Everything you need to make your own lip balm and hard lotion
Every once in a while I try out something new that really rocks my world. This weekend I had such an experience when I made my own lip balm for the first time. It was actually a side project of making my own hard lotion, which I have been promising to make for quite some time now. I finally got around to it, and I am beyond thrilled with the results!
This project is great on just about every level: it uses only 3-4 ingredients (depending on whether or not you add essential oils), it's very simple to do, and you get a whole whack of high quality, natural moisturizing products for less than ten bucks. I hope you can understand how exciting this is for someone who lives in a part of the world where winter can be very long, cold and punishing to your skin :) And I can promise you, you will never go back to one of those nasty petroleum-based balms or fork over a ridiculous amount of money for a natural balm again after you've tried out this stuff.
What you'll need to make your lip balm and hard lotion:(My recipe is adapted from the one on the MadeOn Skin Care Products site)
Cocoa butter (the pure stuff, not a cocoa butter lotion)
Essential oil of choice (optional)
Some type of double-boiler system (I used a small stainless steel bowl inside a small pot)
A kitchen scale to weight out the ingredients
Molds for the hard lotion and tins or small containers for the lip balm
In my area, coconut oil is easy to find and beeswax is available at the health food store. The pure cocoa butter is the most difficult item to track down (I got mine at Well.ca).
As far as the molds go, I used an ice cube tray for the hard lotion and reused a bunch of old lip balm containers plus a few other small containers I had around the house for the lip balm. To reuse old lip balm containers, wipe out any residue with a paper towel, then boil the containers for several minutes - this will help melt any remaining residue off and make sure there aren't any bacteria lurking around in there. Wipe dry thoroughly with a clean paper towel and they're ready to refill!
What you do:
Weight out equal proportions of the coconut oil, cocoa butter and beeswax (I used 4 ounces of each for the batch I made).
Melt the beeswax in the double boiler (This step took quite a while as I had a big hunk of beeswax to melt; you can grate it if you have a separate grater you won't use for anything else as you'll never get it all off, or buy beeswax pellets rather than the solid block).
Once the beeswax is melted, stir in the coconut oil and cocoa butter; they will melt pretty quickly.
Quickly pour the hot mixture into your hard lotion molds, leaving about 1/4 of the batch behind for lip balm (I think I probably used a bit less than 1/4 of the batch for the balm, but just eyeball it - you really don't need much to make a lot of balm!) Let the hard lotion set up for a couple of hours before removing it from the molds.
To the remaining mixture, add a bit more coconut oil (I tossed in a fairly large spoonful). This will make the lip balm a bit softer so it's easier to apply. Put the mixture back over the double boiler for a minute to get the coconut oil melted in and keep the mixture hot so it doesn't start setting up on you while you're pouring out the lip balm. Remove from the heat and stir in 15-20 drops of essential oil (I used peppermint, which gives the balm an addictive mint-with-a-hint-of-cocoa flavour).
Quickly pour the balm mixture into your tins or containers.
This is what I had when I was done:
14 hard lotion mini-bars plus the equivalent of about 12-13 commercial-sized tins of lip balm (I have 10 containers of balm, but some of them are significantly larger than typical commercially available ones).
Note: My hard lotion popped out of the ice cube tray quite easily, but if you have trouble getting yours out of your mold, try putting it in the freezer for a few minutes as I've heard that helps it come out easier.
I calculated that it cost me just under $10 to make this entire batch of lotion and balm. Since I used less than 1/4 of the batch for the lip balm, that means I got 12-13 lip balms for less than $2.50, or about 19 to 21 cents a tin - for the best lip balm I have EVER tried!
Hard lotion bars in a fancy dish for my bathroom counter
For those of you who aren't familiar with hard lotion, the way you use it is to rub the bar over your skin. Your body heat will cause it to slowly melt, leaving a light oily coating on your skin which will absorb in fairly quickly. My husband, who has always found regular lotion too greasy, loves this stuff and may actually NOT have chapped, flaky hands for the first winter in forever this year. The mild cocoa-honey scent makes it perfect for a unisex family-use household product, too.
Not only will my lips and hands be super-happy all winter, several of my balms and hard lotion bars will be Christmas gifts this year, too. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the container in the top right hand corner has a silver snowflake sticker on it - which is how I will decorate them for giving.
So, have I convinced you to give this a try, too? I'm willing to bet you'll be as hooked as I am on this homemade balm!