This Lockdown Lippy all-natural DIY project will put a smile back on your face

Making your own lippy is definitely a fun and rewarding Zero Waste activity. It’s a great way to reduce the amount of plastic that comes into your life and it also allows you to avoid nasty toxins such as petroleum and paraben that often go into commercial lip products. You can simply pour this all-natural plastic-free recipe into a reusable tin and refill it over and over again!

I’ve been meaning to have a crack at making my own lippy for a while, but haven’t found the time. Now, thanks to the current Stay At Home orders in Sydney, I seem to have oodles of hours to fill!

Making your own tinted lip balm is a great way to avoid plastic waste

As a soap maker, I’m fortunate to have all the ingredients this DIY requires on hand – the shea and cocoa butters and Australian pink clay are the star ingredients in my Beauty Bar! You may not be so lucky, but with a little Googling you’ll find everything you need from local suppliers and can get them delivered to your door.

I should emphasise that this recipe is not a lipstick in the traditional sense. It’s not as hard or long wearing and it doesn’t come in a tube. It’s really a tinted lip balm that needs to be reapplied throughout the day. But because all the ingredients are natural and beautifully moisturising, you’ll be more than happy to keep reapplying it.

For the oil component you can use whatever plant-based oil you have on hand: olive oil or rice bran oil will work, coconut oil gives a harder consistency – which is great if you want a more solid result. I wanted something that was super moisturising, protective and less drying so I used 10g jojoba oil and 5g lemon balm infused olive oil.

Reapply regularly for moisturised lips that are worth smiling about

Jojoba oil was traditionally used to treat skin wounds. Its waxy texture is great for forming a barrier so it’s perfect for dry or chapped lips; while lemon balm is great for treating and preventing cold sores and is also quite calming, so it’s a great addition to this Lockdown self-care recipe! I grow my own lemon balm in the garden, dry it out and then pop it in a jar of extra virgin olive oil. The jar sits on my kitchen window to solar infuse for about six weeks. It’s great to have on hand for making balms and healing salves.

Beeswax makes the balm hard and has lovely humectant properties, locking in the moisture of the oils. You can experiment with the amount of beeswax you add to make a harder or softer balm. This recipe makes one that is soft enough to apply with your finger. The shea and cocoa butters in this recipe are lovely for nourishing your lips and provide a big moisture boost, while the vitamin E is an anti-oxidant which helps preserve the oils.

Australian pink clay adds a hint of natural colour. If you can’t get authentic Australian pink clay try red clay. Genuine Australian pink clay can be very hard to come by these days, often it’s a mix of white and red clays and some of what is sold now isn’t actually clay at all, it’s made with titanium dioxide mixed with iron oxide. It’s best to avoid iron oxide for colouring as it may include toxic trace metals, while micas are either mined overseas with unethical supply chains that include child labour or made synthetically in a lab. Clays are definitely the way to go. If you can’t find them skip colour entirely and go for a beautiful au naturel glossy result!


15g plant oils (see notes above on oil choice)
3.5g Beeswax
4g Unrefined Cocoa Butter
4g Unrefined Shea Butter
4 drops Vitamin E
1g Australian Pink Clay

Weigh the plant oils, butters and beeswax on an electronic kitchen scale and place in a pyrex jug.

Pop the jug into a saucepan that has a little water in the bottom. Heat it over a low heat on the stove and stir with a silicone spatula until everything melts.

Take it off the heat and let it cool slightly before you add the vitamin E and clay. Mix with the spatula until everything is combined and then pour into a clean metal tin. The balm hardens as it cools. Once set it’s ready to use. It should keep for about 6 months.

Apply with a clean finger tip. Be sure to wash your hands and avoid double dipping to keep your lippy germ-free!

If you want a simple kit that gets you up and running straight away with making a non-tinted lip balm The Urban Beehive in Sydney sells DIY kits online that come with recipes and reusable tubes to get you started.

Happy plastic-free making!


Helen Barry

Helen Barry is a Sydney-based writer and content creator on a Zero Waste adventure! Editor of eco magazine War On Waste Weekly, Helen is also the mother of two Mini Waste Warriors.

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