Small as it may seem, lip balm can make a HUGE difference in your handmade skin care shop. With companies like Chapstick®️ and EOS®️, it is crystal clear that there is a DEMAND for this everyday item.

Learning how to make organic lip balm to sell online was the best financial decision I have ever made. The recipe below resulted in my first ten thousand dollars on Etsy – and that was back in 2014…before the real craze for organic skin care even began.

As the world becomes more aware of the dangers of synthetic ingredients in their personal care products, there has been a notable increase in sales for organic, chemical-free, and small batch skin care companies.

In this article, you’ll not only learn how to create this recipe at home, but also how to brand and market your lip balm to stand out from other handmade sellers.

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Why make homemade lip balm?

As with any handmade item, the biggest benefit of making your own lip balm is that you have complete control over what ingredients are included in your recipe.

Many leading brands use petroleum jelly in their formulations, and that is one ingredient you should absolutely be steering clear of in any personal care product.

If you have allergies to any ingredients, you can easily find a substitute and make a similarly feeling lip balm without having a reaction.

There are only three main ingredients in this natural lip balm recipe, so if you are already making your own skin care products, chances are you already have what you need.

Can I sell homemade lip balm?

According to the FDA Cosmetics Laws & Regulations, lip balm is considered a cosmetic. Under the FD&C Act, cosmetics do not require approval to be sold.
That being said, if you use terminology in your product name, on your label, or in your online sales page description that your lip balm can heal, cure, or be a treatment, you’ll be putting your products in the ‘drug’ category – which DOES require approval before selling.
Once you hit on a recipe you love (cough cough, this one) and can describe your final product in a way that keeps it in the ‘cosmetic’ category, you absolutely SHOULD sell it – online, in person, in singles, in bulk…any way you can think of.

Handmade lip balm is fun to experiment with, fast to make, and has a generous profit margin; almost everyone uses lip balm, so it’s sure to fit in your target market regardless of niche.

There are exponential ways to combine them into gift sets (either together or with other products that you make). Here are a few of my top selling listings to get your ideas rolling:

Individual Lip Balms

Holiday Scent Trio

Lip Balm + Roller Ball Set

Why sell natural lip balm specifically?

Organic care products in general are expected to increase 10% by 2024, and natural skin care is the fastest growing segment in the industry.

We can thank technology, the increased use of mobile devices, and ecommerce for this rise – because of such wide consumption of social media, consumers are being made more aware of green beauty in general, accompanied with the risks of synthetic ingredients.

Since lip balm is applied to an area of the body that makes it easily ingested (as well as absorbed), it is ESSENTIAL to buy a balm that is guaranteed to be free of parabens, phthalates, fillers, flavors, and dyes.

In addition to the health and safety reasons to sell organic lip balm, customers that are devoted to natural living are typically very loyal patrons that LOVE to shop small. Over half of my customers are repeat buyers; you can expect the same glowing reviews for your shop with this recipe:

“Probably my favorite lip balm purchase to date. The fragrances are nice, but it’s the consistency that really makes this a top notch product. Not super thick, it glides on smooth and keeps my lips hydrated for hours without that sticky feeling. They even sat in my hot mailbox for a few hours when delivered and were still in great shape!” – Rachel

“The first time I ordered from this shop I received a lip balm sample and have been hooked ever since. Keeps my lips moisturized for hours and the scents are subtle.” – Tiffany

“LOVE Treesnail’s lip balm. I have been purchasing lip balm from them for over a year now and they really do carry the highest quality product on the market in my opinion. I just love how silky smooth that this lip balm feels. It’s not greasy in any way. The tube of lip balm lasts for a long time although I do end up replacing mine way before I even run out of the tube that I was previously using. This is certainly one store that I enjoy coming back to time and time again.” – Jullian

How much does it cost to make lip balm?

Organic lip balm itself (as in, the actual combined ingredients) doesn’t cost that much at all – in fact, I have gotten my own recipe down to being only fifteen cents a tube.

Before I was able to buy ingredients in bulk, it was costing me around thirty cents a tube to produce.

Obviously you can’t just buy ingredients to make one tube of lip balm – you can expect to spend about forty dollars on your organic ingredients that will end up being enough for several hundred tubes of lip balm.

The real cost comes down to your own personal marketing decisions:
• Your target audience
• The type of packaging that would attract your customers to buy
• How you decide to get your labels printed
• The unboxing experience you choose to provide

But more on all that fun branding talk later!

First, let’s get you making some business-changing, CHEMICAL-FREE lip balm!

