Thursday, June 20, 2013
My Lips Don't Lie... Or Was That Hips?
Alright lovely ladies, here is recipe number ONE for skin care products! Lip Balm! I've tried many different recipes over the last 15 years, and being unsatisfied with many of them I ended up making my own, and that's what I've been selling for the last 10 years. So if you've tried my lip balm and liked it, this is the recipe! I like my lip balm smooth and creamy, not too oily or waxy which most recipes are (in my opinion.) I feel most recipes add too much wax which in turn makes the lip balm more stiff, and when you rub it on your lips less actually comes off. I think lip balm should glide onto your lips easily without much effort, or without having to repeatedly rub the lip balm across your lips just to get enough off.
However, if you like a stiffer lip balm, you can always just throw in a little extra bees wax and firm this recipe up a bit.
There is 3 parts to any truly wonderful lip balm or salve.
1. Wax. If you love bees wax, that is of course the go to wax for balms and salves. But if you have an allergy, or some other reason you need to avoid bees wax you can use other waxes like soy wax, or candelilla wax.
2. Butter. For a lip balm or salve to be rich and creamy and not "thin" feeling, it needs some type of butter added to it. My favorite is shea butter, but you can also add mango butter, cocoa butter, or hemp seed butter. Don't use the thinner butters, which aren't actually true butters at all but dried plant juices mixed in coconut oil. They are great to use, but don't have the creaminess of a true butter (since they are actually powders in coconut oil.) These "untrue" butters include: aloe butter, blueberry butter, cranberry butter, lemon butter and others.
3. Oil. This probably goes without saying, but you have to have good oils to make a good lip balm. My lip balms have changed over the years as I get bored with one oil and try another, in fact sometimes they change from week to week! Some great rich oils to use alone, or as a mix are: extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, castor oil (in small amounts), and jojoba oil. Oils that are thinner and in my opinion don't produce a soothing enough lip balm are: coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, and apricot seed oil. Now there is nothing wrong with using these oils, they are just thinner and don't have the richness and body that I love in a lip balm.
4 oz oil
1 oz bees wax
1/2 oz butter
Essential oils to taste (peppermint, spearmint, or lavender are good choices for dry lips. You can also use citrus oils, but be careful if you are outdoors a lot as they can cause sun sensitivity.)
This is my basic recipe. You can mix and match oils, most of the lip balms I sell at the store use olive oils as the only oil. (just so you know if you want them to be just like mine)
Step 1: Melt your bees wax over low heat. I usually make batches with a pound or two of bees wax at a time, it is more important when making a large quantity to watch your heat. But when making a small batch, put the bees wax in the bottom of a stainless pan, and turn the heat to medium low. You can gently "slosh" the pan around to stir it a little as it is melting, but don't use a spoon as most of your wax will just attach to the spoon if you do. Why do you melt your wax first? Because if you add it to your oils and then try to melt it, you have to bring up your oils to a much higher temperature than is ideal. You want to preserve the integrity of your natural oils by using as low of a heat as possible. So melt your waxes first, and add the oils to them later.
Step 2: Add the butter. Next add your butter in and melt it completely.
One frustration that many people have with using butter in a lip balm is that it may become "grainy" after some time. So when you rub on your lip balm a few months later it feels like there are crystals in it. The trick to getting around this is to melt your butters at a low temperature for a longer time. Butters melt very fast, and it is easy to think you are done as soon as the last chuck melts away, but patience really pays off here in making a wonderful creamy lip balm that will stay that way. Trust me, it took A LOT of grainy lip balm over the years for me to finally figure out something that works every time. In this step we aren't heating it for long, we will cover that in the next step. For now just put the butter in the pot, wait for it to disappear, then move to step 3.
