Not only is it simple to make your own lip balm, it’s science!
I love this experiment so much that I feature it in my book “Outdoor Science Lab for Kids”, which will be out in June and can be pre-ordered now!
To make colored, flavored lip balm, you need to think cosmetics chemistry. Here’s the recipe, adapted from the book:
– coconut oil
– beeswax beads or grated beeswax
– microwavable bowl
– colorful liquid drink mix drops, like Kool-Aid drops or water flavoring
-small containers with lids to hold lip balm, like empty contact lens cases
-toothpicks for stirring
-Heating and pouring steps must be done by an adult or with adult supervision to avoid burns.
Step 1: Mix together two parts coconut oil to one part wax beads. (For example, 8 Tbs. coconut oil, 4 Tbs. wax bead.)
Step 2. Microwave mixture at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until wax is completely melted and the solution is clear.
Step 3. Cool briefly. If the solution gets cloudy or turns white, reheat it.
Step 4. As the solution cools, add a drop or two of flavoring mix to the lip balm containers.
Step 5. Carefully pour some hot oil/wax mixture into one of the lip balm containers and stir with a toothpick. Continue stirring as the lip balm cools into a smooth paste. Repeat until you’ve filled all of your containers.
Step 6. When the lip balm has cooled completely, smooth it off using a popsicle stick or the back of a metal spoon warmed in hot water and dried off.
Step 7. Keep your lip balm, give some to your friends, or sell it at a lemonade stand!
The Science Behind the Fun (from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids):
“Coconut oil is actually a mixture of fats and oils that is somewhat solid at room temperature, but melts easily when it gets warm. In this lip balm concoction, it serves as a moisturizer called an emollient, which acts as a barrier to hold the natural moisture in your lips.
Beeswax melts at high temperatures, but solidifies at room temperature, thickening the lip balm.
Since oil and water don’t mix together easily, and your colorful flavor drops are mostly water, you have to keep stirring them into the cooling wax and oil mixture to form a suspension of tiny globs, called an emulsion. Once the lip balm has cooled, the wax helps hold the entire solution together so that the oil doesn’t separate out.”