I’m a true lip balm addict. No joke, I get anxiety if I find I’ve left it at home and don’t have one in my handbag! Yes I have a problem, but I figure there are worse things to be addicted to!
As a teenager, I used to use the famous Lip Smackers brand when I had pocket money and the $2 shop version when I didn’t! I’ve since progressed from these overly fake flavoured brands but still didn’t pay much attention to what I was putting on my lips until a few years ago. Over the past 2 years, my awareness of cosmetic ingredients has expanded and it became apparent that if I was to begin to clean up my beauty regime for the sake of my health, then lip balm was one of the first things that needed addressing.
“What goes on, goes in” is my motto with anything I apply on my body and this is particularly true for lip balm!
Many common lip products struggle to prioritize health and quality over cheap and easy ingredients. Sure, the occasional rose oil or honey extract sounds great in a lip balm – but this is pure ‘green washing’- as they’re normally just a featured ingredient. If you stop to read the full ingredient list, you will likely be disappointed by what you find. So what do you need to look out for? Here’s a list:
Parabens (Propylparaben Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, and other ingredients ending in –paraben) ~ A hot topic in the cosmetic world, parabens are usually one of the first ingredients in lip balms. They’re found as fragrances or flavors in many low-quality lip balms, sadly ones marketed towards younger customers. Parabens are potential endocrine disruptors due to their ability to mimic estrogen. This effect is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and their use may also influence the development of malignant melanoma.
Petrolatum ~ Also known as petroleum jelly or mineral oil, petrolatum is derived from petroleum (YES the stuff you put in your car!). Yes, it’s been ‘refined’, but the process of producing petrolatum often requires use of synthetic chemicals, which contaminate the petrolatum. If contaminated, possible Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PCA’s), which have links to breast cancer, and other carcinogenic agents may get into the jelly.
Synthetic Colors ~ Popular in tinted balms or simply added for visual appeal, synthetic dyes are best to avoid. These no-no colorants are often sourced from heavy metals or coal-tar, a byproduct of our friend above: petroleum.
Fragrances (AKA hidden chemicals!) ~ Did you know that manufacturers can legally withhold the actual ingredients in their fragrances and flavors to protect their trade secrets’! Fragrances often contain high levels of phthalates. Phthalates are strong hormone disruptors linked to decreased sperm count in men and reduced female fertility. Phthalates can also cause a worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms.
BHA~ Another no-no is BHA, used as a preservative in many cosmetics. It’s been shown to have carcinogenic effects in test animals, making it pretty risky for use on your skin or lips.
So what’s a gal to do then?
Be vigilant is what! Check your store bought brands and don’t compromise your health.
Better yet, make your own! It’s super easy, A LOT cheaper and you know EXACTLY what’s going in there, and then on your lips!
Here’s the recipe for my killer Peppermint Lip Balm.
Makes 12 15ml lip balms
- empty 15ml lip balm containers
- 6 Tbsp beeswax pellets
- 6 Tbsp coconut oil
- 6 Tbsp shea butter (or cacao butter)
- 20 drops of doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil
- Over a double boiler (I use a pyrex glass measuring cup in a pot of water!), melt together beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat once melted and let cool for 1 minute. Add essential oil and mix.
- Arrange empty lip balm containers on a baking tray and remove lids.
- Use a spoon to gently ladle the lip balm into the lip balm containers (careful not to overfill).
- Place the containers into the fridge for 20 minutes to harden before screwing the lids back on.
You can then store at room temperature and use liberally! Don’t worry if you end up licking it off your lips, enjoy!