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26 Main St.
Windsor, VT 05089

802 227 0008

Pure. Fresh. Vermont

That's what we offer at the Snapdragon Inn. Join us for a  relaxing getaway and explore the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. 

Snapdragon Inn blog

Making Lip Balm Part I - Process


We recently reformulated our lip balms, adding to a growing list of personal care and beauty products available at Snapdragon Inn.  To see our current lineup, visit Snapdragon Inn Spa's online store.

Lip balms have been featured in our rooms since we opened and guests have always raved about the all natural and organic ingredients in our products.  For our most recent edition of balms, we decide to create two new lines: Revive and Relax. We knew what properties we wanted in each balm, but this time we decided we also wanted full control of the process and instead of working with an off-site company, we decided to make the entire product here at Snapdragon Inn.

Our first job was to research the basic recipes and methodologies for making balms and salves.  There are hundreds of recipes online ranging from bubblegum flavored glosses to Argan oil salves. In our case we were creating custom recipes, but looking online is a fantastic way to find inspiration. Organic Beauty Recipes is one great place to start for more natural recipe inspirations.

In their simplest form, most balms are made of an oil or beeswax base. Each base is then combined with additional essential oils, additives, colors, or flavoring for the desired final product.  The beeswax/solids and carrier oils are slowly melted and mixed in a double boiler and then additional ingredients are added. While the mixture is still warm, it is placed in containers or tubes where it is left to rest and cool before being capped and stored. Increasing the beeswax proportions of a recipe will create a harder product while lowering the ratio of beeswax or solids  to essential oils will create a softer balm or salve. Our goal was to create a smooth blend which was going to take some customization and experimentation.

Basic set-up requires a double boiler (or home made version of one), small tubes or containers for your product, measuring spoons, and a way to pour or pipe your product from the double boiler to final containers.  When making balms for your personal use the measuring process can be more of a feel than a science.  However, when making balms for a line or consistent result, it is very important to measure accurately and combine ingredients following suggested methodologies. SKS bottle is a company offering many bottle, tube and equipment options. They feature products that definitely make the process faster and they also have a wide range of containers for personal and commercial use.

There is a amazing array of options available for anyone wanting to make personal care products at home.  We wanted all of our ingredients to be certified organic or all natural while also having a documented refinement or distillation process. Part II of this post covers the ingredients we use in much more detail. Be clear on whether you want scented/fragrance oils or essential oils. There is a price difference and while people love to debate it as much as Coke vs. Pepsi or Britney vs. Christina, essential oils are simply the best choice for true therapeutic benefits.

It can get pricey since many different distillation methods for essential oils lead to different grades of final product.  So if you are just having fun at home, choosing simple and economic ingredients that are widely available is a really great way to start.  Mountain Rose Herbs is an excellent source for online research on essentials oils.

After we selected our ingredients we completed some final research on the interactions of different oils and how they blend.  We also listed the therapeutic benefits of each product to refine our mixtures. Finally, we consulted with a licensed esthetician and massage therapist for additional background and more practical everyday use advice.

Here are the two lines that we developed and now produce in bulk.  Both are available online.

Revive: A true healing balm overflowing with therapeutic benefits. Full of vitamins, anti-inflammation agents, fatty acids and formulated to actively heal and protect lips and skin.

Relax: A soothing balm featuring organic lavender.  Developed to glide on smoothly and provide the truly calming aromatic benefits of distilled lavender. Additional protection and benefits are added with the use of select organic oils. Perfect for lips as well as a spot treatment for general skin healing and hydration.

Your Turn!
The best part is experimenting with different proportions of solids to oils and trying blends of essential oils and carrier oils that you really enjoy. You can fine tune any recipe to make a smooth lip balm or harder salve for hands, feet, and body. There is also some great information out there on adding color to your products.  Enjoy!

Beeswax melting with oils
Final mixture poured into tubes
Cooling Process
Trimmed and ready for capping