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Basic 1,2,3 lip balm tutorial

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 pots (15 ml each)

Beach lip balm

Lip balms are fun and easy to make. You only need a few ingredients: a liquid vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil or sweet almond oil; a vegetable butter, like shea butter or cocoa butter; and a wax, which is usually beeswax or candelilla wax for a vegan option. Those are the key ingredients to make a soothing, conditioning balm for your lips. You can leave it unflavoured, or you can add flavour using lip-safe flavour oils or essential oils. If you wish, you can even sweeten your balm with a few drops of stevia. And if you want to add a bit of colour to your lips, you can use lip-safe micas or colourants. Don’t use food colouring!

Here is a quick and easy recipe that I that I often use as my base. It uses 1 part beeswax, 2 parts butter and 3 parts oil. It’s an easy formula to remember: 1, 2, 3!


ONE: Add the oil and beeswax into a heat proof glass jug, such as Pyrex (available at your supermarket, Briscoes or the Warehouse), and melt it on high in the microwave for 2 minutes. Depending on the microwave, you might have to leave it in for longer or shorter to melt the beeswax. You can substitute the beeswax for candelilla wax if you want a vegan option, just remember to only use half the amount of candelilla wax. For this recipe, this would be 1/2 tablespoon candelilla wax.


TWO: Add the butter that you are using, I’m using cocoa butter here. If the butter isn’t melting completely, or if you notice the mixture starting to cool down and solidify, just pop it back into the microwave again for another 20 seconds.


THREE: Next stir in your flavour oil or essential oil of your choice. Make sure these oils are lip-safe! Not all fragrances are approved for use on lips! Check with the supplier if you are not sure. The most common essential oils that are safe for lips are: peppermint, spearmint, anise, sweet orange, rose, lavender, vanilla absolute, rosemary and tea tree.

Most citrus oils are considered photosensitising and should not be used in lip balms, especially here in New Zealand where the sun’s rays are stronger than in the Northern Hemisphere. There are exceptions, however, grapefruit and lemon essential oils can be used in very low doses (max 6 drops in one tablespoon of oil), and sweet orange essential oil is considered a safe oil and can be used in lip balm.



FOUR: Pour the mixture carefully into your lip balm pots and leave them to cool down and harden completely before putting the lids on. If you put on the lids while balms are still warm, you risk getting condensation on the inside of the lids.

Basic Lip Balm

  • Difficulty: beginners
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  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (i.e. olive oil, sunflower oil)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable butter (i.e. shea butter, cocoa butter)
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax (or use 1/2 tablespoon candelilla wax for a vegan option)
  • 2 ml lip-safe flavour oil or essential oil
  • optional: 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of lip-safe mica or colourant
  • 6 lip balm pots (15 ml)


  1. Add the oil and beeswax in a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex) and microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Once the beeswax has melted, stir in the shea butter. If the mixture starts to solidify, pop it back into the microwave for another 20 seconds.
  3. Stir in your choice of flavour oil or essential oil. If you are planning on adding colour to your lip balm, add this as well and give it a good stir. Make sure your mixture is completely liquid before you pour it.
  4. Carefully pour the mixture in container and leave to harden and cool down completely before putting the lids on.

Where to get your ingredients from

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Basic balm tutorial

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 pots (50 mls each)

Orange balm

Balms are very versatile and can be made for many uses, depending on what ingredients are added. By using conditioning, moisturising oils and butters, you can make a balm for
softening rough skins on your hands and feet. Using infused oils or adding essential oils will also affect the properties of the balm. Lavender soothes the mind and the body. Calendula is a well-known skin healer. Tea tree, manuka, thyme are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Use arnica infused oils in muscle balms. And lemongrass and eucalyptus in an insect repellent balm.


A good place to start formulating balms is by using equal parts of wax, oil, and butter. This will give you a good, solid balm. If you want a softer and more spreadable consistency, add more oil or reduce the amount of wax and butters you are using. A salve will have a ratio upwards of 4 parts of oil to one part of wax. The balm of this recipe uses slightly less butter and wax, but will still leave you with a fairly solid balm.


In a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex) and add your  vegetable oil, such as olive oil or sunflower oil, and your beeswax (or candelilla wax for a vegan balm). Heat it on high in your microwave for 2 minutes or until the beeswax is fully melted.


