How to Make Balms & Ointments
Ointments - Massage Bars - Roll-on Deoderants - Lip Balms - Lotion Bars - Hard Perfumes
All of these personal care items have one thing in common - they have no water in the formula. All of these items contain oils plus a thickener or hardener such as beeswax. Since they are oil-only products, they only need anti-oxidants to preserve them. Anti-oxidants keep the oils from turning rancid - they also keep perfumes and essential oils fresh. Vitamin E and rosemary extract are two examples of anti-oxidants.
Whether your product is creamy or hard will be dependent on the types of oils you use and the amount of thickeners such as beeswax. This is a forgiving medium. If a batch turns out too runny or too hard, all you need to do is re-melt it and make the adjustments you need to make.
Humectants or moisturizing agents such as honey or glycerin may be added to these formulas, but you will need to mix them in until they start to harden or they will separate out.
Oil-only products tend to feel greasy on the skin. If this is not the feel you are after, you may add an absorbent powder such as corn starch to give the product a powdery feel. You can mix up to 20% powder into the product. Mix powder with a hand mixer until creamy and well dispersed. For small batches, you may consider purchasing a small hand mixer to make it smooth and creamy.
Containers for these products may be cosmetic cream pots, roll-up tubes and lip pencils. If you are using roll-up containers, you will want the base to be fairly solid. If you are using plastic kitchen containers, you will also want it to be more solid. Lotions bars should pop out of the container fairly easily. If you have problems, you can put them in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden more and then they will be easier to get out.
Garden herbs such as chamomile, calendula, comfrey, rosemary and lavender are useful for ointments. You can infuse herbs into oils by first heating up the oil slightly, (not too hot as it will burn and oxidize) then adding herbs to the top of the oils. Remove from heat and store in a cool, dry place. Let the infusion sit for a few days, stirring every so often, and then pour the oil off. You can do the same with dried herbs. Generally the ratio is 4:1 oil to herbs if they are already dehydrated.
Lastly, make sure you don’t add any water-based products, including water-soluble colors, to your ointments and balms. It will not mix in and can ruin the product. If you want to tint your product, make sure you are using oil soluble colors. Infusing colorful herbs into the oil will give your products a nice, natural color - alfalfa and parsley will give a nice green color, calendula a butter color. Unrefined beeswax will give you a honey color and honey scent.
Oil-soluble perfumes and essential oils may be mixed straight into ointments and balms. It is best to do this at the end so that the perfumes and oils do not vaporize.
Add anti-oxidants like vitamin E and rosemary extract first thing to keep the oils from breaking down when you are heating them.