Friday, September 02, 2011

About that lip balm [TUTORIAL]

So, like I was saying - I am a freak and spent part of my vacation making lip balm like a fucking hippie.

Or, like a fucking beekeeper.

Because, when you are a beekeeper and you have beekeeper friends and you are immersed in the dorktastic world of bees, beeswax becomes like the zucchini of the gardener's world - that thing you don't want to waste because LOOK WHAT I DID but also that thing you need to get rid of because WHY DID I DO SO MUCH?

It's everywhere, is what I'm saying.

And when you meet with your fellow beekeepers at least once a month for the very glamorous event of a Beekeepers Lunch, inevitably someone will have harvested from their hive and will be trying to pawn off the wax so that they don't have to deal with the incredible but completely fucking abundant supply of beeswax that abounds.

I'm like the unsung hero of the group right now, for all my wax taking, and I rather enjoy the role. I mean, obviously.

So, when my fellow beekeeper who we'll call, Guy, because that's his name, offered up the unfiltered wax from a recent harvest to whomever wanted it, I raised my hand like a big crafty loser and said, "ME! I want to make lip balm!"

To which he responded, "Whatever. I'll bring it in."

Guy's not big on emotion, but I like to think he appreciates my enthusiasm. As much as anyone appreciates the enthusiasm of a psychopathic monkey in their midst, anyway.

So, yeah, Guy gave me his Tupperware of unfiltered wax and I set off for vacation to turn it into usable lip balm.

SUCCESS! I mean, almost.

People - finding a useful tutorial, like a real how-to, for making lip balm that tells you proper quantities, sources and expected output is about impossible.

I believe this is because home lip balm makers are either:

1. Hippies who don't know how to measure or take proper notes
2. Hippies who don't want to share their master recipes
3. Annoying as fuck

Or it could be that they're a combo of the above, or none of these things at all - I'm just saying that when I went online to find a fucking proper recipe that would tell me how much of what things I needed, where to buy these things in these quantities and then how many ounces of lip balm it would produce - I came up annoyingly empty.

The fact that every recipe was riddled with snippets like, "Just mess around with the mixture until you get it to your liking" and "Try out some different butters and oils until it's just right" or "Then pour it into your containers and enjoy!", was a bit disappointing and, to me, a sign of laziness.

People - EXACT MEASUREMENTS PLEASE. Also, don't just give up and tell me to "Enjoy!" because I won't.

And I didn't.

Because I made a first batch of 20 .15oz lip balms and they turned out to be too hard. Like, can'tquitesmearthisonmylips hard and so I untwisted 20 lip balms back into the double boiler and melted them down for Try #2.

Which also wasn't awesome and still just a bit too hard. But oh well because I sure as shit wasn't untwisting all those lip balm tubes again.

Though, as you'll soon see, I didn't learn my lesson about maybe not pouring 20 lip balm tubes full before testing the product, which is just so classic me.

But I'll get to that part at the end-ish.

For now, I'll give you MY recipe. For what I've created so far after three tries, which is a pretty good lip and body balm albeit a tiny bit bland. I'll be adding some essential oils (wow, Hi, Hippie) to the next batch in my quest to create my ideal body balm, so you can come back for that if you like.

Because I understand how annoying wish-washy recipes can be. Also, hippies.

Finny's Put It All Over Your Body Balm
Makes 20 .15 oz tubes


Forget the Emu oil and Cocoa butter, pictured but not used.

Double boiler (I found a sweet one for $2 at Salvation Army)
Cheesecloth (Hardware stores have these - I got mine at OSH)
Measuring cup with a spout ($1 at Target)
Measuring spoons ($1 at Target)
Rubber spatulas ($1 at Target)
Wax paper
Lip balm tubes/lids
Lip balm tube tray


Emu oil was left unused because it grossed Bubba out. Cocoa butter was left unused because it was wholly unnecessary.

