Introduction: Make Lipstick With Crayons

Picture of Make Lipstick With Crayons

Kids' crayons? Yes! Making your own lipstick takes only about 10 minutes, costs next to nothing and allows you to choose from a dizzying (and unconventional) array of colors.

Is it safe? Even though Crayola does not publish a detailed and specific ingredient list, they do formulate their crayons so that toddlers can eat a whole box of the stuff without suffering anything more serious than a stomach ache. Crayons consist mainly of paraffin wax and non-toxic pigments. Wax is a major component in any lipstick or chapstick, and crayons' pre-mixed pigments will give you more choices, at less cost than either food coloring (I've tried that too) or the powders and gels cosmetic suppliers will sell you.

This recipe works surprisingly well. The colors last longer, and stick to your lips better than regular commercial lipstick. No need to worry about evidence left on shirt collars, or on cigarette butts carelessly left in ashtrays... although sometimes, depending on the specific crayon color, the pigments might need a little extra smacking of the lips to disperse evenly.

If you're using a chapstick tube (or a lipstick tube of a similar size) and you're making this as a gift, you can download a pop-up, pop art lip balm holder I designed. The template comes in two versions, one with text and the other with an empty speech bubble in case you want to add your own.

Step 1: Containers and Molds

Picture of Containers and Molds

Commercial lipstick is poured into molds to obtain a nice, slanted, rounded shape, but sometimes it comes in containers which look similar to chapstick tubes, with the top cut at an angle. I recycled one of those for the lipstick in the crayon picture, but I also used regular chapstick containers I had left over from making my chocolate chapstick, and tiny little plastic jars. It's a little harder to apply lipstick in a chapstick tube, but tins (or tiny jars) work really well if you have a brush. It's also much easier to pour the hot wax into a tin.

If you really want the real lipstick shape, you can buy molds at various suppliers. Most of these vendors cater to people who are making cosmetics for sale and not for personal use, so they sell trays with fifty or so molds, but Making Cosmetics sells a three stick mold. I decided I could do without the pretty shape, and stick with something easy and cheap. A good source for chapstick and other containers is called Specialty Bottle. They do not sell lipstick molds but they have a nice selection of tins, jars, and bottles, and no minimum quantity. Many other vendors sell similar items, and I'm not endorsing (or affiliated with) anybody.

Step 2: Ingredients and Materials

Picture of Ingredients and Materials

You will need a small, heat resistant container, such as a stainless steel measuring cup. Use the smallest one you have.

The following quantity will fit easily into most lip balm tins, but you will have a little left over if you are using a tube, which usually holds only 0.15oz. For the triple lipstick mold, double the recipe.

I have tested a variety of different ingredients, and although the end product varies in "feel" you have a lot of flexibility in your choices.

Here is the basic recipe:

1/2 crayon of your favorite color (approx 2.4g)
1/2 tsp jojoba oil (approx 2 g)
1 almond-sized chunk of shea butter (approx 2g)

Ingredients you can add to the above:

1 pea-sized dab of lanolin (improves feel and possibly color distribution)
1 pinch gum arabic (improves color distribution and durability of color)
1 drop vitamin E (helps prevent oil from becoming rancid, improves shelf life)
1 pinch zinc oxide (makes color lighter and more opaque, offers protection against UVA and UVB sun rays -- but make sure your wax mixture is well stirred before you pour)

Alternate ingredients:

You can replace shea butter with cocoa butter (will make lipstick slightly more firm)
You can replace jojoba oil with castor oil (will make a glossier lipstick)

These are the alternate ingredients I've tried, but there's no reason you can't experiment with any other type of edible oils.

Step 3: Melting and Pouring

Picture of Melting and Pouring

The safest way to melt this mixture is to put it over a pan of barely simmering water. Although you might be able to melt it in the microwave, wax can combust if it's over-heated, so I prefer heating it slowly over a pan of hot water, while stirring it with a cocktail twizzler, chopstick, or the handle of a small spoon. Just be careful not to spill any water into your wax mixture.

As soon as all the ingredients are melted and well combined, pour them into your containers.

If you are using the slanted lipstick container prop it up in some rice, beans, or popcorn kernels like I did. This will allow it will set at the proper angle.

