by Rebecca Sanderson
Learning how to make homemade lipstick is easy and gives you control over the ingredients. You just need a lip balm base, micas, and containers.
In the wave of homemade products, makeup has also found a niche. Many people are looking for a safer, more natural, or at least less complicated product. Lipstick can be made at home, but it does have a few particulars to keep in mind.
Making lipstick yourself does require a few key materials. First, you need a lip balm base. You can purchase a premixed base or make one yourself (instructions to follow). For the pigment, you want lip-safe mica. Mica is a silicate mineral found as minute scales in granite and other rocks or as crystals and is used as cosmetic and soap ingredients. In order to be considered lip-safe, a product must be safe to ingest as we do invariably end up ingesting some of our lipstick through normal activities such as eating. If you desire your lipstick to be opaque, titanium dioxide is a must; otherwise you will have sheer lip gloss. You need a heat-safe container for mixing (I use a glass measuring cup with a pour-spout), mixing and scooping instruments (small spoons work well), and a container to house your finished product. I use both lip balm tubes and lip gloss dishes purchased at soapmaking resource suppliers. I do prefer the tubes for ease of use, however. Last but not least, you will need some way to heat and melt your lip balm base for mixing and pouring. You can either place your heat-safe container in the microwave for short bursts of heat, or you can place your container in a (very) hot water bath. The hot water bath may take longer, but it will keep a more consistent temperature for working and pouring. If you use this method, I recommend keeping the container in the water bath as you are mixing colors. If you desire a flavor to your lipstick, there are safe flavor oils you can purchase or some essential oils you can use (be sure they are not the photosensitizing ones).
As you prepare to make your homemade lipstick, set out all materials and tools before you begin. The time it takes to hunt down an item could allow your lipstick to solidify in your mixing container. First, melt your lip balm base in your heat-safe container. If are making enough lipstick to share or sell, you can afford to do larger batches. If you only want enough for personal use, only add enough lip balm for approximately one tube or lip gloss dish as it can be difficult to achieve your desired colors when trying to counteract leftover pigment from the previous batch. Next, add a little titanium dioxide. A little goes a long way here; you only need enough to turn the liquid oils fairly opaque. Next, begin mixing micas into the liquid oil. Add enough mica to give a rich pigment; no need to skimp here. It helps to know what colors you are aiming for before you begin. Simply mixing random colors and hoping for a positive outcome may end up with some disappointing results. I have found that the prettiest colors tend to happen with fewer different mica colors rather than many. When I mix too many colors, I tend to end up with a muddy berry color over and over. Mix and scrape the bottom and mix and scrape the bottom some more. Keep mixing even as you pour your lipstick into the tube or dish. The titanium dioxide and some of the micas tend to settle to the bottom. I have found that the sparkle micas tend to settle the most, even after pouring into the tube. To help combat this, pouring at a slightly lower temperature can keep it suspended, although it may not pour as cleanly. I like to wipe off my spoon between scoops of mica to prevent mixing my base colors. Sometimes I even take a paper towel and completely wipe out my heat-safe container between batches to keep my colors pure and unaffected by the previous batch. Once your lipstick has completely cooled, it is ready to use. By the way, it is much easier to wipe out any leftover lipstick from your mixing tools before washing in hot soapy water. You don’t want those oils going down your drain and hardening in the pipes, anyway.
If you choose not to purchase a premade lip balm base, you may make your own. Start with either beeswax or candelilla wax. Candelilla wax is derived from the candelilla shrub grown in the southwestern United States. It makes a softer, creamier end product while beeswax makes a more firm end product. Add other oils such as coconut, avocado, or sweet almond to soften the wax and give conditioning to the lips. Cocoa butter and shea butter would be luxurious on the lips as well. Simply melt the solid oils/waxes/butters and add the liquid oils. Allow to cool and harden. When mixing your solid and liquid oils into a lip balm base, you can test the texture by dipping a cold spoon into the oil then feeling the consistency of the balm that hardened on the spoon. This method also works well to test the color or opaqueness level in your lipstick mixture.
Homemade cosmetics are gaining ground as more people gravitate toward the homesteading culture. When you make the lipstick and other cosmetics yourself, you know exactly what goes into them and avoid issues with colorants and fragrance sensitivity. While there may be a little trial and error along the way, I am sure that you will enjoy the result of your homemade lipstick adventures.