In the past few years, it seems like a certain corner of the internet (and society) has gone crazy for essential oils. Combine this with some straight up pyramid-scheme stuff, and you’ve got a recipe for madness. People buying oils just because a blogger they admire is a distributor. Lots of posts about what to do with all your oils (seriously – what do you do with them???) because there has to be a reason you bought them. I have some facebook friends that are involved in the whole setup and have been approached to buy at least once, and declined. For me, it is like any other MLM, and it makes me super uncomfortable – both for myself, and anyone caught up in that “business”. For the best explanation of why MLMs are so tempting, but also harmful, I like this John Oliver piece from a year ago.
Anyways. There is so much hullabaloo surrounding essential oils and their benefits that their users proclaim, that it’s hard to avoid depending on what blogs you read. If you stick to news and finance…it probably won’t come up as a major issue, but I read a lot of female-oriented and DIY blogs, and more than a couple have gotten into essential oils. Granted, no one has really been hawking them to their readers through an MLM, so that’s good, but the fact that these people whose lives interest me are so into them makes me curious. They’re not that expensive, and we keep being told that the oil is concentrated, so a small bottle goes a long way. When a blog I enjoy with a fairly on-brand online shop decided to start offering essential oils, I figured this might be an interesting way to dip my toe in without succumbing to an MLM or buying unknown off Amazon. Also I had a coupon code, so it made things even cheaper to try it out.
So I bought three oils – peppermint, lavender, and lemon. I figured these would be fairly versatile, and allow me to do whatever crafts I was interested in. And then came the hard part – what DIY crafts was I interested in? I’ve saved a lot of DIY ideas in my email over the years, so I searched in there to see if I could find something that wasn’t too difficult, or required too many new purchases, and found a recipe for lip balm that I thought would be fun to try. I mean, my lips are always dry, so why not make something small and useful that I could use myself, and potentially give as gifts?
The first round with this recipe was…interesting. I’m not sure using honey was the right strategy, just because it didn’t mix consistently with the other ingredients no matter how long I stirred. But since we consume a lot of honey in our house, I thought it would be appropriate to include in at least the initial recipe. I also switched the oils in question to reflect the ones that I had a scent that was special to us (lemon-lavender is a favorite sorbet flavor at the Dairy Godmother nearby). I halved the recipe since that’s how many tins I was willing to buy, and I probably did not use enough oil because I am not used to how it should be dispensed (I had bought little droppers but ended up not using them initially, which was dumb).
My final product turned out pretty well in spite of everything. Some of the tins have a more pronounced pocket of honey than the others. They all smell slightly more of coconut (from the oil I used) than lemon-lavender – though there is a hint of it in there. Luckily they do their job, and they do it well – the lip balm leaves a nice moisturized feeling on your lips, which is a little greasy at first, but is nice in its ability to keep your lips moist through a couple hours. I’ve given the Boy and the girls their own little tins so far and they enjoy them (though are slightly confused at times at how to open them, *sigh*). I’ll probably hand out the rest to friends at some point and say, “let me know what you think, don’t be afraid to chuck it our give it back to me if you don’t like it”. And since I still have a lot of the base ingredients, it probably won’t be the last time I make lip balm. But it wasn’t a bad first try, and I think I have ideas of how to make it even better next time.
PS – if you’re local and want to a tin, leave a comment or let me know!
Lemon-Lavender Honey Lip Balm
Yields ~6 oz of lip balm TOTAL [I halved the recipe and used smaller tins]
8 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons Beeswax
1.5 Tablespoons Raw Honey
30 drops essential oil [I used half lemon, half lavender]
1/2 stick of natural lipstick [OPTIONAL FOR COLOR – I didn’t do this]
Enough tins to hold your final product
Place oil, beeswax and honey in a double boiler (or heatproof bowl resting on top of a small saucepan of simmering water). Heat gently until everything has melted.
Remove mixture from heat, and add chosen essential oil and lipstick (if using). Stir until blended.
Place the pan or bowl in a larger bowl full of cold water. Stir quickly until the mixture begins to change in consistency (it will become thicker).
Pour mixture into containers, place covers on, and let sit to cool and set up. (fills approximately one dozen 1/2 oz tins)
Details: Using the recipe for Sweet Orange Lip Balm from Hip Home
I will be happy to be a guinea pig! Sounds like an fun DIY project.
OK, first let me recommend this required-listening episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You, which I bet you will find very interesting (I sure did):
Women and Pyramid Schemes, http://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/podcasts/women-pyramid-schemes.htm
Second, while I have bought essential oils in the past, it was not through an MLM (they are hella cheap on Amazon…) I used them for the bath bombs I made everyone that one Christmas and I have also used them to make candles. And I also used the peppermint one to keep the wasps away from me in the field for a while this summer, haha. I have never smelled so good in the field.
I think I’ve actually listened to that one? Yeah – it was fascinating.