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.

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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.

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SpiroExDeus5 years ago
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.

belsey (author)  violette.rosejones4 days ago
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)  SpiroExDeus5 years ago
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.
thank u! im lazy so i put it in the microwave for  22 sec:) ill never buy lipstick again.
EmilyV29 days ago

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

belsey (author)  EmilyV29 days ago
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.bianco2 months ago
Could i make this without oils?
Yes instead of oil use Vaseline
belsey (author)  nysi.bianco2 months ago

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.

lollipop82 months ago

can i use crazy art

lollipop82 months ago

can i use crazy art

SophiaL42 months ago

can i use oil pastels?

belsey (author)  SophiaL42 months ago

I wouldn't.

lollipop82 months ago

what do you need to make it

belsey (author)  lollipop82 months ago

Ingredients are listed in step 2

lollipop82 months ago

what do you need to make it


vwoodson3 months ago

So I was wanting to try the crayon lipstick using kokum butter, beeswax pastilles, coconut oil, and crayola crayons. Would these ingredients work just as well?

belsey (author)  vwoodson3 months ago
I've never tried kokum butter, but I imagine it would be a fine replacement for the shea butter. Skip the beeswax pastilles though, because there's already wax in the crayons so if you add more the result will be too waxy and won't spread nicely. Coconut oil will work too.
Could I use veggie oil? I don't have any coconut oil and the store here does not sell it
belsey (author)  The Gaming Umbreon3 months ago
Of course -- as long as it's food grade you can use any oil. The oil used will influence the "feel" of the lipstick but you can substitute any oil with another edible one.
tajiahsmommy4 months ago

does it matter what brand of oil you use

belsey (author)  tajiahsmommy3 months ago
No, as long as it's food grade.
What kind of coconut oil do you use is it the one that you use for your hair

Can i sell crayola crayons or do i have to get permission from crayola

belsey (author)  emma.millburn.54 months ago

Not sure if I understand your question... If you want to sell crayons, presumably you'd be buying them wholesale from Crayola and then selling them. The act of buying them wholesale implies that you have permission to resell the crayons... If you want to make lipstick with crayons and then sell that lipstick while advertising that they contain crayola crayons, then yes, I would contact Crayola to get their permission. You'd be using their name and brand to advertise your product. But I would guess they would NOT grant you permission for various brand protection and liability reasons. It's one thing to make your own DYI products for yourself, quite another to sell it.

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.9694 months ago

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 belsey4 months ago

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.

I just heard about this from My friend...she uses coconut oil and other essencial oils which aren't needed to make it but she likes them...also says if you add a drop of cinnimon plumps the lips if you need plumping ...she has amazing lips..that are plump enough without it...seen in the pic.

her lips.jpg
belsey (author)  dan.alexander.54944 months ago

Yes, you can absolutely use different carrier oils -- personally I'd be cautious with essential oils, they can be very potent and since they're on your lips, they will make it into your body... Not all of them are safe to ingest. Depending on the EO in question and the quantity that may be a problem. It is possible that cinnamon oil makes your lips swell, but to me that would be a proof that too much is being used! A tiny bit for the flavor might be pleasant, but if your lips get noticeably swollen (or "plump") then it's an allergic reaction, and not a very good thing!

Sorry it is good that you have the words but it will be better if you put it with the pictures to see what you are making<3

belsey (author)  Marisol Martines4 months ago

There are lots of pictures in this instructable! If they're not loading and you can't see them, maybe you should contact Instructables, they might be able to help you troubleshoot.

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

belsey (author)  antonia.coleman.36 months 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!!!
kliu81 year 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)  kliu81 year 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.
afujishima belsey6 months ago

"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.

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