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Lip balm is an essential item for many people, especially during the warm months of the year! However, lip balm isn’t always a sustainable product. From mass-producing the beeswax (which can be harmful to bees if not done correctly) to using plastic tubes, it can be a very environmentally-damaging product.

 

Let’s take a look at how to make lip balm and even reuse an old plastic tube you might have lying around!

One pre-step is to clean out the lip balm tube. You can do this by using a toothpick to scrape out the leftover wax in the little cup at the bottom of the tube.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of beeswax (I like to use pellets)
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter (unrefined is preferable)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut, avocado, sunflower, or olive oil
  • Essential oil to preference
  • ¼ teaspoon mineral powder or lipstick if color is desired

(Note: I use Surreal Makeup eyeshadow pigments for my mineral powders. They’re super pigmented and are from a small, woman-owned business.)

 

For a double-broiler method:

  • Small pot to put about three inches of water
  • A glass measuring cup
  • Toothpicks 

 

For a microwave method: 

  • microwaveable bowl or measuring cup
  • Toothpicks

 

Now it’s time for the science! When blending different kinds of waxes, oils, and other fats, they should be incorporated in the order of highest to lowest melting point. For this recipe, that order is beeswax, shea butter, lipstick if being used, and coconut or other oil. Melt each one fully before incorporating the next one. For example, once the beeswax is fully melted, then add the shea butter. Melt that before adding the next ingredient. When adding essential oils, do not return the mixture to a heat source. It will essentially denature the essential oils so they’re no longer effective (or smelly)!

Once you have an idea of the order of your ingredients, the next step is to think about the actual melting method. For a double broiler, place your glass measuring cup in the water, making sure the water level is low enough that it doesn’t splash into your mixture while simmering. Melt the ingredients in order of temperature requirement until combined. Pour the hot mixture into the desired container, whether that’s the cleaned lip balm tube or something else.

For the microwave method, heat in 30-second intervals. Stir between intervals, making sure the ingredients are melting consistently. Once everything is melted together, pour it into the desired container.

If you want to add color with mineral powder, I recommend doing so before adding any essential oils. That way, if the mineral powder cools the mixture too much, it can be reheated to the desired consistency for pouring before the essential oils are added.

Once everything is mixed and poured, let it cool for at least a few hours. I usually let my lip balms cool overnight, just to be on the safe side.

 

Go have fun experimenting and nourish your skin and lips!

Annika G.R. Bunney is an interdisciplinary creator focusing on traditional writing, nature-based creations, and assorted textual pieces. She is a second-year in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her ever-evolving work draws on classic literature, folklore, and mass media. When not working on academics, she can be found taking care of her many cats and playing with her rescue dog. She also loves wandering in the outdoors, curling up with a good book, or playing video games.
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