4 T beeswax (filtered free of bee parts)
4 T organic sweet almond oil
3 T unrefined Shea butter
1 t honey
10  drops vitamin E

To make
If you need to filter your beeswax (AKA: Strain all the broken souls of bees out of it, also their legs and bodies), melt the wax in your double boiler and pour it through the cheesecloth into a bowl you never want to use for food again.

Bee souls abound. Also - that clean wax on top? MINE! I know. Impressive.

Bee souls aswim.

Bee souls afiltered.

Bee soul-free wax

If you need to also strain honey from that beeswax, melt the filtered beeswax once again and then pour it into another bowl you never want to use for food again and let it cool. The wax will settle and harden on top and the honey will rest on the bottom. You can just pull the wax off the top and go on with the recipe. Then you can use some of the honey, too, and OH isn't that just handy.

Over a pound of honey. Good stuff.

Now that you have your filtered wax and all your other supplies at the ready, melt everything except the oils (so, beeswax, Shea butter and honey) in your double boiler and stir it all together with one of your spatulas.

Then add your oils (almond and E) and mix with the spatula.

Then TEST.

Yeah, I said TEST. Because I did not TEST the first (or second or third) time I went through this process (which - SHOCKER) and ended up having to untwist and remelt 20 tubes of lip balm because the shit was too solid in its cooled state to be used as lip balm. You remember. I said this earlier.

Would have worked nicely as a plastic peg of some kind though. Or earplugs for an oval-eared giant, perhaps. Or a tampon for a big Barbie. But not lip balm. what?

So, fill one tube and let it cool and then test it. Does it melt right? Taste normal? Not give you hives? Awesome. Snap the rest of the tubes into your handy tray deal, fill up the rest of the tubes, let them cool and cap them. Done.


Is it too solid to melt properly? Yeah - back to the drawing board. Add more Shea butter and oils and continue the testing until it meets your specs. Maybe nix the cocoa butter if you so rudely ignored me on that one. Rude.

This is why all these recipes are so moonmaideny and non-specific - because things differ. BUT NOT THAT MUCH.

So, this recipe should give you a nice, albeit somewhat firm and fairly bland lip and body balm that travels well despite heat. Like, you could put it in your car and it won't melt into a pool of molten face lava all over your console. And it smells nice to boot. Sorta honey-ish and not like some whore's bathroom, which - no one wants that.


When the balms have cooled in their tubes, push them out of the tray with your thumb from the top and, if you want balms flush with the top of the tubes, press them balm-side-down onto wax paper to press off the excess and flatten them and then add the caps. If you like the extra balmness above the tube top (not that kind of tube top, weirdos), leave them alone.

Extra balmness. It's a thing.

Voila. Lip balm. From beeswax. That's not a total mind-fuck to create. Hooray.

I'll be back to report on the next version of this balm for your enjoyment. Or not. You may hate it. Shut up, hippies.


  1. Great tutorial! I've never tried making lip balm as I'm not a big lip balm user but you've encouraged me to maybe give it a try. I remember reading about adding some chocolate chips to the mix for a chocolately flavored lip balm. Sure it would be fun for my daughter and her friends. Thanks!

  2. This may be another example that we are not the same person. Because I could NEVER create such an exact and useful tutorial. Way to go, Finn.

    I see that you will not have chapped lips for the next millenium. I'm sure Bubba appreciates that.

  3. Nice tutorial! I may just have to try it when my almost-lifetime supply from 2 years ago runs out. I just melted some beeswax and coconut oil together, then melted it again with more oil to prevent the rock-hardness that I'd created. It works ok, but yours sounds much fancier and nicer!
    The Downeast bees have been a source of DEEP irritation this summer; I've threatened the lot of them with Raid more than once. Multiple swarms and other such Ill-behaviour. I'll have to send you a pic of the biggest freaking swarm I've ever seen...

  4. i effing love these photo captions. you are awesome. that is all.

  5. I am really, really hoping I'm getting one of these from my favorite jewish santa for christmas.

  6. I am sooo going to do this if/when we get bees!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

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Sucks, right?

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