Step 3: Just as soon as the last piece of butter melts into the pool of bees wax, add your oils. It can be one oil, or a mixture of several. When you add the cold oils, you may notice the bees wax butter mixture starts to freeze up again. This is very normal. Just mix your oils in with a spoon (this should be the frist time you have stirred the mixture with a spoon.) and give it a few more minutes on medium low heat to melt back down. The reason we did not melt the shea butter for a longer amount of time in the last step is because just the bees wax and butter would burn. If heated over a longer period of time, even at low heat, bees wax turns very dark and strong and while it isn't "bad" it can overpower your lip balm both from it's strong smell and taste. You have to wait till you add the oils so that there is a buffer between the wax and the heat.
Now comes the waiting part. There are two methods I have found work great for un-grainy lip balm.
The Frist Method: Once your pan has melted down to a silky pan of oil again, with no chunks of butter or bees wax, turn your pan all the way down to the lowest heat possible. (you could even turn your burner off for 5 min and then back on for 5 a couple times.) You don't want to be cooking the lip balm, just keeping it warm enough it stays liquid. Keep your lip balm at this low heat, stirring every so often for about half an hour. After half an hour, you are ready to pour your lip balm into tubes or tins.
The Second Method: Let your lip balm cool completely till is is a solid in the pan. Then some time after it is cool, heat it up again till it is completely melted. Repeat this process 4 - 6 times.
I know this method sounds like more work, but for me, I get super busy doing other things and have burnt the lip balm I left on the stove before. So for me, it's easier just to remember to melt it now and then over the course of a couple days. And usually I am making it down at the store. So it can just cool and be re melted between customers. Personally I think this method works the best for eliminating the grainy butter, but the first method can be effective too. The reason butters may become grainy is the tiny fat crystals it contains. They need to be broken down by continuous, or repetitive heating for the butter to remain creamy.
I know most lip balm recipes only take a few minutes to make, but adding a little time on to melt the butters correctly will improve your lip balm experience a lot and be well worth your while! And you can make a larger batch so you only have to do this once or twice a year!
After your oil is all melted correctly you are ready to add essential oils. How much oil you add is very much about preference. I suggest adding a few drops, stirring, and then dipping your finger in a bit of the mixture on a spoon and rubbing it on your lips. Then taste it a little. For the mint oils, I like to add enough so that when I try a little of the warm lip balm on my lips it just has a slight tingle, then I know it will be nice and minty refreshing when it is cool. You can also dip the end of a spoon in the mixture and set it in the refrigerator for a minute to cool and try that on your lips. This will give you a better idea of what the mixture will be like when it is cool. It will probably take more essential oil than you think. A few drops is not going to be enough. Even if it smells strong when it is warm (which it will) you will probably not be able to smell or taste it at all when it is cool. So test, taste, and remember that it needs to be stronger than you like when it is warm because when it cools it will seem "weaker."
Now all you have to do is put them in the containers of your choosing, a tube, or jar, or tin. You want to pour lip balm at as cool of a temperature as you can without it setting up. If you pour it when it is hot, it will be thinner, and much harder to get into small tubes, and also it will shrink a lot. So you will fill your tubes up to the top, and then when it cools they will be caved in up to a half of an inch on a very small tube. So you want to let your oils cool a bit before you try to pour them. No worries, if the mixture cools too much you can always re-heat it.
To pour lip balm into tubes, I recommend using a small metal bowl of some sort (very small) or a metal measuring cup (like a 1/3 or 1/2 cup). Add some melted lip balm mixture to your metal cup, then slowly pour it into the containers you have. The reason for this is first: it is much easier to hold onto a small cup than try to pour your lip balm from a large pan. And second: if it is metal, and the lip balm starts to solidify in the cup while you are pouring (which it always does) you can just set that metal measuring cup right onto a hot burner for a few seconds and it is ready to go again!
You can do the same thing with plastic, only put it in the microwave to re melt. But it is easy to over heat in the microwave, so I prefer metal and the stove. Just set the measuring cup on the stove burner for a few seconds and the lip balm that has solidified around the edges that makes it hard to pour will melt right off again.
Now that your containers are all full, just let them cool, label them (or not) and you are ready to go with your very own lip balm!