I thought I’d mix things up a bit with this seasonal lip balm and bring my Lumps of Coal holiday theme to the realm of lip balms. And I love it. It definitely seemed a bit odd when I jotted down the idea a few weeks ago, with aims of avoiding creating something dark (though not goth-esque) you’d actually want near your mouth. The final product is a beautiful cool plum colour that I absolutely love. There’s a hint of shimmer, some wonderful darkness, and some subtle gloss. It’s a perfect stocking stuffer, and you should definitely make some.
The base of the balm is a firm yet glossy blend of candelilla wax, virgin coconut oil, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and walnut oil (if you’re allergic to nuts, safflower oil would be a good alternative). Compared to beeswax, candelilla is a stronger, glossier wax that makes much firmer balms that tend to apply more smoothly than beeswax balms made with comparable percentages of wax. I’ve found 80% is a good swap rate; use 80% the amount of candelilla wax if a recipe calls for beeswax. So, if you want to use beeswax instead in this recipe, you’d want to use 10g (0.35oz) of beeswax.
For the lovely colour, we’re using a blend of carmine and a dark grey mica. Carmine is a stunning bright pink-red colour that I’m just in love with. It’s stunning on its own, but it also shines like you wouldn’t believe in colour blends, transforming from a deep red to the beautiful cool plum of this lip balm with the simple addition of a dark grey mica. Swoon.
Carmine is necessary to make clear violets, bright corals, popping pinks, and so many other classic colour blends. I know I’m likely to get a deluge of questions about carmine alternatives, so please check out the encyclopedia entry on carmine, and the linked videos. The general gist of it is that carmine is irreplaceable if you want to stick with natural pigments and that stunning colour, but if you don’t believe me, watch the videos and see for yourself 😝
I was leaning towards some sort of anise/fennel scent from the get-go—something that seemed to fit with a dark, coal lip balm. A rifle through my essential oil cabinet turned up a bottle of star anise essential oil, and another of fennel. Between the two I much preferred the star anise; it has a lot more warm depth to it, and out of the two, reminds me significantly less of salad. I blended a few drops of star anise with some sweet, vanilla-like benzoin to create a wonderful, subtly sweet spiced scent blend. It doesn’t smell liquoricey, which I really appreciate as I’m not a huge liquorice fan, but if you love liquorice, just add a few more drops of star anise to amp it up 😊
And that’s that! You’ll end up with a fistful of tubes of a lovely cool plum lip balm that’s beyond lovely and perfect for stuffing in stockings or grabbing as part of a last-minute gift bag. They’re also pretty nice to keep for yourself, too 😉
Tinted Coal Lip Balm
8g | 0.28oz candelilla wax
10g | 0.35oz virgin coconut oil
6g | 0.21oz cocoa butter (USA / Canada)
8g | 0.28oz sweet almond oil (USA / Canada)
7g | 0.25oz walnut oil
5 drops Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
1/16 tsp carmine powder (I use these tiny measuring spoons for tiny measurements like this)
3/32 tsp dark grey mica (I used TKB’s Davy’s Gray)
3 “blobs“ benzoin essential oil
4 drops star anise essential oil
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.
Weigh the candelilla wax, coconut oil, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, walnut oil, and vitamin E oil into small heat resistant glass measuring cup. Place that measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through, and then some. I recommend leaving the cup in the water bath for at least half an hour. What we’re trying to do here is get the measuring cup itself quite hot, which will give us more time to work with the liquid lip balm before it starts to set up, and since we’re adding pigments and blending them in, extra working time is a big bonus.
Once everything in the measuring cup is thoroughly melted through and the cup is quite hot, remove it from the water bath (use a hot pad!), dry it off, and set it down on a folded dish towel to insulate it from the cool countertop. Add the pigments and essential oils, and blend everything together with a flexible silicone spatula. Take care to smear the spatula across the bottom of the measuring cup to break up and incorporate the pigments.
When the mixture is uniform, pour it into lip balm tubes and leave it to set up—this recipe will fill eight lip 4.5g lip balm tubes.
Want to learn more about these ingredients, including information on substitutions and where to buy them? Check out their entries in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia!
Beautiful color, Marie, especially on you. I love this color on. You called it ‘cool’ in your description. But through the camera it looks more ‘warm’.
I ask because I cannot wear cool colors. Is there a trick to turning a cool color into a warm color without jeopardizing the color I’m looking at, because it’s beautiful as is.
And are you, Marie, a cool or a warm? Your hair and eyes say you should be a warm but you seem to get away with some cool colors. There’s a few of your lip colors I pass on, because they look too cool, yet work on you. How many more times can I say cool in this comment??
Cool lippy Marie! I would like to make it but don’t know if I dare. I’m too warm.
I am honestly beginning to wonder if I just have neutral undertones as there isn’t much that I don’t like on myself in terms of a “washed out” or “clashes” sort of way. I tried some very purple purples while working on the book and while I thought they looked funny, I didn’t think they looked awful. In any event, this lip tint is so subtle that it will be heavily influenced by the natural colour of your lips, so I have a hard time imagining it would clash with anything as it’ll blend with everything 🙂 Let me know if you decide to brave it!
How much wax should I use if I only have beeswax?
Try 10g 🙂
It is a beautiful color and, as Christie says, looks really great on you. Perfect for Christmas and Calgary winters! Congratulations on a winning recipe.
