A Homemade Herbal Eye Balm

Last week on Instagram, I teased a photo of a snow-day craft project. I had spent some time reading beauty reviews and decided I wanted to make my own nighttime eye balm. I had some herbal infused oil that I made for holiday body butters but ultimately didn’t end up using, and lots of other skin goodies. I had infused calendula and red clover, both fantastic for sensitive skin, in avocado oil, which has loads of vitamins, plus a high level of oleic acid for nourishing dry skin. Since I don’t get acne right around my eyes, I didn’t worry about using a high-linoleic acid oil.

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Then, I decided to use mango butter and babassu oil for the solid fat portion of my balm because Tata Harper uses mango butter in almost everything she makes, and babassu oil absorbs so nicely into the skin. I finished off with a bit of cetyl-stearyl alcohol to harden it up, as it’s less occlusive than beeswax, and some Vitamin E, both for skin benefits and to prevent rancidity. I melted the hard oils and fatty alcohol together, then added the liquid oil and Vitamin E, and then poured it into a little tin that I had leftover from making lip and nail balms. I did sterilize the tin with some 95% alcohol before using it. I let it harden at room temperature, to a rather firm, translucent balm.

At warm room temperature, it’s almost a gel, but upstairs, where it’s a bit cooler, it becomes quite firm. I sometimes have to scratch out a bit of the balm with my fingernail, but as soon as I put it on my fingers, my body heat melts it instantly. I dab it on my ring fingers and the pat it all the way around my eyes as the final step of my night time skin care routine.

Herbal-Infused Eye Balm

Infused oil:

Fill a jar with half calendula petals and half red clover blossoms. Pour avocado oil (or oil of your choice) over the herbs to cover. Poke down with a chopstick or skewer to remove air pockets and top off with oil. Allow to sit in a cool, dark place for several week, shaking occasionally. To use, strain out the herbal matter and reserve the infused oil.

Eye balm:

2g cetyl stearyl alcohol
4g mango butter
4g babassu oil
6g infused oil
1g Vitamin E

Melt together the cetyl stearyl alcohol, mango butter, and babassu oil until completely melted. Add the Vitamin E and oil and stir until well melted and incorporated. Pour into a tin. Fills just a bit more than one 1/2-oz (15g) tin.

My All-Natural, Homemade Body Butter

As promised, I have decided to share one of the recipes I mentioned in my No More Dirty Looks profile.

When I switched to safety razor shaving, I decided I needed some decadent way to moisturize my legs after shaving. Of course, because I tend to do my shaving in the evenings now, I don’t want to draw out the process much more than needed, so I wanted it to be easy, quick, natural, and not too messy. I started out using a little of my tallow-and-rosehip oil balm, but I found it didn’t absorb very easily and Boyfriend found my slightly slick legs off-putting.

When I ordered babassu oil for my soap-making, I looked it up and found out that it is also a lovely skin care oil. It absorbs fast, and, despite being used similarly to coconut oil in soap, it doesn’t clog pores the way coconut oil can. So I looked up a recipe to use it in a body and lip balm.

I found one at Swifty Crafty Monkey, who has a wealth of information for the beauty formulator. She gives her amounts in percentages, which is handy. I altered her recipe to forgo fragrance (I added the fragrance percentage to the babassu oil), and ended up with a recipe like this:

49% babassu oil
25% mango butter
25% beeswax
1% vitamin E

I measured out in grams on my soaping scale, making a 100-gram batch for simplicity (1%=1g), and found that gave me exactly 5 lip balm tubes and one 2.65-oz. deodorant container. The lip balm is lovely and silky and absorbs so nicely that it’s my new favorite base for lipstick. I use that right after I shower, then I have a lovely beverage while I gather my things for work, and by the time I do my makeup, I have only a bit to blot off before applying lipstick.

The body butter in the deodorant container is hardly an idea I can claim as my own, but I must admit, it is significantly more convenient than trying to grasp a slippery lotion bar with warm, damp hands after a shower. It glides on slightly damp skin and absorbs almost instantly. I use it every time I shave, and then after a few showers when I’m feeling scaly.

It definitely lends a lovely finish to my shaving ritual, as well.

Homemade Beeswax Balm for Lips and Cuticles

In my post on skincare, I mentioned my homemade beeswax balm that I keep by my bedside to protect lips and cuticles while I sleep. I’ve always found beeswax has provided a superior balm for my lips. I lick and bite my lips and drink often, so I sometimes find it hard to keep my lips from getting chapped. Add the cold weather to that, and you have a recipe for flaky, sore lips. This does not give a nice canvas for lipstick, one of my favorite makeup items, so I generally have close to a half a dozen little tubes of lip balm around me in purses and drawers and makeup bags. But I’m so picky about the balms I like that I decided to make my own.

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I based this balm in on recipes I found online, but adjusted it for my own preferences. Many recipes include shea butter, which is a wonderful butter for a lot of people. The problem is that I find it makes me break out, and because I wanted this to be a sort of all-purpose balm, I needed all the ingredients to be friendly to my entire person. I chose avocado oil because it’s full of good fats, but doesn’t have as strong a smell as olive oil, and I’m planning on giving this batch away as gifts. Any other neutral oil would probably work, or you can try olive oil and see if the smell bothers you. And unrefined, yellow beeswax, gives it a lovely faint honey scent. I include a bit of Vitamin E as a preservative.

This is really an all-purpose balm, meant to protect any skin that is feeling dry or chapped. I mostly use it on lips and fingers. I keep a tin of it next to my bed, and a tube of it in each of my purses. Before I go to bed, I scratch out maybe the tip of my thumbnail’s worth and rub that on my lips, and then use a whole thumbnail’s worth to dab onto each fingernail so I can massage it into my cuticles.

This is a very waxy, rich balm, so feel free to increase the oil to 2 oz. if you want something a little softer. I like the firmer balm, especially in the winter because it really protects skin from the elements. I’ve been known to put a little on my nose when I’m out on a cold, windy day. You can also make substitutions for the oil and butter. A lot of recipes use coconut oil and shea butter. While there are vegan substitutes for beeswax, I’ve never found them equal in quality, so your mileage may vary there.

I got my ingredients and the lip balm tubes from Wild Herb Soap Co. on Etsy, and my tins thrown into a random order of herbs from another source. To make the rig for holding my little lip balm containers, I used an old egg carton flipped upside-down. I plunged my sharpest paring knife into the center of each cup in an X, and then turned the knife around and used the knob on the handle to open up each X to fit a tube. It’s really quite a handy way to keep the little guys steady while filling them and cost me nothing beyond the eggs, which I would have eaten anyway.

Homemade Lip and Cuticle Balm

1 oz. unrefined beeswax
1 oz. raw mango butter
1.5 oz. cold-pressed avocado oil
~1/16 oz. liquid Vitamin E

Heat the wax, butter, and oil just until everything melts, stirring often. Add the Vitamin E and stir in. Fill containers. Makes about 1/2 cup of liquid, by volume.