DIY Lip Balm

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

I am a true believer in the importance of lip balm. I use it countless times throughout the day and feel dry and uncomfortable when I accidentally leave it at home. But for someone who uses lip balm as much as I do, it’s pretty strange that I never stopped to think about what I was actually putting on my lips.

Up until I went zero waste I used Burt’s Bees. It’s cruelty free, but comes in a plastic tube and has many ingredients of unknown origin (like most products on the market today). When I heard about the health issues that were related to Eos lip balm, I began to question my blind following of Burt’s Bees.

I discovered after a quick search on Pinterest that lip balm is actually pretty easy to make. You only need a few simple ingredients and something to put the balm in. Which led to my next issue–I didn’t want to buy plastic tubes, even though theoretically I could reuse them, and I didn’t want to buy little metal tins either because I didn’t want to have to use my finger to get the balm out (germs, etc.). Luckily, I found paper tubes on Ebay that are perfect! That being said, I’ve reused old Burt’s Bees tubes in the past and that’s worked great.

After experimenting with the recipe, I found that this ratio works best:

1 part Oil: I use coconut

1 part wax: I use Beeswax

1 part butter: I use both cocoa and shea butter (mainly cocoa because I think it smells better)

Optional - A few drops of essential oil

If you live in a warm/hot climate, use the above ratio. If it’s colder where you live and you don’t plan on keeping your lip balm in your pocket, use less wax.

For about three tubes of lip balm I use one tablespoon of oil, wax, and butter. Melt the ingredients over a double boiler (heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water) and mix together. Once melted, carefully pour into tubes using a funnel. Fill the bottom of the tube with a little of the balm and allow to cool for a minute. This ensures that the tubes are sealed and no leaking will occur. Continue to pour after a minute or two, but be very careful not to overfill the tubes! The balm will harden in about thirty minutes, but if you’re impatient you can pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to help speed up the process.

While I really enjoy making and using my DIY lip balm, it’s not truly zero waste. I bought the beeswax, cocoa and shea butter off of Amazon and they all came in bags with some form of plastic wrap. Later, I was able to find beeswax at a local bulk store, but finding bulk shea and cocoa butter is difficult. That being said, you can find coconut oil in glass jars in any grocery.