Sunday Night Spotlight: Flavoring Oils

With so many folks throughout the country right now in such extreme cold weather conditions, it is important protect your skin and your lips. In any weather, balm protection is key to keeping your lips hydrated and protected to avoid chapping and cracking. So why not have some fun in creating your own balms in your own style and flavors? When making lip products, adding a little (lip safe) scent and flavor can take your balm to the next level. Flavor oils are lip-safe fragrances and ironically, they don’t actually taste. Instead, flavor oils provide your lip products with scent. When using lip products from a store, the flavor you taste is actually a sweetener (commonly a sugar substitute like aspartame) that when combined with the flavor oil, tricks your brain into “tasting” the product.

Bramble Berry carries both sweetened and unsweetened flavor oils. For the unsweetened flavoring oils, Bramble Berry carries bleached stevia and lip smacking sweet flavor oil, which you can use to sweeten balms yourself.

The usage rate of Bramble Berry flavor oils in lip balms is 1% to 3% of the total weight of your recipe. Keep in mind that some flavoring oils will have their own recommended usage rates, but 1 – 3% is a pretty safe bet across the board.  The usage rate is so small that we recommend flavoring large batches of lip balm all at once. For example, if added flavoring oil to one 4 oz. container of Lip Balm Base, the usage rate would be .12 oz. of flavor oil for the entire batch (at the top 3% usage rate). A word of warning: if you use too much flavor oil, the balm will not get better. Instead, you might notice a tingling or burning sensation on your lips if you use more than the recommended amount.

What’s the difference between flavor oils and fragrance oils? Can I use fragrance oils in my lip balms?

Please do NOT use fragrance oils in lip products! Fragrance Oils are a different class of oils that are skin safe without being lip safe or edible, so do not put them on your lips.

What about essential oils, can I use those in lip products?

This is a more complicated question as some essential oils are lip safe while others are not. Essential oils are pure distillations from botanicals, and they possess certain characteristics that greatly impact whether or not they can be used in leave-in products and at what rate. Additionally, the type of botanical used and the distillation method affect final usage ability. Thus, one Lavender essential oil may be okay to use in lip products and another variation may not be. Always check with your vendor as to the suitability of their particular oils for lip products.

A general usage rate of  .5 – 2% is commonly used for essential oils. For example, if you were to buy a 4 oz. container of Nourish Lip Balm Base, this works out to be .08 oz. of Essential Oil (at a huge 2% usage rate) for the entire container of balm. It’s such a small amount and some scales can’t be that exact, so use a dropper and measure in milliliters. In this case, .08 oz. is roughly equivalent to  2.3 milliliters. Keep in mind, that is the usage rate for an entire 4 oz. container of lip balm!

Even at such small amounts, be aware that essential oils such as Peppermint 2nd Distilled and Cinnamon Leaf can cause a tingling, cooling or burning sensation and so use those oils at a .5-1% usage rate. Only the following Bramble Berry essential oils are currently safe to use in lip products:

Anise Essential Oil
Egyptian Geranium Essential Oil
Hungarian Lavender Essential Oil
Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Peppermint 2nd Distilled Essential Oil
Rosemary & Rosemary Organic Essential Oil
Spearmint Essential Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil

Feeling inspired to make your own lip balm with flavor oils? Here are a few tutorials to get you started:

From left to right, clockwise: Domino Lip Balm Tutorial (using Papaya and Pineapple flavor), Mint Candy Lip Balm Tutorial (using Mint Julep flavor) and Winter Lip Balm (using Acai flavor)

Here’s a SoapQueen.TV episode on making infused lip balm using stevia for sweetening:

Do you have any questions about making lip balms, using flavors or extracts? Ask below and I’ll do my best to answer.

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23 Comments

  1. Emma says

    This might sound like a strange question, but can I use flavour oils in soap?! I’m wanting to do a tween range that includes lip balm, hair/body wash & bath bombs and would like to have the same fragrance across the line (i.e. Grape lip balm, grape wash & grape bath bombs) so they can have it in a gift basket. Hope this makes sense! Thank you!

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Emma!

      Flavor oils can be used in soap! We haven’t tested all of them of them in soap, so I would recommend making a small test batch to see how they perform, and how the scent lasts. :)

      You can also use the lip safe essential oils listed above! Peppermint and Spearmint may be popular options – they smell like the gum!

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  2. Cadence Chung says

    Hi, I was just a bit confused about the sweetener. If you add sweetener, does it just give you a sweet lip balm or does it actually make you able to taste the flavour oil? And if so, does Stevie do the same thing?
    Thanks, Cadence.

