I got it in my head before a beach holiday to make myself some lip balm that’ll protect me from the sun. Had I made this before? No I had not. I think the uncertainty of it is much of what made me determined to do it.
I’ve made plain-old lip balm before, so it’s not like I went into this totally cold. But I did wing it quite a bit, all the same.
First snag? The titanium dioxide I have is water-soluble, not oil-soluble. I was going to use only a teensy weensy bit of it, but I didn’t want it to go all screwy on me so instead of using both it and zinc oxide for a sun-protection dynamic duo, I used only zinc oxide. Honestly, I don’t think this made a lick of difference to the lip balm, but I thought I’d mention it.
Why these white powders, you ask? Well. There’s a reason all the super-natural sunscreens for kids use them: they’re effective, and they aren’t harsh chemicals that might irritate skin.
Only thing is, as I’m sure you’ve noticed at parks or summer camps with kids whose parents hate “chemicals”: pasty, pasty kids. The sunscreen makes skin look a ghastly white no matter the wearer’s skin tone.
Which is why this lip balm is tinted. If I didn’t add colour, the balm would be a pure, opaque white, and it would make my lips look like a clown’s foundation.
So I used that white as a base, and added iron oxide and carmine dye to bring it back to some kind of natural colour – even, depending on your opinion, to a lovely shade of blush.
Below is the recipe, a video of me making the first (of two) batches, and here’s an option to get a printable PDF of the recipe and instructions (you’ll get my weekly newsletter, too, which I think will be utterly delightful for you):
Recipe & Instructions
Note: I have no idea exactly how much protection this lip balm provides against UVA and UVB rays. What I do know is that it should provide more than a similar recipe that doesn’t use zinc oxide, because zinc oxide protects against exposure to the sun. At this concentration? I don’t know how much.
- kitchen scale
- small saucepan
- Pyrex measuring cup (1-2 cup size)
- silicone spatula
- small bowl
- 10 lip balm tubes* Some of the links throughout are affiliate links.
- 8g beeswax
- 5g cocoa butter
- 4g shea butter
- 5g argan oil (optional)
- 16g sweet almond oil (or olive oil)
- 1g vitamin E oil (optional)
- 3g castor oil (optional)
- 6g zinc oxide
- spearmint or peppermint essential oil (optional)
- carmine dye or iron oxide in desired hue
Note: See instructions for compensating for leaving out any optional ingredients.
Make the Lip Balm
Fill the small saucepan with a couple of inches of water, and start heating on medium-low.
Into the glass measuring cup, add beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, argan oil and sweet almond oil. (If not using argan oil, just use 5g more sweet almond or olive oil. The idea is to use a total of 21g of oil that’s liquid at room temperature.)
Place the measuring cup into the saucepan. Stir occasionally while the wax and butters melt. (The wax will be the last to melt.)
While that’s going, in the small bowl combine the vitamin E oil, castor oil and zinc oxide (if you aren’t using vitamin E oil and/or castor oil, sub in the same liquid oil you’re already using – olive, sweet almond, etc. – so that you’re adding a total of 4g of oil to the zinc oxide). Stir into a paste. Now add the tint in small increments until the hue and saturation are to your liking. (Shown here: the pinkest tubes contain a smidge of burgundy iron oxide and about 30 drops of liquid carmine dye; the browner tubes contain about a teaspoon of burgundy iron oxide.)
When the waxes and butters are fully melted into the liquid oils, remove the measuring cup from the pot and place on a heat-proof surface.
Quickly stir in the zinc oxide/tint mixture, mixing thoroughly (quickly because as the oils cool, they’ll start to harden – if that happens, no worries! Just put the measuring cup back into the saucepan to remelt everything).
If you’re adding essential oil or flavour oil, add that in now (I used about 8 drops of spearmint essential oil), and stir well.
Pour everything into lip balm tubes.
Let the tubes cool thoroughly before using.