Wax contracts as it cools, so you will get a dent, or maybe even a small hole in the center of your tube. You can reduce this effect by tapping the container on the counter as it cools, but if you try topping it off with more wax chances are the extra drop you add will come off when you use the stick. I have a theory that plunking the tube in a cup of hot water and letting it cool super slowly would help too: if the sides cool at the same rate as the center, no hole should not form, instead the whole level would go down a bit. Putting it into a warm oven (turned off) might help too. I haven't had a chance to test out this theory yet... I'll keep you posted.

Step 4: Application and Uses

Picture of Application and Uses

As I mentioned in the intro, depending on the color and the exact proportion of ingredients (it's impossible to be 100% precise and accurate when you are making such small quantities) sometimes the pigments don't disperse quite as well as commercial lipstick. If you are applying it with a brush this is not really an issue, because the brush will smooth and even everything out, but if you are using a tube you may need to smack your lips more than usual, or smudge them with your fingertips.

After making my first few colors what should have been obvious from the start finally struck me: this doesn't need to be just lipstick, it can be used as rouge, or face paint! However, I do not recommend using this to paint the area around the eyes. Some pigments are approved for lips and skin but not for the eyes, and since the specific ingredients are not listed on the crayons I would not risk it.

Update: jfarn01 had a great idea which I want to point out here. Crayons can also be used for making colored shoe polish -- it just so happens that I had already posted a recipe for shoe polish here. Just replace the candle in that recipe with 3 crayons of the color of your choice, and you can finally have a polish which matches your shoes.

For up to date news on what I'm cooking up, check out my new blog.


JaniceN6 (author)2016-07-05

when i did it the lipbalm looked oily. it didnt look darker like i wanted it to look

belsey (author)JaniceN62016-07-05

Did you follow the recipe precisely or did you improvise some of the proportions or ingredients? How was it the next day? You can influence the texture by modifying the proportions slightly, but also the texture will change as it cools. Though it might look like the lipstick has completely set, in reality it will keep on hardening over 24 hours -- or it might get a bit softer if the ambient temperature is high. Use more crayons if you want a harder, less oily texture and more color.

JaniceN6 (author)belsey2016-07-05

ok thx it is getting darker now and brigther

sm14570 (author)JaniceN62016-12-17

Wait what????????????? You said you wanted it darker, RIGHT? Because you said "It's getting darker now and brighter." That made no sense.

sonal0 (author)2016-09-23

Awesome ma'am you rocks..i searched entire google no one is able to mention the complete formula except you with preservative.Thanks for your effort.Can you also tell me other cosmetic recepies.

belsey (author)sonal02016-09-24

Hi Sonal0! You PM'ed me with additional questions, but I thought I'd answer here because other people might be wondering the same things you are. Regarding the moisturizing cream, and adding mineral powder to make it a foundations: Yes, you can add mineral powder to the moisturizer. The quantity is up to you, and you'll have to experiment to find the right balance and get the texture you want.

Regarding shelf life:

Shelf life is not an absolute... it will vary depending on the freshness of your ingredients, how well you have sterilized all your equipment, how well you sealed your containers, and probably also what's floating around the air in your kitchen. I've had some batches go bad after a few weeks, others last a couple years! The most I can say is anything with water will spoil faster than a purely oil/wax based formula like lipstick -- but oil will still go rancid over time, so lipstick will eventually go bad too. Also adding water-based organic ingredients (like infusions or juice) will shorten the shelf life compared to using plain distilled water.

Lyceesobossy (author)belsey2016-11-18

What do you mean by a couple batches going bad?

belsey (author)Lyceesobossy2016-11-20

Doesn't happen so much with the lipstick (since it contains no water) but the creams can get visibly moldy and/or start smelling a little funky. If you're using vitamin C as an additive, it starts out a bit orange but when the orange deepens (which can happen in a matter of a few days) it's time to throw it out. On occasion with visible mold I've scraped it off and used the "clean" cream (like jam or cheese) but I would not recommend that if you have sensitive skin or any sort of abrasions.

belsey (author)sonal02016-09-23

Thanks! Just scroll through my other instructables, I have a few other cosmetics recipes (as well as a wide variety of other projects you might enjoy).

CreativeBlossom (author)2016-11-19

Wow. This is very nice! I like it!!


KittyLover16 (author)2016-11-20

This is amazing! Homemade lipstick is the way to go. Interesting how you can use crayons for this!

Lyceesobossy (author)2016-11-18

Does the lipstick melt if I carry it around in my bag?

