By Travis Birch
We spent the weekend at my mom’s house recently. My wife, our boys and even my faithful companion Chester came along. The boys listened to stories mom shared with me and my brothers growing up. As the dry winter winds took their tolls on everybody, one of the boys pulled out a tube of lip balm to remedy this situation. Mom smiled at the sight, and enlightened everyone with the memory of middle school and how together we made our own lip balm to sell for a fundraising event. The boys hung on every word and realized the lifestyle of self-sufficiency we try to practice most days has deeper roots than they thought.
So with the story fresh on their minds, the boys suggested that we replicate that experience next time we headed to our cabin. We ordered supplies and set out to make our own homemade lip balm to use, and barter with. We checked out some modern recipes online and felt this time of year is perfect to make our version of lip balm.
This recipe may seem similar to some of the popular brands that you can find on the shelves of local stores, but when you make it at home, you can put your own special flare on it. We bought enough supplies to make several batches, and here is what you will need to make a simple and quick batch at home.
¼ cup of beeswax
¼ cup of shea butter
¼ cup of coconut oil
50 drops of your desired essential oils, (to taste)
Easy enough, combine the ingredients in a double boiler and warm until the ingredients blend smoothly together. The ingredients can be ordered as food grade so you shouldn’t worry if this project is consumable. Research the essential oils that you use online and find a flavor that you like, such as peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, cocoa, etc. Also, it may give you peace of mind to order essential oils that are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) approved flavors by the FDA. A variety pack can allow you to try different flavors to offer a unique sampling to those people that you might barter with.
First, we made the compound, and as it became homogeneous the boys took the prepped containers, lip balm tubes, and set them up. They used a combination of tubes and jars. The tubes were organized in a cake pan along with the jars so they supported one another in an upright position. Then they filled the containers one at a time. This is a hot wax and oil mixture, so ideally, don’t just pour the final product, use a pipettes. The pipette allows you to draw in a specific amount of the mixture, and it then lets you express the solution into your desired container, all without dripping onto the floor, counter or table. In fact it lets you fill each container with pinpoint accuracy.
When all the containers were filled, we allowed them to sit out at room temperature until they cured, with the lids off. A sheet of tin foil was placed loosely on top of the containers. This allows them to breathe, and it keeps any insects or dust from settling on them. After a couple of hours, we capped them, and let them sit outside, (45°) for an hour to finish setting.
We made several batches, and everyone grabbed a couple of their favorite flavors. The rest were bundled and tied off with ribbon to give as gifts, or included with items that we bartered with neighbors. In the end, we were able to resurrect an old memory that mom shared, and hopefully, the boys will share along with their kids someday. I’m sure that if they do, I’ll tear up like mom did when her Grandsons brought her a neat little supply of homemade lip balm to last through the year.