Last Updated on August 28, 2023
Making natural lip balm is fun and easy to do. It requires only a few ingredients, and gives you the utmost control over what goes on your kisser! Homemade lip balm is also a terrific and useful gift to share with friends, colleagues, or loved ones for a special occasion. Follow along to learn exactly how to make moisturizing homemade lip balm, using nearly the same recipe we use for the organic lip balms we offer in our Homestead and Chill shop! Plus get answers to frequently asked questions about ingredients, substitutions, troubleshooting, and more.
- A double-boiler. Or, create a makeshift double boiler by nesting a stainless steel bowl, heat-safe glass bowl, or smaller pot inside a larger pot.
- Small containers to store your final homemade lip balm. Consider options like these 1/2 ounce tins, 1 ounce tins, even smaller .15 ounce plastic tubes or cardboard chapstick tubes, tiny glass jars, or similar.
- Optional: a glass measuring cup or similar smaller bowl/pitcher with a pour spout.
- 1 part beeswax. I recommend using beeswax pastilles since they’re the easiest to work with. See beeswax substitution notes to follow.
- 1 part cocoa butter. Cocoa butter wafers are a popular choice and also easy to work with. You could also use shea butter or mango butter. We personally love the creamy, chocolate-like notes that cocoa butter adds to our natural lip balms!
- 2 parts high-quality edible oil. Feel free to combine a couple different oils if you’d like. If I had to choose just one, I recommend organic sweet almond oil. It’s highly moisturizing, full of nutrients, and has a very mild flavor and scent. See oil notes below for more guidance on choosing the best oil to make lip balm.
- Optional: essential oils
I listed the ingredients in “parts” (by volume) so you can easily scale the natural lip balm recipe up or down to your liking. For example, use 1/2 cup beeswax, ½ cup cocoa butter, and 1 cup oil. That is the size batch we made for the photos show in this tutorial, and yields approximately 12 ounces of lip balm. Or for a much smaller batch, combine 1 tablespoon of beeswax and 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter with 2 tablespoons of oil.
Use the printable recipe at the end of this article to scale the “servings” up and down.
TIP: To measure by weight instead of volume, use 1 part beeswax, 1 part cocoa butter, and 4 parts oil (e.g. 60 grams beeswax, 60 grams cocoa butter, and 240 grams oil).
Flavoring natural lip balm with essential oils
Feel free to add essential oils to your homemade lip balm recipe, but use high-quality “edible” oils only. Organic is all the better! We love to use certified organic oils from Plant Therapy. Buy them directly from Plant Therapy here, or from Amazon here.
Some of the most popular essential oils to flavor natural lip balm include peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, sweet orange, pink grapefruit, vanilla, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine. Please note that certain citrus essential oils are considered “phototoxic”, which means they can increase the risk of sunburn while in direct sun – such as lemon, lime, and bergamot. However, this is mostly a concern when very high or undiluted concentrations of citrus oil is applied directly to skin. Sweet orange is not phytotoxic.
For a fairly strong-scented lip balm, use up to 96 drops (1 light tsp) of essential oils per 1 cup of oil used maximum. Scaled down, that would be 12 drops of essential oils for every 2 Tbsp of regular oil. To make lip balm with a more mellow scent, use about half the amount.
What type of oil should I use to make homemade lip balm?
You can make lip balm with any high-quality edible oil such as sweet almond oil, olive oil, fractionated (liquid) coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, or similar. Coconut oil that is solid at room temperature can be more tricky to perfect since it’s texture varies wildly with temperature. Note that oils with distinct or strong flavors (e.g. olive, coconut) will influence the overall flavor and aroma of your homemade lip balm.
While lip balm may be considered a “cosmetic”, I personally avoid using oils that are reserved for “cosmetic use only” (like argan oil or rosehip seed oil) since the final product is going dang near in your mouth. However, those are great choices for our calendula salve, cannabis salve, or lavender body salve recipes!
How to Make Homemade Lip Balm
- Have all your supplies and ingredients out and ready before starting.
