Instructables
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

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

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

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.

 
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help! I made my crayon lipstick today but it's not spreading very easily........

belsey (author)  antonia.coleman.32 days ago
Try adding a touch more oil... (either remelt and add oil, or just start fresh).
Thank you I figured out where I went wrong! I used the Vaseline that has cocoa butter in it!!!
kliu811 months ago
Have you actually researched the safety of Crayola crayons and paraffin wax? I understand that "Non-Toxic" can be a flimsy and unregulated seal but from what I have read Crayola(not sure about Roseart, Prang,etc) does seem to take safety more seriously since toddlers eating crayons is common. However chronic ingestion over a very long period of time like in lipstick might be a different type of exposure than eating a crayon now and then. There are always the "really non-toxic" crayons out there like Clementine and Ecokids.
belsey (author)  kliu810 months ago
Yes, I did my research before testing and publishing this... I discovered that the ingredients considered less safe in commercial lipstick are the preservatives (which this doesn't contain), that paraffin wax is used to coat chocolate, that the danger from most pigments is breathing them in when they are in powder form (not applicable here), and that crayola does not publish its formulas. I also learned that "toxic" is a relative term: chemicals are not intrinsically toxic, they can be toxic in certain quantities, and those toxic quantities will vary depending on the person's size. In this case, even a heavy lipstick user will only be ingesting a tiny fraction of the stuff a toddler will consume whole with no negative consequences -- so I'm quite confident this is perfectly safe. That said, women used to swallow arsenic to look fashionably pale, or powder their faces with lead dust, so it is possible, down the line, that someone will discover lipstick is killing us: but even so I know that this particular lipstick won't be any worse than the rest... Using "organic" brands of kids crayons is a good idea -- it can't hurt.

"even a heavy lipstick user will only be ingesting a tiny fraction of the stuff a toddler will consume whole"

I find this very unlikely, considering a person that has been wearing lipstick everyday since the average age of 15 will consume roughly 3lbs of lipstick over the course of a life-time. Though girls are doing it younger these days, so 10 years of age is probably more accurate of an average for arguments sake.. The average life-span for women these days is around 86 years.. (of course there will be people who live longer or shorter life-spans)

On average a person would consume 0.06 grams of lipstick per day, so, 0.06 grams x 365 days per year = 21.9 grams per year of lipstick
aggregate exposure. Then,
21.9 grams per year x 76 years of daily lipstick wear = 1664.4 grams or
roughly 1.7 kilograms in a lifetime. For those familiar with pounds
over kilograms, that amounts to about 3.7 pounds in a lifetime.

If anyone's toddler ever consumes nearly 4lbs of crayons (which is about 200 crayons), I call that parental failure.. lol.

Livvy121719 days ago

what are the ingredients for making this

Thank you my friend and I were making this and loved the results so pretty!!!!!!!

belsey (author)  Livvy121719 days ago
They are listed in step 2
AdefemiJ1 month ago

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2014-09-04 08.30.05.jpg
AdefemiJ1 month ago

Cocoa business is awaiting you at makinde cocoa establishment
where thousands of tonnes a produce per year you can be a bulk buyer, partner,
makinde cocoa establishment is the best around the south-south origin in
Nigeria, we produce the best and a well-trained employee in agricultural
science. We ensure that our cocoa beans a weight a fresh, be a partner from
anywhere makinde is ready to accept, bulk buy most wanted in outside Nigeria,

Makinde cocoa farm is located in fari forestogun
state for more information’s email MR. ADEFEMI JULIOUS at adefemijulious@gmail.com. him is going to furnish you the own info. Come let
make cocoa the best and the best business THANKS.

chocolatechip3 months ago

Someone told me that crayola crayons contain a very high amount of lead! Is that true?

belsey (author)  chocolatechip3 months ago
Definitely not... Unless maybe it's a vintage white crayon from the 1940...
Okay thanks for the heads up!
hastieg1 year ago
this is awesome im doing it for a school project
could i use sweet almond oil
(removed by author or community request)
belsey (author)  chocolatechip3 months ago

Sorry hastieg I didn't see your comment till einstien123 commented -- as I mentioned in step 2, you can use any other kind of oil. It will influence how the lipstick feels and looks but as long as it's edible and food grade you're good to go! However, I would not recommend, as einstien123 does in her instructable, to heat the mixture in a microwave. Wax will occasionally combust, and I'd hate to have you set fire to your kitchen... Heat the wax over simmering water -- it's much safer!

twilightfox4 months ago

Cool! I want to try it!

Chocaholic5235 months ago

Hi!!! This is a really great and useful instruction set, and it's really well laid out. But I actually used castor oil instead of the jojoba oil, and coconut oil instead of the shea butter, because I already had a large quantity o coconut oil :P I also used a whole crayon, and some cinnamon extract from MOMs, which not only smells really really good, but also helps plump up the lips. But my lipstick is really smooth and makes my lips feel really nice and soft :D

kpizarro7 months ago

i have don one with olive oil it works just as well

karla14408 months ago
wow i followed those steps and it actually worked your a genius
cuteteamgirl 8 months ago
I am gonna try it
n0ukf9 months ago

Here's an alternative for heating the ingredients... For melting candles to pour into molds, I use desktop electric coffee cup warmers, I've seen them anywhere from 9W to 24W. The higher ones will melt it quicker. Covering your melting pot (top and sides) with some kind of larger container (like a plastic jar larger diameter than the heat source) will also contain the heat better to melt faster.

