Today we’re whipping up a rich and creamy Watermelon Mint Lip & Cuticle Butter, designed to help pamper and protect the delicate skin around our nails and mouths. The base is just three simple, all-natural ingredients that come together to create a rich butter that’s initially stiff, and then softens into a decadent, nourishing treat for dry, irritated skin. It comes together really quickly and is a fabulous multi-purpose thing to have in your purse or bedside table. Let’s dive in!
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The bulk of this Watermelon Mint Lip & Cuticle Butter is new-to-me watermelon seed oil. How exotic sounding, no? Watermelon oil is pressed from the seeds of watermelons and is a gorgeous, lightweight oil. It sinks into the skin quickly, leaving an almost powdery feeling behind that I really like. It doesn’t have much of a scent—perhaps slightly fruitier than your average carrier oil, but nothing that comes through in end products or would make you think “ah! watermelons!” in a sniff test.
Complimenting silky, lightweight watermelon oil is something that’s pretty much the opposite—thick, sticky, unctuous lanolin. Lanolin is wonderful for chapped skin (it’s often the star ingredient in nipple ointments for breastfeeding moms). It is a wonderful skin protectant, moisturizer, softener, and occlusive, and it lends its ointment-y feeling to our products when used in higher concentrations. It also doesn’t smell… amazing… so I’ve kept the usage levels on the lower side so we can get the benefits without the sheep-y scent coming through.
Stearic acid is our thickener. In my experiments with stearic acid, I learned that it lends a wonderful buttery thickening and skin feel to thinner oils, and that’s exactly what I wanted here. 30% stearic acid transforms the blend of liquid watermelon oil and ultra-viscous lanolin into a firm, rich, creamy butter. Swoon! Please don’t swap out the stearic acid—nothing else will offer this sort of thickening our product.
I’ve selected mint essential oil to bring its refreshing goodness to the blend, but you could easily swap that out for something else you prefer, or leave it out altogether, replacing that 0.5% with more watermelon oil.
The process for this butter is melt, cool to trace in an ice bath (that happens fast with a 12g batch!), stir in the cool-down phase, and transfer the mixture to your container. While this butter is quite firm I wouldn’t say it’s firm enough for a lip balm tube, so I’d stick to some sort of wide-mouthed tin, jar, or tub. 15mL (0.5oz) is a good size for a 12g batch. Happy making!
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Watermelon Mint Lip & Cuticle Butter
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.
While the heated phase melts, prepare an ice bath. Take a bowl that is large enough to accommodate the container the heated phase is melting in, and fill it about halfway with ice cubes and cold water.
After about 20–30 minutes everything should be completely melted through.
Once the heated phase has melted, remove it from the heat and stir for a minute, giving the container a chance to cool a bit (this is most important for glass [even tempered glass], where there’s a chance of it shattering from a big temperature change; I used a metal bowl so this wasn’t a big worry). Then place the bowl in the ice bath and stir constantly for just a few seconds, until you start to see some opacity building on the bottom (the amount of time this takes is very dependent on the size of your batch; 12g will cool very quickly). Remove the measuring cup from the ice bath and stir continually until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Weigh in the cool down phase ingredients and stir to combine.
With that done, it’s time to package up your butter! I used a lovely 15mL black matte tin from YellowBee. That’s it!
To use, massage a small amount of the butter into your cuticles and/or lips as needed. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this butter 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 12g, which fills a 15mL (0.5oz) tin nicely.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, 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 (watermelon oil, lanolin) in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- I don’t recommend swapping out the lanolin or stearic acid. Given the base of this formulation is made from just three ingredients, changing anything will impact it, but changing those two ingredients will really impact it.
- You could use a different essential oil.