- Measure and/or weigh the oil, wax, and cocoa or shea butter and add to the top portion of a double boiler. Be sure to put water in the lower portion of the double boiler; enough so the bottom of the top pan is resting in water. Measuring cocoa wafers is a bit awkward in cups, but it works! For example, we’ve found that 1/2 cup of beeswax and 1/2 cup of cocoa butter wafers both weigh about 60 grams each.
- Heat the ingredients over medium-high heat until all of the ingredients completely melt and combine. Stir occasionally. Do not cover the pot while heating; the introduction of condensation (water) can negatively impact your lip balm.
- Turn off and remove the pot from the heat before adding essential oils. Essential oils are very volatile by nature, and thus will quickly dissipate on high heat.
- While it is still hot, carefully pour the liquid into your lip balm containers of choice. If you have one handy, we find it’s easiest to transfer the melted mixture from the double-boiler into a glass measuring cup first (in batches if needed) and then pour it into small lip balm containers from there. Microwave the glass measuring cup for 30 seconds first to prevent the mixture from cooling too quickly or sticking when it comes in contact with the cool glass. If the mixture starts to harden before you’re finished pouring, simply return to the heat to re-melt.
- Once the lip balm has completely cooled and hardened, add lids or caps and labels.
- Enjoy soft, supple, moisturized lips – and share with your friends! (The balm that is… not your lips.)
Clean Up Tip:
For the easiest clean up, immediately wipe the pan out with a paper towel. If the lip balm residue starts to harden inside, lightly heat the pan again to help it melt once again.
Homemade Lip Balm FAQ & Troubleshooting
How to make homemade lip balm without beeswax
Wax is a key component of lip balm. It helps to solidify the balm in it’s container as well as hold the balm (and moisture) on your lips over time. Beeswax is a common choice of wax used to make natural lip balm; it’s non-toxic, readily available, easy to work with, and performs exceedingly well at moisturizing and healing chapped lips. However, some folks may wish to avoid using beeswax and make 100% vegan lip balm instead.
There are numerous types of vegan plant-based waxes – palm, coconut, carnauba, and more. Yet soy wax or candelilla wax are usually recommended as the best substitutes to make lip balm without beeswax since they offer the most similar texture and results. However, some personal experimentation and tweaking of the lip balm recipe may be required to get it exactly how you like it.
Does homemade lip balm need preservatives?
Commercial lip balms you find in the store usually include added chemicals and preservatives. However, you do not need to add any preservatives to this natural lip balm recipe. Beeswax acts as a natural preservative, extending the shelf life of the oil, butters, and lip balm in general. Beeswax is also anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial! Hence why beeswax food wraps are so effective and popular. Learn how to make your own beeswax wraps here – another great DIY project or gift!
How long does homemade lip balm last? Can it expire?
As a general rule of thumb, consider homemade lip balm “good” and safe to use as long as it looks, smells, and feels normal – typically for several months or up to a year. Signs that homemade lip balm has expired or gone bad include “off” odors, tastes, or visible mold on the surface of the lip balm or inside its container.
A number of factors influence the shelf life of homemade lip balm, including the ingredients used and how it is stored or applied. For instance, certain oils are more prone to going rancid more quickly than others (though beeswax does act as a natural preservative and helps to extend their shelf life). Furthermore, using a tube applicator or dipping clean fingers into a lip balm tin will help it last longer than applying lip balm from a tin with soiled fingers… I’m looking at you, kiddos!
What if my homemade lip balm is too hard (or too soft)?
If your homemade lip balm comes out too soft, the easiest fix is to re-melt it and add a tad more wax. On the other hand, if the lip balm is too firm you can re-melt it and add more oil instead. Yet if you follow the natural lip balm recipe we provided above, this shouldn’t be an issue.
How to prevent homemade lip balm from cracking
There are a few reasons homemade lip balm may crack in its container as it dries, explained below.
Ingredients and ratios
In my experience, getting the perfect ratio of beeswax, oil, and butter (cocoa, shea, etc) is what prevents homemade lip balm from cracking the most. In general, too much beeswax (or not enough oil) causes homemade lip balm to crack. To much wax will also result in a too-firm lip balm. Different waxes and butters have different melting points and can lead to varied results. That said, some trial and error may be required to find your desired sweet spot. For instance, we have tried to increase the amount of cocoa butter in our recipe but found that led to more cracking.