Add your vegetable butter, for example cocoa butter or shea butter, and stir until the butter has completely melted. If you find the mixture is starting to harden, pop it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds or so until it is liquid again.


Next, add your essential oils and give it another good stir. I’m using orange essential oil here, which is why it is a bright colour 😉


Finally, carefully pour the balm into the pots and leave them overnight to harden and cool down. Don’t put the lids on, otherwise you will find it will have formed condensation on the inside of the lids, which is a unwanted environment for mould growth.


Basic Balm

  • Difficulty: beginners
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  • 50 ml vegetable oil (such as olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.)
  • 25 g butter (such as shea butter or cocoa butter)
  • 25 g beeswax (or 15 g candelilla wax plus 10 g extra oil for a vegan option)
  • 2 pots (50ml)
  • 4 ml essential oils


  1. In a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex), combine the oil and wax. Place it in the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes initially and then in 1 minute increments until the beeswax has completely melted. Be careful when removing the jug from the microwave, as the mixture will be very hot!
  2. Add the butter and stir until melted. If the butter doesn’t melt completely or if the mixture is starting to harden, pop it back in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. When the mixture is completely liquid, add your essential oils and stir to completely mix in.
  4. Pour the mixture into your pots. Allow to fully cool and harden overnight before putting the lids on.

Where you can get your ingredients from

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Basic melt and pour soap tutorial

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 soaps

Melt & pour soaps

Melt and pour soap is basically melting a pre-made soap base and then pouring it into a soap mold, hence the name! Although some soapers consider using this method as ‘cheating’, I find that there are some techniques where melt and pour is the more suitable soap than cold process soap. For example, where a design asks for clear cut straight lines or when you are using molds with intricate designs. More on soap molds, check out this post here.


In addition, melt and pour soap also comes as a clear soap base (also known as glycerin soap), which is an advanced soap making technique if you want to do this yourself. In the past few years, many kinds of melt and pour soap bases have become available, such as goats milk, olive oil, shea butter, honey, and even a wobbly jelly-like soap base! Personally, I like using melt and pour soap bases because you can create some pretty cool soaps with it, plus your soap is ready to use as soon as it sets. Great for last minute gifts!


The technique of melting and pouring the pre-made soap is very simple. Cut up the required amount of melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place them in a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex, available at supermarkets, Briscoes or the Warehouse). In short bursts of no more than 20-30 seconds each, melt the soap in your microwave. Be careful your soap does not boil! If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the soap on the stove using the double boiler method (placing one smaller pot inside a bigger pot of water).


Once your soap has melted, add your fragrance and colour and give it a good stir. You can use essential oils or skin-friendly fragrances. To colour your soap, you can  use special soap dyes or powders, micas, or liquid food colouring. Note that colours added to a white soap base will become pastel coloured. To achieve bright vivid colours, you will need to use a clear soap base. And if you find your soap has hardened in the meantime, just pop it back into the microwave again for another 20 seconds.


Carefully pour the soap into your soap mold. If there are any bubbles on the surface, you can disperse them by spritzing some isopropyl alcohol (available from pharmacies) on it. Leave the soap to harden fully before removing from the mold.


Because melt and pour soap contains glycerin, a humectant, which attracts moisture, it is important to wrap your soaps in glad wrap as soon as they have cooled down and hardened. Especially here in New Zealand when it can be very humid, you’ll find beads of water on the surface of your soap if you leave them unwrapped.

Basic Melt and Pour Soap

  • Difficulty: beginners
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  • enough melt and pour soap base to fill your soap mold
  • food colouring of your choice
  • essential oil or fragrance of your choice
  • spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol
  • heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex)
  • silicon or plastic soap mold


  1. Cut up the soap base in small cubes and add them to the heat proof glass jug.
  2. In short 20-30 second bursts, melt the soap base in your microwave on your highest setting.
  3. Once the soap is completely melted, add your fragrance and colour and mix well. If you find the soap has hardened again, just pop it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds.
  4. Carefully pour the soap into your soap mold and let it harden before removing the soaps from the molds.
  5. Don’t forget to wrap the soaps in glad wrap once the soaps have cooled down completely!

Where to get your supplies from