Thursday, April 14, 2016


I couldn't find a true free and clear recipe for homemade lip balm on the web that was free of botanicals or beeswax, so I went to work in my kitchen lab and came up with my own.  You can read the story of why I wanted this mineral/petroleum based lip balm at the end of the recipe, but for those of you who don't care, I thought it'd be nice to just give you the recipe up front.  I like the texture of this a whole lot better than the coconut oil/beeswax recipes I've tried that kind of melt as you apply.  This feels like a lip protection and stays put for longer than 10 minutes.  I used tubes because I don't like sticking my finger in a pot, but use whatever works or what you have.

This RECIPE fills 5 standard lip balm tubes

Food grade paraffin wax (I used Gulf wax available in canning supplies at the grocery)
pure petroleum jelly (I prefer medical grade)
clean (sterile) lip balm tubes or tubs or (cleaned out old containers)
Cheese grater
Microwave safe bowl or measuring cup (Pyrex)
Microwave or double boiler set up for stove top.
stir stick or spoon
Disposable pipettes (optional)
Small cookie sheet and ice packs if you're using tubes

2 packed teaspoons of grated paraffin wax
4 level teaspoons of pure petroleum jelly
(got that? 1 part wax, 2 parts petroleum jelly.  Make any amount you wish.)

1. Prepare your containers or tubes.  If you're using tubes, it's good practice to line them up on a cookie sheet with an ice pack under it. This keeps the tubes cool and helps keep the hot mixture from seeping down past the bottom push plug thingy (I think that's the technical term for it).  You could probably line up the tubes along a lunch ice block too.  Whatever you do, whether you use ice or not, make sure the tubes are level.

2. Grate wax with grater (you won't need much).  Measure it by packing it into a measuring spoon. It's not explosive, so it doesn't have to be perfectly exact.

3.  Melt wax in a microwave safe container, using 30 second increments.

4.  When wax is all or mostly melted, add petroleum jelly and microwave for an additional 15-30 seconds.  Stir well until all the petroleum jelly is melted and incorporated into the wax.

5. Carefully and slowly pour into the tubes or containers or pipette the hot liquid into the tubes.  Make sure you fill it all the way to the tippy-top because it settles down into the tube a bit as it cools.  I didn't use pipettes because I'm cheap thrifty.  It doesn't really matter if you spill, you can wipe it off later and clean it up with rubbing alcohol or something.

6.  Let cool until set up.

7. Put on the cap

8. Apply cute label...or not.

Clean tools with hot soapy water.

If you don't care about free and clear that much, you can experiment with the recipe.  You may substitute beeswax for the paraffin, add a bit of sweetener to the hot mixture, drop of flavoring oil or vitamin E oil, substitute some of the paraffin for crayon shavings for a tinted balm. You can probably mess with the ratios and add less wax to make it more of a cream consistency, though I didn't try that.  Whatever you do, stick with oil and wax based ingredients; don't try to add alcohol or water based vitamins or extracts.

***DISCLAIMER:  Petrolatum products are supposedly not good to ingest (so the organic mom bloggers say), so, uh...don't eat it.  This may deter you from adding sweetener for your children.


This post is no doubt going to throw a wrench into all the mommy bloggers who are all-natural, organic, plant-based fanatics. And the essential oil worshipers will likely hate it. I don't fault anyone for raising a fist to the mass producers who add chemicals and preservatives to our personal care and cleaning products.  I'm right there with you.  I feel like I'm being forced to become a DIY granola mom making my own stuff to avoid chemicals, though you won't catch me smelling of sandalwood and ylang ylang.

My daughter recently underwent contact dermatitis patch testing (that was a joy).  After her spring break of no showering, terrible itching at the reaction spots and being condemned to being inactive (the worst torture) because she couldn't sweat, she came home with a list of skin allergies and irritants.  The worst offenders were Methylisothiazolinone (preservative) and glucosides (lathering agent).  Most personal care products contained at least one of her allergens, so we tossed her shampoo, conditioner, chapsticks, lotions and soaps and went shopping.  Her safe list is pretty short and some household products, like dish soap, have no options for her to use.  No dish soap means I'm searching for DIY recipes and until I find a good one, she'll have to wear gloves every time she puts her hand in dishwater, which is probably a good habit to get into anyway.

Among her list of allergies were fragrances and botanicals.  This isn't uncommon given different reactions to bees and various plants and flowers that people have. That means no essential oils (what? they don't cure everything?!), no fragrance, no natural soaps like Dr. Bronners, no beeswax. My girl  has one single safe option for lip balm: Vaseline Original Lip Therapy, which is petroleum jelly.

I wanted my daughter to have the convenience of having a tube of Chapstick in her pocket like everyone else, and I happened to buy a bunch of lip balm tubes on Amazon a few months ago to make my own coconut/beeswax lip balm which turned out to be pretty terrible (it had a cheap thin lip gloss consistency and then there was coconut...barf).  I searched for hours to find a recipe that had no beeswax, plant oils, flavorings, etc.  The majority of my searches came up with things like "get rid of your paraffin and petrolatum based products."  I really don't understand why people think minerals are the devil and plants are gods (as long as they're non-GMO organic gluten free plants). <insert snarky eye roll>

I set to work and came up with the simplest of lip balm recipes with 2 cheap ingredients. This is  without smell, taste or anything botanical.  And it worked!  I amaze myself sometimes.  Scroll back up for the recipe.


  1. Planet brand dishliquid is fragrance free, isothiazolinone free, and glucoside free, using Sodium Laureth sulfate instead of glucoside a as the lathering agent. I use this product exclusively for my hand washed dishes, bronners Unscented Castile Ina. Pinch but that makes it all cloudy although avoids SLS altogether.

    1. Thank you! I just found Planet a few weeks ago and feel like I can be normal again!

  2. I'm "in" for trying this balm recipe and am happy to say I have all the prerequisite ingredients and have some oils and a sundry list of things to try for flavor or to just 'alter' it from being one way all the time.
    Now, I am seriously allergic to Wheat, Corn, Milk, Cheese Molds, Oranges and seem to have an intolerance for tapioca and some other things that are becoming more familiar.
    Encourage anyone with any kind of intolerance or allergy to learn a new way.... why? ???:::: wow.
    In staying 'clean' from allergens my brain function is high and it was low in most my life due to allergies unknown to me becuase people just 'do that'.... right, right? I am not a spring chicken and have worked to rid myself of those things and have always been a moderate cook for taste and presentation so avoiding these means no eating nearly anything, nothing out and very limited things prepared.
    As I've gotten older staying clean is the most important thing: memory lapse, eye behaviour, speech, breathing, SLEEP SLEEP is so different!!!
    Better and when I have a fail on a cookie or piece of pie or something it shows up HUGE!!
    thanks for the recipe!
    Fred Mc