Lips chap and it’s just a horrible feeling. There are many reasons this might happen: lip licking, dehydration, medication, mouth breathing, weather, etc. But, once it has happened, we scarcely care why; we just want some relief.
One problem is that lip balms are often petroleum-based parabens and/or contain animal-based products like beeswax. The paraben is questionable for our skin at best, and for many, a plant-based lifestyle means avoiding animal products. Luckily, there are effective and easily obtained plant-based solutions to this issue.
Another problem is that lip balms are addictive. Well, they aren’t really addictive, but like many cosmetic products today, overuse causes our bodies to become reliant. Our lips do like the feeling of lip balm. It’s cool and moisturizing, and that relieves the chap. However, a number of fragrances and flavorings found in brand-name lip balms (some better product alternatives) add to the irritation rather than helping it. In other words, the more we use, the more we need.
Instead, we can create natural lip balms with only the good stuff, and we can also look at adopting some more natural solutions for dealing with chapped lips.
What a Good Lip Balm Needs
A good lip balm really only needs two things: a moisturizer and something to seal in that moisture. Moisturizers are usually fat-based, such as oils (coconut or sweet almond) and butters (shea or cocoa). The sealant is some form of wax, hence the paraben and beeswax, but there are plant-based waxes as well, such as carnauba, candelilla, and organic soy waxes. Functionally, the moisturizer and sealant is all a good lip balm needs.
However, for those who are into flavors and colors, there are some natural options that might be a little gentler on the lips and, in fact, may even add to the overall healthfulness of the balm. Essential oils of lavender, peppermint, frankincense and chamomile all offer healing qualities, soothing aromas, and reliable safety (Essential oils are potent concentrations). Just a few drops per lip balm batch would be enough. For color, beetroot powder is an option for red, and a brown powder is made with caramelized sugar. Other natural powders exist for various colors. Again, these aren’t necessary.
How to Make the Lip Balm
Like many DIY cosmetics and cleaners, making a lip balm at home is very simple and much less expensive in the long run than buying a marketed product. There are only a few steps and two or three ingredients that go into a good lip balm.
- Melt half a cup (two parts) of oil and/or butter in a double boiler. For those without a double boiler, a glass bowl in a pot of bowling water works fine.
- Then, melt three-quarters of a cup (three parts) of wax in the double boiler.
- When it’s all melted, mix it well with a spoon.
- Let the spoon, coated in the mixture, cool for a few minutes to check the consistency of the balm.
- If it’s too soft, add a little more wax, and if it’s too hard, add a little more oil.
- Pour the melted lip balm into whatever container it’ll live in.
For those who’d like to add some flavor and smell to the balm, add in a few drops of essential oil while the mixture is still melted. For color, the powder can be added at the same time, but be sure to sift it well to avoid lumps.
Why Your Lips Might Be Chapped
Undoubtedly, weather, furnaces, air conditioning and sun exposure can contribute to chapped lips, but one of the likely hidden culprits could be toothpaste. Today’s fancier toothpastes with anti-tartar and teeth-whitening formulas are hard on our lips. The chemicals that are added irritate our smackers. Many people report seeing major improvement with their chapped lips when they’ve switched to all-natural or homemade toothpastes. Chemical components of chewing gums can also be problematic.
In other words, lip balm may not be the only solution for solving the mystery of chapped lips. Good hydration and safe toiletries could make a difference as well. Whatever the case, at least for now we know how to make a homemade lip balm that will keep our lips healthy, our wallets fat and our bodies safe.
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