Green Living: Lip Service

Last month, I talked about the toxins in skincare products and, unfortunately, cosmetics aren’t exempt from those same dangers.

Did you know many lip products may contain lead? Even though it’s not listed in the ingredients label, lead can be a byproduct of the manufacturing process. If you’re putting a product containing lead on your lips, the chemical is being absorbed into your mouth or through your skin. Lead exposure is not safe at any level, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another danger with lip balms is petrolatum, which can become contaminated by crude oil and byproducts during manufacturing. About one in every 14 cosmetic products on the market, including lip products, has petrolatum, reports the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that works to protect public health and the environment.

Fortunately, you can make your own lip balm. It’s quick, fun and easier than you may think!

HOW TO: Make Your Own Lip Balm
1 oz beeswax
1 oz coconut oil
1 oz Shea butter
20 to 30 drops of essential oil

Any small glass jar

  • Pour about one inch of water into a one- or two-quart pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Find a stainless steel bowl that fits into the pot without touching the bottom.
  • Add the wax, oil and Shea butter to the bowl. Place the bowl on the pot. Heat until contents are melted.
  • Once melted, carefully remove the bowl from the pot. If needed, stir liquid to melt any remaining lumps.
  • Add the essential oils of your choice. Stir again.
  • Pour lip balm into holders. Let cool in the refrigerator until hardened.

Leah R. Troiano, a certified cancer support educator, works with people who have cancer or would like to prevent cancer. Lowering toxicity is just one of many ways to get your body in cancer-fighting shape. For more information, visit or email