Lip Balm

So the other day I reached for my little tube of [insert brand name here], and as I popped that little plastic, horrible tube open I thought: “Huh. Wonder what we did for chapped, cracked lips before we had neat little plastic tubes filled with petroleum…?” My initial musings suggested animal fat and/or beeswax mixed with various herbs… maybe aloe? Maybe Aloe all by itself? (It seemed that aloe alone would need some “sticking power”, though…)

Any thoughts?

~ SW

The salve I made for cuts and burns and stuff works great on lips. It’s besswax, olive oil, calendula, lavender, and pine needles. Problem is the taste, and if I were making something specifically for lips I’d add some sort of flavoring. Powdered fruit, maybe?

I’m totally addicted to Burt’s Bees natural lip balm, specifically the “replenishing” lip balm with pomegranate oil. (I used to really like the honey kind, but then they changed the recipe and now it tastes and smells like baby powder. Blech.)

Here are the ingredients as they’re listed on the tube: sunflower seed oil, beeswax, coconut oil, castor oil, lanolin, comfrey root, pomegranate oil, sweet almond oil, anise oil, cassia oil, cinnamon leaf oil, clary sage oil, mandarin oil, tocopheryl acetate & tocopherol (vitamin E), rosemary leaf extract, carmine, fragrance.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make my own, since I’m so utterly addicted that I can’t go much more than a day without a Burt’s fix. It would be pretty difficult to forage all those oils (actually, I’m pretty sure most of them don’t even come from the same bioregion), but I bet you could use oil from animal fat and beeswax and add a few select plant extracts (comfrey and calendula are both awesome for healing skin problems). I don’t know about the taste, but the original Burt’s Bees recipe has peppermint oil in it – it tastes deliciously minty and it makes your lips all tingly! So that might work.

On edit: I swear, I don’t work for Burt’s Bees. lol.

One note of caution:

Whenever ingredients say ‘fragrance’, be wary. That could mean anything, and fairly often is something nasty in disguise. I tend to trust Burt’s Bees, though, as tests seem to show they have little or no toxicity.

Heads up-- clorox bought burt’s bees.

Also, diet changes have made lip balm optional for me. :slight_smile: Well, that and moving away from Colorado. When I lived there everyone I knew had a Carmex addiction. Do they even sell that stuff anymore? It smells really disgusting!

Heads up-- clorox bought burt's bees.

Well, shit. Let’s hope they continue to score low on toxicity.

Aw, I like the smell of Carmex…

After switching to the paleo diet (it’s been nine days), my skin, including my lips, feels much, much healthier. I feel “glowy” (and I’m not even in love)! :slight_smile:

My wife has a basic salve/balm recipe that she makes with bees wax and olive oil. She adds different ingredients to it depending on the intended use.

She makes lip balm, balm of gillead (cottonwood buds) for soreness or pain, a decongestant chest rub, and a slightly more liquid version with insect repellant ingredients.

I’m not sure exactly what she puts in each one but I’m sure medicinal plant books would have suggestions.

it is an addiction!

I remember hearing many years ago (when I was a Carmex “addict”) that the frequent use of lip balm actually reduces the lips own ability to self-maintain in a non-chapped state. That many women had problems with dry lips because of many years of regular lipstick use. I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes a bit of sense.

That website I linked to talks about a certain portion of the population who are just “liplickers” and those tend to be the balm addicts. I think that is definitely me. I’m always catching myself doing it, especially when I don’t have access to chapstick.

I have a book called Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond. It has lots of recipes for making your own beauty products with non-toxic ingredients. I’ve tried some of them, though I don’t think I’ve tried the lip balm recipe itself. But if you are looking for some basic proportions to start with here is the recipe she gives:
2 oz oil
1/4oz beeswax
1tsp honey
natural flavoring oil (optional)

combine the oil and beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat and cook until the beeswax has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Blend with an electric handheld mixer until creamy. Add the flavoring oil to taste and stir to combine.

To make with aloe she suggests increasing the beesax by 1/4oz and adding 2 Tbl aloe vera gel to the mixture while it is cooling.

I’m almost inspired to go make up this recipe right now. I’ve had other people’s homemade balms and many of them feel oily to me, rather than creamy/waxy, which is what I like.

Update: Okay, done and done

I followed the recipie above as exactly as I could with my kitchen scale, using coconut oil. I also used a hand egg beater rather than an electric mixer. It was hard to beat such a small volume, not sure how effective it really was, but everything mixed up nicely. I packed it into some empty film canisters and the texture seemed to be the dreaded “oily”.

So I decided to do another batch with more beeswax and less oil, this time I actually used beef tallow because I happen to have some at the moment. I used .3 oz of beeswax and 1.5 oz of tallow, plus the honey and it came out much more to my preferred consistency. It was setting up hard while I was still packing it into the canisters.

Awesome! I bet if you packed that stuff into a bamboo vial, or maybe a section of reed, or even a hollow bone fragment, you could push it up as needed and cut out the petrol product entirely!

I wonder what the shelf-life of that stuff is with the tallow added…? Keep us posted! I’m totally jazzed about this now.

Thanks for these, guys.

Oh and I’ve been using this Calendula salve from Belgium (my home country), and it works like a MIRACLE on cuts and scrapes and burns; basically on any skin surface injury. And it works great for chapped lips, or chapped/dry anything. My hands often get really chapped and dry in the winter, and calendula salve has healed the skin in 24 hours! If I have badly chapped lips I put in on throughout the day, before going to sleep; and I often wake up with no more chapness at all.

ear wax. nuff said.


I tried it but can’t get enough out of my ear ;D

I threw up before I could read it. :smiley: