Do-It-Yourself Lip Balm

DIY lip balm is pretty simple all things considered.  You are working in small batches and all, BUT… I found tailoring the recipe a bit more fiddly than I expected AND ran in to some unforeseen packaging issues.

I wanted to make lip balm in a tube.  The little pots are cute and all but I find it annoying to have my finger all gunked up with lip balm or gloss.  I know some folks are creeped out by the sanitation of sticking a finger in to the pot as well, but seriously, if you really think about what things touch our hands and food you should have larger concerns.

So, here we go!

Ingredients and supplies to make seven tubes of lip balm (or 4.5 tins)

  • 1 TBSP Coconut oil (not cream, not milk)
  • 1 TBSP Shea butter (order online)
  • 1 TBSP Cocoa butter (order online)
  • 1-2 tsp Beeswax (Some craft stores will carry this for candle making)
  • 1-2 drop Vitamin E oil (you can use capsules and puncture them)
  • Balm containers of some sort
  • Disposable pipettes (Optional)
  • Essential oils (Optional)
  • Mineral makeup and/or lipstick (Optional)


  • Melt all of the oils and beeswax in a double boiler
  • Take off heat and essential oils and/or additives
  • Put in the container of choice
  • Tada!

Okay, so that’s deceptively simple.  Here’s something things I figured out…

Disposable pipettes are amazing for getting your melted oils in to your containers.  Yes, you could use a regular glass eye dropper but with the beeswax this shit sticks to EVERYTHING.  I had to break out the blue Dawn dish detergent I try to hide from Geoff in the back of the cupboard.  Nothing else was cutting through the wax and oil when it came time to clean up.  So while I say the pipettes are optional, no, they really aren’t.

Food coloring will not work to tint your balm.  It’s water based.  The balm is all oil and wax.  Que weird beads floating in your balm.  That said, you might be able to push it in a bit once the balm is cool but now you’ve made a hot mess.  If you want to tint your balm use something oil based and ideally safe… like old mineral make up or lipsticks.  I get a lot of samples and some are a bit much or just not useful to me.  PERFECT for tinting lip balm or adding some shimmer.  I did try using a lip/cheek stain as well, no dice.

As logical as it sounds (just nod here), your culinary extracts don’t hold up well.  I had peppermint and orange essential oils for my balms but thought, gee, why not using peppermint EXTRACT?  It’s meant to be eaten, right?  Yea, no.  It’s largely alcohol based and evaporated very quickly, even at the lower temps I was using.  So I ended up using my essential oils.  The red balm was peppermint and I made  a slightly shimmery orange-vanilla one (using vanilla scent).

Handling those tubes.  As you can see in the photo I used a rubber band to keep all of my empty tubes together and stable while filling.  After filling I stuck them in the fridge to quicken the process and didn’t unband them until I was ready to cap and label.

Beeswax… I kind of don’t love the feel of beeswax.  This is why the recipe has a range.  At 1 tsp the balm would be totally fine in a pot (heck even with out the beeswax since all of the oils/butters are solid at room temp), but it’s a bit too soft for the tubes I was using.  So I had to increase the beeswax.  If you don’t mind beeswax, the more you put in, the more your balm will really coat and the more solid it will be.  I was just trying to figure out the least I could use and still have it function in the tube.  Other recipes out there were in the range of 4-5 parts oil/butter to 1 part beeswax, mine is about 6:1.  To test out my texture I melted all of my oils and then dropped a bit on a piece of paper bag (which I was also using to protect my cutting board).  I let it cool (or threw it in the fridge) to test out my viscosity.  If it didn’t set enough I just added a little more beeswax and melted it in.

As an aside, I poured one of the first batches that I didn’t like off in to a glass jar rather than discard it.  As it was starting to solidfy again I decided to try dumping a bunch of regular ol’ granulated sugar in to it.  I had to mix the sugar in like mad before the whole thing set but I actually, accidentally, came close to a knock off of my Fresh Brown Sugar Lip Polish I love.  I may play again and see if I can come a bit closer.  For reference this was a batch that I deemed as having too much beeswax in it (and weird bubbles of food coloring).

That packaging issue I mentioned?  I bought the empty tubes off Amazon and unfortunately they were crappily made.  The lids didn’t fit at all, they just fell off.  Bummer!  Amazon gave me a refund (yay!) but I had to order new tubes and I can’t find them on the shelf at the local craft store (boo!).  I was able to find the little tins that I’m not a big fan of so I rebatched my lip balm in to those.

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