  3. says

    This is my first year soaping and I am in love with the art of it. I am just beginning to learn how to make lip balm. I ordered the blueberry flavoring to use and then realized I need something to sweeten it. Is there somewhere I can learn more about the difference between using Stevia and the Lip Smacking sweetener? Also, what is in the Lip Smacking sweetener? I have extreme reactions to aspartame as do my children and I do not want it in any product I sell to my customers, which is why I would like to know what is in the Lip Smacking sweetener. Nor do I like using Sorbitol – hopefully not in it. (I retired from working in Hospice – and Sorbitol is one of the laxatives we use when patients are on narcotics and need a regimen that can handle the side affects of constipation…) I do not believe it should EVER be used to sweeten our candy, foods, etc. If I use Stevia (which I have never used before) how much do I use? I hate to make an entire batch and then taste a bitter flavor – who likes bitter blueberries? I LOVE your products and use only Brambleberry. I am just trying to learn more about lip balm. Also, where and what needs to be put on the Ingredients list about sweetener? Is it listed – or considered part of flavoring and just listed as “flavoring”? Thank you so much for all you do to teach us how to make these amazing products!

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Victoria!

      I’m so glad you like soaping! I do too, it’s a lot of fun.

      Stevia is a natural product that comes in powder form. You just need a tiny amount to sweeten your lip balm – about 1 mini scoop per 8 ounces!

      Stevia: http://www.brambleberry.com/Stevia-White-bleached-P3853.aspx

      Mini scoop: http://www.brambleberry.com/15-CC-Scoop-P4088.aspx

      Lip Smacking Sweet Flavor Oil is a liquid sweetener you can add to your lip balms at 1-3% in combination with a flavor oil or 6% on its own. The sweetener is a trade secret, meaning we don’t know the ingredients that go in it. However, I have emailed our vendor to request an EU Allergen Report. That should let you know more. Once I get that document, I’ll get in touch with you. :)

      Lip Smacking Sweet Flavor Oil: http://www.brambleberry.com/Lip-Smacking-Sweet-Flavor-Oil-P4679.aspx

      When you’re labeling your lip balm, you can call it “sweetener,” “flavoring” or “flavor oil.” You’ll want to list your ingredients in the descending order they were used. So if you used mostly coconut oil in your recipe, that would be the first one listed, followed by the next most used, etc. I’ll include a great blog post about labeling below!

      How to Label Your Products: Lip Balm: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/lip-products/labeling-your-products-lip-balm/

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      • Patti says

        It would be nice if you posted the sweetener for all of us wondering this question, once you hear from the manufacturer. Some people do not want to use dextrose or specific sweeteners so it would be nice to be able to tell someone what’s in our lip balm as a sweetener, if preparing to sell it. If you need to send info separately, please will you email me, too? Thank you! I love your products. Having tried out some on my friends, I am preparing to sell some.

        • Kelsey says

          Hi Patti!

          Thanks so much for your suggestion! I’d be more than happy to email you a copy if you like. You can email me at kelsey@brambleberry.com and I will forward that on. :)

          We also have MSDS documents available on BrambleBerry.com. To access those, log into with your username and password and click “Account.” Then, click “Digital Goods.” You can also request other documents for products you’ve purchased, like EU Allergen Reports. To do so, email MSDS@brambleberry.com!

          -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Hi Kristin!

      Good question. Yes, I would recommend staying at or under 3% flavoring and sweetening oil in your balm recipe. Depending on your personal preference, you could split that 3% however you like :)

      Hope that helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  4. Lynn says

    When I make lip balm I use the double boiler method on a medium-low heat. I melt my beeswax and liquid oils then add my Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter. The end result is good for about three days then I end up with little white chunks in my lip balm. I am not sure if it is the Cocoa Butter or the Shea Butter. They melt fairly quickly, just an unpleasant feeling at first. What would cause this to happen? Are there any other butters that work as well as Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter that might not be so heat sensitive?

  5. Jennifer says

    I make lip balm for my daughter who has multiple food allergies (nuts, coconut and soy being my biggest concern). She would love her lip balm to smell as good as her friend’s lip balm smell but I have always been nervous to use the flavor oils because I don’t know what’s in it. When I first started making lip balm, I called a few suppliers and they either didn’t know the ingredients or were unable to tell me because it was a proprietary blend. I didn’t even think to call bramble berry about flavor oil until I saw this post. You have been so helpful with other things, I think I will give you a call tomorrow. Thanks for being up this topic!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer!

      If you are really concerned about the ingredients in your lip balm, I might recommend sticking with the lip safe essential oils listed above. This way you can be sure of the ingredients and not have to worry! I really love using Peppermint in my lip balm, Lavender is great too.

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

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