3 easy recipes to make your own balms

3 easy recipes to make your own balms

I’ve been making my own skin care products for years. I started writing this blog in 2015! Since then I’ve made and sold kits for people to make their own products – I spent alot of time experimenting with ingredients and methods to make it as easy as possible for people to make their own. Here’s three recipes for you to do the same –

lip balm – body/hand/hair balm (a herbal infusion can turn this into a therapeutic product) – whipped body butter

For these recipes I’m passing on my tip – a skin care recipe should give you percentages rather than final measures. This gives you total flexibility to make any amount of product rather than trying to up or downscale a recipe. For example – if you want to make 10 gms of lip balm then you can work backwards to work out how much of each ingredient is needed. Beeswax makes up 30% of the total – 30% of 10 = 3 gms.

I have included some of the sums in the tables below as examples. You’ll see that something like lip balm uses a tiny amount of each product so it makes sense to make a few things at once or get a group together and make it a social occasion. Most ingredients are cheaper the more you buy.

Note – oil is as a weight (gms) rather than a volume (mls) measure as weighing something is more accurate.

Lip balm recipe

LIP BALM INGREDIENTS% of total5 gm total 30 gm total
gms per recipegms per recipe
Beeswax30%1.59
Coconut oil30%1.59
Shea butter13%0.65 3.9
Almond or sunflower oil26%1.3 7.8
Lip balm flavours or essential oils1%a few dropsseveral drops

Lip balm making method

  • Melt the ingredients using your choice of double boiler, microwave or pot (see melting tips below)
  • Melt the hardest ingredients first – beeswax
  • Add the firm butters (coconut oil and shea butter), stir and heat until melted
  • Add the oil and continue to heat for a minute or so until the mixture is heated through, don’t boil it
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add lip balm flavours or essential oils (if using) and pour into tubes/containers.
  • The small amount of balm may start setting as you’re filling the containers. Return to the heat to re-melt if necessary

Body lotion and/or hair balm

This is a general purpose recipe which can be adapted to suit your needs –

  • The recipe below makes quite an oily easily absorbed product. To make a firmer balm increase the amount of beeswax (eg to 15%) and decrease the percentage of oil.
  • Use it to make a therapeutic balm for dry skin, insect bites or other skin conditions. I have more information on how to infuse the oil with your choice of dried leaf below.
  • Make a leave in hair product (like a leave in conditioner) for those of us lucky enough to have dry frizzy hair. I use a small amount of this on my hair every two or three days. Scoop a small amount into the palm of your hand and work it between your hands, if necessary, to turn it to liquid. Comb through your hair using your fingers.
BODY BALM INGREDIENTS% of total30 gms total50 gms total
gms per recipegms per recipe
Beeswax6%1.83
Cocoa butter20%610
Shea butter11%3.35.5
Almond or sunflower oil60%1830
Tapioca starch2%0.61
Essential oils1%several drops1-2 ml

Body/hair/hand balm making method

  • Melt the ingredients using your choice of double boiler, microwave or pot
  • Melt the hardest ingredients first – beeswax
  • Add the butters (cocoa butter and shea butter), stir and heat until melted
  • Add the oil and continue to heat for a minute or so until the mixture is heated through, don’t boil it
  • Stir in the tapioca starch until dissolved
  • Remove from the heat
  • Once it’s cooled slightly add essential oils (if using) and pour into containers. To add different fragrance to each, pour the melted ingredients into your choice of containers and add essential oils to each separate container. Stir gently to mix
Shea butter is a good ingredient to include because it’s very moisturising but it can go gritty in a balm. This is when the product gets hot and cold from temperature changes and gritty balls form. Commercial balms include products to stop this happening. It won’t harm the balm you’ve made – it’s just cosmetic.
To stop this happening remove the melted ingredients from the heat then gently cool it by stirring over a bowl of cold or ice water. Stir gently and constantly until it starts to slightly thicken. Put it into containers then into the fridge.

Whipped body butter recipe

For something a little more fancy than a body balm try this whipped product. It’s not difficult and you end up with something quite luxurious.

WHIPPED BODY BUTTER INGREDIENTS% of total30 gms total50 gms total
gms per recipegms per recipe
Almond butter35%10.517.5
Cocoa butter25%7.512.5
Shea butter10%35
Almond or sunflower oil25%7.212
Tapioca starch5%1.52.5
Essential oils1%several drops1-2 ml

You’ll need an electric or hand beater – use the whipping attachment.

Whipped butter method

  • Melt the ingredients using your choice of double boiler, microwave or pot
  • Melt the butters first (almond, shea, cocoa butter)
  • Once it’s melted, add the oil and continue to heat for a minute or so until the mixture is heated through
  • Stir in the tapioca starch and continue to heat through
  • Remove from the heat
  • The vessel used for melting the ingredients may not be suitable for whipping so transfer it to a metal bowl or the whipping container
  • Add essential oils and stir through
  • Put the container in the freezer for 3-5 minutes. It wants to be fully cold but not starting to freeze.
  • Take the container out of the freezer and whip for 2-3 minutes. It won’t look whipped
  • Put it back in the freezer until the mixture is starting to look opaque in colour – 2-3 minutes
  • Take it back out and whip again for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes whipped. Like whipping cream, you want it to be firm without taking it to the solid butter stage.
  • Transfer the whipped product to a jar (or jars)

Notes on timing – depending on the volume you make, the container you use and the coldness of your freezer the time you need to freeze and whip the product may vary to the times I’ve given above.

More info

Don’t put lids on containers straight away as condensation will form and this is how bacteria and mould can grow.

Oils to use. Good general purpose oils with a long shelf life are almond, sunflower and flaxseed. Others such as avocado oil can be used – choice will mostly come down to cost.

The butters can be substituted for something different if that’s what you have available or just use one instead of a mix. Almond, mango and avocado could be used. Cost is again usually the deciding factor on which to use.


Infusing oils. An alternative to using essential oils is to infuse the oil with flowers or leaves. Therapeutic plants such as kawakawa, plantain, or comfrey are common options. Flowers such as lavender, geranium, calendula can be used for scent and/or their therapeutic qualities. You will find various instructions on how to do this. Some have you heating the oil slightly to help the infusion process. Some will have you sitting it on a sunny windowsill. Some say to keep it in the dark. Dried or fresh plant material? Dried is usually best – fresh material can be used but the water content in it can cause bacteria to grow. Fresh is quicker as it misses the drying step obviously.

Here’s the simplest way to infuse

  • Dry your flowers and/or leaves of choice.
    • This may be in the oven, dehydrator or on a sunny windowsill
  • Loosely pack the dried material into a jar
  • Measure the amount of oil you need for your balm
  • Warm the oil slightly and pour over the dried leaves/flowers
  • Leave to infuse for a month. This should be out of direct sunlight and somewhere you don’t forget about it.
  • Strain when ready to use
  • Re-weigh the oil. You may have lost a bit of volume during straining – simply top up.
  • Use the oil to make the balm
    • As you can see, this takes a bit of pre-planning but it’s easy enough to achieve.

Melting options and tips –

  • The easiest way to melt the ingredients is using the double boiler/bain marie method: use a bowl over a pot of boiling water on the stove or a heat proof jug or small glass jar or tin within a pot of boiling water.
    • If melting the ingredients straight on the stove, use the smallest pot you have.
    • Use a heat proof bowl in the microwave – cook on high for a few seconds, stir and repeat until melted.

melt ingredients to make balms

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