Best organic lip balm recipe to make at home

Lip Balm Making Supplies:

Notes on supplies:
  • If short on funds, this particular double boiler isn’t entirely nessary. I used a simple stainless steel bowl for years while on a tight budget. That being said, the handle and pour spout on this version was VERY worth the money and I wish I would have ‘splurged’ on my business much sooner (you’ll laugh when you see what I considered a ‘splurge’).
  • If you decide against these stainless steel measuring spoons, make sure that you’re using a set that has the measurements engraved in the handle. The waxes and essential oils will quickly remove any measurements that are printed or painted on the handle.
  • The plastic pipettes are only if you choose to scent your lip balm with essential oils. You will need enough to have a separate pipette for each essential oil you use. Do NOT use the plastic pipettes to transfer hot lip balm into containers. You’ll burn yourself and have a contaminated product.
  • The glass droppers in these amber bottles are the size that I personally use and I can’t find the droppers sold individually anywhere. I use the amber bottles for other business purposes, so they’re not a waste for me. But you do you. If you are using a filling tray or pouring lip balm into tins, these droppers aren’t needed.

Organic Lip Balm Recipe:

1. Fill sauce pan with a couple of inches of tap water.
2. Put your double boiler on top of the sauce pan, making sure a portion of the bottom is submerged to heat properly.
3. Add 3 Tbsp organic beeswax, 1 Tbsp organic shea butter, and 3.25 Tbsp organic coconut oil to the double boiler.
4. Put the pan on your stove or hot plate and turn on the lowest heat possible and wait for ingredients to melt. Note that this could take a half an hour or more. While the ingredients would melt faster at a higher temperature, this compromises the benefits of the natural ingredients – as well as make plastic lip balm containers melt or leak.
5. Stir with a wooden skewer as it melts to speed up the process. It isn’t necessary (or recommended!) to stir constantly. Checking and stirring about every five minutes is a good estimate.
6. Give one final stir once all ingredients are melted and the base is completely transparent.
7. Remove from heat and add 4 drops of Vitamin E. Stir with wooden skewer again.
8. If you are adding essential oils, now is the time to drop them in with designated pipettes for each oil. See below for more information on recommended essential oil blends and best practices.
9. Pour liquid balm into heat-safe containers (options listed below) based on your business branding. If using a tin or pot, balm can be poured directly in. If filling tubes, use either a filling tray* or a glass dropper until there is about 1/4″ of space left from the top and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
*I have experimented with filling trays before on several occasions. Not my thing. Though it seems like using a tray would save tons of time, the clean up and fixing of sink holes was significant. As I did not have success in using them, there is not a particular one I feel comfortable recommending. I found more success with being slow and steady with a glass dropper. This method has also helped me to use every single bit of product with no waste.
10. After lip balm has hardened for several minutes, fill the tube the rest of the way.
Why? As the lip balm is hardening it creates a ‘sink whole’ in the middle of your poured balm when it is in a tube. Letting it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before filling completely will result in a more aesthetically pleasing product.
11. Once the balm is hardened, you can safely add the caps and lids to your balm container. Label and safety seal according to your personal branding.

Can you use essential oils in lip balm?

Ab-so-lutely! And you should! Essential oils are a natural way to scent your lip balms, they add great variety to your shop, provide endless gift set possibilities, and they may provide therapeutic benefits to boot.

A few items to take note of before just dropping in your favorite scents:

• Keep your dilution to under 2% total essential oils (Use this essential oil calculator if that bends your brain too much.)
Avoid using ‘hot’ essential oils in any skin care product (cinnamon bark, spearmint, oregano, lemongrass, etc.)
• Use a trusted essential oil supplier so that you know you’re getting and using a pure oil.
Here are some scent blends (some just one essential oil, some a combination of two or more) I have made and sold in the past with much success to get you started:
(If you are interested in the exact breakdown of essential oil drops, you can grab ’em in my natural skin care recipe book, Creating Natural Essentials.)

How to make lip balm in bulk

I have been asked on several occasions if this recipe can simply be doubled or tripled to make lip balm in bulk (when receiving large orders for party favors, businesses, or preparing for the holiday rush).

The short answer is, technically…yes.

But I don’t recommend it.

Since heat can lower the effectiveness and potency of the vitamins in your natural ingredients, the shorter time they are in your double boiler, the better. If it will take you twice as long to put your liquid balm into tubes, your formulations is also sitting on heat for twice as long. Not ideal.

Heat also breaks down the strength of essential oils. The longer they are on heat, the less scent they produce.

Use your judgment.

In my experience, it only takes 30-45 minutes to melt ingredients; if needing multiple batches, I make one at a time and label the first batch while the next one melts. Not a single minute wasted, and all ingredients stay happy!

How to market your homemade lip balm business

The marketing and branding possibilites for organic lip balm are so vast – only YOU know your audience and what they will be attracted to in terms of packaging, scents, and price points.

