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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My First Homemade Balm

Hi guys, and welcome to this week's blog.  I'm quite excited to share my week's adventures with you.  As part of my pledge to get rid of commercially produced beauty products, I made my first lip balm and body lotion!
It started with the purchase of my new favorite substance - Coconut oil!  For those of you who have not heard of the many wonderful uses for coconut oil, you've simply got to get some.  The one I ended up purchasing in the organic food section of my local grocery store was $6.99 for a 414ml jar, but I'm told you can get it cheaper at Costco. 
I had read a little bit about it on the internet and knew it had some benefits, but I was in no way prepared to fall head-over-heels in love with the stuff like I have.  It is quite simply the most amazing thing I've ever seen.  For instance - As a lip balm, on it's own, right out of the jar, it is incredibly moisturizing.  As a facial moisturizer, it works wonders, and when rubbed in a thin layer over your hands and worked through the ends of your hair, it settles out frizz like you wouldn't believe - at a fraction of the cost of expensive serums!
I'm pleased to report that I will no longer be purchasing face cream.  One week of using straight coconut oil and I'm hooked.  (I'm doing oil cleansing for my face now too but more on that later).  In addition to the coconut oil, I also purchased 3.18 pounds of raw beeswax at my local apiary for $19.03 and five pounds of unrefined shea butter from a lady I found on kijiji for $25.
With those ingredients and some others that I had on hand, I was able to make two products, lip balm and lotion. Here's how it works:

I started by rounding up some old jars and containers that I had and dumping out their contents.  Then I washed them and put them in a pot to boil to sterilize them.  Next, I found my preferred recipes online.  I went to, but you can find recipes anywhere.
The next step was mixing my ingredients - in the case of the lip balm, equal parts beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil - in a glass jar sat in a pot of lightly simmering water.  (I'll tell you more about the body lotion next week).  This took about fifteen minutes, and if you live in an area with on-peak hydro pricing, I recommend doing it after 7 if you're going to try it.  I soon had a good jarful of liquid lip balm which I poured into my prepared containers.  Out of 1 tablespoon of each of my ingredients, I made three little pots of lip balm plus one ginormous tin for myself out of a repurposed mints container. 
For my own, because I wanted a little colour, I mixed in cocoa and cinnamon.  I had read it was possible to tint your balm with these ingredients, and you can see that it is - a bit - but I erred on the side of caution in this case.  The balm feels heavenly on my lips, and without the addition of spices, the balm goes on colourlessly. For my three pots, plus the tin for myself which you can see in the photo holds a quite substantial amount, the cost of production was :
1 tbsp shea butter @5.00/lb  - $0.16
1 tbsp beeswax  @5.99/lb     - $0.19
15ml coconut oil @$7/414ml-$0.26
total                                        $0.51
Fifty one cents!  Can you believe that?  And the products are all natural and not chemically refined.  In comparison, I went to the grocery store and priced out an 'all-natural' lip balm, (which you can see from the packaging is anything but) and the cost for one unit was $4.29
Now if you'll permit me to vent for a moment, I'd like to draw your attention to something.  This product, with it's mellow-looking packaging and it's carefully eco-friendly looking branding, makes some pretty preposterous claims.  If we zoom in a little closer, we see that it says it's
"100 % natural and 95% organic."  While the substance contained in all this packaging may, in fact, be all it's hyped up to be (although dang it, it occurs to me now that a good idea would have been to take a quick photo of the ingredients list before the already mystified-looking sales lady dialled security, but hey, this blog is a learning process), you can see that it's packaged in materials that are clearly not any of those things.  Ladies and gentlemen, what you're looking at is a number 5 plastic shell and a polyurethane blister pack on a product that claims to be all natural and organic.  This is the kind of B.S. marketing that I think our government should be cracking down on, because people that genuinely want to use natural products that don't harm the environment can be misled by claims such as these.
I, on the other hand, have an ample supply of lip balm that works better than any I've ever had plus three other pots to give to my friends, all at the cost of fifty-one cents.
Now seeing as how by switching to coconut oil I've eliminated the purchase of face cream from my monthly shopping bill, and seeing as the one I've been using for years costs $22.99, I'm going to add that number to my previous figure of $30 in haircare products and give you my new monthly savings total:
On top of whatever else I've been saving, beginning March 1, I'm saving fifty-two bucks per month off my personal hygiene routine.  For March, because I spent around fifty bucks on my new favorite ingredients, I'll call it a wash and only add my sandwiches savings for this week

to the previous total of


to arrive at a new total of


Seeing as how I've got tons of beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil left, and seeing as how and other sites have tons of recipes for DIY products you can make at home, stay tuned next week to see what I'm trying next.  As they used to say in the Reader's Digest when I was growing up, (which annoyingly pops into my head for some reason more often than I care to admit),
"And how was your week?"

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather!
    I am LOVING the lip balm that you gave me! I always put a lip balm on before going to bed,(I wear a coloured gloss through the day),and with yours, my lips are satiny soft in the morning. It has great staying power, unlike other commercial balms I have tried. Goes on smoother than my last organic balm.
    Thanks for the sample!