Cold Sore Remedy Lip Gloss DIY
**This is a tutorial for making your own shimmery, natural, nourishing lip gloss that may help soothe cold sores through the documented anti-viral properties of the herb: Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis). Find the reference page at the bottom of this post.
Ugh, cold sores. The boil on the lip of humanity. In college, after some routine blood tests for a check-up, my doctor told me that I had tested positive for anti-bodies corralated with Herbes Simplex 1 Virus. The conversation went something like this:
“Ummm, EXCUSE ME?!”
“It’s extremely common-it causes cold sores, so don’t freak out.”
“You just said Herpes, how do I not freak out!?”
“Have you ever had a cold sore?”
“Has anyone in your family?”
“Well, you likely have the virus. It’s easy to pick up if you eat, drink, or kiss someone during an outbreak. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t bother you unless your immune system becomes taxed. That’s usually when people get them.”
“I have an anxiety disorder. My immune system is always freaking taxed.”
“At least you haven’t had an outbreak before. You may go your entire life without one. If you get it, get some anti-viral ointment and you’ll be fine.”
The unsavory knowledge of this stupid little bug hiding in my cells, sat in the back of my mind for several years. I eventually decided it was a false positive since years had gone by with not a single little twinge of a sore-until early in my third trimester while pregnant with my second baby.
My cravings were running rampant for bacon during those early weeks. “Baby is trying to fatten up,” I’d tell myself, so inhaling toasted BLT sandwiches at least twice a day seemed less gluttonous. The inside corner of my lip got scratched after a few days of eating these massive, toasted sandwiches.
That stupid scratch just REFUSED to heal! It got worse! After the third day, it really began to hurt and started OOZING. GROOOOOOOSSSSSSSS!
I was thoroughly grossed-out by this thing on my lip, not to mention it felt like my face might rip open every time I tried to talk, let only eat. While looking up “infected lip” online-because pregnant brain forgot about the “herpes simplex 1” conversation that happened 7 years beforehand, it dawned on me that I was in the throws of experiencing my very first cold sore.
Panicked, I called my doctor, because pregnant brain also remembered vaguely reading on the super-reliable internet (can you hear the sarcasm in my typing?) that the cold sore virus kills babies.
“It’s only dangerous to newborns. The fact that you have one in the third trimester might actually give baby some extra antibodies before birth, which is good. Once baby is born, keep him away from people with cold sores, and don’t kiss him/be very hygienic is you have an outbreak at that time, but no worries. Anti-viral ointment should be safe to use if you want to try it, but since your immune system is lowered to protect the fetus from rejection, it may take a little longer to go away.”
Pregnancy is the worst. You can’t take most medicines, and even if they are deemed safe, you still feel guilty/worried about taking them. Desperate to make my lip feel better, I began trying home remedies. Ice and keeping my lips nourished with healthy, natural lip balms were really the only things that helped.
After the stupid scourge went away, I kept researching, thinking that maybe there was an herb that was good for soothing cold sores in case I ever got one again, and it turns out-there is! It grows rampantly in my herb garden, and is actually one of my favorite herbs: Lemon Balm!
If you don’t have this herb in your yard or growing in a pot on your porch, you should. Not only does it add some lovely flavor to ice creams, lemonade, hot teas, baked goods, and jams-it’s naturally mosquito repellent and has strong anti-viral properties that help soothe your skin during a dreaded “herpes simplex” virus outbreak.
Every 6 months (usually in August and February for my Gulf Coast, zone 9b climate) I cut my huge bush back. This encourages new growth and keeps the plant from taking over my garden. This plant literally needs no help growing once it is established. I like to “mother” my plants, so I make sure it gets water on hot, dry days and gets a little fertilizer after I hack it down to nothing. Otherwise, she is like the Giving Tree. Giving me everything, while asking for hardly anything in return.
Whenever I hack it back, I choose the best leaves (no brown spots, no holes) and hang them in small bunches from plastic clothes hangers, secured with twine. My boys’ closet is in a dark, dry, cool place of our house, which is perfect for drying herbs. (Just make sure the bunches are small and the knots loose, so they don’t mold anywhere.)
Once dry, I put them in an airtight container to use in teas, grind into a powder to flavor zucchini breads, and to infuse into oil.
Now, I’ve tried making Lip Balm with Lemon Balm essential oil, and the results just weren’t great. If you have any experience with making your own beauty products, you know that if an oil is hot, or even warm (like when making lip balms and hand salves), the essential oils can dissipate quickly leaving your product with very little scent or medicinal value. Essential oils are much better for “cold” beauty recipes.
In searching for the best way to get the most herbal value out of my beauty products, I’ve found that infusing the oils with the herb itself is far more efficacious than using essential oils. Don’t get me wrong, I love my EOs and use them often, but in some cases (and with certain plants) they are just NOT as persistent as they need to be.
Calendula and Lemon Balm fall into this category of herbs, and these are the two I infuse the most often-especially since I have an abundant, organic source of Lemon Balm right outside my door!
For this tutorial, I will recommend using infused oil, but if you already have Lemon Balm essential oil, feel free to substitute at an appropriate 1-2% dilution rate. Otherwise, let’s get down to the tutorial!
