When I posted my diaper creme recipe, Melissa commented to tell me about her recipe, which was basically a herbal salve loaded with zinc oxide, and the idea stuck. So, when a coworker’s wife had a squishy little baby girl, I thought it was time to whip up a batch of baby bum balm.
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One of the things that most appealed to me was the lack of water. I’m hardly a diaper creme connoisseur, but most of the stuff I’ve seen is a lotion, and as such, contains a liberal amount of preservatives to make it shelf stable. I wasn’t about to add preservatives to something for tender little baby bums, but without preservatives, that leaves me handing new parents tubs of cream that need to be used quickly, and even stored in the fridge.
I don’t know about you, but I can barely function for a day on low sleep, let alone weeks on end. I doubt fussy diaper creme storage instructions would be anywhere close to the top of mind in such situations, especially if you’re used to lotions with indefinite shelf lives. So, a water-based diaper creme was starting to sound like a pot of creme destined to mould.
I wanted something a bit more foolproof, and that’s where this baby bum balm comes in. It’s a purposefully simple recipe, with just three to five ingredients. It comes together quickly, and can be easily scaled up to make several tins for diaper bags, change stations, and stashing. I formulated it to be a bit on the softer side for easier scooping and spreading on soft skin. It’s essential oil free because you shouldn’t be using essential oils on babies, so please don’t add any if you plan to use this on babies.
My tester mum reported back that this salve cleared up some red spots overnight, but stays zinc-y in that the zinc doesn’t absorb overnight. This isn’t surprising given the relatively high percentage of zinc and its insoluble nature, but it’s nothing a baby wipe won’t take care of once you’re done with it.
Baby Bum Balm
10g | 0.35oz chamomile infused olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
10g | 0.35oz calendula infused olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
20g | 0.7oz olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
or just 40g (1.41oz) plain olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
10g | 0.35oz beeswax (USA / Canada)
10g | 0.35oz zinc oxide
Melt the olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)s and beeswax together in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, and add the zinc oxide. Stir to blend with a silicone spatula, using the flexible blade to smash the zinc oxide around and bust it into smaller bits. Keep stirring as the mixture cools.
Once the mixture has cooled enough to be about as thick as custard, decant it into a 60mL/2oz tin and let it set up.
To use, smooth a small amount across the skin.
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You sure have been cranking out great recipes lately! Speaking of babies, I’m now working as a part time nanny for three month old twin girls, so I see lots of babies’ bums these days. I’m collecting baby recipes cause I have a couple girlfriends who are preggers. Hope you are doing well! We should have a skype date sometime soon!
Thanks, Ruth! I’m definitely making lots of messes in my kitchen 😉 Your twin charges sound like they must be downright adorable and oh-so-squishy! And yes, definitely, a Skype date is in order—let’s get something on the books 🙂
First off, i just have to say that your blog is AMAZING! Love getting your email updates, it is so nice that someone is willing to share their recipes with others for free – thank you! I have 4 boys under 7 and got started making my own lotion bars & salves because I did not like the harmful ingredients in low-end baby care items and cannot afford the high cost of organic, safe alternatives. This is a great recipe and very similar to what I have used on my babies. I also infuse olive oil with both chamomile and calendula, which is so good for them that I also use it in their lotion bars. The only difference in my balm recipe is that I use part coconut oil for its triple-threat properties. I tried adding a bit of shea butter to my recipe once, but didn’t like that as well. Thanks again for sharing your creativity and talents with us!
Thanks so much, Amanda! I really appreciate your support 🙂 Your boys are really lucky to have you as their mum!
I actually have a baby rash cream that I sell. Helps with yeast infections too (even on adults). I have never had one…but one of my testers happened to have one and used it…said it cleared it up! As far as rashes….i know for my daughter it works better than desitin (sp?)!!!!!!!!
If you want it let me know 🙂
Ha, how funny! Oh, the things customers share 😉
I would be interested in this. My granddaughter deals with several diaper rashes/yeast infections. Thank you!
