Homemade Herbal Lip Balm | How To Ditch The Toxic Store-Bought Products

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Ever take a look at a Chapstick label? 21+ ingredients! Many of them being unnecessary and even more of them being extremely harmful to be putting on the biggest organ of your body, the skin. Don’t get me wrong, lip hydration is important. Especially when that cold, dry and extremely windy conditions hit in the winter. Why poison yourself, or your children, when you can make an all natural, homemade herbal lip balm in just a few minutes?

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This homemade herbal lip balm recipe is incredibly moisturizing, super easy, and you can tailor it to your specific liking! Not to mention it’s WAY cheaper than the “healthy” or chemical loaded options you can purchase. If you go into a health food store or natural market for lip balm, you’re gonna be looking at spending anywhere from $2, and upwards of $8 for a single tube! If you make any kind of natural products at home, you most likely have all the needed ingredients on hand and can make approximately six tubes for under a buck! These also make a great holiday gift to help those you love break free from the chemical loaded world we live in.

Dangers Of Store Bought Chapstick

If you follow our website or social media at all, you know I’m all about exposing the dirty ingredients of products. I couldn’t make this post without diving into the ingredients of store bought Chapstick’s and the many detrimental effects they have on your body.

Petrolatum & Paraffin & Mineral Oil

diy herbal lip balm

Petrolatum is a moisturizing agent used in a majority of skin and hair care products. Paraffin and mineral oil is used as a skin barrier, adding a layer and trapping in moisture. All three are a byproduct of petroleum refining. Experts tell us that when properly refined, there are no known health concerns associated with these ingredients. Keywords being “properly refined”. When not properly refined, they contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there are 14 PAHs that are probable carcinogens and one that is a known carcinogen{1}.

Surely they regulate the refining and make sure it’s done properly before the product reaches us right? Well… not exactly. If you live in the EU, then absolutely! They require a full refining history and it must be proven to be non-carcinogenic before going into production. However, the US could care less. They have no requirements to make sure these cancer causing ingredients are left out of the products we purchase.

On top of these known carcinogens, paraffin and mineral oil have been reported to actually clog pores, causing allergic reactions or acne breakouts.

Alcohols

Chapsticks and other lip balms often include a large amount of alcohol products in their ingredients. Alcohol’s in skin care have shown to be very drying to the skin, often leading to flakiness and irritation. The Chapstick brand itself contains 5 different kinds of alcohol in their formula. Use of alcohol, even fatty alcohols, have not only been shown to dry out the lips, but can also remove the outer layer of skin, causing more irritation and dryness. This then increases the need for more product use, putting you in a vicious cycle!

Camphor

This oil is extracted from camphor laurel trees in East Asia. The benefits and risks of this ingredient is very controversial. There have been many health benefits associated with camphor oil. These benefits include antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, analgesic effects, as well as antitussive actions during a cough. However, there are also many proven health risks that deserve further research.

From carcinogenic properties, further irritation and dryness, neurological and hormonal disruptions, to even camphor poisoning and death. There’s not much that scientists and herbalists agree on when it comes to this oil. The claims from cosmetic companies is that it’s used because it has mild anesthetic and soothing properties to irritated lips. Seems to me like that could be done with better lifestyle habits and other, less controversial herbs… but that’s just my opinion.

Methylparaben & Propylparaben

A paraben is a chemical used in order to give products longer shelf life. It serves no benefits to the moisturizing and protective actions you want in a lip balm. However, it is important in commercial products because it increases the shelf life. Without it the product would not be able to stand the long storage period in warehouses, shipping containers, store shelves and eventual bathroom drawer or pocket of the purchaser. However, just because it doesn’t serve to moisturize your lips, doesn’t mean it isn’t serving you in other, negative ways.

Scientific studies suggest that parabens have detrimental effects on endocrine functions. This includes the fertility and reproductive organs in the body, in both males and females[2]. They also have been shown to cause adverse birth effects, including preterm labor and low birth weight. Propylparaben has specifically been shown to alter the expression of genes, including those in breast cancer cells, causing the cancer cells to accelerate in growth[3][4].

Artificial Food Coloring (AFC)

The Chapstick brand specifically has at least three different artificial food coloring. This includes yellow 5 lake, red 6 lake, and blue 1 lake. The ‘lake’ is a term used to indicate that the pigment or dyes is precipitated with metal salts, including aluminum, calcium, barium, ect.. Very few lake dyes are derived from naturally occurring plant or animal ingredients. A majority are being synthetically produced from coal tar or petroleum.

Yellow 5 has specifically been proven to cause hyperactivity in preschool and school-aged children[5]. It has also been proven to damage DNA in white blood cells, leaving the body more susceptible to cancer mutations and growth[6]. Furthermore, this particular food dye has been banned in other countries, including Austria and Norway. The EU heavily regulates Yellow 5 with warning labels.

