Lip balm - a perfect Summergift

I have been planning to start to celebrate the First day of summer in a more formal way than before.  It is the oldest holiday in Iceland and unique to this country, I think.  It's funny how I have gotten more interested in old people and traditions as I grow older.  It just seems that older people can teach me something about the world they knew.  With younger people, it's more like: Jep! Been there!  Done that!  Oh yeah!  That too!  No surprises there, really, so it's all a bit repetitious and slightly boring.  But older people are very interesting, they know stuff I never knew, lived in a time that's long gone and they aren't hanging around that much longer either.

I'm still a bit frustrated that missed some good opportunities to question my great aunt, Anna.  I just didn't appreciate soon enough how much she had lived through and how much I would learn if only I had figured out what to ask.  She always had an open house on the First day of Summer.  She didn't really invite anyone, we were just supposed to know and show up.  And we did.  It was an old fashioned coffee and cakes gathering of the most boring relatives.  But my father made sure we showed up.  I have been thinking that I should revive this tradition, except to do it with my closest family and do dinner.  I also want to give everyone a small present, like is customary to do on that day.  I'm not thinking of another mammon-fest, but just an occasion where I, as the matriarch (my mom is there, obviously, but she doesn't do family meals.  It's just not on her radar), give small summer presents.  And I thought of lip balm.  I have given people lip balm before and they like it very much.  I do too.  I think home made is the best and it literally takes minutes to do.

I have been looking for these sliding tins for some time in Europe and I found them at a British web page: Of a Simple Nature.  I bought a few (too few) and went ahead the other day.  I made two recipes, one pink and one orange.  I think they look so cute.  The red one has Peppermint essential oil, wonderfully fresh and traditional.  The orange was a first for me.  I mixed Alkanet and Annatto seed oils to get the colour.  It's very pretty, although it doesn't really show on the lips that much.  The scent for the orange lip balm was a combination of Vanilla and Rose.  It smells wonderful.  I figured I should do something sophisticated for those who are not fans of peppermint.

I have never written down my lib balm recipes, but this time I did.  So here it is.  It is a very small recipe, I did one for each colour and filled 6 tins each.  It's pretty standard, no glycerin or honey, but it is a consistency that I like.  I can be made softer by adding more oil.  Anyone can do it and I don't really know why everybody doesn't.

Just melt together in a waterbath or use the microwave (just use short bursts so it doesn't burn):

10 g / 0.35 oz.  Beeswax
10 g / 0.35 oz.  Coconut oil
17 g / 0.6  oz.  Castor oil

Pour into small jars or lip balm tubes.

For a pink colour: add some Alkanet infused oil and Peppermint essential oil
For an orange colour: Add Annatto infused oil and Alkanet infused oil about half and half or adjust to get the orange shade you like.  Add Vanilla and Rose essential oil.

Another colour might be yellow, with just Annatto infused oil.  That would probably make a very pretty lipbalm.  It is tempting to use the citrus oils for yellow and orange colours.  Some of them are photo toxic, but not all.  For example, Sweet Orange is not considered photo toxic, but Bitter Orange is.

From what I can gather the following citrus based oils would be safe to use in lip balm and creams and lotions:

Essential oils of:
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Tangelo (Citrus x hybrida)
Tangerine (Citrus nobilis)
Neroli oil (Citrus aurantium)

Also the DISTLLED essential oils (NOT expressed essential oils) of:
Lemon (Citrus limon)
Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
It may be better to shy away from those if the method of production is unknown.

So maybe I'll add a yellow lip balm with Orange scent and that will be a perfect summer gift.


  1. the coloured lip balms look really attractive, i have always kept them plain coloured but i shall try colouring next time. I also found it difficult finding slide tins and i ended up buying from 'naturallybalmy'.

  2. Your lip balms look so beautiful and the colors are so pretty. I too love hearing stories from old people...there is so much one can learn from them. :)

  3. Greetings from USA! Your blog is really cool.
    Are you living in Iceland?
    You are welcomed to visit me at:

  4. They turned out very nice, Ambra! I didn't know you could get orange from alkanet and annatto! I also didn't realize that there were citrus oils that are not photo sensitive. Very good to know. And I hope you do start up your family tradition again. It sounds wonderful!


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