Time and temperature
Another reason homemade lip balm may crack is if it cools and hardens too quickly, and/or when the molds or containers are too cold. We’ve only found this to be an issue on cold winter days when the house is a bit chilly inside too. To remedy this, try setting a metal cookie sheet or baking pan nearby or on the stove (but not directly over heat) while you’re heating the lip balm. Set the lip balm containers on the cookie sheet and pour them there. The metal will conduct the warmth from the stove and slow the setting process. Also cluster the lip balm containers together so they keep each other warm.
Why is homemade lip balm grainy?
Some oils and butters are made up of a combination of several fatty acids, all of which have different melting points. Shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil are prime examples. As the fatty acids (saturated fats) in these butters melt and cool or are otherwise exposed to temperature swings, some of the fats may crystallize and cause a sandy or grainy texture in the lip balm. This can happen during production, or later during storage (e.g. keeping lip balm in a hot car). The crystallization that occurs is referred to as “blooming”, is fairly common even with commercial lip balm products, and is totally harmless! However, I understand most folks want a smooth, creamy homemade lip balm.
To avoid grainy lip balm, heat your butter to 175°F and allow it to hold at that temperature for about 20 minutes. Use a probe thermometer as needed to verify. It may be best to add your butter to the double boiler first, allow it to fully melt and heat as recommended, and then add the other lip balm ingredients to the pot. Then, the butter should be cooled as quickly as possible. The longer it is melted, the more likely it is to crystalize. Some folks even recommend moving the final product to the refrigerator to expedite cooling. However, note that this goes against the tips to prevent lip balms from cracking (to cool it slowly). You can also try using a different type of butter product in your homemade lip balm.
We never find this to be an issue with our natural lip balm recipe. Yet if you’re experiencing grainy lip balm, hopefully these tips will help!
And that is how to make homemade lip balm!
See? That wasn’t so hard, was it? I hope that this tutorial helps you feel confident and excited to make your own natural lip balm too. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. Feel free to spread the love by pinning or sharing this article if you found it useful. Also, stop back by for a review once you whip up a batch of balm yourself! We sincerely appreciate you tuning in today. Best of luck with your future lip balm making adventures!
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- 17 Wonderful Winter Garden Activities (Projects) To Do Indoors
- DIY Beeswax Wraps (Food Wraps) Tutorial
- How to Make a DIY Beeswax Fall Leaf Garland
- Homemade Rice Heating Pad (or Cold Pack) Tutorial
Natural Lip Balm Recipe (How to Make Homemade Lip Balm)
- A double-boiler, or make-shift double boiler (such as a glass pyrex bowl or stainless steel bowl perched on top of a saucepan with water below)
- Lip balm tins, tiny glass jars, chapstick tubes or other similar final storage container
- 1 cup oil (such as sweet almond oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, fractionated coconut oil, or other edible oil of choice)
- 1/2 cup Beeswax pastilles (vegan option: replace with the same amount of soy wax or candelilla wax)
- 1/2 cup Cocoa butter wafers (or shea butter)
- 96 drops essential oil of choice (1 light tsp) (Use 96 drops per cup of oil maximum for a fairly strong-scented lip balm, about 1 light teaspoon. Feel free to use less or none at all)
- Have all of your required supplies ready and waiting (including final storage tins).
- Add water to the bottom pan of your double-boiler. Now add the called-for oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter to the top portion of the double-boiler.
- Heat the mixture on the stovetop over medium-love heat until everything melts, and stirring frequently.
- As soon as everything melts and is thoroughly combined, remove from heat.
- Add optional essential oils once removed from heat. They're highly volatile and prone to dissipating.
- While it is still hot, carefully pour the liquid lip balm into your chosen containers. (If it starts to solidify while you’re still filling containers, simply put it back on medium-low heat until it liquifies again.)
- Allow them to fully cool and harden before adding lids.