Blue 1 has also been linked to hypersensitivity reactions and is even banned in Norway, Finland and France. These countries suspect a possible link to brain cancer and Blue 1.

Parfum (Frangrances)

Last, but certainly not least, parfum or fragrances. These two words could mean anything from flowers, fruits, animal secretions, petrochemicals, coal and alcohols, ect, ect. They go hand in hand with natural and artificial flavors, where there is a long list of ingredients, both toxic and natural, that could be used to produce a certain taste or smell.

Fragrances and parfum’s often contain phthalates that can disrupt endocrine functions. In addition, they can contain benzophenone and styrene, both known carcinogens. Fragrances are also known allergen and asthma triggers.

Homemade Herbal Lip Balm Ingredient Benefits

Besides the obvious lack of toxic chemicals plaguing your skin and leeching into your body, the ingredients used to make homemade herbal lip balm offer many benefits to your lips and health!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil makes a great lip product by itself, so combined with the other ingredients above really takes it to the next level. Coconut oil provides both a protective barrier and moisturizes. The high fat content in the coconut oil, along with the beeswax, helps this lip balm recipe harden nicely after it’s cooled off. The beneficial fatty acids within coconut oil help provide antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits when applied topically.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is one of my favorite ingredients to use in lip balm, lotions and salves because it leaves everything feeling silky smooth! This is due to the fact that shea butter is an emollient, softening the skin and filling in cracks. It provides both short term and long term moisture, as well as building up your lips immune response, speeding up healing time! Shea butter is also great at providing a protective barrier and supplying antioxidants, such as vitamin E, that helps fight oxidative stress and free radical damage.

Beeswax

Beeswax is essential for hardening the homemade herbal lip balm and giving it the ability to roll on smooth. If you prefer a harder lip balm, or if you frequently keep it in your warm pocket, more beeswax pellets can be added to stiffen it up. Beeswax also provides benefits to your lips by forming a protective barrier, lubricating, and reducing trans-epidermal water loss. These properties of beeswax protect the lips from becoming dry or chapped. Beeswax is also an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and is high in vitamin A.

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, fighting skin cell damage and providing anti-aging benefits! It also acts as a humectant, providing hydration, and an emollient, supporting the skin barrier. Vitamin E is especially helpful for cracked and dry lips or if an infection is present, as it speeds healing and reduces inflammation!

Essential Oil Options For Your Homemade Herbal Lip Balm

Essential oils contain amazing benefits for the body, both internally and topically. They are a very powerful product and must be used with caution and common sense. You only want to use essential oils that have been deemed safe for ingestion since it will be applied to the lips. The oils are very concentrated and only a few drops are needed. Each essential oil is going to provide different benefits in regards to lip health, not to mention you can tailor it to your specific smell preference. Here is a list of some of our favorites for lip balm!

  • Peppermint – helps heal cracked lips and provides a soothing effect.
  • Strawberry seed – protects, retains moisture and builds the skin defenses.
  • Lavender – anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and soothing
  • Jasmine – rich in vit E, anti-infalmmatory, reduces swelling and speeds healing
  • Geranium – leaves lips silky and smooth
  • Chamomile – hydrating and anti-inflammatory, aids with chapped lips, seals in moisture and reduces fine lines
  • Orange – anti-inflammatory, helps heal dry and cracked lips

Homemade Herbal Lip Balm Infused Oil

This is another ingredient that can be tailored to your specific needs. Simply combine your favorite oil and herb(s) and allow to sit for a few weeks. This ingredient can be replaced with your favorite skin benefiting oil without the herbs, however, the herbs can add additional benefits that will take your lip balm to the next level! Here are some of our favorite oils and herbs that will benefit your lips.

Oils

diy herbal lip balm
  • Jojoba Oil – nourishes and hydrates, loaded with antioxidants and essential fatty acids that help protect
  • Olive Oil – restores hydration and suppleness, loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that hydrate, moisturize, and protect.
  • Almond Oil – Loaded with healthy fats, mineral, vitamins B and E. Nourishes, restores and protects
  • Argan Oil – loaded with vitamins E and A, other antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Soothes, anti-aging effects, and heals.

Herbs

  • Calendula – anti-inflammatory and helps to heal and soothe the skin
  • Chamomile – calming and comforting to skin with a beautiful scent
  • Lemon Balm – heals the skin and speeds healing of cold sores
  • Dandelion – loaded with antioxidants, improves skin by protecting, reducing inflammation and improving new skin cell growth.
  • Plantain – reduces inflammation and dermatitis, aids in healing

Homemade Herbal Lip Balm Container Options

There are an abundance of options for containers to hold your homemade herbal lip balm. Of course, a plastic roll tube or plastic round lip balm container is going to be the cheapest options, often running under $0.40/tube. However, plastic options are not the best for your health due to the possibility of ingesting microplastics that may disrupt endocrine functions, reproductive health, and even neurological functions. A tin container or a paperboard roll on tube are going to be your more health conscious options. However, they will run your cost per tube up as they often range upwards of $0.50/tube.

