The Pure Avery Apothecary’s first tutorial! This is the basic lip balm recipe I usually follow, with minor variations from batch to batch in butters, carrier oils and essential oil combinations. Please let me know if you need additional information or any advice on where to order ingredients.
A double boiler. You can buy a fancy one or use the makeshift method of putting water into a pot and setting a smaller pot into that water. This is what I do. If you aren’t familiar with the method, you can see it in the photographs.
This is a small recipe so your pots can be small.
The main thing is to be sure the water in the big pot doesn’t simmer or boil and spout into the smaller pot. The oils used in the recipe are more resistant to the growth of germs than the water, so you want to avoid getting water droplets in the oils. You need a low temperature anyway to avoid scorching the ingredients. So keep the water temperature down and just high enough to melt the beeswax. I usually keep the burner around 3 or 4 (at the highest)
First, I would want the weight limit much higher. Mine is somewhat low. So when you set a heavy pot on the scale, it maxes out and you can’t weigh the ingredients directly into the pot.
Second, I would want it to be more sensitive. This recipe in particular involves very small amounts (and still makes a lot of tubes of lip balm) and my scale does not give me measurements to the tenths of grams.
Lip balm containers. There are a number of possible sources for these, including Etsy, Amazon and Ebay. There are wholesale packaging websites where you can buy in bulk. Just google “lip balm containers.” I have also found screw cap containers (similar to a Carmex jar, but plastic) in the travel-size section of the grocery store. You might find a selection at your local natural ingredients store. You will see in the pictures I used paper board push up containers this time. I like them because they are compostable. But I have used other varieties as well.
Spoon for stirring. I use a regular metal one the same size as you would use to eat cereal.
1 Ounce Beeswax. I buy it in 1-pound blocks from local suppliers. This means I have to chip pieces off with a hammer and meat chopper (a clean one used exclusively for this purpose). But I have had bad luck buying the pellets, which are easier to use. Something in the process of creating the pellets destroys the heavenly smell of real beeswax.
1 Ounce of Mango Butter or Shea Butter. I don’t have a preference for one over the other. They both work. Shea might have a stronger odor, but I’ve never noticed a difference in the final product. You could use a half ounce of each. I have bought shea butter locally, but not mango butter, and usually order them both online to get a better price.
0.625 Ounce/17.71845 Grams of Meadowfoam Seed Oil or Sunflower Oil. Again, no preference. I use whichever I have on hand or a little of each. I have never seen meadowfoam for sale locally, but sunflower definitely is.
0.375 Ounce/10.63107 Grams of Apricot Kernel Oil. This one is available locally. I’m pretty sure I chose all the oils in this recipe for having long shelf-lives.
0.375 Ounce/10.63107 Grams of Jojoba Oil. Also available locally.
0.18 Ounce/5.10291 Grams of Vitamin E. This is available locally, but I usually order it online for a better price.
0.18 Gram of Rosemary Oleoresin. I have to order this one online. ROE is a natural antioxidant that people use in the hopes of extending the shelf life of their oils and combatting oxidation in their homemade products. My scale won’t go as low as 0.18 gram, so I just try to drip a tiny drop into the pot.
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon of Essential Oils. Use your favorite combination, but research them first! I love rosemary, grapefruit, vanilla, orange, carrot seed, calendula and hyssop. BUT I MAKE NO CLAIM that any of them are safe or appropriate for this application. Also, the amount to use is still an experiment-in-progress. Sometimes I stick to 1/4 t. and the scent is too faint for my tastes. Some essential oils have low flash points and when added to the mixture at a temperature hot enough for the beeswax to remain melted, they evaporate right out. You will have to research and experiment with the specific EOs you want to use.
- Measure the Beeswax and Shea/Mango Butter into your pot.
- Melt slowly over a low temperature (3 or 4 on my stovetop, making sure the water never reaches the point where it might spout into the smaller pot).
- When the beeswax and butter(s) are melted, add the Meadowfoam/Sunflower Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil and Jojoba. Mix them in.
- Remove from heat and add the Vitamin E and ROE. If the mixture starts to seize, return to heat just long enough to incorporate.
- Add the Essential Oils last and with the pot off the heat, mixing to incorporate.
- Pour into your containers. There is no magic bullet to this other than a steady hand. I arrange the containers in a line vertical to myself and pour down the line.
- If you are using tubes, as the mixture cools, the center will sink in upon itself and create a little hole. Pour any last drops over the tops to cover the holes. Unless you like those holes. Of course you do.
- Add some fancy labels. I buy labels at Staples and use the Avery labels website. I’m not very good at labels.