Coming indoors and going out, the dry winter air causes static hair, parched skin, and—especially—cracked lips.
It’s easy and inexpensive to make your own moisturizing lip balm from natural ingredients.
You need only two ingredients for the most basic product: a little beeswax and a good-quality oil.
The oil and wax together seal in moisture; the beeswax (which contains healing anti-inflammatory and antibiotic compounds) stiffens the product. I add a little raw honey to mine, for its flavor, healing properties, and moisturizing effects.
If you know a local beekeeper, he or she probably sells food-grade beeswax as well as honey. Health food stores usually carry beeswax in blocks, “medallions,” or beads. A dollar or two will buy enough to make quite a few batches of lip balm.
For preparation and storage, you’ll also need:
- A small stainless-steel or Pyrex pot you can dedicate to melting the wax. (You may want to use it again to make other balms, salves or ointments.)
- A small wooden spoon or stainless-steel whisk for stirring.
- A small glass jar or other container (e.g., a new or recycled lip-balm tube).
For the basic recipe:
- 1 T shaved or chopped beeswax (or beads).
- 3 T oil (I usually use olive oil, since I have it on hand, but you could use almond, grapeseed, or another oil).
- 1 t raw honey (optional).
- Melt the beeswax with the oil over a low heat (double boiler, inside a low oven) or microwave at low power (under careful observation to avoid fires).
As soon as the wax has melted, remove the pot from the heat, whisk in the honey. Pour into a container and let set until firm.
If the solidified mixture feels too firm, remelt and whisk in a little more oil. If you want a firmer product (e.g., one that will fill and push out from a lip-balm tube, add a bit more beeswax). The process of remelting takes only a few seconds, so you won’t mind the work of getting it right.
Once you’ve succeeded with the basic product, you can try new batch using ingredients such as a few drops of a medicinal tincture or an essential oil; cocoa butter, shea butter, or coconut oil for some of the oil; and carnuba wax in place of beeswax.
By the way, this stuff also works well to smooth unruly eyebrows, treat chapped hands and moisturize cuticles and fingernails, so you may want to make a bigger batch on your second try.
Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, eats weeds, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.