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How to make a lip scrub?

Mar 30, 2022 | Face care, Formulations, Lip scrubs

Ever wondered how to make a lip scrub? Well, after reading this post you will know everything there is about making lip scrubs.

From time to time we all get dry and chapped lips which tend to peel and flake – this is the time to use a lip scrub. It helps to get rid of dead, chapped skin and helps the lip balm to reach deeper layers of the skin.

Using lip scrub and a lip balm will help to have healthier and suppler lips. And to make lip scrub is actually quite easy. Even easier than making lip balm!

Basic formula of a lip scrub

The very basic idea how to make a lip scrub is to use some sort of a scrubbing agent with an emollient – usually oil. The simplest scrubbing agents are sugar and salt. However, I don’t recommend using salt as it is really not a nice experience to have when some of the grains goes to the mouth.

As for the sugar – where I live the most common sugar is made from beetroot, but I know that in other parts of the world sugarcane is more common. They differ in their particle sizes and especially sugarcane can be bought in different grain sizes.

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If you like, you can buy sugar from cosmetic stores as well to make sure that the size is more uniform. But I like to keep it simple and I use beetroot sugar that is sold in the stores.

The size of the grains probably can alter the final feeling of the product as smaller grains will have a higher surface area that oils can coat, but I haven’t tested this idea.

So, the basic recipe looks like this:

Phase A

50-80% Sugar

20-50% Oil

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What oils can be used?

Any oil could be used, but I suggest to use an inexpensive one that has an average absorption rate. These could be safflower oil, rice bran oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil and others.

carrier-oils

To make it last longer we should add up to 1% vitamin E that will keep the oil from going rancid (the oil will go rancid with vitamin E too, but much later). To make it more appealing we can add fragrance and color.

I rarely scent my formulations because my focus shifts more to the scent when I am testing the product. So, the very first tries of the product are usually unscented. I can also test the scent of the raw materials and assess if I need to add some other scent.

However, if you like your formulations scented – give it a try. Though I would not use more than 1% of the fragrance. Start with lower amounts such as 0.25% and if you need more – go slowly up to 1%.

IFRA is responsible that every fragrance is safe to use and they state the maximum usage doses to each of the fragrance for a particular cosmetic product. Make sure that the fragrance is safe to use on the lips. As for essential oils – I can only recommend using peppermint essential oil up to 0.5% as I have no knowledge of essential oil usage on lips.

If you want to know where to find this information – I have written it in another post in the paragraph ” Essential/fragrance oils”.

The same thing goes for the color – they have to be approved to be safe to be used in lip care formulations. You can add mica, oxides or other pigments (such as red radish, sweet potato). You don’t need much of them as they bring a lot of color in tiny amounts. You will probably will use it up to 0.5%.

I usually add just a tiny amount of dye as my scales don’t really measure that low amount. But if you are making large batches of lip scrub – you definitely want to measure it for consistent results.

Updated basic formula

70 % sugar

28.9 % oil

0.5 % vitamin E

0.5 % fragrance

0.1 % dye

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However when only liquid oil is used in this formulation, it tends to sink to the bottom of the container and the whole formulation is not uniform anymore. To make it uniform again the whole product should be stirred. So to make a more uniform product we should add some thickening agents such as butters, waxes, co-emulsifiers as they will hold the oil and harden the whole formulation.

We need to keep in mind that waxes and co-emulsifiers will thicken the lip scrub more than a butter, so we need less of the wax than a butter.

I like harder lip scrubs that I can pick with my fingers easily and they only melt in the contact with lips. Therefore, I like to use higher amounts of sugar or more of the hardening ingredients.

You can always try to add more or less of the sugar, just keep in mind that the whole formula should stay at 100%. If you want to use more sugar, then lower the amount of oil. And if you want to have less sugar in the recipe, then use more oil.

Lip scrub recipe

Phase A

3 g | 10 % Stearic acid

1.5 g | 5 % Cocoa butter

5.85 g | 19.5 % Macadamia nut oil

Phase B (Cool down phase)

19.5 g | 65 % sugar

0.15 g | 0.5 % vitamin E

+ a tiny amount of green mica

This makes 30 g of lip scrub.

I made this lip scrub when the temperature at the workshop was 24°C.

 

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process

  1. Weight oils/butters/waxes and other melting required ingredients into a beaker.
  2. Melt them in a hot water bath.
  3. When everything has melted through, get the beaker out of a water bath and stir until it is not so hot anymore.
  4. Add vitamin E, dye and fragrance at 45°C / 113°F or lower. Stir it until you reach a nice trace.
  5. Add sugar and stir until you get an even lip scrub.
  6. Pour lip scrub into container.
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substitutions

  • You can use another variety of sugar: brown, sugarcane. 
  • You can use another oil instead of hemp or a blend of them. Safflower, sunflower, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, rice bran oil and coconut oil are good alternatives.
  • You can try using a different butter such as shea, mango, tucuma, murumuru, sal and other just know that their melting point is different than cocoa butters and the final product will be a bit different.
  • You can try different waxes such as candelilla, carnauba, sunflower, berry, bayberry. Just remember that scent, taste, color, absorption properties will alter the final formulation feel. Also, melting point of each ingredient is important for the final lip scrub.

how to use a lip scrub?

Scoop a bit of a lip scrub and rub it into your lips for several minutes in circular motion. Then wash off with lukewarm water, dry with a towel.

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