Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Freedom from the beauty machine - Homemade Lipbalm Edition

That little box my friends is my ticket to a little more freedom from the beauty machine. Inside are the ingredients for making my own deodorant, conditioner, lip balm, face cleanser, lotion and hair gel.

Anyone who knew me before I had children knew what an absolute makeup and beauty product junkie I was. When you're on a first name basis with not one but most of the various sales associates at the department store makeup counters, it's bad. Or when you belong to discussion forums dedicated solely to talking about the latest cream, eyeshadow or other beauty product, you know it's become an addiction. I came by the addiction honestly. Having acne issues since I was 13 my parents paid for dermatologists, facialists, prescriptions, home party skincare plus everything in between. Several years ago I finally found Paula Begoun, her line of books and her skincare line. I loved her empowering approach of educating consumers on ingredients, good and bad products as well as offering an affordable yet effective alternative in her own line. I used it faithfully for years, even had my mom and grandma in on the secret.

However, within the last 3 years I've been exploring more natural and homemade alternatives for both beauty products AND medicinal items. It all started with no poo. What's that you say? No poo - as in no shampoo. That's right I haven't used shampoo on my hair in over 2 years. I wash my hair with conditioner but that will be a separate post. After no poo I found the wonder that is coconut oil for my son with eczema and then I did the unthinkable - I slathered the stuff on my face. I began to wash my face with honey, found more natural body washes. I learned to make my own deodorant which wasn't filled with aluminum. It was just a wonderful slippery slope of discovering new ways that I could take control of what went in and on my body. Plus I'm a geek who loves to tinker with recipes whether food or not.

Today I tackle lipbalm which is pretty straightforward as long as you listened to my advice about buying a kitchen scale. My all time favorite lip balm for the last 10+ years has been Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer. If you've never tried this beauty secret of makeup artists it's nothing like chapstick. This is a light, creamy but not waxy lipbalm with a tiny bit of shine from the castor oil. It has no menthol or camphor like Carmex which actually dries your lips. With the NLM your lips feel soft even when it's worn off. But alas the honeymoon is over. Even if it wasn't filled with some less than desirable ingredients I was having a hard time finding it in stock. Also, $4 a tube? I was indignant.

So I did a little googling and found this formula for exactly the type of lipgloss I needed. I don't use shea butter because my son is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. My formula which makes a little more than 3 tubes (.15oz each) is as follows:

Maricucu's Moisturizing Lip Balm

3 g beeswax
3 g coconut oil, unrefined
2 g cocoa butter, unrefined
3 g jojoba oil
3 g castor oil
1 vit. e gelcap

Weigh everything in a glass microwave safe cup except for the vitamin E gelcap. Microwave in 30 second intervals until the beeswax and cocoa butter are melted. Don't overheat, stir often and those last bits will melt with stirring. You can also do this in a double boiler on the stovetop.

Here it is melted. Pierce a hole in the vitamin E gelcap and squeeze into the balm mixture, stirring.

Next line up your lip balm tubes and your melted balm along with a utensil to pour it in (I used a plastic pipette but that was a mistake, next time I'll just pour it in with the cup).

Fill the tubes halfway and let the balm set.

Then fill up the remaining half of the tube. The balm contracts as it cools and if you'd filled the tube all at once there would be a divot in the middle top of the tube.

You can tell I was trying to overfill that last tube and it came out a bit lumpy. Just means that's the first tube to be used. Let the tubes cool for 20 minutes then cap. This recipe was a winner on the first try. The castor oil provides that sheen without feeling like cooking oil, the rest of the oils/butters moisturize and the beeswax adds a bit of body without making the balm feel like chapstick. I will definitely keep it as is. If you'd like a soothing lipbalm you can use calendula oil as one of the liquid oils. Essential oils are great for flavoring the balm (think orange, peppermint or lime, yum!)

Where to purchase the ingredients and supplies? Here are several online stores which have great products, good information and amazing customer service:

Mountain Rose Herbs
Mystic Mountain Sage
Lotion Crafter
From Nature With Love
The Herbarie


Marin!! said...

Yay for making your own lip balm. I vote for deoderant next! :)

Marielle said...

Your wish is my command. ;) Coming up right away.