Potential lip balm niches

Women are the leading consumers of natural skin care products, yet the type of woman you sell to can be radically different than the type of woman I sell to. The niches below are very popular and trending up in organic sales:

College/Young Professionals: With the popular discussion of ‘self care’ and ‘love yourself first’, young women are willing to spend more time and money on products that are good for themselves and the environment. 
New Mommies: With all-the-craze of natural living, crunchy mommies, and entire communities devoted to raising families in chemical-free homes, expectant women are looking for organic products that they feel safe to use around their babies.
Mature Women: Women that are later in their life are are whole new marketing segment for organic products. Thanks to social media, seasoned women are more aware now than ever before that their skin deserves nontoxic care – aging skin has its own set of needs for comfort, and many women in this age bracket are now willing to do research to find the perfect formula.

Lip Balm Containers

The containers that you decide to use for your organic lip balm entirely depends on the niche you are trying to sell to. You are not going to successfully sell a $10 sustainably packaged lip balm to a college student, just like you wouldn’t successfully sell a plastic tube to the eco-conscious retiree.

Think about your specific target market and their lifestyle, beliefs, and financial situation fully before deciding on your lip balm packaging.

Plastic Lip Balm Tubes

Plastic tubes are the most widely used packaging for lip balms, as they can be thrown in a purse or pocket, easily applied, and are affordable.

If your target market has a budget, this would be a great choice. Plastic tubes come in a variety of colors, and you can even get oval-shaped containers to make your tubes stand out from other sellers.

Paperboard Lip Balm Tubes

Paperboard (kraft paper) is a recycled material that will sell well with an eco-conscious target market that has a larger budget. 

It still has the functionality of a plastic tube, but with a push-up bottom rather than a turn dial.

Paperboard lip balm tubes are larger than the standard lip balm size, so your customers can expect to pay more for the extra product as well as premium packaging.

Aluminum Lip Balm Tins

Lip balm tins are the most eco-friendly choice of container. They can be reused for numerous purposes, and the material holds up very well over time.

Aluminum tins come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types of closures…and surprisingly more affordable than the paperboard above.

Labeling your lip balm

Your lip balm labels need to be as carefully considered as the actual container. Every. Single. Detail. is either attracting or repelling your customer.

• When considering your actual lip balm labels, think about the material. A plastic-coated label will hold up well if used on a tube going in a pants pocket. A kraft paper label makes sense if your customer is going to recycle the container. A clear label would show the color of your packaging or lip balm inside (a possibility if you’re making tinted lip balms).
• When designing your label, consider font pairings that will speak to your target market.

Younger audiences gravitate more towards casual, sans-serif fonts.

The mature audience tends to lean towards a more traditional serif font.

(If designing your labels is a challenge for you, you can always use a lip balm label template or have them designed specifically for your business.)
• Even though lip balm is not regulated by the FDA, you still need to follow labeling regulations. This Soap and Cosmetic Labeling publication is a highly reviewed resource for those in the United States, but laws vary by country.
• Pending specific requirements for your particular country, the following elements are considered the ‘bare necessities’ when it comes to label info and design: company name, logo, product name, ingredients, instructions for use, your website url.

Make your lip balm stand out from other sellers

Yes, this IS the best organic lip balm recipe and it has earned my business thousands of dollars and HUNDREDS of happy reviews.

But guess what? I have given this recipe away to MANY other sellers. And I’m still able to make a living selling the actual lip balm that customers buy from me.

Your customers aren’t just buying a lip balm…they’re buying an experience with YOU. The absolute BEST thing that you can do to sell your lip balm (or any other handmade skin care product in your line) is make sure your business branding is speaking directly to your chosen target market.

Speak the language of your audience. Write them genuine thank you notes. Connect with them in a way that only a small business can. That’s the beauty of shopping small, after all! 

I can’t wait to hear about your success with this recipe. Once you master making this organic lip balm and start selling online, be sure to check out my 17 Effective Ways to Market & Sell Your Handmade Lip Balm to grow your business!

 

If you need even more high-quality recipes for your skin care shop, check out my natural skin care and wellness recipe book that includes all of the products I made to get my own business to a full-time status:

FREE NATURAL SKIN CARE RECIPE BOOK

(EBOOK DOWNLOAD)

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Author, Christine Glaser

Author, Christine Glaser

DIY Skin Care Mompreneur, Treesnail Natural Essentials

Christine has spent the last decade making and selling natural skin care products on Etsy, Shopify, Woocommerce, Pattern, Squarespace, +++. She is passionate about teaching other makers in the handmade industry how to build and grow successful businesses to help spread the importance of chemical-free living.

Follow on Instagram: @diyskincaremompreneur