Make your own luscious lip balms

May 25, 2011

lip balm

Making lip balms, or any kind of balm or salve, is often the first step towards making your own skin care products. In my study of herbal medicine, I know I started with making herb-infused oils and then salves. Lip balm is basically the same thing, though you can choose whether or not you want to start with a homemade herb-infused oil or just a neutral oil such as olive oil. Adding essential oils such as peppermint or sweet orange provide a nice scent and in the case of peppermint, a minty tingle. Lavender essential oil is a wonderful addition, as the heavenly fragrance floats from your lips right into your nose! I generally use beeswax in my lip balms, but a vegan alternative is carnuba wax, with which I’ve had good success, though you may need to add a tiny bit more wax. I recently created a vegan lip balm scented with orange and basil – herbacious goodness!

Basic Lip Balm Version 1:
2 tsps neutral oil (jojoba, olive, sunflower, safflower, sweet almond, apricot kernel, etc)
1/2 tsp beeswax beads (or grated beeswax)

Basic Lip Balm Version 2: (if you want a richer balm)
1 tsp neutral oil
1 tsp coconut oil (saturated)
1/2 tsp beeswax beads (or grated beeswax)

Step 1: Use a double boiler to very gently heat ingredients stovetop. Becuase of the small amounts, the wax should melt very quickly.
Step 2: Remove immediately from the heat when melted.

Variations & Additions:
a. a few drops of essential oil (lavender, sweet orange, peppermint, spearmint). Don’t add too much! Try 5 drops.
b. If desired, add a few drops of skin ‘superfood’ such as blueberry seed oil or carrot seed oil.
c. a few drops of Vitamin E oil to protect the balm from rancidity. This is not necessary but suggested, if possible.
d. if you love vanilla, you could add 1/8 tsp vanilla extract for a vanilla taste. As an alcohol extract, however, it may not blend perfectly with the oils.
e. to stain your lips a berry color, try adding 1/8 – 1 tsp beet-root powder to your desired strength. It may not mix perfectly when stirring it in to the melted oils, but it will emulsfiy when cooled.

Step 3: pour into a clean, dry container, such as a 1 oz balm tin. You can buy balm tins individually from packaging suppliers. You could also recycle old lipstick tubes or even film canisters (if you still have any around!) When your container is empty, wash it out, dry completely, and make your balm recipe again. Balms usually last quite a while.

If you are looking to make your balm with an herb-infused oil, check out my process for making infused oils in a post for Herb Companion. Some herbs that would be great in a lip balm are as follows:
calendula (healing)
chamomile (anti-inflammatory & aromatic)
lavender (aromatic, anodyne)
plantain leaf (healing)
comfrey leaf or root (healing)
yarrow (healing)
thyme (anti-septic)
violet (soothing; emollient)
marshmallow root (emollient)
rose (aromatic & tonifying)

Share your favorite lip balm combination!
Some of mine are my Lavender & Green Tea Lip Salve and my Mint & Lemon Balm Lip Salve, which has a menthol-induced tingle. I love that :-)


Top 10 Aromatherapeutic Essential Oils

July 30, 2010
lavender & Honey Bee photo from My Little Eye on Etsy

photo by My Little Eye on Etsy

Aromatherapy is the use of scent to affect therapeutic change on the body: physiologically, psychologically, or otherwise. Researchers find that these effects are measurable and can be quite significant. First all, a few tips about aromatherapy:

Essential oils are the compounds found in medicinal plants that give the plant its smell and taste. These oils are very valuable medicinally and therapeutically. The volitile oils in aromatic plants often provide much of the the medicinal action of the herb. For example, carminative herbs, such as aromatic seeds (coriander, cumin, anise, fennel, carraway and dill seeds) act on the digestive system to expell gas and to ease digestion. It is the volitile oil of the seed that does this work! Aromatherapy uses the essential oils of these plants therapeutically to impact a person’s well-being via smell, and can be a great adjunct therapy.

Essential oils are very potent, and usually only a few drops is all you need (indeed all you can tolerate) and should not be taken internally as a general rule. The essential oils are extracted during steam distillation of the whole plant, which results in the botanical hydrosol (or distillate) and the pure essential oil. Because of their strength, they should always be diluted in a carrier oil, such as sunflower seed or jojoba oil, depending on your goals for treatment.  Finally, fragrance oils are synthetic copies of pure essential oils and are NO SUBSTITUTE. Always buy the pure essential oil and not its cheap imitations, as the copies do not have any therapeutic benefit whatsoever.

