Lip Balm Recipes: Honey Vanilla, Chocolate Chip Mint and Sweet Almond.

Most commercial lip balms contain petroleum products, artificial colors and flavours, and are loaded with preservatives.  Applying these to your lips is as good as eating these ingredients.  Thankfully, lip balm is simple and cheap to make.  You can make it with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, or at the very least, that you can find fairly easily in natural foods stores.  With pure, all natural ingredients these lip balms are effective and safe, and they make fantastic little gifts!

Choosing your oils

You can use any cooking oil you like.  Some have better qualities than others.  Choose one with little or no fragrance unless you love the fragrance.  Good ones include olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sweet almond oil etc.  You can use any of these oils instead of the ones in the recipe.  They will all work well.  You can also use herb-infused oils such as chamomile or calendula to create a very soothing, calming product.

Choosing your butters

Butters are oils that are solid at room temperature.  (Except coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature but classified as an oil, not a butter).  Butters are loaded with enriching qualities.  Cocoa butter, shea butter and mango butter are great choices for lip balms and other body products.  Cocoa butter is probably the easiest to find.  You can substitute any of the butters with each other.

Beeswax

Beeswax is necessary to solidify the product.  If you are vegan you can try substituting carnauba wax for beeswax, but you will need some kind of wax in the balm.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is moisturizing and has antioxidant qualities.  It is also added as a natural preservative.  It helps prevent rancidity, and extends the shelf life of the product.  No natural preservatives are as effective as synthetic ones, so use up your products in a matter of months, not years.  Store any products you aren’t currently using in a freezer in a sealed container.  If you don’t want to use vitamin E you can substitute it for rosemary essential oil, which also has natural preservation properties.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be substituted for others, or left out entirely.  They do have a bit of a natural preservative effect, but if you don’t want fragrance they can be left out.  Do not use citrus essential oils.  Most citrus (and a few others… worth checking out the link) are photo-toxic and should not be worn when you are exposed to the sun.  Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, a natural analgestic which soothes sore, chapped skin.

Extras, such as honey or chocolate chips.

Again, these can be left out entirely.  Honey is great in body products because it attracts moisture.  It is also naturally antibacterial and… it tastes good…  The chocolate chips are added for color and flavour.  I choose organic, all natural ones to maintain the purity of the product.  Do not add ingredients that are water based such as aloe, or rosewater etc.  Introducing water to your product will allow a bacteria-growing medium into your product which you don’t want, and is completely unnecessary for lip balms.

Choose your recipe below, and follow these directions. 

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except essential oil in a small sauce pan or double boiler and melt, on low heat.   Stir just until melted.  Do not allow the ingredients to boil!
  2. Stir in essential oil.
  3. Pour immediately into lip balm container.
  4. Allow to cool before moving.  Cap and use!  Or gift!

Here are three “tasty” recipes to choose from.

Chocolate Chip Mint

Honey Vanilla

Sweet Almond

Mountain Rose Herbs has exceptional quality, certified organic herbs, spices, essential oils and more.  They maintain a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture.  I highly recommend them for outstanding quality and service.

Notes:

  • Each recipe fills 2-3 tubes or tubs.
  • You can purchase the lip balm containers at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Search “lip balm containers”.
  • Use up in a few months to avoid the oil from going rancid.

This post has been linked to Homestead Abundance #1Waste Not Want Not #9 and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #57.

Salt of the Earth: Making Your Own Salt.

Sea salt is one of those ingredients that you don’t really think very much of.  Or at least I didn’t. Like flour and sugar, salt is a base ingredient that you use in combination with other ingredients to create a master piece.  Run to the store and buy your basic ingredients and you have a homemade meal. Right?  That’s what I thought until I read a blog about a woman whose hobby is to physically collect salts around the world during her travels.  She raves about the distinct differences in salt flavours from different areas of the globe.  So, who would have thought of making your own salt?  (Obviously, not me).

As is often the case, it is easy.  So easy, in fact, you will ask why you didn’t think of making your own before.  You need an ocean (or other large body of salt water), a good sized but manageable container with a lid, a large OLD stainless steel pot, a sieve, a shallow pan and a stove top.  We used an igloo cooler which was a manageable size.  Hawaii was a fun place to collect it… the water was warm.  And if you don’t want people looking at you funny, go at night.  It makes it into a more exciting adventure :) .

Go deep enough into the ocean so the surf isn’t breaking any more, (meaning that the water will contain less debris) and collect your water with your manageable container.  I imagine collecting by boat would work too.

Once home, pour your water through a sieve into a large stainless steel pot.  Simmer on low for as long as it takes until the salt crystals start to form, and you have a thicker slurry of salt water at the bottom, about 2 inches.  This could take a day or more.

Pour salt water into a shallow pan and place it in direct sun until the water is completely gone.  You will have gorgeous salt crystals that you can grind in a salt grinder!  This amount of water makes approximately 1 lb of salt. 

When I tell people I have made my own salt I get some very strange looks.  Why would anyone want to make her own salt when she could go to the store and buy it, very cheaply?  As with most homemade things, I get a real feeling of satisfaction out of making it.  There is something very appealing to me about making something from basic, earthy materials.  I get the same feeling when I make pottery.  Or when I garden.  Or eat eggs and drink milk from my own animals.  It is an earthy-satisfaction that just does not occur when I run out to the store and buy salt/milk/eggs/vegetables/pottery.  Try it!  It will put a proud smile on your face. 

Notes:

  • Use an OLD stainless steel pot.  It will oxidise and never be the same again.
  • Don’t boil water until there is no water left.  Your salt will taste like stainless steel.  (we’ve done that).
  • The deeper you collect your water, the less impurities will be in it. 
  • If you are flying, don’t bring your salt home in carry-on baggage.  They might not believe you when you tell them it is salt. 

This post has been shared on: Homestead Barn Hop #52, Whole New Mom Traditional Tuesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #17, Our Simple Farm Link Up, Living Well Blog Hop #32 The Morris Tribe’s Homestead Blog Carnival #1 and Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.