Urban Homesteading and Sustainable Living

A Joyful Homestead

Category: DIY

5 Best Natural Pumpkin Spice Lip Balm Recipes – DIY

Why jump on the pumpkin spice train?

It’s pumpkin spice season! I adore pumpkin pie, but have been slow to hop on the pumpkin spice bandwagon because I tend to avoid things that I deem “too trendy”. I realized how silly this was, considering my love of pumpkin pie. I’m also a self-confessed lip balm nut (one in each room!), so I went in search of a great recipe and tutorial for making pumpkin spice lip balm.

I reviewed 13 DIY recipes and tutorials for making pumpkin spice lip balm and chose the 5 best. You can read the details of my criteria in detail below the list.

My criteria for rating the lip balms:

  • All natural – no petroleum jelly or highly processed ingredients
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Attention to safety considerations
  • Quantity – I wanted a small batch, so I don’t have pumpkin spice lip balm all year
  • Authentic flavour/smell – bonus points if it contains actual pumpkin oil or puree

#1 DIY Natural

  • Instructions

The instructions for this DIY lip balm are concise and scored full points for ease of reading and following. The ingredient choices are explained clearly.

  • Attention to safety considerations

This tutorial includes a warning against using cinnamon, clove or nutmeg essential oils for skin care. It advises using a double boiler or a mason jar in a pot of water, which are both safe options for melting beeswax and heating oils.

  • Quantity

This recipe makes about 4 tins of lip balm. This isn’t explicitly stated in the tutorial but is clarified in the blog post comments. Unfortunately, the author does not indicate the size of lip balm tins she used. I tried this one myself and it made 4 tins plus 3 small tubes.

  • Authentic flavour/smell

The addition of pumpkin seed oil gives this balm an authentic pumpkin smell and colour. It is also a great moisturizing, nourishing oil. While the recipe calls for premixed pumpkin pie spice, a link to a recipe is given as well. I had a hard time finding pumpkin pie spice, so I appreciate that this recipe link was included.

Bonus: Includes a link to a great 3-ingredient diy recipe for pumpkin pie spice lip scrub. I would add some crystallized raw honey to this recipe as a humectant and extra exfoliant.

#2 Hello Glow

  • Instructions

Hello Glow’s recipe exceeded my expectations for ease of reading and following. The author adds some important information in the introduction, yet doesn’t get too wordy.

  • Attention to safety considerations

This is where this blog post really caught my attention. She has a medical doctor who specializes in skin health review her recipes. While she doesn’t go into the dangers of using too much cinnamon or other spices, the fact that she has a dermatologist review it makes up for that. This tutorial’s method for melting the beeswax also meets the safety criteria, as she advises the use of a double boiler. While this is a kitchen tool that not everyone has (I don’t!), you can easily substitute a two layer steamer pot with water in the bottom, or even put a Pyrex measuring cup in a larger pot of water.

Improvised double boiler – The safe way to melt wax and oils
  • Quantity

This one only makes one 15 ml or 0.5 oz tube or tin. This is perfect for someone who is not sure if they will love it and the recipe is so easy to scale up if you do.

  • Authentic flavour/smell

While there is no pumpkin oil or puree added, this one calls for pumpkin pie spice and honey, which make for a terrific pumpkin pie smell & taste.

Bonus: This blog post also has a super easy 4-ingredient edible pumpkin pie lip scrub recipe!

#3 The Squishy Monster

  • Instructions

This tutorial is so easy to follow, and also includes a great video, but could be clearer on exactly what temperature to melt the beeswax at if using the microwave. She mentions to do it low and slow, but doesn’t give specifics.

  • Attention to safety considerations

The recipe calls for powdered spice, which I believe is safer than hot (spicy) essential oils. She gives the reader the option of using a double boiler on the stove or using the microwave on low, but doesn’t give clear directions for safe microwaving of beeswax.

  • Quantity

Both the pumpkin spice and hot cocoa lip balm recipes in this blog post make 3 to 4 pots or tubes of lip balm, which is perfect.

