The organic lip balm recipe below resulted in my first ten thousand dollars on Etsy – and that was back in 2014…before the craze for natural skin care even really began.
Small as it may seem, lip balm can make a HUGE difference in your handmade skin care shop. With companies like Chapstick®️ and EOS®️, it is crystal clear that there is a DEMAND for this everyday item.
As the world becomes more aware of the dangers of synthetic ingredients in their personal care products, there has been a notable increase in sales for organic, chemical-free, and small batch skin care companies.
In this article, you’ll not only learn how to create this recipe at home, but also how to brand your lip balm to stand out to a specific target market.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links (at no cost to you). Please read the disclosure for more information.
WHY MAKE ORGANIC LIP BALM?
As with any handmade item, the biggest benefit of making your own lip balm is that you have complete control over what ingredients are included in your recipe.
Many leading brands use petroleum jelly in their formulations, and that is one ingredient you should absolutely be steering clear of in any personal care product.
If you have allergies to any ingredients, you can easily find a substitute and make a similarly feeling lip balm without having a reaction.
There are only three main ingredients in this natural lip balm recipe, so if you are already making your own skin care products, chances are you have what you need.
CAN I SELL HOMEMADE LIP BALM?
According to the FDA Cosmetics Laws & Regulations, lip balm is considered a cosmetic. Under the FD&C Act, cosmetics do not require approval to be sold.
That being said, if you use terminology in your product name, on your label, or in your online sales page description that your lip balm can heal, cure, or be a treatment, you’ll be putting your products in the ‘drug’ category – which DOES require approval before selling.
Once you master this recipe and can describe your final product in a way that keeps it in the ‘cosmetic’ category, you absolutely SHOULD sell it – online, in person, in singles, in bulk…any way you can think of.
Handmade lip balm is fun to experiment with, fast to make, and has a generous profit margin; almost everyone uses lip balm, so it’s sure to fit in your target market regardless of niche.
There are exponential ways to combine them into gift sets (either together or with other products that you make).
Here are a few of my top selling listings to get your ideas rolling:
Individual Lip Balms
Sets of 3 with Theme
Aromatherapy Roller + Lip Balm Gift Set
WHY SELL NATURAL LIP BALM SPECIFICALLY?
Organic care products, in general, are expected to increase 10% by 2024, and natural skin care is the fastest-growing segment in the industry.
We can thank technology, the increased use of mobile devices, and ecommerce for this rise – because of such wide consumption of social media, consumers are being made more aware of green beauty in general, accompanied with the risks of synthetic ingredients.
Since lip balm is applied to an area of the body that makes it easily ingested (as well as absorbed), it is ESSENTIAL to buy a balm that is guaranteed to be free of parabens, phthalates, fillers, flavors, and dyes.
In addition to the health and safety reasons to sell organic lip balm, customers that are devoted to natural living are typically very loyal patrons that LOVE to shop small.
Over half of my customers are repeat buyers (fifty percent+ return rate!!!).
You can expect the same glowing reviews for your shop with this recipe:
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO MAKE LIP BALM?
Organic lip balm itself (as in, the actual combined ingredients) doesn’t cost that much at all – in fact, I have gotten my own recipe down to being only fifteen cents a tube.
Before I was able to buy ingredients in bulk, it was costing me around thirty cents a tube to produce.
Obviously you can’t just buy ingredients to make one tube of lip balm – you can expect to spend about forty dollars on your organic ingredients that will end up being enough for several hundred tubes of lip balm.
The real cost comes down to your own personal marketing decisions:
• Your target audience
• The type of product packaging that would attract your customers to buy
• How you decide to get your product labels printed
• The unboxing experience you choose to provide
First, let’s get you making some business-changing, CHEMICAL-FREE lip balm!
BEST ORGANIC LIP BALM RECIPE TO MAKE AT HOME
LIP BALM MAKING SUPPLIES:
ORGANIC LIP BALM INGREDIENTS:
ORGANIC LIP BALM RECIPE:
1. Fill saucepan with a couple of inches of tap water.
2. Put your double boiler on top of the saucepan, making sure a portion of the bottom is submerged to heat properly.
3. Measure out ingredients into ramekins on the scale. Add to the double boiler:
4. Put the pan on your stove or hot plate and turn on the lowest heat possible and wait for ingredients to melt.
*Note that this could take half an hour or more.
While the ingredients would melt faster at a higher temperature, this compromises the benefits of the natural ingredients – as well as make plastic lip balm containers melt or leak.
5. Mix with a glass stir rod as it melts to speed up the process. It isn’t necessary to stir constantly. Checking and stirring every few minutes is a good estimate.
6. Give one final stir when all ingredients are melted and the base is completely transparent.
7. Remove from heat and add 4 drops of Vitamin E. Stir again.
8. If you are adding essential oils, now is the time to drop them in.
9. Pour liquid balm into heat-safe containers (options listed below) based on your business branding. If using a tin or pot, balm can be poured directly in. If filling tubes, transfer the liquid using a plastic pipette until there is about 1/4″ of space left from the top and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
10. After lip balm has hardened for several minutes, fill the tube the rest of the way.
Why? As the lip balm is hardening it creates a ‘sink whole’ in the middle of your poured balm when it is in a tube.
