Well, let's just say gift funds were a bit tight this year, so I officially declared to my family that this was going to be a Homemade Gifts Only Christmas. And much to my delight, everyone was thrilled with the idea! During the summer, I had planned ahead a bit (shocking!) and made some canned goods intended for gift giving, such as jams, pickles, bruschetta topping, pickled jalapenos and salsa. But after we harvested our honey in October and I found myself with a pound of beautiful beeswax, I decided to try my hand at making a lotion or lip balm for gifts as well.
This recipe looked so easy and fabulous that I just had to try it out. It passed my test of "recipe with less than 5 ingredients" (I'm no gourmet, folks. More than 5 ingredients in a recipe makes my eyes cross and I totally lose interest). Even better, I already had most of the ingredients. For what I didn't have, I went to the website Mountain Rose Herbs and bought it there. Mountain Rose Herbs has an excellent selection of herbs and oil for culinary and body care use. They also sell all sorts of containers for body care products, such as lip balm tubes, round tins, glass bottles with droppers, and glass or plastic jars. To be honest, I found the website to be a little overwhelming, so I requested a catalog in the mail, which allowed me to see everything at once, instead of jumping around from page to page.
I ordered a few items - Cocoa Butter for the balm, glycerin, some essential oils, small tins and lip balm tubes. Everything looked lovely, even the box they arrived in!
My loot from Mountain Rose Herbs
As Christmas approached, I gathered up the supplies needed to make the lotion bar/lip balm. In case you are wondering "what is a lotion bar?", it's quite simply a lotion in solid form. When you rub the bar on your skin, the heat of your body melts the bar and allows the lotion to spread. Lotion bars also make excellent lip balms. They are especially nice because they don't make a mess and are easy to travel with.
Only four ingredients! Coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax and peppermint oil.
Here is the recipe! I can't remember exactly how much this recipe makes, but I think I filled at least 12 lip balm tubes, 6 lip balm tins and a muffin pan (1/2 dozen pan). You will need:
- 3 oz or 1/3 cup beeswax, in chunks or pastilles (you can buy it from Mountain Rose Herbs or check your local health food store, like Smart Choice Market or Harvest Health Foods )
- 3 oz or 1/3 cup cocoa butter
- 3 oz or 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 tsp peppermint essential oil
- Scale for weighing the ingredients. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can just measure using measuring cups, but it's a little tricky because the beeswax and cocoa butter are hard. You'll have to find a way to chop them into small pieces so your measurements will be somewhat accurate.
- Containers for the lotion bar/lip balm. If you are making lotion bars, you will need to find molds to pour the mixture into (check at craft stores for candy or candle molds). Or you can pour into muffins tins to make round disks which can be stored in a container (grease the tins with coconut oil). Lip balm can be poured into tubes, pots or tins.
- An old double boiler, or an old pot or bowl that will fit propped up inside another pot. Make sure this is a pot that you don't intent to use for any other purpose. It will be very difficult to get clean, so you don't want to use your everyday pots.
1. Heat the water in the bottom part of the double boiler. While waiting for the water to boil, lay down some newspaper or wax paper on the counter and arrange your containers on it. This will make clean up easier if you drip on the counter.
2. Add the beeswax, cocoa butter and coconut oil to the top part of the double boiler. Beeswax is flammable, so make sure you melt it in a bowl/pan over boiling water, NOT directly over the heat source.
3. Heat the beeswax, cocoa butter and coconut oil until melted. Stir to combine with an old spoon (one you don't mind sacrificing) or bamboo skewer.
4. Remove from the heat. Stir in the 2 tsp of peppermint oil.
5. Quickly (and carefully!) pour the hot mixture into your waiting containers. The mixture will begin to harden up almost immediately. Use caution - hot wax will burn your skin!
6. If the mixture begins to harden in the pan before you have a chance to pour it all out, simply scrape the hard parts to the bottom on the pan and remelt over the hot water. Repour.
7. Clean up. Uggggg. The worst part. Do your best to scrape the pot clean with a butter knife or plastic scraper. After that, you will have to use VERY hot water and soap to melt the beeswax and get the pot as clean as you can. This is why you don't use your everyday cooking pots. This pot should be set aside for body care products only.
Lotion bars on the left and balm on the right.
I ended up using 3 different pouring methods. Some I poured into lip balm tubes, some I poured into round tins to be used as lip balm, and some I poured into muffin tins to make bars ( I popped them in the freezer for a few minutes and they came out of the tins easy as pie). The lotions bars from the muffin tins fit nicely into the round tins as well, but could be removed from the tin and rubbed over the whole body.
This lotion/balm smells absolutely delicious and the peppermint leaves a pleasing tingle. If you like chocolate and peppermint, then this is the lotion/balm for you! Everyone loves it, especially my kids (and bonus - I don't have to worry when they eat it, because it's perfectly edible. You might want to eat it too because it smells so good!). It makes a fabulous lip balm, hand cream or all over body moisturiser. I love multi-purpose products!
You could have all sorts of fun giving this lotion/balm as gifts. The options for molds and containers are endless. If you are crafty like a fox, I'm sure you could figure out some way to decoupage some pretty fabric or paper onto the container. Get wild and crazy.
So now, all you organized souls, go write this down in your binder labeled "Ideas for Christmas Gifts". Because I know you have one. Don't try to deny it. Enjoy!