Photo: How to make lip balm

Make lip balm with shea butter, beeswax, avocado oil and then store in compostable paper tubes! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Pucker up!

Make your own lip balm—something many of us use daily. This simple, effective recipe contains no toxic chemicals, so it's healthy for your skin AND the planet.

Lip balm recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

5 ml (1 tsp) organic, fair trade shea butter or cocoa butter
15 ml (1 Tbsp) avocado oil
15 ml (1 Tbsp) local beeswax (grated or pastilles) or soy wax
Optional: 5 drops essential oil (e.g., peppermint, lime or grapefruit) and/or 1 drop Vitamin E oil.

Subscribe to the Queen of Green digest

Put about 50 ml (1/5 cup) of water into a small pot on low heat. Combine first three ingredients in a small metal bowl. Create a double boiler by placing the bowl on top of the pot. Stir ingredients until melted. Remove from heat. Add optional ingredients. Stir. Let cool. Store in air-tight container: Choose reusable tins, glass or look for paper tubes to avoid plastic.

Ingredient properties (find them at health food stores or most grocers):

  • Shea butter: Contains vitamins A and D (revitalizes skin), E (oxygenates) and F (keeps skin young and supple). Also protects skin from sun (SPF 3 to 6) and wind damage.
  • Cocoa butter: An antioxidant and emollient made from cocoa beans (a vegetable fat). Helps lubricate and smooth skin by locking in moisture.
  • Avocado oil: Full of beta carotene, vitamins C and E (SPF 4 to15).
  • Beeswax: Acts as a binding agent. Won't clog pores. Safe for all skin types. (Vegan? Try soy wax instead.)
  • Vitamin E (a.k.a. tocopheryl acetate): A powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals and oxidation damage. Also helps moisten and soften skin.

Once you try this double boiler process to melt oils and wax, try other lip balm recipes — even create your own! Research the properties of various butters and oils here.

Why make lip balm?

Petrolatum (a.k.a. mineral oil jelly), found in many lip balms, hair care products, soaps and skin care products is one of our Dirty Dozen ingredients to avoid. It's used as a barrier to lock moisture into skin. It's also a petrochemical sometimes contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The European Union considers it a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics.

Protect your lips from the elements. Make extra for gifts. Safe for kids, too. (Note: People with nut allergies may have an adverse reaction to shea butter because it comes from the nut of the karite tree. Use cocoa butter instead.)

Please share your review in the comments below.

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

September 17, 2016

Read more

Post a comment


Oct 07, 2016
7:55 AM

Is there a DIY for the compostable paper tubes?

Oct 07, 2016
4:53 PM

Not that I know of but I haven’t done an internet search. Lindsay, Queen of Green

Oct 05, 2016
8:15 AM

how do you make the paper containers? do they transport well?

Oct 05, 2016
6:02 AM

This would be a great kids’ project, but, as little fingers are not always so clean, I don’t want to fill pots or tubs… Does anyone know of an online Canadian source to purchase paper lip balm tubes? Thanks.

Oct 07, 2016
4:57 PM

The one style I have seen and used of paper tubes, I bought at The Soap Dispensary. They are made by Ecovision Packaging. I suspect you can search for many more brands and online order options.

Lindsay, Queen of Green

Oct 04, 2016
6:39 AM

Where did you find your compostable containers? They are a great alternative to plastic tubes.

Oct 04, 2016
5:22 AM

Do you have a recipe/idea for making compostable paper tubes?

Oct 04, 2016
5:18 AM

Where did you buy the compostable tubes? Or maybe I could try to and make them….do you have a diy on that?

Thank you! Sandy

Oct 04, 2016
5:13 AM

Thank you for your recipes, they are very inspiring. I was just thinking on my ride to work this morning that I should try and make my own lip chap. I have tried many of your recipes with great success. Long Live Green!

Oct 04, 2016
4:52 AM

Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. You have inspired me and as I run out of a product I replace it with a home made one.

Sep 21, 2016
4:50 PM

Thanks for the tiny-sized recipe, No waste! I’ll pour mine into an old, clean powder blush compact that has a mirror in the lid, and room for a short brush applicator. Will experiment to see how beet powder will do as a tint as well. Do you have any other food-grade colour ideas?

Sep 22, 2016
8:30 PM

I have tried beet root powder. It didn’t seem to tint the lips. I think most people and non-toxic companies use micas. You can get them bulk at some health food stores or zero waste stores. Lindsay

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »