Can't figure out what to give people for the holidays? Lip balm is easy and quick to make, almost everyone appreciates it, and it can be customized for personal tastes with minimal effort. Many recipes exist online, but I find that most of them are far more complicated than necessary, requiring various exotic butters and oils.
I'm here to bring you the simplest lip balm recipe EVER. The base only requires two common ingredients: olive oil and beeswax.
Beeswax pellets are preferable over solid beeswax blocks, because they are easier to measure by volume. Any pure beeswax will work, though.
Make sure you choose a mild olive oil, like pure olive oil. Don't use extra virgin olive oil, which has a stronger olive flavor. Lip balm made with pure olive oil doesn't retain the olive taste.
A few drops of essential oils can be used to flavor the lip balms. I've made many successful flavors with lemon, fir needle, peppermint, cedar, rosemary, and cinnamon. There are so many flavors to choose from! Mountain Rose Herbs
is a great resource for medicinal-quality essential oils. They also sell the tins you can use to make the lip balm, along with places like Bulk Apothecary
. I've purchased from both and been very happy with the results.
You can also create chocolate varieties by adding a little baking cocoa!
First step is to melt the olive oil and beeswax in a double boiler setup. I'm using a candle wax melting pot as my inner pot, but any pot that you don't mind cleaning wax off will do. If it has a spout to pour with, that's even better (the narrower the spout, the better).
The recipe: 1/2 cup beeswax pellets + 1 cup of pure olive oil. This will fill 15-20 round 0.5 oz tins, or 30-40 rectangular sliding tins. This ratio (1 part beeswax to 2 parts oil, by volume) yields a good consistency throughout cold Michigan winters (hard but smooths well onto the lips) and hot Michigan summers (softer but not melted, which would be very messy).
As your beeswax is melting, set out your tins. I like to make them all in one big batch, with labels written so I remember which tins have which flavorings in them.
To add flavor to your lip balm, put a mixture of 3 drops of essential oils in the bottom of the tins, before adding the melted wax. The heat and convection in the poured melted wax will draw the essential oil throughout itself as it hardens in the tins later. If you add the essential oil after pouring the wax, you run the risk of the flavor lingering in the top of the tin and in creating unsightly divots in the finish on top.
Successful flavors I've made:
- Peppermint: 3 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Cedar: 3 drops of cedarwood atlas essential oil.
- Lemon: 3 drops of lemon essential oil.
- Cinnamon: 3 drops of cinnamon leaf essential oil.
- Rosemary Mint: 1 drop of rosemary essential oil + 2 drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Rosemary Lemon: 1 drop of rosemary essential oil + 2 drops of lemon essential oil
- Rosemary Cedar Fir: 1 drop each of rosemary, cedarwood atlas, and fir needle essential oils.
- Peppermint Chocolate: 3 drops of peppermint essential oil + ~1/8 tsp baking cocoa mixed into the wax after pouring.
- Cinnamon Chocolate: 3 drops of cinnamon essential oil + ~1/8 tsp baking cocoa mixed into the wax after pouring.
If you're going to make a lot of the chocolate versions, it would be easier to mix in the baking cocoa powder into the melted wax in the double boiler before pouring. If only making a few, you can very quickly mix it in while in the tin.
Less successful flavors I've made (always good to share negative results, too!):
- Fir: 3 drops of fir needle essential oil. This had a slightly bitter piney taste to it, and was too strong by itself.
- Rosemary: 3 drops of rosemary essential oil. It was okay, but I liked it better when balanced with another flavor. Rosemary is my favorite herb, too. It would likely be too strong for many people.
When the olive oil and beeswax mixture is fully melted and the essential oil drops (and baking cocoa) are already in the tins, pour away!
As you can see, this process can get messy. If you can use a inner boiler pot with a smaller spout, I would recommend that. :)
Try not to disturb the tins at all while they cool and harden - just leave them on the counter for a few hours. You want them completely cool before adding the lids.
Last thing to do is to label your tins!
The essential oils will last for tons of tins. I've made over 200 now, and I've barely made a dent into those essential oils. Buy the smallest amounts, or share with other friends who want to make them, too!
Have fun, and happy holidays! ~Kell
Labels: gifts, SCA, tutorial