Thanks so much, Cheryl! Happy making 🙂
Is it possible you make lip stain from natural colorant, ex.beetroot? I’m avoiding mica in my creations. Thank you
Honestly, with the exception of carmine (which is natural), plant based colourants suck for cosmetics. Read more here and here and here 🙂
And I just cleaned my kitchen!
Note to self? Check emails before I clean the kitchen! I can’t wait to make this!
It looks gorgeous on you! Yay! More Christmas gifts!
“Kitchen cleaning”? What is this of which you speak? 😛 My kitchen exists in a semi-perpetual state of disaster so I don’t have this problem often, haha! Thanks for sharing your photos on Facebook 🙂
You’re welcome! Happy to share! I just got boxes and boxes in of gift boxes and bags for all my presents for Christmas. And I’ve fallen in love all over again with my neem soap with 500g of clay in it 1500g of oil. It’s brilliant!
This looks amazing Marie! It will definitely surprise those that get it as a gift and the scent suggestions are very fitting. I also wanted to add to your where to buy ingredients list a greek supplier “Orestis Craft Center” at http://www.candlemaking.gr but didn’t find a relative form. Thanks for the great christmas related recipes!
Also, what would be a good alternative to walnut oil? More sweet almond oil?
Thank you so much! I’ve added that supplier to my list—it’s always great to have resources for readers all over the world 😀 Happy making and thanks for reading!
Hi Marie, I have a question: If I want to skip the essential oils, which oil should I substitute it with? Greetings from the Netherlands!
Just leave them out; essential oils are not lipid based, so you can’t use a lipid based oil (like sweet almond) as an alternative. And, since this recipe has a very small quantity of essential oils in it, leaving them out won’t meaningfully impact the final product. Happy making!
Thanks so much! 🙂 I’ll do that. I love your YouTube channel by the way! Good job!
Thank you! I’m having lots of fun with it 🙂
Hi Marie – I’d love to try this recipe apart from I can’t use carmine because it’s made from dead insects! Is there anything else out here that might work?
Hey Mina! Go back and read the blog; there are several paragraphs on carmine and links to videos discussing and showing substitutions.
How did you choose walnut oil for this recipe?
It’s a nice, mild, and relatively inexpensive oil that feels nice on the skin and moisturizes well; you could easily use sweet almond or safflower instead.
So Dark Grey Mica is one I don’t have and am hesitant to buy just for this. Is there a way to mix black with something else for the same effect?
You could try putting some silver mica in a baggie with a touch of black iron oxide and mashing that up until that makes a dark grey mica, and then using that!
omg there are so many lip balms choices on your page. Yay! If you had to pick an absolute favorite, which one would it be?
Oh goodness. So many choices indeed! For super dry lips, this one. For everyday use, this one. For a bit of a treat—this one 🙂 Happy lip balm making!
How did I miss this? OMG. Hurry up carmine….I need you. The plum of my life is calling! When I make lipstick, this colour will be what I’m going to want or darn close to it.
*taps fingers* Seven days. I have to wait that long. I’m gonna die.
Ah, no! The plum colour here is very faint (definitely closer to “tint” than “lipstick”), but I hope you love it 😀
Love love love your blog and recipes! I’m wishing to make these as Christmas gifts, but have a little issues with the balms sticking to the sides of the tubes and breaking. Would you be so kind as to point out what I am doing wrong, or where the issue lies? Any help at all would be much appreciated! xx
I’ve honestly never had this happen and have never even heard of it happening. Are you scrolling the balm way above the level of the tube and trying to retract it after use? If so, don’t do that? Given the entire platform under the lip balm pushes up I don’t think it’s possible to stick and break on the way up… or at least I can’t imagine how. Hmm.
Hi I love the recipe! Thank you. Do you have problems using clear lip balm tubes? I always find when I use the clear tubes the colour pours blotchy and uneven. Am I puring too hot? It still works great i’d just love for it to look nice on the outside.
What you see in the photos for this post is pretty representative; I’ll have some areas of darker colour in some tubes. It honestly doesn’t bother me in the least and I’ve never paid any attention to when or why it happens, so I can’t offer much advice on that, sorry!
Wow. You are such a sweet delight to watch AND to read Marie! … not to mention, you make me giggle. 🙂
Quick question here, may I substitute liquid carmine here instead of the powdered form? … and if so, I guess the next question would be: how much liquid carmine?
Hey! So, yes, but you do run the risk of making the end product softer, so I would probably hold back ~0.5g liquid oil to make room for the liquid carmine. I’d probably start with ~0.5g liquid carmine, but definitely see how it goes and adjust as required!
A lovely, lovely lip balm – both in texture and in colour.
Only thing is, that somehow there ended up being several tiny bits of hard cocoa butter smattered throughout the tubes, which is perplexing to me, and uncomfortable on my lips! The wax, oils and butter were completely melted when I went to the next instruction, and I had given it plenty of time for the glass bowl to get nice and warm … like, about 40 min? Any thoughts on why this would have happened? … did I need to allow the bowl w/ those ingredients to heat up more? … or perhaps things cooled off too much in the next stage before pouring?
Thank you in advance for your thoughts. So grateful for your work Marie!
Good morning Heather!
The answer to your question is actually pretty neat. Different properties of oils solidify at different temperatures and rates. So when you pour a molten product into tubes or a container, maybe for a few days to a few months it’ll be awesome! But then, when there is a temperature shift (or even just over time!) you’ll begin to notice crystals forming. This happens a lot when you work with butters. Never fear! There is a way to prevent this from happening! Check out this article on how to prevent it from happening! The good news is, that your product is salvageable.