smiling black woman applying lipstick with applicator

Lip Balm Formulation

Lip balm, lipstick or lip gloss all have the same function – to lock in moisture. A good lip balm is essential because it creates a protective barrier between your lips and the frigid winter temperatures. The skin on the lips is delicate and has no sebaceous glands, meaning it doesn’t naturally produce the moisturizing oils that the rest of your skin does.

Today I would like to share with you an easy Lip Balm formulation that can be altered to suit your individual likes and/or needs. The basic formulation consists of

25% Wax

30% Soft butter ( Shea butter, Mango butter) / Solid butter (Cocoa butter) combination

44% liquid oil

1% – 3% Essential Oil / Fragrance


ASHEA BUTTERButyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)EMOLLIENT15%3.75g
AFRACTIONATED COCONUT OILCaprylic/capric triglycerideEMOLLIENT23%5.75g
ASUNFLOWER OILHelianthus Annuus (SunflowerSeed OilEMOLLIENT20%5g
BVITAMINE E Tocopheryl Acetate.ANTIOXIDANT1%0.25g


  1. Melt all PHASE A ingredients in a double boiler until they’re 70˚C.
    Hold at 70% for about 5 minutes to ensure all the ingredients are melted.

  2. Allow oils to cool to slightly then add PHASE B: Vitamin E and Essential oil.

  3. Before pouring into the tubes, make sure they’re completely twisted down.
    Pour slowly into tubes.
    If the top is messy, use a heat gun or blow dryer to melt it slightly.

  4. Let cool to set at room temperature or in the fridge for 24hrs to ensure they are properly set.

Lip balm
Photo by George Milton on

Vegan Option

We generally use candelilla wax at half the amount of beeswax, so if you want to change the recipe to include only Candellia wax, divide the beeswax % and up the hard butter %.

Candelilla wax will produce a thin and smooth product that will spread thinly and absorb quickly.

Candelilla wax is a plant based wax, derived from the candelilla shrub. It has a melting point of about 70°C, compared to beeswax’s ~63°C melting point

The texture differences vary greatly. Beeswax helps create salves and balms that will stick around on the skin, whereas candelilla wax is very smooth and sinks right in.

It’s not very sticky, so balms made with it won’t get staying power from it—it would need to be paired with beeswax or something like unrefined shea butter.

Which oils to use?

When making these choices, consider the smell and flavor of the emollient as you don’t want something very strong under your nose all day. Oils like neem oil and Castor oil are not a good choice for lip balms. Unrefined Shea butter has an earthy flavor that most people will not like.

Mango butter and Cocoa butter or a good option as they will make a stiffer less greasy lip balm.

Coconut oil melts too easily to be the main hard butter rather use it as a 10% liquid oil in your formula.

An all Shea butter product will produce a less stiff balm and you might need to increase the beeswax to 30%. If you use all mango butter, the product will be stiffer and a bit drier feeling. A combination of soft and hard butter is a better solution.

What about flavour?

As this is an anhydrous formula, you can not add water soluble flavours only oil soluble flavours.

You’ll want to make sure they’re lip safe, and only use 1%. Remember this will be right under your nose.

When using Essential oil, start at 0, 5 % and test.

Colour & Micas

First, make sure you’re using oil soluble lip safe colours.

How much you’ll use will depend on how pigmented ( concentrated) you want it to be and the type of colour.

This is where you will need to test and experiment. Take notes of all your measurements so you don’t have to guess when you want to replicate it.

For micas: use about 5% to 10% mica to make it quite bright and sparkly.


  • Vinolia

    Good day , my name is Vinolia Mathosi. I want to start my own skincare and cosmetics brand .

    I would really appreciate your help , if you maybe offer classes or a book or anything that you think would assist please.

    Thank you

    • Irene

      Good day
      There are not a lot of books on cosmetic formulations available, Search on Instagram for classes in skin care cosmetics their are a few in the gauteng area.

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