  • Authentic flavour/smell

This recipe calls for either coconut oil or pumpkin seed oil, so the pumpkin flavour factor is really up to personal choice. You could even do half coconut oil and half pumpkin seed oil as an alternative.

Bonus: The YouTube video of this tutorial is embedded in the blog post (rather than opening in a new window), and the hot cocoa bonus lip balm sounds delicious and rich.

#4 Humblebee and Me

  • Easy to follow instructions

While this tutorial has easy to follow instructions, the measurements of the ingredients could be clearer. It includes both metric and imperial, but has all the ingredients in ounces and grams, where perhaps teaspoons and tablespoons would be easier. She advises weighing the ingredients, but not everyone has a kitchen scale, especially one that can accurately measure very small quantities. I do have a kitchen scale, as it is so useful for both cooking, canning and DIY projects.

  • Attention to safety considerations

This is one of only 2 tutorials in the top 5 that calls for essential oils rather than powdered spices. The preamble to the recipe includes a warning about how stimulating the cinnamon oil can be and advises against increasing the quantity. The melting instructions call for placing a glass measuring cup in a shallow pan of water that is just barely simmering, and allowing 10 minutes for the beeswax to slowly melt. Be sure to follow the recipe carefully and don’t burn yourself with too much cinnamon oil.

  • Quantity

The yield for this recipe is 8 to 9 tubes, which is a bit more than I would prefer of one flavour.

  • Authentic flavour/smell

While I haven’t personally tried this recipe because I currently have no other use for cinnamon or clove essential oils, I believe the combination of pumpkin seed oil, cinnamon & clove will make the flavour suitably pumpkin-y.

Bonus: The YouTube video that accompanies this post is very well done and shows each of the steps clearly.

#5 Mom off Track

  • Instructions

One thing that I really love about the instructions in this tutorial is that the author includes a link to her other lip balm tutorials and urges caution for beginners. The steps are easy to read and follow. The recipe includes cocoa butter which will add a luxurious richness to the finished lip balm.

  • Attention to safety considerations

While the recipe does call for essential oils, which can be irritating to sensitive skin, there is a safety warning included. The method used to melt the beeswax (double boiler or improvised version) is the one I have used myself. The instructions also include safety considerations of using plastic or glass pipettes to fill the lip gloss tubes.

  • Quantity

This recipe makes 6 tubes, which is great if you want to have some to share.

  • Authentic flavour/smell

As with the previous recipe, I will not be trying this one because of the use of hot essential oils. If I do try it one day, I’ll update this post with a more complete review. I like that the recipe not only has pumpkin seed oil, but also calls for a bit of nutmeg rather than just cinnamon and clove.

Bonus:

There are absolutely no ads on this blog, which makes it so easy to read. I’m looking forward to reading more of her tutorials and recipes. As a fellow blogger, I do understand why many choose to monetize their blogs with ads, and I still might do so myself, but I really love how clean this blog looks.

Honourable Mentions

Saved by Grace

This was the only recipe I found that includes pumpkin puree, so it gets top marks for authentic flavour. The only reason this one didn’t make the top 5 list was that the quantity isn’t clear. At one point in the blog post she says it will make 8 tubes, while in another place it says the yield is 3 to 4 tubes. I do intend to try this one when I have some canned pumpkin puree open for a baking project. As it only calls for 1 teaspoon of puree, I can’t justify opening up a can without finding a reason to use it all.

Living Well Mom

Pros:

  • Easy to follow instructions with good pictures of each step
  • Excellent tips and troubleshooting for making DIY lip balm in general

Cons:

  • Instructions show melting the beeswax in a pan directly over the heat, which is not advisable for a beginner. It’s much safer to heat it slowly with your pan or pyrex measuring cup in a larger pan of water.
  • Recipe makes 12 tubes, which is a lot unless you have friends and family you can give some to. I am a self-confessed lip balm addict and I typically go through about 1 tube a month.

Everything Pretty: Your Beauty Blog

I included this tutorial because it gives instructions for making coffee infused oil to make your lip balm like a pumpkin spice latté.

