Creating lip products is simple, cost-effective, and fun. Once you know the basics like how to formulate a recipe and add color, you can create custom products to use and sell. This article has information that will help you get started.
A reliable formula to start with is 1 part liquid oil, 1 part wax, and 1 part butter. That creates a firm yet spreadable balm. Before you get started, place a few spoons in the freezer. You can dip them in the melted balm and it will harden instantly, allowing you to check the consistency and see the color.
These are great for adding firmness and moisture to lip balm. We recommend tempering butter to prevent a grainy feeling in lip products. That involves heating it to around 100° F and holding that temperature for about an hour. Then, pour the butter into an airtight container and put it in the fridge or freezer to cool rapidly.
- Soft butters like avocado and cranberry: These spread easily on the skin. A few also have color and scent, which add a special touch to lip products.
- Cocoa butter: This is the firmest of the butters, with a melting point of 90° F. It adds a luxurious feeling and a chocolatey scent to balms. If you prefer a more neutral scent, use deodorized cocoa butter.
- Mango butter: It's softer than cocoa butter but firmer than avocado and shea. Mango butter melts on contact with the skin.
- Shea butter: Soft and creamy, shea butter adds slight firmness to lip products.
Just about any oil can be used in lip products, and many of them behave similarly. Keep in mind some contain a strong odor or color. For example, green and earthy-smelling tamanu oil is not a popular choice for lip balms.
- Avocado oil: Full of vitamins A, B1, and B2, this oil has a lightweight texture and neutral color. It gives lip products a soft and spreadable feel.
- Castor oil: This is a thick and sticky oil, so it's great for adding shine and gloss. It feels rich and smooth.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which gives lip products moisture and slight firmness.
- Sweet almond oil: This oil is lightweight and packed with essential fatty acids. It gives balms a soft and spreadable texture.
- Vitamin E oil: Vitamin E has a thick consistency like castor oil, so it adds shine to a recipe. It also keeps the lips moisturized.
These make lip products firm and help them withstand higher temperatures. In general, a little goes a long way.
- Beeswax: This is the firmest option. White beeswax has a more neutral color and scent, while yellow beeswax has a natural smoky scent.
- Cera bellina wax: It's derived from beeswax, but it feels quite different. This wax adds a unique gel-like texture to products that makes them feel smooth and glide onto the skin easily.
- Candelilla wax: This is a great vegan option. It's slightly softer than beeswax and it adds a glossy finish to balms.
That's all you need for balm and gloss! They don't need a preservative because there's no water. Learn when to add preservatives here.
Color and fragrance
First, make sure the colors and scents are lip safe. You can find that information on our website - check the product pages, or apply the "lip safe" filter on the left-hand side of the page.
Our flavor oils are lip-safe fragrances. The general usage rate is 1-3% of the total weight of your recipe. Despite the name, they don't add any flavor. You can add sweetness with Lip Smacking Sweet Flavor Oil - use at 1-3% with another oil or up to 6% on its own. Let your lip balm cool to around 140-145° F before pouring so it suspends evenly.
When it comes to coloring lip products, you can go from a light tint that doesn't transfer up to a more pigmented lipstick. If you want the color to transfer, it does take more than you think. Start with 1 teaspoon per ounce and go from there. We recommend no more than 1 tablespoon per ounce, otherwise the lipstick can start to clump and create streaks. Learn more in the Lip Color Tips article.
If you don't feel like formulating your own lip products nor any other cosmetics, never fear - we have bases that are easy to customize. Try the Lip Balm Base or the Natural Lip Gloss Base.
Ready to get started? Find lip balm making recipes here!