I was thinking about asking you to dupe this diaper cream containing cod liver oil. My kids are older now but this diaper cream somehow works great on various skin outbreaks I sometimes get. The after waxing/threading pimply outbreaks where a plain pimple cream is too drying but any other cream to fatty making pimples worse. Ingredients: 35% zinc oxide,22% cod liver oil (on the smelly side), Paraffin, Lanolin, Beeswax. I’m not keen on the Paraffin or Lanolin. Wondering what I could replace it with? Cheers x
Hmmm… can’t say I’m keen on acquiring any cod liver oil lol. It sounds like you’re most of the way to a dupe, though, with percentages for the first two ingredients, and the beeswax being somewhat easy to puzzle out based on the texture of the final product. I’d probably use shea butter or cupuacu instead of paraffin and lanolin, and use my beeswax/liauid oils guide as a starting point for how much wax to add.
By the way, figured I’d let you know, zinc oxide/baby bum balm works WONDERS on chaffed noses and lips from colds! If your nose/upper lip is sore from all the blowing and sneezing…just rub any product with lots of zinc oxide in it and let sink in for about a half hour. The chaffness will literally be gone!
I’ve used diaper creme/zinc oxide creams for rashes from walking too far in a wet swimsuit, and on heat rash. Brilliant stuff, zinc oxide!
Could you use calendula infused oil for this? And what about cera bellina instead of beeswax?
Yes and yes! I would recommend doing a smaller batch first to make sure you’re happy with the consistency you get from cera bellina 🙂 Happy making!
Ive used it before, and am currently using it now. Allergies. Ugh never had em til I moved to WA. This really IS amazing for a chaffed nose area. Also good for sores and stuff too. Cleared em right out. Dealing with hives from chemicals, gluten, or antibiotics right now. Going to try on those after bath but they are all over, might use my whole tin lol. I actually answered my door at hotel to housekeeping forgetting I had a very liberal application on my upper lip and nose. That girl must have been laughing and or wondering..,
I’m loving the, err, milk mustache mental image!
Not so much a question about recipe or ingredients but knowledge. I am addicted. I’ve been following you, the info that suppliers put out, researching online and of course experimenting:-) I’d like to be more knowledgeable about botanical/natural ingredients and what they do. Some of the chemistry of putting it all together. What is ‘super fatting’, and other terms like that. Maybe (cringe) start a business. Do you have your certification as an aromatherapist? Is that something that would really help me in the long run or would I be just paying for the paper and letters at the end of my name?
You seem to be the middleperson for suppliers and ‘how to do it’ publications so I really want your opinion on the need for certification -especially if I’m looking at selling my products eventually.
Hi Liz! No, I don’t have any aromatherapy certification, though I do have a degree in graphic design and a few courses in food science and alternative health modalities under my belt, whatever that’s worth 😛 If you’re interested in the science and chemistry behind DIY, I wouldn’t recommend paying to study aromatherapy. From what I’ve seen out there, the paid certification doesn’t seem to offer any exclusive knowledge that cannot be found through extensive research, and since it is not a field that is regulated in the same way as medicine, your options for gaining that education would likely vary greatly. If you don’t plan on practicing as an aromatherapist, I wouldn’t bother. Stick to learning more about the science behind your projects, and build up your knowledge around EOs as you add them to your collection 🙂 As long as you are creating high quality products that perform, people don’t particularly care if you are a certified aromatherapist (in my experience, at least).
P.S. “Superfatting” is another name for lye discount in soaping. Basically it’s your buffer, ensuring that there’s more fat than the lye can act on, so when that reaction is complete you have excess fat in the bar, not excess lye 🙂
Thanks Marie for taking time with my questions.
I live in a major (sort of) city with limited resources and info/education. There is an all natural apothecary shop fairly close that sells everything from EOs, carrier oils, dried herbals, botanicals, teas, incense, etc. It’s our longstanding ‘hippie shop’ and the people that work there are wonderful and I like hanging out there to ‘breathe in the store’ , lol. The products are very expensive though. And they can’t always answer my questions – which are getting more in-depth as I learn ;-/ Sometimes they send me to the reading area to find a book that might have an answer. It’s so frustrating talking to people and telling them what I’m doing – like speaking a foreign language that doesn’t even exist. Ugh!
