As I was recently telling Annie, every few years I try to make tinted lip balm by melting together my old rejected lipsticks. The whole mess is always a dismal failure.
Where do I go wrong? By trying to combine shades that are too dissimilar, too unrelated? By using something like Vaseline instead of a really creamy, satisfying balm? Since I’ve always washed the evidence down the drain, we’ll never know.
While I find lipstick exquisitely lovely in the store, I don’t like having it on my face. It’s drying and/or it doesn’t wear off evenly. Lip balm, however, is a pleasure, and tinted lip balm is the best of both worlds for me. Pretty color, comforting protective formula. Since I’ve been paring down my makeup lately (not for the first time; will the circle be unbroken?), gambling with some lipstick is no skin off my nose.
Lip balm is another story; four years after my vegan lip balm ranking, Soothing Touch remains my all-time favorite. Since I haven’t seen Soothing Touch products anywhere in Germany, frittering away my stash on a DIY seemed patently unwise. Luckily, that’s my middle name: Rebekah Patently Unwise Jaunty.
- small pot
- bain-marie or glass jar
- roughly 2-4 cups water
- old lipstick or balm stain
- lip balm
- small tool for digging lipstick out of tubes: tiny spoon, chopstick, skewer, whatever you have
- tubes, pots, or tins for the finished tinted balms
NOTE: A more cautious or more germaphobic person than me would have cleaned their containers thoroughly. Stay away from me, kid, I’m no good for you. I halfheartedly wiped mine out.
I’d suggest using those leftover, unreachable stumps of lipstick if you have any, but you’ll need more balm than that. Two parts balm to one part color, maybe? “I didn’t measure anything,” said Rebekah Patently Unwise Devil-May-Care Jaunty.
1. Cut a hole in the box. Round up your rejected lip colors and sacrificial lip balm. Heat a small pot of water.
The above lip colors are two tubes of Jordana Twist & Shine Balm Stain (in Honey Love and Gorgeous Peony) and an old tube of Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Natural Beauty, which was my favorite before Erbse’s writing convinced me to stop buying Essence products. All three shades are very similar, and all slightly wrong for my coloring.
2. Use your tiny spoon/chopstick/skewer to dig the lipstick and lip balm stumps out of their containers and put them in the bain-marie or glass jar.
3. Melt lipstick(s) together over medium heat. Stir until contents have melted completely. Have your empty tubes ready and close at hand.
Notice that two new white tubes have joined the gang; one old empty scrounged from my Reusable Plastic box, and a WHOLE NEW TUBE OF FRESH, PERFECT SOOTHING TOUCH LIP BALM which I added to get the roughly-two-parts-balm ratio. Not without pangs, I assure you.
4. Carefully pour the liquid into tubes.
The first three poured beautifully, for nearly professional results. The mixture cooled quickly, though, and I had to re-melt the last of it. Even then it didn’t pour prettily; it’s the lumpy-looking one on the left, poor thing.
Take a moment to wipe any spills off your shiny happy tubes of tinted lip balm and kitchen counter.
5. Leave your fancy new tinted balm to cool and WASH THE DISHES. Use an old rag or sponge that’s on its very last legs, because lipstick is messy and hard/impossible to wash out.
Remind me to tell you about the time the lid came off my balm stain in my pocket, and it completely melted through my best work dress. Couldn’t ever get the stain out (that’s why they call it balm stain? Because it stains so horribly?), so I had to cut that dress into a peplum top. Wore it to see Beá Johnson lecture on Zero Waste yesterday. Wait, where were we?
Congratulations, you’re finished! If all went well, you too now have a DIY Tinted Lip Balm Success Story. If not, ask yourself why you ever trusted someone named Rebekah Patently Unwise Devil-May-Care Charlatan Jaunty.
As for me, I got lucky; this tinted lip balm turned out beautifully; sheer, slightly more colorful than my lips, but within the realm of believability. Perfect for those of us who remain deeply conflicted about makeup’s role in our lives and society.
Questions? Wry observations? Bring ’em on in the comments below.