How much do you know about lip gloss and lip balm? The stuff you’ve been using to keep your lips moist and healthy for years may actually be causing you more harm than good. Consider these facts:
Carmex and medicated lip balms are meant to help you dry out cold sores. As a result, their ingredients are meant to dry, not to moisturize! You’ll find yourself having to use it all the time if you want to keep your lips from cracking. Americans spend roughly $2 million annually on lip balm and lip gloss products.
Some claim there’s such a thing as an actual “lip balm addiction”, making afflicted individuals as obsessed with their tube of ChapStick as the drug addict is with their substance of choice. Flavored lip balms and ingredients in commercial varieties that make lips dry out seem to pander to the addiction.
Petroleum-based Commercial Brands
Pull out your favorite tube of lip gloss or lip balm and look to see if it contains any of the following ingredients:
- Petroleum jelly
- White wax
- Mineral oil
- Paraffin wax
All of these ingredients are petroleum-based or petroleum by-products. Some of them are outrightly toxic. Why are they used at all? They give your lips an oily, moist feeling, temporarily relieving your dryness.
Petroleum isn’t all that the lip balms include, however. To give your lips a cool, fresh feeling, the commercial products also include things such as menthol, camphor, aluminum salts, or alcohol. While they might initially cool and soothe your lips, they will actually leave your lips drier than they were before you applied the balm! Don’t believe it? Experiment and see the truth for yourself.
Finally, commercial brands of lip gloss and lip balm also include artificial colors and flavors that don’t have the best of track records amongst advocates of natural health. Considering that the skin on our lips is fairly thin, there’s a good chance that whatever we put on our lips – especially if we have cracked and/or bleeding lips – will be absorbed right into our blood stream and travel throughout the rest of our body.
Natural Lip Balms
You can try a natural lip gloss or balm instead of the big-name commercial brands. There are many of these on the market these days, and most of them are free from petroleum-based products and other unnatural ingredients.
On the other hand, why not just make your own natural lip gloss or balm? It’s not hard to do, it will save you money, and you will know for sure that you’re avoiding any potentially harmful ingredients. Here are a few natural lip gloss recipes to get you started.
Essential Oil Lip Gloss Recipe
- 0.25 cups of vegetable/nut oil
- 0.25 oz. of beeswax
- 1 tsp. of honey/glycerine
- 0.5 to 1 tsp. of essential oil of your choice
First melt the beeswax (you can use the microwave), then whip it until creamy with an electric beater. Add in the honey/glycerine with a few drops of essential oil, then whip it again. Add more oil to taste. You can store the finished product in a glass jar, a plastic storage container, a tin, or even a film container. If it comes out too hard or waxy, add more oil. If it comes out too soft, add more wax.
If you would like to add color, try beet juice. Beet juice will give the mixture a deep red color. Alternatively, add a tiny bit of your lipstick to the formula. Food coloring is not a good idea as it contains alcohol and may dry your lips.
If your lip gloss changes color, changes odor, or changes texture, it means it’s time to throw it out and make a new batch.
Choco-coconut Lip Gloss
- 1.5 tsp. of cocoa butter (grated)
- 0.5 tsp. of coconut oil
- 0.125 tsp. of Vitamin E oil
- 3 small chocolate chips
Heat cocoa butter, coconut oil, and Vitamin E oil until melted, then stir in the chocolate chips. Stil until blended. Pour into any of the containers mentioned above for cooling and storage.
Vanilla Lip Gloss
- 1 tbsp. of beeswax
- 0.5 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 0.125 tsp. of Vitamin E oil
- 0.125 tsp. of vanilla extract
As above, heat beeswax, Vitamin E, and coconut oil until melted, the stir in the vanilla extract. Be careful: choose an organic vanilla extract without alcohol, as this will cause lips to dry. You can use organic vanilla beans to make your own extract if you don’t find a store-bought variety that satisfies you.
These three recipes should be enough to get you started with your very own lip balm. Remember, the main ingredient in your lip balm will be refined beeswax, which you can purchase inexpensively online or at a drugstore, and once you’ve got the beeswax base, you can experiment with other types of oils and flavoring until you settle on a recipe that works for you. You’ll finally stop spending so much on commercial-variety lip glosses, and you won’t be supporting the use of non-renewable resources for something that can be easily made with natural ingredients.
Photo by Melissa Ann Barrett