Why it didn’t make the top 5: It calls for the use of 4 essential oils, all of which could be considered potentially irritating to the skin, and doesn’t include a warning about using them.

Criteria for Ratings

Ingredients

There are 2 basic ingredients to any DIY lip balm recipe: beeswax and an oil (often coconut or almond). Some recipes also include a butter (usually shea, cocoa or mango), and some include honey as a humectant (attracts moisture). I wanted to find recipes that would be easy for a beginner, and have only the essential ingredients. As you get more experienced with making your own lip balm you can add extras such as vitamin E oil or honey.

Essential Oils or Ground Spices?

The 13 pumpkin spice lip balm recipes that I read and analyzed reviewed fall into 2 clear categories: those that call for essential oils, and those that call for ground spices. After reading through thirteen different recipes, it became clear to me that the use of ground spices was likely slightly more skin-safe than the use of essential oils (EOs). Either way the spices & oils can be irritating, and mixing a set amount of spice versus just a few drops of oil seems less error-prone. Recipes that called for both EO and ground spices with no safety precautions got lower ratings.

Other Safety Considerations

Another safety consideration when making lip balm is the heating method: stove-top or microwave. The stove-top method using a pan or pot of water (or a double boiler if you have one) is the safest, as it allows you to melt the beeswax slowly and safely. I did a quick google search on the dangers of microwaving beeswax & found this cautionary tale. If you must use a microwave, be sure to only go as high as medium and melt it in short bursts followed by stirring.

Bonus Points and Demerits

I gave bonus points to recipes that included actual pumpkin ingredients, such as pumpkin seed oil or pumpkin puree, and further bonus points if the blog post included anything extra such as a complementary lip scrub or alternate balm recipe. Posts with videos in addition to pictures and easy to follow written instructions were ranked higher too. I also awarded bonus points to any recipes that mentioned the skin-safety considerations of cinnamon and other warm spices.

Recipes were ranked lower if they didn’t specify the number of tubes or pots of balm it should make or if the instructions were not clear enough. I didn’t include any recipes that I felt were totally unsafe or missed too many of my main criteria. All of the recipes reviewed below are based on all-natural ingredients, so I’ve removed that from consideration in the rankings.

Have you tried any of these recipes? If so, let me know in the comments. I tried the recipe that I rated #1 but added 1/2 teaspoon of honey to it. It has a subtle pumpkin pie smell and feels soft and moisturizing.

Ripe Rosehips

DIY Rose Hip Infused Oil

Skip to rose hip oil infusing instructions

I’m almost to the bottom of my last jar of dandelion salve, which I made in late June. I’ve been using it as a hand and body lotion and have found it to be both soft and luxurious. Because dandelion season is long past, and I did not dry any flowers for future use, I had to brainstorm and search for what I could use from my garden or from the forest to make my next batch of salve.

I settled on starting with making a rose hip salve, since they are ready for harvesting and using in mid-fall, after the first frost. Rose hips are not only nutrient-rich, but they also smell amazing! I have one large rose bush in the yard, but it did not produce many blooms after its mid-summer pruning, so there are very few hips to use. I decided instead to head out into one of the many large parks near my home where there is an abundance of wild roses.

Wild Rose June 2020
Wild Rose

I chose a bright sunny day, put on my sturdy hiking boots, grabbed a paper bag and scissors and went foraging. The walk itself was beautiful, and I found an abundance of wild rose bushes with hips in various stages. I chose rose hips that hadn’t started to dry out and decay yet (decaying rose hips look like deer droppings on a branch).

When foraging for rose petals or rose hips, wear long sleeves, long sturdy pants like jeans, and gloves. The thorns on many rose bushes are quite sharp. If you are new to foraging and wildcrafting, I recommend reading my post on the basics of wildcrafting before starting out.

