Every other month Formula Botanica runs a formulation challenge for its student and graduate community – this month we launch our challenge to make an organic lip balm in a jar. Our students submit their photos and formulations for products that they’ve made, using our guidance. We’ve provided our sample formulation of an Amazonian Lip Balm in this blog post.
In the past we’ve covered formulation challenges such as:
- How to make a natural shower jelly
- How to make a butter scrub
- How to make a body melt
- How to make an aqueous gel using a natural solubiliser
- How to make a body butter
- How to make a natural gel scrub
- How to make a night-time facial oil for mature skin
This month we’re taking it right back to basics and we’re going to learn how to make an organic lip balm in a jar. Although this challenge may seem simple, it is often the most simple formulations that are the most difficult to perfect.
Why do we use Lip Balm?
Given that your lip skin is only 3-5 layers deep, there are no sweat glands. This means that your lip skin doesn’t sweat and it doesn’t produce sebum, your skin’s natural oil. Without sweat and sebum your lips dry out quicker than other parts of your skin. Dry skin is damaged quicker, which is why chapped lips are such as a common occurrence.
A lip balm effectively provides that protective layer that you would normally get from your skin’s natural oils. In covering your lips with an occlusive layer, it does two things – firstly, it locks moisture in and secondly, it makes it harder for the heat and cold to dry out your lips.
When making your own lip balms, keep in mind that the blend needs to be fairly thick so that it sticks to the lips and doesn’t just drip off or absorb too fast. A good balm should have staying power!
Finding the right consistency
We frequently see people come to us to talk about their grainy balms, their problems with using different butters and oils and their struggles in finding the optimal concentration of wax in a formulation. Thankfully we teach our students how to manage all of this in our Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science.
Our aim for this month is to create a lip balm with a consistency that’s suitable for a jar. This consistency will vary depending on where you are in the world – some hot climates will require a slightly harder balm, whereas those of us in cold climates will need to minimise the amount of harder ingredients. The overall objective is to create a balm that is solid yet creamy in the jar, but can be easily applied with fingers and leaves a pleasant (non-waxy / non-sticky) feel on the lips.
Essential Oils in Organic Lip Balm
All natural or organic lip balms are a blend of waxes and emollients (skin-softening plant oils and butters) and sometimes essential oils for fragrance and flavour. You can also make plain lip balms which are a blend of waxes and butters with no overt flavour or scent to them at all.
Remember that because your lip balm is applied on the lips which have very thin skin, you should consider the safety of your essential oils and only use a small amount of essential oil (generally under 0.5%).
Our Sample Formulation: Amazonian Lip Balm
We created a beautiful orange Amazonian lip balm, rich in carotenoids. Rather than replicate the same ingredients you see everywhere in lip balms, we decided to use some beautiful Amazonian ingredients which not only impart a gorgeous colour to the lip balm but also offer some great functional properties.
- Organic myrica fruit wax 25.0%
- Mango butter 25.0%
- Vanilla infusion in organic jojoba oil 10.0%
- Buriti oil 39.3% (rich in carotenoids, causes the orange colour)
- Alpha-tocopherol 0.5%
- Organic mandarin essential oil 0.2%
Method of Manufacture
1. Melt the myrica wax and mango butter in a water bath at approximately 60-65 oC.
2. Blend phase B and heat it in another bath at approximately 40 oC.
3. When the wax-butter phase has melted, stop heating this phase, remove it from the water bath and add the warm oil phase. I’ve warmed the oil phase to avoid a cold shock. If the oil phase is at room temperature, the wax phase immediately solidifies by adding the oil phase to it.
4. Stir the total mixture and start cooling. You can either do it in a cold water bath or in a fridge (don’t forget to stir in short intervals).
5. When the mixture comes to a trace (you start to see a solid trace in the overall blend), add the essential oil and pour the balm in suitable jars. Do not completely close the jars. Keep the jars in the fridge overnight.
6. Remove the jars from the fridge, close the cap and label them.
7. Judge the consistency of your lip balm after about 24 hours. If the balm feels too hard and waxy, you may need to adjust the formulation by reducing the wax/butter content. If the balm appears too soft and runny you should increase the wax or butter content. Remember that the consistency will vary depending on your climate and environment so don’t be scared to experiment with different ratios.
Now it’s your turn! Either try making our Amazonian lip balm, or design your own formulation. And if you are curious as to how Formula Botanica teaches organic lip balm formulation in our courses, register now for our sample class.
If you are a Formula Botanica student or graduate, the Formulation Challenge for Jan/Feb 2017 will soon be emailed to you and posted in our online classroom. If you’re not a Formula Botanica Community member, leave us a comment below and tell us your experiences in formulating natural lip balms with the right consistency.
Leave us a comment
Dr. Elham Eghbali was Formula Botanica’s Cosmetic Chemist between 2014 and 2018. She has over 20 years’ industry experience and is based in Bavaria, Germany. To read more about Formula Botanica’s team, visit our staff page.