Top 10 Aromatherapy Oils

1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Relaxation, Mood-elevator

2. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Mood-elevator (better to stick your nose in the plant, as the pure essential oil is quite expensive!)

3.  Orange (citrus sinensis): Anti-depressant, stimulating

4. Peppermint (mentha x piperita): Stimulating, awakening, enhances awareness

5. Rosemary (rosmarinus officialis): Improves memory and cognitive functioning; energizing

6. Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata): deep relaxation, aphrodesiac, creates euphoric feelings

7.  Rose (Rosa spp.): Instills love & compassion; relaxing

8.  Chamomile (Matricaria recutita): Calming, anti-depressent, mood-elevator, anti-inflammatory

9. Cedar (Cedrus spp.): Emotional fortitude; enhances clarity (Himalayan cedarwood is my favorite!)

10. Basil (Ocimum basilicum): overcomes grief & melancholy, moves stagnant depression

Note: Sandalwood (Santalum album) is noticeably missing but it has become so incredibly expensive that most people are unable to utilize its benefits.

What essential oils are your favorites? I’ll be sure to write future posts about further DIY uses for essential oils and how to apply aromatherapy to your regular life, and of course I’d love to hear your favorite uses here too! Here are some posts you may find interesting:

Fragrant Oils to Condition and Nourish your Hair
Hydrotherapy with Salts
Want to Know More about Natural Insect Repellents?

* Photo copyright by Monica Wiesblott @ My Little Eye : http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mylittleeye


DIY: Fragrant oils to condition and nourish your hair

May 4, 2010

Herbal Hair Oil Over the years, when I would hear about a hair oil or see a recipe for one, the association was usually with a hair treatment oil that would be used for a deep conditioning application for dry or damaged hair. This kind of hair oil treatment can be a great benefit to hair, because the oils penetrate and revitalize extra dry locks to great effect. Because my hair is on the oily side to begin with, I knew that a hair oil treatment of this kind is not something I would necessarily need. Plenty of lubrication there! I prefer using herbal hair rinses to reduce oil production and increase lustre and shine.

That said, when perusing Colleen Dodt’s Essential Oils Book a few years ago, I came across what was, for me, a novel concept. Dodt advocated the use of a blend of fragrant essential oils in a carrier oil base that are put in a dropper bottle, applied to a wooden comb, rubbed into the wood, and then combed into the hair.

The result? Hair that smells really, really beautifully — delicately scented, aromatic, and provides a halo of natural fragrance wherever you go. She likes to use it to banish smoke when leaving a smokey environment and carries a tiny bottle in her purse at all times. I just love the concept and often apply it to dry hair in the morning or evening before going out. My hair is actually on the oilier side, and this kind of application needn’t aggravate oily hair at all. You are basically just –very lightly — applying a nourishing hair conditioner that contains essential oils actually beneficial to the hair itself.  There are definitely hair oil treatments that can be applied for deep conditioning for drier hair types, but this fragrant application does not fit into that category.

Aromatic Hair Care Oil

Start with 1/2  oz. of base carrier oil, such as jojoba oil. Be sure to use only pure essential oils, not synthetic fragrance oils. You can add to a comb or brush as described below and comb into dry hair OR you can add a few drops to your scalp, especially if you have a dry scalp, when hair is wet and allow essential oils to add conditioning fragrance to your hair as it dries.

Try any of the following blends, as your needs dictate:

Soothing Scalp Refreshment Blend: 2 drops rosemary, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops clary sage, 2 drops jasmine absolute
Fragrant Garden Blend: 2 drops lavender, 2 drops rose geranium, 2 drops ylang ylang, 2 drops patchouli
Conditioning Blend: 2 drops Roman chamomile, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops sandalwood, 1 drop jasmine absolute
Earth Blend: 2 drops rose absolute, 2 drops patchouli, 2 drops sandalwood, 2 drops lavender
Healing Scalp (anti-dandruff) Blend: 2 drops cedarwood, 2 drops lavender, 2 drops rosemary, 2 drops tea tree.

Directions:
1. Fill a 1/2 oz. dark glass dropper bottle with the carrier oil and essential oils.
2. Add 2-3 drops of hair care oils directly onto a hair brush or comb before using. If you have a wooden comb, the oil can be rubbed directly onto the comb. The oil conditions the hair as you brush or comb.
REF: Colleen K. Dodt, The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind & Body, MA: Storey Publishing, 1996.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 503 other followers