I've also used one of these to melt chocolate as an adhesive for assembling decorative candies (peanutbutter cup graduation caps).

krissyg611 months ago
I just tried this recipe with my daughters using the crayons, olive oil, peppermint oil, and cocoa butter. We made red and pink, and it worked perfectly! I tweaked it with more olive oil and less cocoa butter, and the consistency is excellent. I love this tutorial and can't wait to try some other colors! Thanks for this :)
ljette11 year ago
Hey there! I tried the instructable and I used cocoa Butter lotion cause i had bought the jojoba oil and was impatient. I used a silver crayon and it took a bit of mixing to finally become one color. As i set it to cool i took some from the container and tried it on. It was a little dry feeling as it sat on my lips. Is there a way to fix that for cheap or should i just use pure cocoa butter? And is there a way to add peppermint smell/flavor cause i added two drops of extract and didnt get any smell or taste XD thanks!!
belsey (author)  ljette11 year ago
If it feels dry (by which you mean stiff and waxy?) then you should increase the proportion of liquid oil. Since we're dealing with very small quantities, you don't need to increase it by much to feel the difference. You can add flavoring, but it is better if you can find one, to get an oil-based flavor rather than, for example, vanilla or peppermint extract from the baking aisle of the grocery store, which tends to be alcohol (i.e. water) based. Water and oil don't mix easily, so if you use a water-based flavor it might separate. Have fun experimenting!
belsey (author)  belsey1 year ago
Sorry, I just re-read your comment more carefully... Yes, you definitely need to use pure cocoa butter rather than lotion. Lotion is an emulsion of water and oil, so the texture will end up completely different if you use it. Also, and more importantly, you don't necessarily know what other ingredients are in the lotion -- and on your lips you want to make sure everything can be safely eaten. Another option if you can't find/don't want to wait for the cocoa butter is to skip it entirely and just use more liquid oil. You'll have to fiddle with the proportions (maybe experiment with colors you don't really like), but you might get an OK result.
ljette1 belsey1 year ago
Thank you!! <3 I shall buy pure cocoa/shea butter for the recipe.
mnoelle1 year ago
can Shea butter be replaced with Vaseline? and i tried this, but there was almost no pigment
belsey (author)  mnoelle1 year ago
Sorry I didn't see this sooner. Yes, shea butter can be replaced by vaseline, it might feel slightly different on the lips, but it will work fine. I don't think it will effect the pigments, which come from the crayon. To increase the pigments you can increase the amount of crayon, then maybe use a bit more liquid oil (and a bit less valeine/shea) to compensate for the extra stiffness from the added amount of wax. Or use a different crayon, some colors and brands have different amounts of pigments.
I made this using cocoa butter, a violet-red crayon and canola oil. After melting and blending, I added in the oil from a Vitamin E capsule. I also dipped a toothpick into a bottle of pure peppermint oil and swirled that into the lipstick mixture. It adds just a subtle hint of mint flavor and aroma. I put it in a small plastic container and apply with a brush. The lipstick came out perfect - fantastic project!
nissibob1 year ago
I tried it just now and it came out hard. Then I remelted again and added more oil and Shea butter but more oil hoping it would make it less solid. It didn't. Should I add more shea butter next time?
BunnieBard1 year ago
I just made this in two seconds with cocoa butter, olive oil, and some really old bits of crayon and it IS AMAZINGLY AMAZING LIPSTICK. Not only is it a safer alternative to commercial products, it costs like 20 cents a tube, IF that. I am never buying lipstick again. Thank you so much!

I am going to buy some metallic crayons next! Do you think if you upped the amount of oil... or used a softer butter, like coconut, you could make something closer to lip gloss consistency?
belsey (author)  BunnieBard1 year ago
Yes, you can definitely play with the proportions to get the texture you like... Also the ingredients; for lip gloss I would recommend castor oil which is thick and shiny.
This is great! I can't wait to try it! Thanks so much for sharing...
vicki18181 year ago
This is a really well-written Instructable! Thanks so much!!
Veronika71 year ago
Would coconut oil work as a shea butter substitue?
belsey (author)  Veronika71 year ago
The texture of the final lipstick would be much softer because shea butter is solid at room temperature whereas coconut oil needs to be colder. It would be a better substitute for any of the oils.
Ah thank you! I thought I'd ask someone who knew what they were doing before I started changing things on my own. (it won't let me respond in a reply for some reason)
I'm wondering because I wear either black lipstick or a really deep purple, but the purple I finally fell in love with is a limited edition >_< so, doing a dark pigmented Crayons, will the product come off completely opaque and creamy? Or, do you know a way to make it that way? I know it's been a while since you posted this, but any help would be great ^_^
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