Former CAGW writer Karen Lee and green beauty pro Mary Kearns have teamed up on a brand new endeavor: Herban Crafts. The duo is creating eco-friendly craft kits for folks who want to make their own beauty supplies but don’t know where to get started. Herban Crafts was kind enough to send me a kit to try out, so earlier this week I tried my hand at making my own lip balm.
The ingredients were simple: cocoa butter, beeswax, sunflower oil, and essential oil. I know vegan crafters might not be crazy about beeswax, and I checked with Karen and Mary, and they said all of the other kits in their line are 100% vegan. If you’re vegan but OK using ethically-produced bee products, they do source their beeswax from U.S. beekeepers who use sustainable practices.
I’m not totally new to homemade beauty, but lip balm is something I’ve never tried making before, so I was excited about learning to make my own! What’s cool about Herban Crafts’ kits is that you’ll be able to buy refills, so once you use the product you made, you can get the ingredients to make it again and reuse the tins and printed materials they sent. Here’s what came in my kit:
You’re looking at:
- 5 metal lip balm tins + stickers
- 2 ounces of sunflower oil
- .5 ounces of cocoa butter
- 1 ounce of beeswax
- spearmint essential oil
- printed cards describing each ingredient in detail, a card about Herban Crafts, and a card with instructions
Six printed cards felt like a lot, but I know that Herban Crafts uses recycled paper and green printed materials, so at least all that paper isn’t from virgin forests!
The cocoa butter and beeswax came in compostable and biodegradable cellulose bags. The bags are made from renewable wood pulp sustainably harvested from FSC-managed forests. The cellulose used to make these bags is also certified to the American and European standards for 100% compostable packaging. They are designed for home composting and will fully biodegrade, even in a backyard compost bin.
The rest of the kit was also very low-waste. The tins for the balm and the bottles that held the safflower and the essential oil are both reusable, and the cardboard box was definitely sturdy enough to use again. Instead of Styrofoam or peanuts, they packed their kits with shredded paper to keep the glass bottles from breaking in transit.
Homemade Lip Balm
The lip balm was super easy to make!
1. Melt the cocoa butter and beeswax in the sunflower oil in a double boiler or a glass measuring up set in a pot of water. The directions said to “heat gently.” I wasn’t 100% sure what that meant, so I heated my ingredients on medium low, which seemed to work out. The directions also didn’t mention stirring the butters and oil when it was on the stove, but I couldn’t resist giving it occasional stirs as it melted.
2. Remove from the heat, stir in the essential oil, pour into the tins, and let everything cool. So simple!
The directions also included suggestions for variations, like using orange essential oil in place of
Herban Crafts: A Socially Responsible Company
On top of the refills, the other thing that really makes Herban Crafts stand out is that their company is dedicated to giving back. Here’s the lowdown, from their Indiegogo campaign page:
The manufacturing of organic herbal bath and body product kits will be conducted in part by unemployed women living in transitional housing. The women will work in the context of a job skills training program in collaboration with a DC-area social services non-profit. Masters level counselors will oversee the training and coaching of the trainees. Also, a portion of our sales will be donated to non-profit organizations supporting people and the planet.
Speaking of Indiegogo! Herban Crafts has a fundraising campaign going on there to help them launch their line. The campaign closes at midnight on Monday, so if you want to kick in to help them launch, now’s the time!