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Part 1. How to Make Your Own Home-Made Natural Skin Care Products -Lip Balms

by Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic

Rather than buying your own base products you can now make your own, tailored for your own or your client's individual needs. With suitable raw materials and knowledge you can easily make these products in your own kitchen. You can therefore produce high quality products with the best ingredients. Making your own natural skin care products is fast, fun and it's also a good extra source of income.

Although there are indeed some good products in the market place, the knowledge of how to tailor them to your own or your clients' individual needs is quiet new.

Germany produces some excellent natural skin care products with companies like Weleda and Dr Hauscka. However it is not in their interests to reveal to you their recipes and ingredients. I am now conducting training workshops throughout the UK and also in the US, teaching others the secrets of the cosmetic and skin care industry.

The expression 'natural skin care' or 'organic skincare products' needs to be more clearly understood. There is not an effective natural emulsifier which can be used to make creams. They can come from natural origin such as palm oil and coconut oil but they need to undergo a chemical process before they can be used as a detergent. There are also no natural preservatives that really work safely with water based products. Paraben and sodium benzoate are therefore used instead. Tea tree oil can be used but high doses are required (at least 2%). The strong and distinctive qualities of tea-tree oil inhibit its use in this way.


As an irony for vegetarians, most emulsifiers which are not vegetable based are produced from pig fats. So even if you avoid eating pig fat you will absorb it from cosmetics. The only way to avoid this is to make the creams yourself.

There are no officially qualified organic emulsifiers in the market so to claim skin care products are 100% organic is misleading. There are ingredients which come close but are still not organic. The true picture is much more complex and requires a good understanding of raw materials. Some which are currently used in commercial skin care products and cosmetics need to be avoided.

To make a cream or lotion it is necessary to use an emulsifier. The best ones are derived from coconut oil and palm oil. They are safe to work with and are even used in the food industry. VE and MF emulsifiers are used as emulsifiers in the production of vegan ice cream in Denmark. They can be eaten and are very safe to use. As a general guide any substance which is used on the skin should be safe to eat.

There are two emulsifiers used in popular products, which can be harmful. The first is Borax (INCI name Sodium Borate). Research in Denmark and Sweden has shown this substance to be carcinogenic. It is forbidden to use these ingredients on children in Denmark, as it is known to cause anaemia. Borax is easy to use and helps to bond fats with water - but extended use of products containing borax will dry out the skin, making it brittle. According to Danish medical reports, borax can penetrate the skin, cause powerful irritation and can even cause cancer! Studies of Swedish steelworkers who handle large quantities of borax would seem to corroborate this fact. It should not be used in skin care products.

Another emulsifier to avoid is Triethanolamine. It is produced within the petroleum industry and has been used for several decades (and continues to be used) within the cosmetics industry to support emulsification. This chemical is severely irritating for the eyes and skin. It penetrates the skin and can cause liver damage. In addition to this, when combined with nitrate ions - normally found in drinking water and many meat products - it produces a carcinogenic substance, nitrosamine. It should never be used in skin care products but is regrettably, common in the UK.

Fats, Oils & Waxes

These are another important ingredient in the manufacture of skin care, soaps, detergents and cooking. Olive oil is used in the Mediterranean, Shea butter in West Africa and Jojoba Oil by the native Americans. However in America a gentleman called Chesborough discovered that the grease used around the drills in Texas could be used in skin care. Thus the artificial product now known as Vaseline was manufactured. Vaseline cannot be absorbed by healthy skin and creates a thin film on the surface of the skin, blocking the pores and preventing the skin from functioning normally. Vaseline does not contain any Vitamins and disturbs or even stops the skin from being able to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

Vaseline's is detrimental to the skin with long-term use. Mineral oils appear to moisturize the skin but in reality they suppress its normal, healthy functioning. The skin then becomes 'dependent' on constant applications of mineral oil which, in turn, result in a deterioration of the skin's character and ability to keep itself healthy. It clogs the pores, is hard to remove and is a bit like having cling film wrapped around your body.

Beeswax can be used as an emulsifier. Many people call this a cream but it is actually an ointment. Beeswax can clog the pores and can easily separate in an ointment. This is the main reason why it is not used commercially.

Vegetable fats, oils and waxes are the time tested and safer option. They are readily absorbed by the skin and are used to nourish (give energy to) the skin and body. They are needed to create new cells and for other important processes in the body. Most Vegetable Oils contain Vitamins, which are necessary for the skin (such as pro A, D and E). They are therefore good for the skin and can even stimulate it to function better and create better circulation. They soften the skin and make it pliable, helping it to retain its own moisture more effectively.

