Today we’re blending up a simple, all-natural, Nourishing Lip Mask. I’ve called it a lip mask, but honestly, it’s a super versatile salve for all kinds of dry, irritated skin. It stars a short and sweet list of rich, soothing emollients to create a gorgeous ointment that’s brilliant for all kinds of things. Enjoy!
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The bulk of this lip mask is lanolin; a thick, ointment-y substance pressed from sheep’s wool. It is a rich skin protectant, moisturizer, softener, and occlusive—brilliant for dry lips and irritated skin anywhere on the body. It’s a favourite amongst breastfeeding women, featuring heavily in many nipple creams. I’d say the one less-than-awesome thing about lanolin is its smell, which is often described as “characteristic”—sort of oily and musty, and overall not super delicious. So, while there’s quite a lot of lanolin in here, I did cut it with some liquid oils and other things that don’t smell like, well… lanolin.
My initial daydreams for this formulation included quite a lot more lecithin because I love it, and brainstorm brain was all “more is better!”. But, alas, a quick check reminded me that lecithin is limited to 15% in formulations, so that’s what we’re using. Like lanolin, lecithin is a wonderful emollient and occlusive, and is great for barrier repair. I love how rich it makes concoctions feel—you’ll find it in several lip-thing formulations here on Humblebee & Me.
I’ve also included two lovely liquid oils: rich and glossy castor oil, and golden jojoba oil. They help make this mask a bit lighter and dilute the lanolin-y smell while bringing their awesome-ness to the party. Awwww yeah!
For thickening: we’ve already got a pretty viscous base thanks to the high concentrations of lanolin and lecithin, but I still wanted to include some wax for added staying power, richness, and thickness. I tried both beeswax and cera bellina, and while I like them both, I like the extra-ointmenty feel the cera bellina adds, so I’m listing that as my first choice.
The finished Nourishing Lip Mask is a rich, soft, ointment-y salve with a lovely sunny colour. I love it not only for my lips, but for dry knuckles and cuticles, and other rough patches, like on my feet and elbows. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
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Nourishing Lip Mask
4.55g | 45.5% lanolin
1.5g | 15% soy lecithin (liquid)
1.5g | 15% castor oil (USA / Canada)
1.4g | 14% jojoba oil (USA / Canada)
1g | 10% cera bellina (USA / Canada) or beeswax (USA / Canada)
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
After about 20–30 minutes everything should be completely melted through. Remove the water bath from the heat, remove the measuring cup from the water bath, and dry it off with a dishtowel. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Stir the mixture occasionally as it cools. I chose not to use an ice bath here as the batch is small enough that it cools fairly quickly on its own, but if you scale it up / want things to move faster, you might want to use an ice bath to speed up the cooling.
Once the mixture has thickened and appears translucent, stir in the vitamin E, and transfer the lip mask to a small tin or jar. And that’s it!
To use, apply generously to the lips before going to bed. You can also apply this mask anywhere, really—this is very versatile! You can definitely think of it as more of a salve than a lip mask if lip masks aren’t your jam 😊 Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this lip mask is 100% oil-based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 10g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (soy lecithin) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- This formulation is not vegan. Given it is comprised of 55.5% non-vegan ingredients (lanolin + beeswax/cera bellina), you’ll be in re-development territory if you want to substitute out the non-vegan ingredients.
- I don’t recommend swapping out the castor oil.
- You could choose a different midweight to heavyweight liquid carrier oil instead of jojoba oil.
- If you’d like to include an essential oil, I’d go with 0.5%, taking that out of the lanolin. Be sure you choose something lip safe!