Balms are rich ointments designed not only to provide nourishment but also to create a thin, protective layer on the skin. They can be used all over the body, including the face and are perfect for dry areas of skin. In this formulation we provide an interesting twist on a classic balm by making it in a convenient stick format, easy to apply and perfectly portable too.
Balms are anhydrous (water free) products which can be formulated with a variety of different botanical butters, oils, waxes and extracts. This balm stick is designed for the body, and works wonderfully on dry areas such as elbows, knees or even heels. At the moment many of us are taking extra care to wash our hands many times a day which can take its toll on the skin, so this formula is also very helpful for replenishing moisture and providing a barrier in between washes.
We feel balms are very versatile products to formulate because they can be very simple, containing only a few ingredients or they can be more complex and include oil soluble active ingredients such as bisabolol or CO2 extracts. We encourage you to experiment and have fun with your balms!
Formulation tips: Making a Balm Stick
When making this type of formulation, the most important factor to consider is the melting point. We add waxes because they help keep the product firm in its container but it will still need to have a good glide.
A good moisturising balm stick needs to be firm enough so it doesn’t melt in the container but at the same time it should melt upon contact with the skin, it should feel moisturising and not overly greasy.
In this formulation we used Berry wax. It is a soft wax with a light colour. It has a relatively low melting point of around 50C and it has a high ester content.
Since we are working with a solid formulation, we rely on cocoa butter. It is a fantastic ingredient in any skincare product and it is a hard butter which will help us keep the product in a solid form.
We wanted to keep this formulation relatively simple to show you that you don’t need lots of fancy ingredients to make a good product so we went with sweet almond oil. This oil is often overlooked but in reality is a good ingredient to add to moisturiser formulations.
You know by now just how much we love colourful skincare. It is fascinating how much a product can change just by adding or replacing one ingredient. To get the green one, we used green tea wax and for the orange we removed the green tea wax and used carrot macerate.
Formula: Green Tea and Cocoa Moisturising Stick
|A||Cocoa Butter (unrefined)||45.00g|
|A||Green Tea Wax||0.30g|
|B||Sweet Almond oil||27.60g|
|C||Tocopherol (Vitamin E)||0.70g|
|C||Bergamot essential oil||0.85g|
|C||Lavender essential oil||0.40g|
|C||Patchouli essential oil||0.15g|
- Melt your solid ingredients
In a water bath, melt all Phase A ingredients until they are fully molten.
- Add the oils
When the ingredients in Phase A are fully melted add Sweet Almond oil (Phase B) and stir well.
- Add your essential oils and Vitamin E
Remove the beaker from the water bath, stir often and as the mixture cools slightly add the Phase C ingredients which are the Vitamin E (antioxidant) and essential oils.
- Add to the stick packaging
Pour the blend carefully in to the stick containers and place in the fridge to set for a few hours as a minimum, preferably overnight.
- Label the container
Remove the balm stick from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature before use. Add a label to the container and it is ready to use!
- You can experiment with other waxes in this balm stick, but check the melting point of each wax you introduce. Carnauba, for example is a harder wax so you will need to adjust the amounts.
- Add more cocoa butter or increase the wax slightly if you live in a hot climate. Don’t overdo it, as too much wax will make the product drag on the skin.
- Use colourful oils to make the product more fun.
- Make it child friendly by removing the essential oils. You could use some aromatic carrier oils instead. For example, plum kernel oil with its marzipan like scent would work very well with the chocolate aroma from the cocoa butter.
- Why not make a smaller version without the essential oils and use it as a nourishing lip balm?
Berry Wax UK/EU – BayHouse Ingredients
Berry Wax UK/EU – Naturally Balmy
Green Tea Wax UK/EU – The Soap Kitchen
Cocoa Butter UK (Ships internally) – Naissance
Mango Butter UK (Ships Internally – Naissance
Do you want to learn to create your own unique, botanical formulations? Why not take our free mini botanical formulation course. Join thousands of students worldwide and learn on our award winning e-learning platform from the comfort of your own home.
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Timi was a key member of the Formula Botanica team from 2015 to 2020; first as our Education Manager and then as Head of Formulation & Research. You can find out more about the Formula Botanica team here.