Adventures in Green Living

Make Your Own Lip Balm – Similar to Burt’s Bees January 23, 2013

Filed under: Lip Balm — adventuresingreenliving @ 11:56 pm
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(Image: Burt's Bees)

Ok, so here goes, my first actual post about a green product, lip balm.  I go through Burt’s Bees so fast it’s ridiculous; I lose them, they fall out of my pocket, go through the wash, many are found at the bottom of my purse or in different compartments in my car.  This can turn into a very expensive habit.  Burt’s Bees costs about $2.99 per tube or $9.99 for a pack of four.  Like I said in my previous post, I saw a post on Pinterest for a DIY lip balm, just like Burt’s Bees, that would cost about 8 cents per tube.  This seemed almost too good to be true.  How could I make my own lip balm for 8 cents when I had been spending almost $3 on real Burt’s Bees?  I looked at the website and I thought it was a great idea.  The website can be found here:

I’m first going to go through the actual recipe, where you can get each of the ingredients, then get into different ideas you could use for your own lip balm, and give some info about the different properties.  I’m hoping to give you as much info here so you don’t have to go to many different websites, like I ended up needing to do.  The original recipe called for lanolin, but the author suggested not using it because it smells too medicinal, so I chose not to use it.  I also do not have step-by-step pictures of everything (I made this a couple weeks ago, but I’ll try to do this from now on).


  • 2 oz (1/4 cup) organic beeswax (if you are vegan you can replace beeswax with the same amount of any plant based wax:  soy, carnauba, candelilla, etc.)
  • 3 oz (6 tbsp) coconut oil
  • 1 oz (2 tbsp) pure shea butter
  • Essential Oils (optional)

This should make approximately 40 tubes of lip balm.


Cut the beeswax up into small chunks.  This can be very difficult, so be careful.

Put the beeswax into a pot on low-low heat, beeswax has a very low melting point, so make sure you don’t burn it.  (You can also do this in the microwave.)  After it was melted, I actually turned the back burner on low and turned the front one off.

Add the coconut oil and shea butter into the melted beeswax.

Stir on low heat until the entire mixture is melted (there should be no chunks left).

This would be the point you would add in any essential oils.  I did not do this because I wanted just the natural smell, and Emory doesn’t like extra fragrances added.

At this point you should try some on your lips.  I got some on the spoon, let it cool off a little, then tried it on my lips.  (Definitely let it cool before you try it on your lips, don’t want to burn them.)  I felt like it was a little too greasy, so I added a little bit more beeswax (less than 1/2 oz.).

This is the point where you pour your mixture into whatever container you want.  I bought tubes because I did not think about all the other things I could have used.  But some good suggestions I have found since are:  old blush containers or other makeup containers or tin, old lip balm tubes or containers, Altoid tins (which I thought was a great idea), I even saw someone use an old pocket watch with the inside taken out, just be creative, there are so many different things you could use.  I put the mixture into my small pryex measuring cup to pour into the tubes, this made a little bit of a mess, but worked pretty well overall. Other suggestions I have seen use a syringe or frosting bag.   It would be even easier if you used a larger tin or container.  If the mixture thickens too quickly, just put it back into the pot or into the microwave to thin it out again.

You can then let it solidify on your counter, table, where ever you made it; it shouldn’t take too long.  The shelf life of the coconut oil is the shortest of all of these ingredients, but this can last for 1.5-7 years!  So this should be plenty of time for you to use up your supplies.  If you do feel like you need to extend this shelf life, you can add Vitamin E essential oils.  After going straight from using Burt’s Bees to my DIY lip balm, there was a slight difference in the feel, but it was very slight.  After using it for a couple weeks, my lips still feel great.  I actually used some Burt’s Bees yesterday, and it felt weird.

Time and Price

Overall, I think this took me about half an hour.  A good portion of that was trying to cut the beeswax, and pouring the mixture into my tubes.

Ok, so, I’m sure you’re all wondering about price.  These are the prices of what I used (I ended up buying 100 tubes because I stupidly bought 2 packs of 50 instead of just one, so I ended up make 80 tubes and doubling the entire above recipe, so these amount will be double what you will use.  80 tubes, of course, is WAY more than I will use in the next year, so if anyone would like a tube or two, you can buy one for $1, just let me know.), you will have to buy more than what you will be using, but these things can be used for so many different things, many of which I will be blogging about in later posts.

  • Tubes:  $12.80
  • 1 lb of Shea Butter:  $1.30
  • 1 lb of Beeswax:  $2.75
  • Coconut Oil:  $4

That is 26 cents per tube!  But that is with buying the tubes, if you use things you already have around your house (which I REALLY recommend), it would be 10 cents!  That’s ridiculous; you would save $2.89 per tube over Burt’s Bees; that’s almost $116 saved over your 40 tubes!  That’s amazing.

Where to Shop

This is where I bought each of the ingredients:

Beeswax:  Amazon (man, do I love amazon), Your local organic grocery store may have it, or apparently Michaels’s and Hobby Lobby sells beeswax as well.  I would make sure it is organic because you never know what chemicals are otherwise being used (and what’s the point of making your own lip balm if you’re just going to use something that could have chemicals in it anyway?)  I would also use the beeswax blocks, rather than the pellets or pastilles, because it is less processed.

Coconut Oil:  I bought this at my local Whole Foods Co-Op, but you can find it at almost any grocery store or on Amazon.