***This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made from clicking on these links will help support this blog by providing a tiny commission for every purchase (at no extra cost to you). I always recommend products that I have personally tried or plan to try. All opinions remain my own. Thank you!
Before I get to the supplies list, I want to take 2 seconds to let you know that 99% of the supplies listed in ALL of my craft tutorials come from Amazon. Their prices are usually equivalent or cheaper than many craft stores (except for basic or heavy supplies like acrylic paint). I do comparison checks for myself while making the tutorials, to make sure the price is better than craft and hobby stores! For this reason, I very much recommend signing up with Amazon Prime.
Signing up is free, and so are your first 30 days. If you just want to order the supplies, then decide it’s not right for you, or you won’t always use it, canceling is always an option. I know that with two little ones, having Prime has helped with ordering random things, that I need, but don’t have time or sanity, to load my kids in the car, drag them around an obscure store to find one thing, get to school on time, and stay on top of my business. I’ll say it loud and proud, I LOVE Amazon Prime!
If you haven’t heard about all of the perks, one year’s membership covers free 2-day shipping on so many items. The vast majority of the supplies (and other products) I recommend are included in this free shipping! Plus, you get access to Amazon’s streaming service (Downton Abbey and Man in the High Castle are worth it alone) and Amazon Music Unlimited. If you plan to be doing any of my tutorials, or are starting a new crafting hobby, I cannot recommend Amazon Prime’s 30-Day Free Trial enough. Okay, enough of my shameless pitch (that’s totally worth it), on to the supplies!
You’ll need (Use Organic if You Can):
- Lemon Balm: here’s an adorable kit to grow it and 3 other herbs and here are some organic dried leaves if you want to skip the growing process)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Castor Oil
- Coconut Oil (Unrefined)
- Shea Butter
- White BEESWAX
- Vitamin E Oil
- Container TUBES
- Bamboo Skewers
- Pyrex Measuring Cup
- Certified Organic Lemon Essential Oil or Organic Lemon Balm Essential Oil (optional!)
- Mineral Shimmer Assorted Colors (I used red, pink, and brown shimmers in mine)
*If you do not purchase the mica shimmers from my links above, make sure they are suitable (certified) for use in cosmetics for lips and eyes!!
To infuse your Lemon Balm, there are two ways:
- Stuff a sterilized jar about half-way full with completely dried lemon balm and cover with olive oil (fill the oil up to the top of the jar, because the leaves will swell), set it in a warm, dry place for about 2-4 weeks, shaking it every few days.
2. Place a 1:2 ratio of herb to oil in a crock-pot and infuse on low for an hour or two.
Drain your infused oil through a cheesecloth into another sterilized jar for future use.
To make your lip gloss:
- In a heat-proof measuring jar, combine 1 Tbls Castor Oil, 1 Tbls Lemon Balm-infused Olive Oil, 1 Tbls Coconut Oil, 1/2 Tsp Shea Butter, and 1 Tsp Beeswax.
- Heat this in a pan of warm water, stirring with a skewer until fully combined.
- Remove from heat with proper equipment (canning tongs or oven mitts and eye protection).
- Let cool slightly.
- Add 5 drops of Vitamin E oil.
- Add your desired amount of shimmers to the gloss.
- Stir well.
- When the mixture is cool enough to begin forming a tiny film on top, add any essential oils you’d like (I did 5 drops of Lemon EO).
- Pour into lip balm pots or lip gloss tubes (leave some room at the top for the brush).
- Wait until cooled to body temperature, then enjoy!
*Makes three 6ml tubes.
I love this lip gloss! I wear it over my tinted lip balm for a lovely shine, or by itself. It has a subtle lemon scent and flavor, and just enough shimmer to look fabulous without being too flashy. You can always add more shimmer or pigment if you want, but I’m a subtle-make-up kind of gal.
Obviously, you don’t have to infuse this recipe with herbs, you can simply make it with the other ingredients, but aside from ice, crushing and rolling fresh Lemon Balm leaves on any “tingly, wanna-be-cold-sore spots,” and drinking hot teas of Lemon balm, this lip gloss helps get me through (or helps prevent) my cold sore outbreaks.
Cold sores can make one feel so unattractive (and in pain) that you want to wear a paper bag over your head until it goes away, but with this lip gloss, it not only helps my lips feel better, it helps my self-esteem feel better, because if Mama ain’t feelin’ pretty-ain’t nobody happy!
*If you find the finished product to be too thick, reduce or eliminate either or all of the wax, shea butter, and coconut oil. They are great at nourishing and locking-in moisture, but are solid at room temperature, thus thicken your gloss. They are quite diluted in the liquid oils, but it just depends on your preference! Likewise, leave out the shimmers if you are concerned about the shimmer interfering with your cold sores’ healing. Play around with the recipe to find your liking, and always do a patch test before applying to your lips!
You could also add your lemon balm-infused oil to my “DIY Naked Lip Balm Base” recipe for a more solid texture.
Reference for effectiveness of M. Officinalis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18693101
**Information and recipes found on this website and corresponding videos have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This is experiential and anecdotal information only. Please seek advice in changing health routines and habits with your healthcare professional.