This carnation coloured Blushing Argan Lip Balm is inspired by Josie Maran’s Argan Lip Treatment. It sounded like a good idea, but the reviews were a little mixed. Some users raved about it—subtle, smoothing, shiny. Others said it was a bit lackluster, from less-than-ideal (though very cute) packaging to a plasticky smell to a grainy texture. Also, it’s $18 for a measly 6.8g (0.23oz) of the stuff. So, I set out to see what I could do.

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The first thing I did was eliminate about 2/3 of the ingredients. Things like Octyldodecanol, Ethyl Cellulose, Isostearyl Alcohol, and Calcium Sodium Borosilicate got the boot. The original contains 24 or more different ingredients—mine has 8, plus the essential oils. I basically just kept the recognizable, easy-to-obtain ingredients, and dropped the rest.

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Up next, I formulated mine for tubes instead of pots. Pots require fingers for application, which is messy and germy. I’m far more likely to apply lip balm from a tube than a pot, so that was a no-brainer.

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The reviewers described the original as having an apple-like scent, which screams fragrance oil. Instead I blended petitgrain, rose geranium, and peppermint for something slightly floral, with a bright citrussy note from the petitgrain, and a cooling peppermint hit that tempers the sweetness of the floral note.

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I filled ten tubes (48g) for a whopping $1.25 (or $2.70 with the cost of the tubes). It’s a light balm with a wee hit of pink, and a bit of shine. It’s not heavy or intensely moisturizing, making it perfect for warmer summer days. Mmm, lovely.

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Blushing Argan Lip Balm

10g | 0.35oz jojoba oil (USA / Canada)
10g | 0.35oz castor oil (USA / Canada)
8g | 0.28oz unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5g | 0.17oz olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
5g | 0.17oz argan oil (USA / Canada)
10g | 0.35oz beeswax (USA / Canada)

~4 drops liquid carmine dye or a wee sprinkle of red iron oxide or a wee sprinkle of carmine (optional—for a pink/red tint)
1 pinch (1/16 tsp) oil-soluble titanium dioxide (optional—for a bit of opacity so the balm is a milky pink)
I use these cute little measuring spoons to measure out tiny amounts like “pinches”

4 drops petitgrain essential oil
2 drop rose geranium essential oil
4 drops peppermint essential oil (USA / Canada)

Weigh the oils, unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada), and wax out into a heat resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring up in a pot of barely simmering water to melt the oils.

Once everything has melted, remove the entire double boiler from the heat (leaving the container of oils in the hot water) and thoroughly blend in the titanium dioxide and carmine (or red iron oxide) using a flexible silicone spatula.

Stir in the essential oils.

Remove the container of oils from the hot water bath and stir until the mixture cools a bit and thickens slightly (so the titanium dioxide doesn’t settle out).

Pour the lip balm into 10 lip balm tubes and enjoy! I like to label mine with these cute brown paper labels.

I’ve found some people don’t find jojoba oil (USA / Canada) to be very moisturizing in lip balms—it can be quite the opposite for them. If this is you (or if you just don’t have jojoba), feel free to swap it out for sweet almond oil (USA / Canada), apricot kernel oil, or safflower oil.

Don’t have the carrier oils called for in the recipe? Read this for a guide on how to choose appropriate alternatives.

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