Monday, January 23, 2012

Making Lip Balm

Since we (and by "we" I mean Garrett) has started keeping bees, our family activities have really shifted to include things like making lotion and making lip balm. These are fun, productive activities which engage the kids and meet some of our family's needs without spending much cash. I am really looking forward to having more honey and beeswax available over the coming year because last year's hive will be fully producing this summer and Garrett is installing many, many more at our (CSA) farm.

To make lip balm:

First, wash a glass mason jar (or measuring cup) in hot, soapy water. Also wash your containers. You can buy chapstick tubes here at $7.95 for 25, or you can repurpose old containers like mini-Altoid tins.

Next bring a couple inches of water to a hot simmer in a saucepan. How much doesn't matter how much water- you're only going to use it to submerge the glass to melt your wax.

Then put 4 teaspoons of wax into the glass jar. You can use your own wax from hives as long as you grate it, or you can purchase bees wax pellets here.

Add 4 teaspoons of shea butter and 5 teaspoons of almond oil into the glass jar as well. (Less almond oil makes a less glossy balm.)

 Submerge the glass container with above ingredients into the hot water until all is melted. Use a wooden craft stick to stir it until blended.
 This is how it will look when the oil has completely melted.

Last, add any flavoring oil (1/4 tsp if you're using it) or color (grated lipstick flakes work well to tint the balm) and give it a good mix.

Carefully pour the mixture into the containers. If you're using stick containers then give them a good tap on the counter to settle the balm inside the tube, and add one or two more drops to the top to cover the small hole where the twisting stick is.

Here is your finished product!

(This picture contains two batches.)

If you aren't sure that you will use large quantities of the ingredients and instead would like to try making lip balm first, I highly recommend the Brushy Mountain Lip Balm starter kit. They send you everything you need and you can play around with the recipe until you get it right. (A note if you do choose to use the kit- I tend to like the balm a little glossier than their recipe, so I would add more almond oil and shea butter than they suggest.)

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