed thoroughly, it stays suspended and provides sweetness as the balm is applied. stevia is very, very sweet and only a small amount is required. because of this, the sweetness is hard to control. use too much and you encounter that bitter aftertaste for which stevia is known.
-- yet another option is to use a sweetened flavor oil. one source, "mms" (majestic mountain sage) offers some flavor oils sweetened with saccharin. one such oil, named "sugar kisses", has a slight flavor of its own but can be used as a sweetener in combination with another flavor. i don't know how they get the saccharin into this oil or their other sweetened flavor oils, but the end product is not truly oil-based and behaves pretty much the same way as honey does.
addendum: an oil-based sweetener would be a boon to the [home-crafting] lip balm community, which has been searching for such a thing for some time.
i found a link to an "oil-based sweetener", which is, in fact, stevia pre-dispersed in coconut oil, but you could very easily mix your own stevia with the oil of your choice.
there is also a company which offers a "certain type of fractionated coconut oil, from a specific region," which is naturally sweet; they sell it for use as a lip balm sweetener ...requiring only 5 drops per 4 ounces. i've never heard of such a product. sound too good to be true? could this merely be coconut oil with dispersed stevia or some other sweetener? i don't know. i have no experience with this product or this company, and the company seems reluctanct to disclose any information about the product (i.e. source, pharmacology), so i'm personally reluctant to use it. i am, however, passing on the "link" for anyone who's interested in persuing this. i'd love to hear from anyone having any experience with this product.
a note on sunblock: you can add micronized (oil dispersible) zinc oxide to your lip balm to provided sunscreen protection. see "sunblock & spf" for information on using zinc oxide [and titanium dioxide] as natural inert sunblocking agents.
a final note: there are a few recipes that call for the addition of aloe. aloe (liquid or gel) is water-based. as with honey, no matter how thoroughly you mix, when the balm cools, the wax will separate from the water-based ingredients. adding aloe infused oil is a way to get aloe into your balm, but be advised that aloe infused oil, is not aloe and does not evoke the healing response for which the plant is known. it is also doubtful if the aloe vera powder (aloe spiuata) actually has the healing properties for which aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) is so well known.