What is a lip balm? What can it do?
Lip balms are used to help with painful lips, dried by the dry weather, central heating and the sun.
What’s special about lips? With its three to five cellular layers, the skin of the lips is very thin compared to the skin in the rest of the face, which has up to 16 layers. The lip skin does not have sweat glands or hair, so it does not have the usual protective layer of sweat and body oils, which keep the skin smooth and somewhat protected. For these reasons, the lips dry out faster and become chapped more easily. They are more sensitive to sunlight: in people with light skin color, the lip skin contains fewer melanocytes (cells that produce melanin which give skin its color). The blood vessels can be seen through the skin of the lips, which makes them look pink/red, and the UV protection provided by the melanin is not there.
The sun, smoke, and hot liquids stress your lips, making them more susceptible to infections like the herpes virus. If you protect your lips, what will you gain? Healthier lips, and you can prevent and even reverse to some extent the effects of sun, aging, and tobacco consumption, i.e., lip lines and inflammation.
Ingredients of the usual lip balms
Lip balms are usually solids at room temperature that melt when applied to the lips; they come in small containers or are molded in a lipstick shape. To keep the balm from melting at room temperature, they contain wax as a major ingredient; the wax and oils in the lip balm will help prevent water loss from the lips. Other ingredients are pigments (for color), antioxidants, flavorings, butters, fragrance. If there is no water, there is no need for preservatives.
A typical ingredient list for a lip balm: Beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, peppermint oil, lanolin, rosemary leaf extract (fragrance, antioxidant), soybean oil, canola oil, limonene (fragrance).
Skin Actives used to sell a “classic” lip balm but not anymore; the market is full of inexpensive lip balms, but we still sell special lip treatments (more about this later).
Making your own lip balm
If you want to make your own lip balm,you can just buy cocoa butter or vaseline or shea butter. They are easy to get and cheap! Melt the one you chose in the microwave (a few seconds will be enough) and pour on a container you can take in your handbag.
You can also use liquid crystal from Skin Actives as a base. You can even use it “as is”, it’s beautiful, but it’s a liquid, not a “real” lip balm.
With liquid crystal, you will not save money, because liquid crystal is a mix of cholesterol derivatives and one of the most expensive ingredients we use, and it’s used at high concentrations! It may not be obvious, but wax and oils are very inexpensive (a tiny fraction, actually) compared with liquid crystal, which keeps going up in price all the time. Some skincare ingredients are very common and fluctuate little, but even the price of orange juice will vary depending on the weather and how good the harvest is, as demonstrated by the movie “Trading Places”. A recent case is vanilla extract: when the consumer is convinced by advertising that he needs natural vanilla extract for everything, even plain vanilla ice cream, prices skyrocket.
Choose your flavor:
You can go yo your kitchen in search of flavorings, but try to use oil-soluble flavorings, like vanilla extract. If you fell in love with the old Earl Grey Skin Actives lip balm, you can buy a similar flavoring oil at Nature Flavors, Earl Grey Flavor Oil for Lip Balm.
Why not use mandarin essential oil: you can extract essential oils from citrus fruits just by pressing the peel, there are little “bubbles” full of essential oil that will break and leag the essential oil. But some citrus essential oils, like mandarin, are rich in furocoumarins and will burn your skin when exposed to the UV in sunlight.
When the shea butter is still liquid, add a drop of antiox booster, it will give your lip balm color and great antioxidant power. Here is also when you add the tiny bit of flavor.
As I said above, we are not selling a lip balm. It’s hard to explain to people that we can’t compete with cheap lip balms because they use different ingredients. But we care about lips and we offer some nice products that are great for lips.
What will it do for you? Prevent water loss, provide some nourishment (cholesterol is a lipid present in cell membranes. If you like, add a hint of Stevia powder (Trader Joe’s) and/or some flavoring. In your kitchen you will find vanilla extract plus look at other spices and try them. Careful with the peppers, you may like that they plump your lips but your lips may not appreciate it. Don’t add sugar, the bacteria will like it too.
Water, Seakelp (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate) Bioferment, Sodium PCA, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Juice, Prunus Cerasus (Cherry) Fruit Juice, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Carnosine, N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice, Resveratrol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Extract), Fucoidan, Lycopene, Stevia Rebaudiana Extract, sh-Polypeptide-3 (Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF)), sh-Oligopeptide-1 (Epidermal Growth Factor), Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Methylparaben (and) Propylparaben.
Cholesteryl Oleyl Carbonate (and) Cholesteryl Nonanoate (and) Cholesteryl Chloride (and) BHT, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Tocotrienols, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)s, Astaxanthin, Lycopene, Xanthophyll, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Mentha Piperita Oil.
There is probably no easier DIY than lip balm. Have fun!