Now that you have some options on your ingredient list, lets make some homemade herbal lip balm!

herbal lip balm

How To Make Homemade Herbal Lip Balm

This recipe is super simple and lasts for months! If you make any kind of homemade products, you most likely have many of these ingredients on hand!

Ingredients For Homemade Herbal Lip Balm:

how to make herbal lip balm
  • Lip balm tubes or containers
  • A double boiler (pot of water, rack, and a glass bowl or cup to add ingredients to)
  • Spatula or whisk

The combination of these ingredients gives you a soft, moisturizing lip balm that smells exactly how you want it. This homemade herbal lip balm is also loaded with healing and protective properties.

  1. First begin by prepping your double boiler. Place a rack on the bottom of a medium sized pot and then place your glass bowl or container on the rack. Fill the pot until the water barely touches the bottom of the glass bowl. Set the temperature to medium/low. You want the water to be hot enough to heat the bowl, but not too hot that your oils and wax begin to burn.
  2. In your glass bowl or container, combine 4 teaspoons of shea butter and 2 teaspoons beeswax. Stir continuously until most of the wax pellets are melted.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil and allow the mixture to completely melt and combine, continuing to stir to prevent scorching.
  4. Remove from the heat and add 3 teaspoons of your herbal infused oil, stirring to combine.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool slightly (you should be able to dip a finger in without burning yourself, but it should still be hot enough that the wax and oils are not beginning to solidify) then add 5 drops of vitamin E oil and 4 drops of your essential oil of choice. Stir to combine completely.
  6. Some essential oils will speed up the solidifying of the mixture so mix quickly and immediately transfer to your tubes. Allow your tubes to sit, undisturbed, for at least an hour while it cools and completely hardens.

Easy peasy and totally worth spending a few minutes of your time to ditch all those toxic ingredients you spend way too much money on! Experiment with the recipe and completely tailor it to your liking and you won’t even think twice about store bought Chapstick’s again!

Homemade Herbal Lip Balm

Toss the detrimental ingredients of store bought and save money in the process by making a completely custom, herbal lip balm!
Prep Time15 minutes
Keyword: chapstick recipe, herbal chapstick, herbal lip balm, homemade chapstick, homemade lip balm, lip balm, lip balm recipe
Yield: 6 tubes

Equipment

  • Double Boiler Equipment pot, rack, glass bowl
  • Whisk or Spatula
  • Lip Balm Tubes

Materials

Instructions

  • In a double boiler, combine shea butter and beeswax, stirring continuously until nearly melted.
  • Add coconut oil and stir until everything is melted and combined.
  • Remove from heat and add herbal infused oil of choice, stir to combine.
  • Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding essential oils and vitamin E oil.
  • Thoroughly mix and then immediately transfer to lip balm tubes. Allow to sit for at least an hour to solidify.

Resources

[1] International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2014). Agents classified by the IARC monographs, volumes 1–112. Available online: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/. Accessed April 22, 2022.

[2} United Nations Environment Program. International Panel on Chemical Pollution. 2017. Worldwide initiatives to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and potential EDCs. https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25633/EDC_report1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

[3] Wróbel AM, Gregoraszczuk EL. 2014. Actions of methyl-, propyl- and butylparaben on estrogen receptor-α and -β and the progesterone receptor in MCF-7 cancer cells and non-cancerous MCF-10A cells. Toxicol Lett 230(3):375-381.

[4] Okubo T, Yokoyama Y, Kano K, Kano I. 2001. ER-dependent estrogenic activity of parabens assessed by proliferation of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells and expression of ERalpha and PR. Food Chem Toxicol 39(12):1225-32.

[5] McCann, Barrett, Cooper, Crumpler, Dalen, Grimshaw, Kitchin, Lok, Poreous, Prine, Sonuga-Barke, Warner, Stevenson. Published:September, 2007. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3

[6] “Effects on DNA Repair in Human Lymphocytes Exposed to the Food Dye Tartrazine Yellow.” BRUNO MOREIRA SOARES, TAÍSSA MAÍRA THOMAZ ARAÚJO, JORGE AMANDO BATISTA RAMOS, LAINE CELESTINO PINTO, BRUNA MEIRELES KHAYAT, MARCELO DE OLIVEIRA BAHIA, RAQUEL CARVALHO MONTENEGRO, ROMMEL MARIO RODRÍGUEZ BURBANO, ANDRÉ SALIM KHAYAT. Anticancer Research Mar 2015, 35 (3) 1465-1474;

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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