Vegetable fats, oils and waxes will even help resolve some of the simpler skin problems, e.g. irritation of the skin caused by soaps, cosmetics, clothes or deficiencies in fats or vitamins in the skin. Vegetable oils and fats consist of Glycerin, Fatty Acids, fat soluble Vitamins (where applicable) and other fat soluble ingredients. The Fatty Acids can also be subdivided into three categories:

Saturated Fatty Acids

These are solid at room temperature (e.g. Stearic Acid) and become a thick liquid inside our bodies. These Fatty Acids are the ones which are supposed to be responsible for vascular and heart disease when consumed in large quantities. They are absorbed slowly by the skin and are added to give massage and skin oils more lubrication. In face oils they make the skin's own oils even oilier. With oily skin the presence of these fatty acids will mean that the pores become more easily blocked which will cause them to enlarge. Never use too much on skin with large pores or oily skin. These fatty acids keep well and do not go rancid so quickly. Saturated fatty acids are found primarily in animal fats such as Lard and Tallow but they are also found in Coconut Butter, Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter.

Mono unsaturated Fatty Acids

These are liquid at room temperature. The most common Monounsaturated Fatty Acids are those Oleic Acids found in most oils but especially in Jojoba and Olive Oil. Oleic Acids keep well and give good lubrication.

Poly unsaturated Fatty Acids

Amongst these we find Linoleic and Linolenic Acid; Linolenic Acid is the one most disposed to becoming rancid. They are thin liquids, which are quickly absorbed by the skin. They are 'drier' than the other Fatty Acids, so are good for oily skin and skin with large pores. Because they have a tendency to go rancid easily they often need added Vitamin E (as a preservative). Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids combine with the fats and oils in the skin to make them thinner and help in reducing the size of pores. They act like vitamins for the skin. The most important Fatty Acids are the essential ones, which in some countries are known as Vitamin F.

Mixing the different vegetable oils can create a blend of oils, which is better suited to the particular purpose for which it is intended than the simple use of one or other oil. Get to know the different oils and their characteristics. Always add a little Vitamin E (between 0.5 - 0.8%) to blends of oils which contain a lot of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Examples of these oils are Thistle Oil, Borage (Starflower) oil and Evening Primrose.

Getting Started - Make Your Own Lip Balms

Lips can be sensitive to the actions of the sun, wind, dry air, bacteria and salty foods. They often require little extra protection. Through the use of natural fats and waxes lips can be cared for without lip balms having to be applied over and over again. The need for continual applications can be the result of using lip balms containing Vaseline or Paraffin Oil from the petroleum industry.

There are many different fats, waxes and Vegetable Oils which can be used to make a lip balm base and different active ingredients which can be added to create particular kinds of lip balm. The waxes protect the lips while the Vegetable Oils soften them.

The lip balm base needs to contain more wax than the base ointment so that it will remain hard even on a warm summer's day and so it doesn't deposit too much fat on the lips.

Base Lip Balm

Recipe 1 (for Jars)

33gr Beeswax
65ml Vegetable Oil
2 ml Essential oils *

Recipe 2 (Jars and Lip Balm Cylinders)

28gr Beeswax
20gr Cocoa butter
50ml/gr Vegetable Oils *
2 ml Essential Oils (40 - 50 drops)

* Orange Lemon, Mandarin, Lime, Grapefruit, Anise, Fennel or a small amount of Peppermint. We use large amounts of Essential Oils to compensate for heat evaporation.


* Heat all the ingredients except any Essential Oils in the beaker or stainless steel cup immersed in a pan of hot water (double boiler).

* Stir and melt fully.

* When everything has melted, add 30 drops of each Essential Oil (or 60 of a blend of them).

* You can pour this product into a glass jar or professional lip balm cylinder.

* When pouring into cylinders, pour up to 3/4 full, allow to cool and then, after 10 minutes, top up (the contents will have contracted slightly).

* Leave for a few minutes before putting on the lids.

Different kinds of lip balm can be made through the addition of other fat-soluble ingredients (see below). For every e.g. 5ml of anything else which is liquid you will need to remove 5ml of the Vegetable Oil. Most of the additional ingredients, apart from Essential Oils, will need to be heated with the main ingredients.

Here are some examples of what you can add to the base lip balm to make the type of lip balm you want:

Lip balm for sun protection - add Tiosol (10ml for sun factor 12, or 5ml for sun factor 5-6)

Lip balm with Zinc - add 5ml Zinc Oxide (do not reduce the amount of Vegetable Oil)

Tea Tree lip balm (for sore lips) - add 1-8ml Tea Tree Oil and 1-2ml Lavender Oil as your Essential Oils

Vitamin lip balm - add 2ml Vitamin E and 5 drops of Carotene.

In the Part 2 of this article Kolbjørn explains step-by-step how
to make 10 of the most essential natural products, including
shampoos, massage oils and fizzy bath bombs.

Article reprinted with permission from http://www.aromantic.com
© Copyright Aromantic 2002-2004

About the Author:

Kolbjørn Borseth of Aromantic specialises in empowering people of
all levels in making their own highly effective natural skin care
products. Through his website customers are able to access many
free resources as well as being able to order all the raw
materials, equipment and know-how required to make aromatherapy
products, creams, shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.

Visit Kolbjørn's Natural Skin Care web site at:

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