Pampering yourself for pennies
by Tess Schulze
The weather has been miserable for the last few weeks; cold, snowy, and rainy. When it gets like this, my lips tend to get really dry and chapped and I won’t leave my home without some kind of lip balm on hand. I can’t stand the stinging feeling of dried, chapped lips and I especially don’t like spending a ton of money to get the all-natural products that I prefer to use. My solution, of course, was to make some myself! I will share my own recipe with you, as well as how to make your own herbal infused oils at home that you can use for cooking or making your own homemade cosmetics.
There are a couple of products that you might not have on hand for this recipe, but I will include a few links to where you can purchase them for cheap. This recipe is not vegan-friendly, but is simple enough to make with a beeswax alternative. You can also omit the honey entirely and it will not change the consistency or efficacy of the lip balm.
For this recipe you will need:
- Coconut oil
- Herbs of your choice, fresh or dry
- Vitamin e oil, optional*
- Avocado oil, optional*
- Honey, optional
- Cosmetic pots or tubes**
*These are not exactly vital to the recipe, but they certainly don’t hurt!
**I don’t purchase any pots or tubes, I reuse my cosmetic pots or I hold on to small jars that I use just for cosmetics.
The first step to this recipe is making your infused oil. There are two ways you can make this: the easiest and fastest way is made using the double boiler method on your hob; the second and more time consuming way is leaving your herbs in the carrier oil of your choice in a sealed jar for a few months (you have to shake the jar once a week). If you’re interested in the latter method, here is a site that can give you some inspiration and more details on how to make different flavours. However, I highly recommend properly researching your carrier oil of choice to make sure it is safe to use.
If coconut oil is your carrier oil of choice, it is probably best to use the first method since it solidifies at higher temperatures. Since it is the oil I used, I can walk you through step by step how I made my own chamomile infused coconut oil. The process is exactly the same regardless of the oil you use for this method.
The double boiler method is a cooking process used to protect whatever it is you’re heating – in this case, our oil and herbs – from direct heat. This gentle heating process is used for anything from melting chocolate, making sauces, and even some types of meringue! We will be using it in this recipe to make our infused oil as well as making the balm itself.
This process involves filling a large pot with water and bringing it to a boil with either another pot that fits just over the water or a metal mixing bowl.
It’s important to make sure the water touches the bottom of the receptacle you choose to hold the oil, otherwise it won’t heat properly. I suggest keeping the kettle on hand to top up the hot water as needed throughout this process. Be careful not to overfill your pot, or the hot water can potentially boil over and you could injure yourself.
Let’s get started!
Once your double boiler is ready and the water is rolling, lower the hob to medium high heat and add your oil and herbs to the bowl. If you are making just enough for this recipe, use 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 teaspoons of the herb you want to use. I used two chamomile tea bags.
Stir the oil and herbs occasionally for 30 minutes. Once the timer is up, use a strainer or cheesecloth to strain the herbs from the oil (the cheesecloth takes the finer bits out that the strainer misses, but little bits of herbs in a lip balm never hurt anyone)! Now your oil is ready to use for the lip balm, so set it aside and give your mixing bowl a quick rinse before placing it back over the water to move onto the lip balm recipe itself.
Herbal Coconut Lip Balm
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-40 minutes
Set time: 30-60 minutes
Total time: 40-120 minutes
2 ½ tablespoons beeswax*
2 tablespoons herb-infused oil
3 drops vitamin e oil
3 drops avocado oil
A drop of honey
*If you prefer a thinner balm, only use about 2 tablespoons of wax.
Set up your clean, dry pots or tubes near your hob. Using a funnel will help to minimise any mess from pouring the balm into their containers (especially if you’re using tubes instead of pots).
Over a double boiler on med-high heat, add your herb-infused oil and beeswax while stirring constantly until the beeswax has melted.
Add the drops of vitamin e oil, avocado oil, and honey. Stir them in well and then pour your balm into your containers. Leave them to set for about 1 hour and then they’re ready to use!
If you want to add natural pigmentation to your lip balm, you can use fruit to make your own dye or you can add any other edible natural colouring (cocoa powder, turmeric, etc). Simply stir it in well before pouring it into its containers. If you would like a more comprehensive list for ideas on pigmentation, check out this site.
You can also infuse your oil with flavours other than herbs – use citrus zest, spices, or any variation on flavour you want to make!
Other oils and butters make for a luscious addition to this recipe – I will sometimes add cocoa butter or shea butter to mine. Add a tablespoon of one of these to the recipe above and adjust the beeswax by ½ to 1 tablespoon if you prefer a firmer lip balm.