Letting it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before filling completely will result in a more aesthetically pleasing product.
11. Once the balm is hardened, you can safely add the caps and lids to your balm container. Label and safety seal according to your personal branding.
CAN YOU USE ESSENTIAL OILS IN LIP BALM?
Ab-so-lutely! And you should! Essential oils are a natural way to scent your lip balms, they add great variety to your shop, provide endless gift set possibilities, and they may provide therapeutic benefits to boot.
A few items to take note of before just dropping in your favorite scents:
- Keep your dilution to under 2% total essential oils (Use this essential oil calculator if that bends your brain too much.)
- Avoid using ‘hot’ essential oils in any skin care product (cinnamon bark, spearmint, oregano, etc.)
- Use a trusted essential oil supplier so that you know you’re getting and using a pure oil.
HOW TO MAKE LIP BALM IN BULK
I have been asked on several occasions if this organic lip balm recipe can simply be doubled or tripled to make balm in bulk (when receiving large orders for party favors, businesses, or preparing for the holiday rush).
The short answer is, technically…yes.
But I don’t recommend it.
Since heat can lower the effectiveness and potency of the vitamins in your natural ingredients, the shorter time they are in your double boiler, the better. If it will take you twice as long to put your liquid balm into tubes, your formulation is also sitting on the heat for twice as long. Not ideal.
Heat also breaks down the strength of essential oils. The longer they are on heat, the more they oxidize, changing the scent and their actual molecular structure.
Use your judgment.
In my experience, it only takes 30-45 minutes to melt ingredients; if needing multiple batches, I make one at a time and label the first batch while the next one melts. Not a single minute wasted, and all ingredients stay happy!
HOW TO MARKET YOUR HOMEMADE LIP BALM BUSINESS
The marketing and branding possibilities for this organic lip balm recipe are so vast – only YOU know your audience and what they will be attracted to in terms of packaging, scents, and price points.
POPULAR ORGANIC LIP BALM NICHES
Women are the leading consumers of natural skin care products, yet the type of woman you sell to can be radically different than the type of woman I sell to.
The niches below are very popular and trending up in organic sales:
College/Young Professionals: With the popular discussion of ‘self care’ and ‘love yourself first’, young women are willing to spend more time and money on products that are good for themselves and the environment.
New Mothers: With all-the-craze of natural living, crunchy mommies, and entire communities devoted to raising families in chemical-free homes, expectant women are looking for organic products that they feel safe to use around their babies.
Mature Women: Women that are later in their life are are whole new marketing segment for organic products. Thanks to social media, we are more aware now than ever before that skin deserves nontoxic care – aging skin has its own set of needs for comfort, and many women in this age bracket are now willing to do research to find the perfect formula.
LIP BALM CONTAINERS
The containers that you decide to use for your organic lip balm entirely depends on the niche you are trying to sell to.
You are not going to successfully sell a $10 sustainably packaged lip balm to a college student, just like you wouldn’t successfully sell a plastic tube to the eco-conscious retiree.
Think about your specific target market and their lifestyle, beliefs, and financial situation fully before deciding on your lip balm packaging.
PLASTIC LIP BALM TUBES
Plastic tubes are the most widely used packaging for lip balms, as they can be thrown in a purse or pocket, easily applied, and are affordable.
If your target market has a budget, this would be a great choice. Plastic tubes come in a variety of colors, and you can even get oval-shaped containers to make your tubes stand out from other sellers.
PAPERBOARD LIP BALM TUBES
Paperboard (kraft paper) is a recycled material that will sell well with an eco-conscious target market that has a larger budget.
It still has the functionality of a plastic tube, but with a push-up bottom rather than a turn dial.
Paperboard lip balm tubes are larger than the standard lip balm size, so your customers can expect to pay more for the extra product as well as premium packaging.
ALUMINUM LIP BALM TINS
Lip balm tins are the most eco-friendly choice of container. They can be reused for numerous purposes, and the material holds up very well over time.
Aluminum tins come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types of closures…and surprisingly more affordable than the paperboard above.
LABELING YOUR LIP BALM
Your lip balm labels need to be as carefully considered as the actual container. Every. Single. Detail. is either attracting or repelling your customer.
When considering your actual lip balm labels, think about the material:
- A plastic-coated label will hold up well if used on a tube going in a pants pocket.
- A kraft paper label makes sense if your customer is going to recycle the container.
- A clear label would show the color of your packaging or lip balm inside (a nice possibility if you’re making tinted lip balms).
When designing your label, consider font pairings that will speak to your target market.
Younger audiences gravitate more towards casual, sans-serif fonts.
The mature audience tends to lean towards a more traditional serif font.
Even though lip balm is not regulated by the FDA, you still need to follow labeling regulations.
Marie Gale’s publication on Soap and Cosmetic Labeling is a highly reviewed resource for those in the United States, but laws vary by country.
FURTHER BRANDING FOR YOUR ORGANIC LIP BALM AND SKIN CARE BUSINESS
Packaging and labeling choices for your lip balm are just the tip of the branding iceberg.
To have a high-converting product and a business that customers return to again and again, you need your skin care line to be consistently branded in every product you sell, color you use, and email you send.
Whether you are just getting started in your entrepreneurial journey or are considering a rebrand, be sure to check out the entire skin care business branding section of this site!