Turns out the best way to get me to do a project is to promise to teach someone else how to do it.
I committed to doing a program for students on sustainable beauty and cleaning products. Making face toner, mold killer spray, and bathroom cleaner was easy. Trying out the lip balm and body cream recipes that I had been putting off were another story. But I did it and it’s done and I feel accomplished. Turned out to be super easy IF you use the right stuff.
For these you need beeswax, and not just any beeswax – you want pellets or flakes. You DO NOT want a cake of wax that you have to chunk up before melting. No you don’t. Well, you might because yellow unbleached beeswax smells better (IMO) but it’s not worth the fight of breaking it up.
You also need an oil and for one I used coconut oil and the other I used extra virgin olive oil. The reason was I had those two lying around. Plus, I wanted to see how products differ with oils of different consistencies. Both were successful in the body cream (I only used coconut oil in the balm).
You’ll notice I had little cute lip balm tubes. I hated buying them, but I didn’t have a lot of little containers around, and these are prizes for the students. Normally, I’d use things like trial size containers and Altoids tins. At least I was sustainable and reused a gelato jar for the cream. So, here my super simple recipe:
Equal amounts of beeswax and coconut oil, melted in a double boiler.
For non-fancy folks without an official double boiler, you need two pots of different sizes so the smaller one can float on water in the larger one. The smaller one NEEDS TO BE A POT because you need a handle. Don’t be me the first time I tried this and use a bowl instead. You’ll be all clumsy trying to lift a hot bowl out of the water with pot holders and drop it and get water in your mixture. Effort wasted. Ingredients ruined. All that beeswax chopping for naught. Sonofabitch.
Anyway, while occasionally stirring until melting, set up your containers. If you are using something tall like the standard tubes, fill a loaf pan with something like sand or kitty litter and stick the tubes in so they stand up and won’t fall over as you are pouring into them. There will be some spilling and over pouring but that is okay, you can stick the containers in the freezer later for a few minutes and break everything off that ran down the outside.
If you want to add some essential oil, take your liquid goo off the heat first and wait a few seconds and then add. I’m not sure how much though – too much of some oils can be irritating and when making for prizes I figured it was easier to leave it unscented. I like things with just two ingredients!
As the wax mixture cools in the containers it will shrink a bit so be ready to top it off as needed, putting the pot back on the water to remelt any last bits of stuff on the sides. And that’s it folks. Seriously. You can put the containers in the fridge for a faster set but out on the counter works too.
For body butter, the formula is still two ingredients but a different ratio. One part beeswax to four parts oil. Example, 2 ounces beeswax to 8 ounces (one cup) extra virgin olive oil. Same melting, take off the heat and add essential oils if desired, and fill containers. I used some caution when using a glass jar though. I put it on the stovetop to warm up slightly before pouring and didn’t put it in the fridge to cool because rapid temperature changes can cause glass to break. That would have been an unholy mess. As you can see, the olive oil cream has a much different color to it.
I used both because I couldn’t very well recommend it to others and teach them if I thought it sucked. Turned out awesome. The balm is even better than my go-to vitamin E stick because I only reapplied it once all day, and the olive oil cream was great on my legs. I can’t wait to use up some store bought stuff I have so I can make a batch of this just for me.
Two freakin ingredients! But seriously – pot with handle, I kid you not.
P.S. Forgot to mention that the original body butter recipe called for a tablespoon of honey. Honey is good for your skin but guess what? It doesn’t mix with oil AT ALL. So I ended up with white body butter and a layer of useless golden honey bubbles on the bottom. And THAT, my little chitlins, is a tragic waste of raw honey, I’ll tell you what.