Left: Decaying rose hips Right: Rose hips in varying stages of ripeness to decay
Rose hips in paper collecting bag
Foraged wild rose hips

After washing and sorting the rose hips, I ended up with about one and a quarter cups. I found many recipes online for infusing oil with rose hips and chose the simplest one. It called for using a ratio of 2 to 1, oil to rose hips. I chose a blend of coconut, sweet almond, and jojoba oils, with a splash of olive oil for additional richness. If I were making it for use on my face, I would leave out the coconut oil, as it can be comedogenic and clog pores. If you are like me and are prone to breakouts, avoid coconut oil in facial products that you buy or make.

Rose hips in measuring cup

I don’t have a double boiler, so I improvised by filling a large pot with a steaming insert to just above the steamer bottom. Then I put a smaller pot inside the steaming insert (see picture). I poured out the washed, trimmed rose hips into the small pot and then added the oils. I let the water in the pot come to a boil, then reduced it to a gentle simmer. After putting the small pot inside the larger pot, I used a meat thermometer to periodically monitor the temperature of the oil infusion. I let the rose hips infuse for four to five hours, then strained the oil through cheesecloth over a fine metal mesh strainer. For a more purified oil, you can use fine muslin cloth instead of cheesecloth.

I have heard of people using a slow cooker or even a yogurt maker for infusing oils, but I prefer to have a dedicated pot just for infusing oils and leave my other kitchen appliances for cooking food.

Rose hips infusing in oils, pot inside steamer insert inside larger pot

Step by Step Instructions for rosehip infused oil

Ingredients:

  • Rose hips (fresh)
  • Carrier oil (coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, grape seed, and olive are some good options, but go easy on the olive oil as it has a stronger smell and can overpower the scent of what you are infusing it with)
  • Double boiler (or an improvised combination of pots)
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
  • Colander and metal mesh strainer
  • Water
  1. Gather or purchase rose hips. Look for hips that are bright red, with little to no wrinkling of the outer skin.
  2. Rinse rose hips in a colander to get off any surface dirt or other plant matter. Pat dry gently.
  3. Trim off any excess stems or leaves. You can also snip off the top hairs, especially if they have gone black, but as the resulting infused oil will be strained through cheesecloth or muslin, this is not absolutely necessary.
  4. Fill the bottom of a double boiler or pot assembly with water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer (I used the lowest setting).
  5. Place the rose hips either in the top half of the double boiler or in a separate pot inside the larger pot(s). Cover with carrier oils (remember the ratio: 2 parts oil to one part rose hips)
  6. Allow the rose hips to infuse over a period of 4-8 hours. I let mine infuse for 5 hours.
  7. Check the temperature of the oil periodically with a meat or candy thermometer to make sure the oil isn’t getting too hot. Ensure that the oil does not go above 100 degrees F (38 degrees C).
  8. Once enough time has elapsed, remove the pot from the heat. Allow it to cool until the oil is cool enough to be safely strained (you will want to squeeze the muslin or cheesecloth, so make sure the oil is not too hot to handle). You can wear gloves if you don’t want to get your hands greasy, but I personally prefer to work without gloves, after washing my hands thoroughly.
  9. Pour the oil and rose hips through the cheesecloth and mesh strainer, into a container of your choice. I used a large Pyrex measuring cup but then poured the cooled oil into a mason jar.
  10. Squeeze the cloth to get as much as you can out of the rose hips. Discard the rose hips and cheesecloth. You can compost the oil-soaked hips if you have used plant-based oils, but it will slow down the composting, so I don’t advise it unless you have a huge compost heap.
  11. Allow the oil to cool, with your container lightly covered. You can cool the oil in the fridge if you don’t want to wait for it to do so naturally. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge or in a cool, dark place. You can use the infused oil as is for a body or facial oil, or use it as a base for homemade lipgloss, salve or balm.

If you give this a try, please let me know how it went in the comments. I will post the instructions I follow for using infused oils to make basics salves in an upcoming blog post. Note that if you are not able to obtain fresh rose hips, you can use dried, but you do not need to do a hot infusion. Use the same ratio of oil to hips, and let it infuse in a mason jar for a few weeks in a dark cool place before straining.