I do have quite a few books that have basic recipes. Also one that’s more like an encyclopedia with names and information on anything herbal.
I really do appreciate your help and if there were a ‘speed-dial’ for your blog I’d have it.
I know the feeling—that’s a big part of why I started a blog. I’m pretty much the only person I know who’s interested in these things, so I turned to the internet. Calgary is one of the biggest cities in Canada (#3), but we’re no NYC. And yes, everything in stores is SO expensive. Anywhere and everywhere I’ve ever been for that sort of thing is a huge rip off, the internet is the only way to go for ingredients. At least you have interested, kindred spirits at your hippie shop to share your learnings with 🙂 I really appreciate my friends and co-workers tolerating my blathering lol!
Thanks so much for reading & DIYing with me, and always feel free to get in touch if you have any questions 🙂
I just do it this baby balm for my 1yo son over the weekend..and love it!. Its thick, but still spreadable, and it came easy with the wipes in the next diaper change. It cleared a medium rash that he got from teething..I just (don’t kill me) added a couple drops of EO. I know.. some places don’t recommend using EO on babies, however I did my research and found that some are OK in low amounts (I used 2 drops of lavender, 1 of chamomile and 1 of rosemary) and the combination smells amazing!!! (very similar of Burt’s bee diaper cream, but softer) ..
I just want to know, if any of your lotions are OK for babies, specially the emulsimuse (didn’t found any contraindications over internet, but I would like to know your opinion… I was thinking in the Oat Dream Cream sans EO, bc I already done the lotion (awesome, BTW!!) , but the smell is a little overwhelming for me, (at least) with a touch of Colloidal Oatmeal, to extra smooth (very Aveeno Eczema Lotion)… What you you think?!
Again, thanks for your amazing recipes!!
Hi Cristina! I’m so thrilled you’re loving this balm and that it’s working so well for your bub’s bum 🙂
Emusimulse is eco-cert certified and approved for use in organic products. Its components (Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate) get good safety ratings on Skin Deep. I’d be totally ok using it on a baby, but I don’t have one, so what do I know? 😛 The thing I’d be worried about would be mould, which you will eventually encounter in lotions as they contain water. You can add a broad spectrum preservative, but in many cases those are more suspicious than the mould… so, basically, I shall leave you to draw your own conclusions 😛
I will definitely try the lotion with the emulsimulse.. I done the whipped cocoa body butter and had great results after the bath, for a small massage before sleep… but I was thinking in something more light for the day, as the body butter is a little greasy. He is very mobile now, so it will be difficult try to catch him with the body butter 😀
Have fun with it, I luurve my emulsified lotions, especially when I don’t want things (babies included) squirting out of my hands 😉
Would love to know if you can use cera bellina in this and also colloidal oatmeal? I thought that may add some soothing however I’m not sure if it is soluble in oil. Thanks! And omg I love all you stuff! Thank you for being such an amazing resource
You could try adding colloidal oatmeal, but keep in mind it will not dissolve, so I’d start small and see if you like the skin feel. Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂
I was wondering if titanium dioxide would work in place of the zinc oxide? I don’t have zinc oxide currently, but I do have titanium dioxide. My sister’s baby shower is in two weeks and I wanted to make some baby care/mommy care products for her today, or tomorrow.
Titanium dioxide doesn’t have the same soothing, barrier properties as zinc oxide does, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Hey Marie 🙂
When you say this stays zinc-y do you mean it leaves a white residue?
Yup, that’s exactly what I mean 🙂
Where can you buy zinc oxide?
I got mine from New Directions Aromatics (link in the big box above the comments).
Hi! Thank you very much for sharing these great recipes! Always love getting your email updates.
I got a question. Since this recipe contains zinc oxide, I’m wondering if this balm can be used as sunscreen for face and/or body. I’m not sure how many percent should zinc oxide contain in a balm/lotion recipe for it to be qualified as sunscreen, or how to determine the spf level.
Hi Yuliani! I never, ever recommend homemade sunscreen, and here’s why.