ThisIsMyNameOK (author)2015-07-02

I am beginning to consider giving this a try, though I am still a little skeptical. For one thing, it is possible to make a claim that your product is non toxic even if it contains questionable ingredients. And even if Crayola is confident that their product is safe, how closely are they supervising production? There have been many incidents of reputable companies, such as Fisher Price and Matel, having lead based paint and other toxic stuff found in their toys, which, according to them, they knew nothing about.

But then again, it wouldn't be the wierdest thing I ever used as makeup, and I'm sure some of my choices were not exactly safe. Not to mention some of the commercial cosmetics I used in the past, which are downright scary when you actually look at what's in them.

NicoleB53 (author)ThisIsMyNameOK2015-12-23

I know this is old, but I would say that Crayola is less toxic than anything else you put into your body, or on it. Crayons are meant to be used by kids, not that they are meant to be eaten by kids, but I think it's fair to say that the majority of us have eaten at least one crayon when we were a kid (my daughter ate two... those were interesting diapers...). Crayola has been around for 130 years (since 1885), and I am sure in the beginning the ingredients weren't always the safest, but there has been 130 years to perfect the recipe. Whereas Matel has only been around since 1945, and Fisherprice has been around since 1930. And their toys weren't expected to be in the mouths of teething kids. Especially cars painted with lead based paints.

Of course then once you become an adult you add in alcohol, prescription drugs, tobacco, chemicals in the makeup that you wear, the hair products used, etc... yeah, Crayola crayons might be the safest thing we have put in/on our bodies in our entire lives...

Beezor (author)2015-10-13

Oh btw I have sensitive skin so will coconut oil make my lips blow up?

belsey (author)Beezor2015-10-14

Not unless you're allergic to coconut oil... to test it, put a little oil in the on your skin (the wrist or crock of your elbow is a good place). If it becomes itchy, don't use coconut oil)

Beezor (author)2015-10-13

Oh btw I have sensitive skin so will coconut oil make my lips blow up?

Beezor (author)2015-10-13

Oh this is a fun instructable thank you
Pleez keep posting :)

Happygirl122706 (author)2015-08-07

I think this is so cool and will defenitly try it

Mipster mipalot (author)2015-07-23

I used old clear Chapstick instead of Vaseline or coconut oil and put the lipstick in a Chapstick container

sunny.rice.969 (author)2014-11-20

I found another way. What you do is get Vaseline, get your favorite colored pencil, shave off the color with scissors into a container, mix some Vaseline with it and you got some lipstick.

belsey (author)sunny.rice.9692014-12-01

Did it really work? I can't imagine the pigment from shaved pencils would mix properly with vaseline. Maybe it you grind it really fine, but even then I imagine it would just disperse, not actually dissolve. Also, I know that crayons have wax and pigments, but I'm not sure what's in the colored leads of pencils -- and I wouldn't want to put anything on my lips unless I felt reasonably sure it's safe.

RachelL1 (author)belsey2014-12-12

If you want safe then do NOT use any type of vaseline. It is a by-product of petroleum and is HIGHLY, HIGHLYY toxic to the body, especially when people use it on babies. If anyone tells you otherwise then just research it and you'll see. A safer, all natural route is a spoonful of coconut oil per crayon. it works perfectly and makes the lipstick not only moisturizing but makes it go on very smoothly.

ThisIsMyNameOK (author)RachelL12015-07-02

If you are using crayons to make your lipstick then there is no point in avoiding Vaseline, since crayons are mostly paraffin wax, which is also a petroleum product. Most commercially prepared lipsticks and balms also contain petroleum products, as well as other moisturizers and beauty products. So do many of the foods you eat, not to mention just about everything that is made of plastic, including food and beverage containers.... If you want to avoid petroleum, you pretty much have to move to another planet. Or go back in time to before we started using petroleum.

diybeautyqueen (author)RachelL12015-05-01

Actual Vaseline is harmless is actually very useful And not just for beauty reasons. And as said by a dermatologist (who doesn't work for Vaseline): "Vaseline is highly-refined, triple-purified and regarded as non-carcinogenic."

belsey (author)diybeautyqueen2015-05-01

Hear hear! People can develop allergies to almost any so-called "natural" products (never been able to figure out what that really means), but Vaseline is reliably neutral and safe.

Takayla1129 (author)2015-06-21

Can I use blistex?

