COLUMN: Get luscious lips with homemade lip balm

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By Deanna Godman

I have long been interested in making my own beauty or personal care products, like hand lotion, lip balm and other toiletries. I found a recipe for lip balm on a blog one Christmas and thought it would make a nice present for my mama and youngest brother who were visiting that year.

It was important to me that the lip balm not just be nice smelling, but actually be beneficial. I was pleasantly surprised by just how beneficial it ended up being.
I found the original recipe on a blog (www.soulemama.com), where I find a lot of recipes that I use. It called for coconut oil, beeswax, honey and peppermint oil. I added tea tree oil because it has healing properties and since it was cold and flu season I thought that would be helpful in lip balm.
I did not have any coconut oil, but I thought that olive oil would probably work just as well. I also decided to add Vitamin E because it is so good for skin.
The recipe made far more than I realized. I filled 4 small tins for my family, and poured the rest into a cleaned leftover salsa jar and just used a craft stick to scoop it out for myself as needed.
Perhaps because the olive oil was already liquid, I found that the honey made the concoction too sticky. I probably will not use it the next time that I make this recipe.
The weather was colder than my family was used to experiencing. My brother’s hands became chapped and dry. He was not crazy about the lip balm because it had such a strong smell. (Tea tree oil has an unpleasant odor to some people.) My mom loved it though, and kept applying it to her chapped lips when it wore off. On the way home, she convinced my brother to put some on his hands because they were so sore and starting to crack and bleed.
By the end of their eight-hour drive, his hands had begun to heal. My mom called me when they got home to tell me so I tried it out on my eczema that covers my hands. While the eczema did not completely go away, my hands did stop burning and the sores began to heal.
I had tried numerous creams, lotions and medications with mixed results. They were all expensive, and some of the medications have potentially dangerous side effects. While this recipe is not necessarily cheap (the essential oils are expensive, but last a long time), it was worth it to me to have a balm that I can use not only on my lips, but on other dry skin on my body. It was very easy, and the recipe can be easily adapted for other fragrances and needs, or to use other ingredients. Walnut, avocado or grape seed oil would probably work well also, but would be more expensive.

Peppermint/Tea Tree Oil Lip Balm

8 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons beeswax
15 drops peppermint oil
15 drops tea tree oil
2-3 Vitamin E capsules

Place oil, beeswax and honey in a double boiler (or heat proof bowl resting on top of a small saucepan of simmering water). Heat until ingredients are melted together.

Remove mixture from heat. Add peppermint oil and tea tree oil. Puncture the Vitamin E capsules, and squeeze into the mixture. Stir until blended.

Place the pan or bowl in a larger bowl full of cold water. Stir quickly until the mixture begins to change in consistency (it will become thicker).

Pour mixture into containers, place covers on, and let sit to cool and set up.
(Fills approximately one dozen 1/2 oz tins.)