Thanks for the reply. I’ve read your post and the comments below. Wow, what a debate…
I think I kinda agree with you. No wonder I can’t find a proper SPF calculator for DIY sunscreen anywhere on the internet.
The baby bum recipe calls for infused olive oil. How is this done? I’m new to this & need some guidance.
Welcome, Nancy! Here’s my article on how to make your very own herb-infused oils. It’s super easy and they’re awesome to have on hand 🙂 Thanks for reading and have fun!
I live in a place that doesn’t have calendula and chamomile herbs. Can I use chamomile EO instead?
Typically yes, but it is not recommended to use EOs on babies, so not here. Also, no need to email me with the same questions you leave as comments—I’m going to delete your email on this same topic 🙂
I was wondering if anyone that uses cloth diapers has used this? Currently we have a cloth diaper cream that we offer but I really like this recipe! I may need to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!
I haven’t tried this with any babies (I’ve outsourced that testing), but I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use this with a cloth diaper 🙂
Thanks a Million for generously sharing all those brilliant ideas!
I’ve tried the baby bum balm for a friend’s baby, and was wondering if there is an alternative to beeswax I can use? My beeswax always turns back into little grains once it cools, which is a bit annoying and makes the texture gritty and grainy.
Hi Meri! This is probably not a problem with your beeswax—it’s a common problem with some butters. You can read more at Swifty Crafty Monkey 🙂
Hi Marie, How long does this balm last for once it’s made??
Hey Nic! Read this for a very detailed answer 🙂
You have established a great knowledge base and a great help here with your experiments. Thanks for sharing all of it.
I made a custom diaper creme recipe after researching few ingredients, main ingredients being shea butter, coconut oil, zinc oxide, beeswax, aloe vera liquid.
The solution seems little too thick and sticks to my finger and does not easily release to stick to baby bum in the morning time (60 degree). Whereas in the afternoon, solution seems thick enough in the bottle, but easily releases to stick to baby’s skin and seems thinner as if it’s releasing oils.
I have purchased many natural diaper creams from Amazon with similar ingredients. They don’t face this weather / temperature problem in my home next to my cream.
Would you be able to help me figure out the reason why these professional creams with same ingredients don’t have the melting and thickening problem?
Does everyone face it with DIY?
Hey Chirag! I can’t really help without knowing your proportions, and even then I’d have to make it and play with it… and I’m probably not going to do that. Something that does stick out to me is that you dno’t have an emulsifier or a preservative, and you will need both as aloe vera juice is mostly water. That could be a big part of your problem 🙂 Remember that ingredients are just the starting point! Think of all the chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever eaten—they all have more or less the same ingredients, but I’m sure some cookies were much better than others!
Hi Marie, I have chamomile and calendula already infused in sweet almond oil – would that work in this recipe or do you recommend 100% olive oil? (I guess a simple question might be, is there a reason to use only olive oil for this baby bum recipe?) I would like to include chamomile and/or calendula in the recipe I make but am not sure if almond oil is appropriate in this case. Thanks bunches!
For sure! You can really use any liquid oil with an average-ish absorption speed 🙂 My only concern about nut products is allergies, so perhaps check with the mum in question if nut allergies are a concern.
My zinc oxide didn’t fully dissolve… it kinda does when i rub it on my skin but i can see the tiny spexks of z.o. on the cream. Could it be coz when i put the z.o. in, the wax/oil mix had hardened a bit? I let it cool for a good 10 min and the mix was white around the top edges when i added the z.o. Let me know what u think went wrong. Could I still use it that way or gotta be tossed and started over? It feels so lovely on the skin tho, I absolutely love it.
Hey Thais! Zinc oxide is insoluble, so it is never going to dissolve in anything. What we’re looking for is a smooth paste. You might try sifting the ZO next time before making this, but for now you can re-melt it and stir it longer, using a spatula to break up any clumps like I do in this video 🙂
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I did just that, re-melted and stir the z.o. really well, however the balm turned out pretty
hard,. my finger doesn’t pick up any cream
but i think it’s because it’s been pretty cold and because our kids have eczema we keep the heater a bit low (that dry, hot forced air is so drying) Anywho, I tweaked the recipe a bit and added shea butter and put less beeswax… it turned out lovely, creamy and plenty sticks to my finger. The z.o. issue got resolved by adding it while the oils are still hot and by mixing and “smooshing” it with that fantastic spatula you use on all your videos (great buy that spatula!)
