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Friday, May 23, 2014

essential lip balm / lotion bars


Lip Balm is really easy to make. Commercial stuff is almost always made of a petroleum base, which isn't all that great for the skin, and right by the mouth where it gets licked off and ingested... Well. There are healthier alternatives!

1 part cocoa butter
1 part shea butter
1 part beeswax
optional essential oils, 20 drops per 1/2 cup melted base

Pop your butters and wax into a double boiler and melt gently. Add the essential oils a few minutes after taking the liquid off the heat, to avoid undue evaporation. Lipbalm tubes vary a little in size from company to company, but I find that a general guideline without doing math is a 10 tube yield for 1/4 cup of base.

We love peppermint essential oil best, as it leaves a lovely tingle on the lips for a good 5 minutes, and it smells like an after dinner chocolate mint with the cocoa butter. Lavender is also lovely, as is rosemary. Rose hip seed oil helps smooth fine lines by rebuilding collagen. Be sure to choose a food safe essential oil.

Alternatively, you can use the same basic formula of butters and wax in a larger batch to make lotion bars. Lotion bars, or massage bars, are brilliant moisturizers while traveling, as they clearly are not counted as a liquid and last a long while. To use for massage, cup in the palm of the hand while massaging over skin and into muscles to provide lubrication without the slickness of oil. I always keep a lotion bar in a little salve tin in my busy bag, what was once the diaper bag but has been renamed now we are out of diapers, as my fingertips tend to crack with dryness and I have found this solid lotion is the best thick protection for them. If you prefer a slightly softer massage bar than the lipbalm base, add 1 part oil to the basic recipe. This could be coconut or a liquid oil.

Use the same method to melt down in a double boiler, add essentials as desired off the heat, and pour into a muffin tin or small soap molds, about 1 inch deep. There is no need for special non stick stuff or liners or silicone. If you want to use a regular old metal muffin tin, let the bars cool to solid and then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. They pop out quite easily from chilled or frozen metal.

Lotion bars that are not for facial or lip use can have more essential oils added to them. Make a massage bar with warming essentials like ginger, cinnamon and black pepper, calming lemongrass and chamomile, or cooling oils of eucalyptus, raventsara, mint and pine. Start with fewer drops than you think you need at first, and test the mixture on your inner arm before setting the bars to cool. You can add more much more easily than you can take oils out.

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