Dishwasher detergent

Easy DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Homemade dish detergent is easier than I thought. I wanted to find a simple DIY recipe that used very few ingredients and would be environmentally friendly while still doing a great job of cleaning. If you’re already into eco-friendly, natural home cleaning, you may already have the ingredients for this in your cupboards. I’m sharing this recipe with you, in the hopes that you can save money, reduce harm to the environment, and make fewer trips to the store. I’ve been using this since 2019 and love how easy it is. 

The three basic ingredients are washing soda, citric acid and vinegar. I buy a large box of washing soda about twice a year for $6-8 a box, and a large bag of citric acid sells for $11 on Amazon. I have also recently noticed it in the laundry and cleaning products aisle of grocery stores. I buy large jugs of white vinegar wherever I see it on sale, as it is my most commonly used household cleaning product.

Washing soda is sodium carbonate and has a high pH (alkaline), so it is best to keep it out of reach of children and avoid prolonged contact with the skin. It is rated as safe by the EPA and FDA. For more safety information click here. You can make your own washing soda by heating baking soda in your oven, but unless you are on a very tight budget, I recommend saving yourself some time and just buying it from the hardware or grocery store. Here in Canada, I buy it at Safeway or Canadian Tire.

Citric Acid occurs naturally in all citrus fruits (and some other fruits like strawberries and pineapple), but the citric acid you buy is typically synthetically manufactured. You can buy food grade citric acid that is safe to use as a food additive. It is one of the most common food additives and is typically used as a preservative or flavour enhancer. While it is rated for safe ingestion and handling, I find that it irritates my skin, so I always use gloves when handling it. It is great for cleaning soap scum and mineral scale, so it is my go-to product for cleaning the bathtub and sinks. This also makes it ideal for adding to the washing soda to give the dish-washing powder a boost. If you are concerned about the safety or price of the citric acid, there is an easy, affordable alternative: unsweetened lemonade or other citrus-based juice crystals. Check the ingredient list carefully to make sure there is nothing unnecessary added to the juice crystals like colour or artificial flavour. You could also use watered down lemon juice, but unless you have an excess of lemons and nothing better to do with them, that would not be very cost-effective.

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link.

Dishwasher detergent ingredients

Instructions:

Fill a quart-size or litre jar with washing soda, leaving about 2 inches of space on top. Add 4 tbsp of citric acid and stir or shake the jar. I recommend Ball or Bernardin plastic lids if you don’t want to use your metal canning lids. I have started storing mine in a quart-size glass storage container with rubber seal (pictured above). The wide mouth makes it easier to scoop out. 

Fill your dishwasher’s detergent container, close it, and you’re almost ready to go. The final ingredient, vinegar, gets added to the bottom of your washer and will help keep your glass dishes spot-free, as well as acting as a disinfectant. I use about a half cup but I honestly don’t bother measuring how much I splash in anymore. It is not a necessary ingredient if you are on a budget and don’t mind a few spots. The washing soda and heat of the water is sufficient to clean and sanitize your dishes.

We are a two-person household, and typically fill and run the dishwasher once a week. When we have family visiting, this can increase to up to 4 times a week, but even with annual month-long family visits in the summer, I only need to buy the washing soda twice a year. I go through citric acid and vinegar a bit faster, as I use both for general cleaning.

Some DIY dish-washing powder recipes also call for coarse salt and baking soda, but unless you find your dishes aren’t as clean and spotless as you want them, don’t bother with adding them. The citric acid softens the water much as the salt would, and baking soda is generally added to break down grease on dishes. I pre-rinse the majority of my dishes, so I don’t find that baking soda is necessary.

Let me know if you try this recipe and it works as well for you as it does for my household! We are on city water, so this recipe will likely need some tweaking if you are on well water that contains more minerals. Remember that you can add a cup coarse salt or Epsom salt to the detergent if your water is especially hard.

Update Sept. 18, 2020

I ran out of citric acid and tried using just washing soda and vinegar. The dishes still came clean, but some of my glassware had a cloudy film. I had to then rinse them by hand. After I added citric acid back in this week, there is no more film, so it is an essential ingredient.