Awesome! I’m glad you got it sorted, and it sounds like you did some great troubleshooting as well to get exactly what you were looking for 🙂 Thanks for DIYing with me!
I just had to add that I made this about 4 times already and it’s the only thing I use on my babies bottoms. However, since I fell in love with cera bellina, I made a version of this using this lovely wax. I was aiming for a ointment-y feel and a drier finish. I mixed about 3 other recipes and came up with an ah-maaazing balm. It feels like vaseline but not quite sticky. It melts on contact but the zinc oxide doesn’t vanish on the skin. I used cera bellina, mango butter, calendula and chamomile infused oils, a bit of vitamin e and the zinc oxide. And I call it BumBum Balm (bumbum in Portuguese means butt when talking about a baby’s bottom!) Oh, and it’s pronounced boom boom!
Oooh, so cool! Thank you so much for sharing 😀 It sounds like you’ve made yourself the perfect DIY-for-you product, which is definitely the best part of this hobby 😀
Hi Marie, i made this over and over and still only use this stuff on baby girl. I have a quick question for you though: can i put my zinc oxide in a coffe grinder to make it finer? I have been sifting my z.o. as you suggested and it works great but now i have big lumps of z.o. left that is impossible to incorporate into the recipe without having lumps of z.o. on my cream (and on my baby girl’s tushie) Can the last of the bits of zo be ground up? I didnt wanna toss a bag with about 30 grams of chunks of z.o. left in it so I’m trying to figure out how to use it. Any tips would be very appreciated .
Hey! You definitely can 🙂 I do this all the time when making makeup! Buzz away 🙂
Hi Marie. I am also addicted to your site. Have made lots of your recipes with success. I only started a few months ago. I spend lots of time reading your blog. Also lots of $ !! I made this a couple of weeks ago. My friend said that it worked amazingly on her baby. Thanks. Looking forward to more great recipes from you. Rose
Thanks, Rose! I love this bum balm, too—it’s my go-to gift for new parents 🙂 Happy making and thanks for reading!
Hi Marie –
This Baby Bum Balm literally saved my face! My husband and I were building a greenhouse with some friends; first time out in the sun, which really didn’t feel strong at all….needless to say I blistered up and from experience (I’m a natural redhead, fair skin…) I knew that I was in for a bad time. I found this recipe the next day and whipped up a batch, kept my burned bits covered for a few days and really healed up fast. Thank you so much for being so diligent, consistent and just all round badass. You rock!
How awesome! I never would’ve thought to use this for sunburn, but now that you say it, it makes a lot of sense 🙂 Happy you healed up fast!
Hi Marie! I am having trouble figuring out which zinc oxide to buy. I am looking to purchase from TKB Trading and they have listed HP1 Z-cote, zinc oxide low micron, zinc oxide high micron, and z-cote zinc oxide so, which one should I look at getting? Thank you for any help!
You want the zinc oxide high micron 🙂
I love this balm and so does my baby’s bum. I found sifting the zinc oxide in a tea strainer really helps get all the lumps out. But I’m having a bit of trouble with how it looks. I use different infused oils (sweet almond, oat, jojoba, vitamin E) but 50% of the oil is olive. The balm looks lovely and creamy for a few weeks, but then I start to get green patches in it. I’m guessing it’s the olive oil. But I mix everything really well and use a mini whisk. I’m not sure why this is happening. It happens throughout the balm. I use a clear jar and you can see it on the bottom. I’ve had it in each jar I’ve made. It’s not mold, I sterilize the jars and never double dip. It’s just discolouring in patches. Should I not mix oils?
I’d love to make some for my mommy friends, but I don’t want them thinking there is something wrong with it.
Hmmm. Is it quite hot where you are? The wax should prevent any sort of separation or seepage, but if the balm is very soft due to high temperatures I could see that happening. Can you upload a photo to Imgur and share?