HyperStripe (author)2015-06-10

I tried to make a blue lipstick, but it ended up more like a tinted lip gloss; I also tried to make a black lipstick, but even though I used the same ratio, it was too solid. Any tips, primarily for the blue?

belsey (author)HyperStripe2015-06-10

Try doubling the crayon and oil and omitting the Shea butter... If it ends up too soft, add more crayon, too hard add more oil. Maybe (for blue, not black) adding a pinch of zinc oxide will make it lighter and less transparent.

GretaR1 made it! (author)2015-06-06

Love this! One thing that worked for me was using cocoa butter and coconut oil, it gave it a very smooth texture, better than most commercial lipsticks in my opinion, and definitely cheaper! I made a neutral tone and a red, and i couldnt be happier with the results!

suzysmith24 (author)2015-05-16

cool!i dont wear lipstick but my mom wud like one

SpiroExDeus (author)2010-02-15

I considered making some of this for when I occasionally get gothed up.

Just a note about the Lanolin optional ingredient. It's rare, but some people have an allergy to it. If you've never used any products with lanolin before (more likely if you're a guy like me) test a tiny bit of lanolin (or a product with it in - a lot of barrier creams use it) on your skin.

My hairdresser found out about my lanolin allergy the hard way (for me) when after testing my skin for reaction to the black hair dye (no problem there) she began to apply barrier cream to my neck causing me to yell (it burned like crazy). After she'd apologised and quickly wiped it away and washed the spot where she'd put it I had a red 'fingerprint' on the back of my neck. Took about an hour to go down IIRC.

Like I said. If you want to include Lanolin be aware that there's a slight possibility that you (or whoever you give it to) may have an allergy to it like I did. (assuming it WAS the Lanolin but they couldn't find anything else in the cream that I was likely to react to).

I took up doing this because I am allergic to stevia and it's in all the cool natural lip balms. You can be allergic to anything unfortunately.

True -- but luckily this is super easy to make and customize so it's no trouble to avoid all the ingredients which you are sensitive or allergic to.

belsey (author)SpiroExDeus2010-02-16

Thanks for pointing that out. The relationship between lanolin and allergies is particularly fraught... in wikipedia, they write that lanolin is both hypoallergenic AND that some people are allergic. Possibly because the term hypoallergenic has no legal meaning whatsoever, it was invented by one of Don Draper's (Mad Men) real-life colleagues in the 1950s. But I digress.  There are several grades of lanolin, the most refined (and allergy-free) is used to coat bandaids to prevent sticking, or to slather on the nipples of breastfeeding mothers, to avoid painful, cracked and bloody breasts... so that type of lanolin is quite safe given that it protects open wounds and is approved for tiny infants, who can't even consume honey, eggs or wheat. Which is not to say that some people might be allergic! Here's an article on the difficulty of ascertaining lanolin allergy, for those who are interested.

kitty kat (author)belsey2010-02-28

thank u! im lazy so i put it in the microwave for  22 sec:) ill never buy lipstick again.

EmilyV2 (author)2015-04-15

hey, um can I use this wit hair coconut oil?

belsey (author)EmilyV22015-04-15

I'm not familiar with hair coconut oil, but my first instinct would be to say no. Check the ingredients: if it's 100% coconut oil with no other additives, it's probably OK. If there are other ingredients you need to check them one by one and make sure they are all edible, but I doubt they would be, since this is a hair product. I wouldn't risk it. You can buy coconut oil (for cooking) in most grocery stores which will be safe and delicious.

nysi.bianco (author)2015-01-25

Could i make this without oils?

smartgirl101 (author)nysi.bianco2015-03-15

Yes instead of oil use Vaseline

belsey (author)nysi.bianco2015-01-26

You can substitute one type of oil or butter with another, but you can't omit it -- if you did all you would have left is a crayon! And that won't spread on your lips. By the way, butters are oils too -- they're just solid at room temperature.

lollipop8 (author)2015-02-16

can i use crazy art

lollipop8 (author)2015-02-16

can i use crazy art

SophiaL4 (author)2015-02-09

can i use oil pastels?

belsey (author)SophiaL42015-02-09

I wouldn't.

lollipop8 (author)2015-02-06

what do you need to make it

belsey (author)lollipop82015-02-07

Ingredients are listed in step 2

lollipop8 (author)2015-02-06

what do you need to make it

neonchocolate11 (author)2015-01-11


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Bio: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I ... More »
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