DIY Chapstick

I don't really use chapstick much.  When we were in Glacier in the wind and sun all day for a week I did.   Sometimes in the depth of winter when the air is so dry I do, but I wouldn't say it is an item which I use on a weekly--let alone daily--basis.  My lips just seem to maintain a good moisture on their own barring extreme circumstances.   I actually think its one of those things that once you start using you're hooked.  But, that's just me.  Matt, on the other hand, is a daily chapstick user.  He is, in general, bothered more by dry, chapped skin than I am.  In winter his hands and nose regularly crack and split.  His lips can often get all red and sore looking.  Makes me feel lucky that I don't have those moisture issues to contend with.

When we were in Glacier Matt chapstick tube ran empty and so he commandeered mine since its not like I use it all that much anyways.  In doing so we realized that I had been using the same tube for more than nine months!  Given that its a little .15 ounce tube I thought that was quite a long time.  And so while we were out in the woods, far from home, I decided that when I got back I was going to learn how to make my own chapstick.   I'd been saving Matt's empty tubes and thought I finally had enough to make a batch.  And so I did.

I'd read about it in the book, Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World.  This is a totally awesome book, by the way, just in case you haven't checked out a copy.  Its got homemade projects from DIY "Altoids" and condiments to bar soap and salves to building a compost bin from shipping pallets (which my sister, Lisa, did after she checked out the book) and building a chicken coop to making your own vinegar or solar cooker.  Its got a little something for every level of make-it-yourselfer.  I highly, highly recommend it.  Plus, Eric and Kelly are hilarious.  Theirs was one of the first blogs I ever started to read.

The chapstick recipe, if you want to call it that, is so darn simple I can't believe I've had the book this long and never tried it before.  Its just a teeny-tiny bit of bee's wax (1.5 tsp) and olive oil (2 T), heated through, and poured into containers.

I bought a small chunk of bee's wax from a local apiary.  The olive oil is decidedly not local, but oh well, neither were the oils in our store bought chapsticks.  I am super keen on the idea of reusing chapstick containers instead of pitching them every time.  The bee's wax cost $3 and will be enough to make more batches than I can even imagine--I filled 7+ tubes with only 1 1/2 teaspoons worth of wax.  Since a tube of chapstick (that doesn't contain petroleum and other stuff I don't want to rub into my skin) can cost that much for one single tube this seems like a really good money saving venture--particularly given Matt's affinity for his chapstick.

So far the stuff has really held up, too.  We had it packed in a 100+ degrees F car for several days while camping and it never remelted--Matt's biggest concern.  It stayed firm and usable throughout the trip.  It has a nice, smooth texture without feeling oily.  It is not nearly so olive green as I feared it might be (we have an olive oil based soap right now the green color of which I find sort of off-putting.)  I like that it has no added scent or flavor, thought I might play around with that at some point.  I can see endless variations being possible.

Yay for radical home-ec!


  1. I made a batch of home made chapstick using much this same recipe, except I believe I used soy wax instead of bee's wax, and added essential oils so it would smell yummy. I remember it being very good, but can't for the life of me remember where I found the recipe...

    1. I think I will try some oils next time--namely peppermint which has always been my favorite chapstick "flavor."

  2. Nice! I'm not quite a daily user, but it's pretty rare that I don't have a tube in my pocket. Might have to try your recipe and see. Not so much to save money, but to keep it natural and.reuse the old containers like you said.

    1. I shall have to give you a tube at Christmas to try!


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