When making lipstick, there are a lot of different ingredients you can use. The basic ingredients are covered here but there are many, many more exotic oils, waxes and butters that can be used in lipsticks.
Wax – Waxes can be beeswax, candelilla wax, jasmine wax, orange wax and ozokerite wax. Most common to the home crafter is beeswax because of its pricing and easy availability. For vegans, candelilla wax is the preferred alternative since it is derived from a plant. Waxes are used to help provide a barrier against the elements, seal moisture in the lips and keep color on your lips. Waxes also help to provide shape and form to the lipstick mixture.
Oils – Oil in lipstick are used to be moisturizing, help provide a barrier against weather and also mix with the waxes to form a smooth, spreadable mixture. Popular oils in lipsticks are Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil and Hempseed oil. There are many other liquid oil options to use. It’s fun to play around with exotic or lesser known oils but remember, if your lipstick really takes off in the market, you want to make sure that the oils you choose are easily available and cost effective.
Butters – Butters are used in much the same way as oils are. They are designed to moisturize, help protect and make a stable mixture that is solid at room temperature yet glides and melts on the lips. Common butters in lip balm recipes are Shea Butter, Mango Butter and Cocoa Butter. Generally, large brands of lipstick do not use butters in their formulations. Since butters are comprised of many different fatty acid chains, they are described as “polymorphic,” which means that they have the ability to crystallize in several different forms according to how the liquid fat is solidified. What this means to you is that butters must be treated with gentle loving care in lipsticks. You need to melt them slowly (temper them) and then immediately place the finished product into the freezer for quick chilling. This will help to minimize any crystals that might form hard, unsightly bumps in your final product. Or, you can do what the “big guys” do and just avoid butters all together.
Lip Safe Fragrance – Lip Safe Fragrances are commonly referred to as “flavors.” They are not the traditional alcohol based flavors or extracts in the grocery store. While fragrance oils have up to 3500 different ingredients that can go into them, less than 10% of them are classified as safe for lips. This is because you “eat” your lipstick so anything that goes onto your lips must be GRAS (“generally recognized as safe” as classified by the FDA). Flavor oils, or lip safe fragrances, do not taste like anything. Rather, the user is tricked into believing that the lipstick or lip balm “tastes” because they inhale the scent. Seventy-Five percent of what we taste is actually from our sense of smell.
Before you get started, gather your equipment and ingredients.
small glass jars (microwaveable)
chapstick tubes/or lip pots
lip safe colorants
beeswax or another wax
liquid oil (sweet almond oil, hazelnut oil, jojoba oil – it’s your choice)
lip safe flavor