Shea Butter:  Again, I got this off of Amazon.  Online is probably the easiest way to find it.  Ok, there are a couple important things about shea butter.  You will find many different confusing attributes to shea butter:  refined, unrefined, organic, grade A, premium, etc.  The main thing you want to look for is UNREFINED.  I cannot stress this enough.  Unrefined means that the shea butter is extracted and prepared without the use of chemicals or preservatives.  Only unrefined shea butter keeps all of its natural healing properties.  Refined shea butter has been chemically altered to remove its natural scent, is bleached white in color and retains only a small portion of its natural healing properties.  The end result is an odorless, white butter that lacks its true moisturizing, healing and nutritive properties of true traditional shea butter.  Thus there is really no point in using refined shea butter in lip balm if it does not contain any of the healing properties it should.  Thus, unrefined and organic shea butter are the same thing.  Shea butter can also be given a commercial grade.  You want Grade A, this is the only type of raw or unrefined shea butter.  So, when you are looking to buy shea butter, you want anything that says:  ORGANIC, UNREFINED, or GRADE A.


Ideas for your own lip balm

  • The number one thing to say is DO NOT use extracts for flavorings or smells.  They will not mix well with the oils.
  • Some recipes for lip balm I found use Jojoba oil instead of the coconut oil.  I chose to use coconut oil for many reasons.  Coconut oil is just as good as jojoba oil for rejuvenating lips.  It also contains natural ani-virals which help to treat cold sores (which would be great for lips).  Jojoba oil has natural sebum oil identical to the sebum oil your skin produces, which makes it much easier to absorb into the skin, which would be great for your skin or hair.  But I felt like this doesn’t really matter as much for your lips, plus jojoba oil is more expensive than coconut oil.  So why not leave the jojoba oil for moisturizers, lotions, etc.
  • I think using cocoa butter rather than shea butter would be awesome! It would give the lip balm a chocolately smell, though I would be afraid it would be overwhelming, so maybe half shea/half cocoa.
  • If you want to add color, just add a little bit of your own lipstick, or lip gloss, this is a website that uses other safe colorants (for this recipe you will need about 15-18 tablespoons of color):
  • Add honey (approximately 1 tbsp) for that great honey smell. Add the honey when you would add the essential oils.  After a week or so the honey will start to separate from the rest of the mixture; it will start to ooze up at the sides.
  • Vitamin E:  as mentioned earlier, it will give you a longer shelf life.  Vitamin E is also a great sun protector.  Shea butter, though, also has a natural sun protector, so vitamin E is not totally necessary.

Here are some different essential oils you could experiment with:

  • Camphor, and mints are cooling.  Peppermint, wintergreen are popular (I found one recipe that used wintergreen with honey and vanilla for a rootbeer flavor.)
  • Cinnamon and ginger are warming.
  • Do not use any essential oils that are from the citrus family (orange, lime, lemon, or grapefruit) because they make the skin photosensitive, making it much easier for your lips to get sunburned.
  • You can really use any essential oils you want, in any combination you think will be fun.  You can even use one or two drops of essential oil per tube so you have a bunch of different scents.

My next post is going to be about different essential oils and the uses of them, for both yours and mine future knowledge.


January 22, 2013

Filed under: Welcome — adventuresingreenliving @ 3:47 am

Well, here goes.  This is my first blog post ever!  I know, what do I have to say that hasn’t already been said because these days everybody and their mother has a blog.  But I think I have a great perspective on trying to find ways to live green, and save money doing it.

My name is Jenny, and I am a recent college graduate with several tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, so anything I can do to save Emory, my boyfriend, and I some money is always good.  Living a “green” lifestyle has always interested me.  I always said I would use cloth diapers, better for the environment and so much cheaper (I especially found this out after working at Target for 4 years, seeing how much disposable diapers cost) but since I haven’t had any kids yet, I haven’t been able to try this out.  I have taken several college course which have students take an Ecological Footprint Quiz (you know the ones that tell you how many Earth’s we would need if everyone lived how you do).  You can take your own quiz here:  I recycle and do little things that I believe will help the environment, but it can be really hard to do sometimes.  I know that eating meat is actually pretty horrible for the environment because of how we, as Americans, now have commercial farms rather than small family farms of the past.  But there is no way, NO WAY, I could ever become a vegan or even a vegetarian… I just love my burgers, bacon, and steaks WAY too much.  Thus, I have tried to cut back on how much meat we eat, only three MAYBE four days a week and having smaller portions of meat and more fruits and vegetables (well, maybe not vegetables, I kind of dislike many vegetables).  We also live in Northern Minnesota, Duluth, so the public transportation system is very limited, I could take the bus to work, but it would probably take over an hour, whereas by car it takes me about 15 minutes.  I am all about being green, but I am much more about practicality.  If it doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle, don’t do it!  It will just become a hassle, and you WILL hate it.

I have always been a huge crafty person and love finding new things to do or make.  I recently got interested in making my own art pieces and things for our house (thanks pinterest!).  A month or so ago I found a posting on Pinterest for making your own lip balm, ala Burt’s Bees.  I thought this was the best idea ever!  I am sooo addicted to Burt’s Bees, and I lose so many tubes, so I thought this would be perfect, especially since the site claimed I could make it for about 8 cents a tube.  If I bought a tube of Burt’s Bees at any store it would cost me about $2.99 or $9.99 for a pack of four.  I found this fascinating.  Could I actually save that much money on a single tube of lip balm?  This is where my adventure into living green first started.