I’m not sure how to do that. Can I email it?
I’m in southern Ontario. It’s been warm but they aren’t melting. The consistency is still good. It’s a yellow/green and mostly at the top. I’m 99% sure it’s something to do with the olive oil but can’t think what.
You can email it or send it as a facebook message 🙂 I was just in southern Ontario and WOOOOEEE that was HOT haha—40°C with the humidex in Ottawa yesterday!
Hi Marie, my daughter is having her first baby due in March so I wanted to make her some products, my question is can I use candelilla wax instead of the beeswax? I can’t wait to make this product! Thank you for all that you do
Please review my wax experiments to learn about their differences; you can, but you must make adjustments 🙂
Hi Marie.. How long does the baby bum balm last and how many ml’s does your recipe approximately make? Thank you so much 🙂 XX
Here’s an FAQ on shelf life.
From the post: “Once the mixture has cooled enough to be about as thick as custard, decant it into a 60mL/2oz tin and let it set up.”
If you don’t have infused oil, can you use normal unscented oil – will that affect the balm in any way?
And what is the estimated shelf life of this balm?
You definitely can! Read this re: shelf life 🙂
Thank you for sharing all those lovely recipes!! I am new to DIY thing and found your videos on YouTube searching for recipes. I was actually shocked to see how many people are oit there giving bad recipes, especially using EO. But so happy when I found your videos and blog with great recipes.
I just purchased some stuff to make some recipes and this one is one i would like to try for my 6 month baby girl. But I was wondering if I could also add maybe 2-3 drops of EO? Maybe a drop of chamomile, 2of lavender? I don’t have infused oils yet (waiting for the ingredients to arrive and I’ll make that too:)) but can’t wait another couple of weeks until I have the oils 🙂
Good afternoon Dorotea!
Essential oils concentrations and dilutions are such a huge topic these days if you pay attention to some of the groups on Facebook. When it comes to infants to the toddler ages and essential oils you should pay very close attention to the general guidelines as set out by Robert Tisserand. If you are asking me personally, I would leave essential oils out of any skin care product for children under the age of 4 or 5. Your best bet would be to do some oil infusions when you get your ingredients in. I know it is hard to wait!
I’d love to add some mango butter to this. Would you recommend I lower the beeswax if I add it?
Probably, but likely not by much. Make sure you refer to this guide for some more information 🙂 Happy making!
HI … so first thank you very much and then can i ask you why you did not add anti oxydant like vit E ?
Wondering what you can sub for the 20g of olive oil? I was thinking 10g shea butter and 10g coconut oil (as these have a lot of benefits). I know though it will make the end product thinker. If I do that maybe I can add some of another liquid oil to make it softer but how much should I add?
That’ll work; please review the FAQ for articles on making things thicker/thinner 🙂 Happy making!
Hey Marie! I hope you’re enjoying the summer! I have a couple of questions: (1) is there a specific reason to use “pomace” olive oil? I read that this is basically the “wrung-out” stuff that’s left over after the regular olive oil processing … sounds a bit yucky! (2) If I want to leave out the zinc oxide (I’m not a fan!) do I increase the amount of wax, or oil, or ….? Thank you! 🙂
Hi Willow! Pomace olive oil is cheaper, and from a skincare POV you won’t notice much. That said, I’d choose sunflower seed oil if I was to do this today 🙂
The zinc oxide is the key, active ingredient in this formulation. It’s the anti-irritant, barrier-forming, skin-protecting part of this formula. Please don’t eliminate it 🙂
Hi Marie! I made this recently and followed your recipe almost exactly (10g beeswax, 10g zinc oxide, and 40g calendula and cornsilk infused sweet almond oil). As the balm cooled, I mixed it with a hand mixer instead of just stirring it. I thought that by using the hand mixer I could whip some air into it like I’ve done with body butters. It came out great and was fine for about a week or two. Then one day I noticed there was some liquid sitting on top of the balm. Not a crazy amount, maybe a half tsp. It seems to be oil. Any idea why this happened? This is my first time making a balm.