Lip balm (or gloss!) is one of the easiest natural beauty products that you can make for yourself. Many of the ingredients used to make a natural lip balm have therapeutic properties, unlike a regular store bought lip balm or lip salve. Look closely at the ingredients of many regular lip balms and you might find a few surprising chemicals in there! Natural lip balms both heal and protect your lips from dry, winter conditions – and hot summer sun. Here is a list of the basic ingredients that you will find in a true natural lip balm product.
Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao) is extracted from the seeds of the cacao tree. The cacao tree is also the source of another well know commodity – chocolate. Although you can use several natural butters to make lip balm, cocoa butter is probably the most well known of the butters.
Cocoa butter is moisturizing in its properties; it is a solid fat that is cream-yellow in color. It is brittle at room temperature but melts to liquid form when it is heated up (above 85 degrees F) , which makes it is easy to blend it with other butters and oils to make lip balm. It has a slight chocolaty aroma.
Beeswax is obtained from the secretions of the honey bee (genus Apis). Beeswax turns from a white to colorless liquid to a solid, waxy substance which is yellow in color. There are variations in the color of beeswax because of geographical differences.
Beeswax has several therapeutic properties; it is moisturizing, antiseptic and a skin softener. It also helps to thicken, absorb water and bind together the other ingredients in a product. Again, although beeswax is solid at room temperature, you can melt it via a heat source so that you can blend it with other ingredients to make cosmetic products. It has a flowery, honey aroma.
There are many different vegetable oils that you can use and add to a natural lip balm. However, if you want your lip balm to be therapeutic and free of any additives, you should only choose a cold pressed, unrefined vegetable oil; if high heat is used in the extraction process, the resulting vegetable oil may not possess many of the therapeutic properties which the plant had. Most reputable aromatherapy suppliers carry unrefined, quality vegetable oils.
Vegetable oils are obtained from various types of plants; these include sunflower (Helanthius annuus), almond (Prunis dulcis), apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca) and olive (Olea europaea). Vegetable oils add both further therapeutic properties (depending on the vegetable oil) and softness to the texture of your lip balm.
Essential oils are not an essential ingredient for a natural lip balm but they also contain therapeutic properties, in addition to adding “flavor” to the lip balm. Essential oils are extracted from plants in various ways and from various parts of the plant. Many flowers, trees and grasses contain essential oils. Essential oils range in price, texture and aroma, depending on the essential oil.
Essential oils which are suitable for adding to lip balms include sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), distilled lime (Citrus aurantifolia), peppermint (Mentha piperita) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Take an aromatherapy course or read a good aromatherapy book to understand how much and which essential oils you can safely add to your lip balm.
Lip Balm Recipes
There are many different recipes available for making your own lip balm in aromatherapy books, on the internet and on aromatherapy courses. However, the above basic ingredients usually feature in most lip balm recipes, so understanding your ingredients will help you understand more easily how to combine these various ingredients for an effective and natural lip balm!
- Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, Len Price
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Julia Lawless
- Author’s own experience and training
Photo by reway2007