Summer is one of the worst seasons for your lips. Despite the high humidity in much of the region, lips go through high heat, blazing sun, and just plain old wear and tear. They can get chapped, reddened, dried out, and can even peel. But if you know how to take care of them properly, they can be oh so soft.
Things Harmful to Lips
Some things are worse for your lips than you’d think. Here’s a list of things you should avoid:
- Smoking can cause lack of circulation and wrinkles.
- No SPF (sun protection factor) can lead to sun burn. A few natural oils that offer sun protection are carrot seed oil, raspberry seed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and sesame seed oil.
- Parabens, which are present in most commercial lipsticks, can damage your skin.
- Fragrance, also in some lipsticks, can dry out your skin.
- Artificial sweeteners could cause health problems.
- Camphor and menthol, while natural, are drying ingredients often found in lip care products.
- Dry air, created when air conditioning is used, can dry out your lips.
There are some ingredients in lipsticks and lip balms that are good for you. Glycerin and aloe vera are humectants. They pull moisture out of the air and attach it to whatever they are on, such as your lips. Water, in any form, is good for your lips, but will evaporate quickly without something to hold it there. Lip balms are made to hold the moisture in. But first, before you apply lip balm, exfoliation is the best thing to do. You can mix a little oil with granulated sugar or salt, and gently rub on lips in a circular motion. Now you’re ready to moisturize!
All Natural Homemade Lip Balm
I’ve been using this recipe for years. The wax you use can vary in hardness, so you might need to remelt your finished product, add a bit more wax to make it harder or a bit more oil to make it softer. (Makes approximately eight .15 oz tubes of lip balm.)
- ¼ cup oil (like sweet almond, coconut, or grapeseed – find them here)
- ¼ cup butter (like shea, cocoa, or mango – find them here)
- enough wax to make ¾ cup total lip balm mixture (like beeswax or soy wax – find them here)
- several drops essential oil, for flavor (find 100% pure essential oils here)
- optional – 1 teaspoon powdered herbs for color, such as beet root powder or alkanet root powder (find organic herbs here)
- Measure your oil and butter into a heatproof glass measuring cup. Microwave a minute or two until melted. (You can also melt the mixture by setting the glass measuring cup in a pan of gently boiling water – like a makeshift double boiler.)
- Add enough wax to make a total of ¾ cup. Melt this in the microwave or the makeshift double boiler. The glass measuring cup will get very hot, so be extra careful when handing.
- Take a stainless steel spoon and mix everything together. Pull the spoon out and wait a few minutes until what’s left on the spoon hardens. Test this to see if it’s hard or soft enough for your liking. Make your adjustments now (adding more oil if you want it softer, or more wax if you like it harder).
- Optional Step: When the consistency is where you want it, add a few drops of an essential oil like peppermint or grapefruit. (One year for Christmas, I made lip balms in chocolate and orange. I melted some dark chocolate into it and added some orange essential oil.) You can color your lip balm by adding a small amount of powdered herbs such as beet root powder. Stir it in well so that there are no lumps.
- Carefully pour into lip balm tubes or tins. You can clean and reuse old ones or buy new ones. You can purchase lip balm tubes here or small tins here.
You can use different oils for their individual qualities. Many have antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your skin. You can do an infused oil with herbs such as calendula and use that for your base oil. (Read about how to infuse oils here.) You can add essential oils like tea tree or lavender to make a healing ointment that’s very portable – great for use on scrapes and bug bites. You can add a few drops of cinnamon or ginger essential oils. These oils increase circulation and can make your lips appear more plump. Don’t use too much as they can also be irritating.
You can make a stretch mark balm by omitting the oil and adding more butter. Nothing soothes dry, itchy skin like cocoa butter. Add some grapeseed oil and it makes it all that much more nourishing. You can add a small amount of zinc oxide or one of the oils with natural SPF listed above to act as a sunscreen. And if you want it a bit sweeter, add a small amount of powdered stevia. You’ll literally need just a pinch as this herb is very, very sweet!
Have you ever made your own lip balm?
Share your experience in the comments!