How To Make Your Own Exfoliating Lipstick

I'm a lazy bugger when it comes to exfoliating my lips in preparation for any kind of lipstick application. I cannot be bothered with digging my finger into a pot of sugar scrub, and rubbing a decent glob of it against my lips. C'mon, it's messy, inconvenient, and takes more effort than I'd like to spare. So, what do I do when I need to get rid of icky flaky skin cells on my lips? I use a toothbrush, of course. I use this method while I'm brushing my teeth, so two birds, one stone. But what about when I forget to exfoliate my lips with my toothbrush?

I've always wanted to try the E.L.F. Studio Lip Exfoliator, but it's always sold out on iHerb every single time I make an order, and I cannot justify spending $8 on it at Kmart. It seems like the easiest way to exfoliate my lips without requiring a toothbrush, but what's a girl to do when she wants to spend as little as possible? It's time to make a dupe! Only this time, it'll be all-natural, vegan, moisturising, cheap, and edible if you like to get coffee grains stuck in your teeth.

First of all, I'm not a patient woman, and I'm not going to spend a month waiting for empty lip balm tubes to arrive in the mail, during this time of the year. I bought mascara spoolies a month ago, and it still hasn't arrived. Not cool. So, I emptied the rest of my lip balm into a tiny container, washed the tube, removed the label, and then sterilised it in boiling water. I suggest using a spoolie to wash the inside of the tube with some hot soapy water. It makes things much, much easier.

Before you start making this, make sure that you have washed and rinsed everything in hot water, then air-dried the equipment before use. Using a tea towel will introduce contaminants to the equipment and the formula, potentially reducing the shelf-life of the product. Secondly, make sure that your ingredients have not passed their expiry date, because no one likes rancid oil coming in contact with their skin. Thirdly, use ground espresso coffee, NOT instant coffee. Instant coffee will dissolve in the oil/wax mixture, and this equates to a lousy exfoliating experience. Lastly, you can use other oils of your fancy, such as sweet almond oil, rosemary oil, or even jojoba oil in place of the rose hip seed oil/olive oil. I chose this combination because a. I'm a tightwad and refuse to buy anything else, and b. I already use these in my skincare routine.

I used pure natural soy wax for this recipe, because I've boycotted the beekeeping industry, thus beeswax is an absolute no-no. You can use candelillia wax, or even carnauba wax instead. If you do end up using either candelillia or carnauba, use half as much as listed in the recipe, as they set harder than beeswax or soy, and you really don't want to feel like you're rubbing a gritty candle against your lips - I don't imagine it will be very pleasant.

By the way, I had to make this three times! It wasn't even because there was an issue with the formula. In fact, the first time I made this, I accidentally sloshed some water into the melted wax, so I had to toss it. The second time, I set the bowl aside to let it cool, and walked away for a minute to get a drink of water, and what do I find when I returned? I found my cat, Phoebe, licking from the bowl. Poor girl then spent the next five licking her face, presumably to try and get rid of the waxy feeling on her tongue. Luckily soy wax isn't toxic for cats. Needless to say, I learned my lesson, and put the next bowl in the fridge for safe-keeping this time.

This recipe makes enough lip scrub for two tubes, so you can try halving the recipe to make one tube if you want. I prefer to use a glass bowl for the wax melting step so that I can see when the wax has completely melted.

4g soy wax
6g coconut oil
6 drops olive oil
3 drops rose hip seed oil
1/2 tsp ground espresso coffee
1/2 tsp sugar of your choice

A small heatproof bowl
Scales measuring to the nearest gram
2 lip balm tubes
2 tea spoons
A pipette/eye dropper 
(The following not shown)
A small saucepan
A pot holder to handle hot bowl

1. The first step is to measure out four grams of the soy wax into the heatproof bowl. Pour 1 to 2 cm of water in the saucepan, and gently place the bowl into the water. Put the pan on medium heat, and keep an eye on the wax as it melts, using a spoon to stir it through. Do not remove it from the heat until the wax has melted fully, and becomes colourless and completely transparent. When you take the bowl out of the pot, you'll be able to see right through the wax. If it's still cloudy, even a tiny bit, return it to the heat to melt it some more.  Use a pair of tongs to remove the bowl from the pan, because it will be hot! For the love of all that is sane, please do not use your fingers.

2. Measure out six grams of the coconut oil, and put it in the hot wax. Stir through as the heat of the wax will melt it right down. Once combined, add the other oils. The wax will then take on a yellowish hue. Do not worry about the colour, because as the wax and coconut oil solidifies, it will become white. Put the bowl in the fridge for a couple of minutes to let it cool. Do not let it solidify, let it cool just enough for the product to become somewhat cloudy, yet runny.

3. Add the coffee and sugar to the liquids. Use less sugar/coffee if you want a gentler exfoliation, but I like them quite grainy, both to save time, and for maximum effectiveness. Mix it through, and then pour the substance down the tubes before it has a chance to solidify completely. Reheating this product will melt the sugar, so you want to make sure that the wax did not cool down too much before adding the coffee and sugar, and being quick in mixing them though. It took me a little while to photograph this step so my mixture ended up becoming too thick for me to pour, so I had to scoop it in little by little.

Verdict: I love it. It ticks most of the boxes. It has the right amount of graininess, it's creamy enough for a smooth process, it doesn't taste like shit, it's all natural, cruelty-free and vegan, it's easy to make, and easy to use. Best of all, it was made at a fraction of the price that one would normally pay for E.L.F.'s Lip Exfoliator. One thing I would change is to increase the amount of wax, because I found it a bit too soft to exfoliate properly. Once I go through this tube, I shall revise the recipe and try again.


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