Last Tuesday, I was at the wee ones’ school for a parent meeting. Mister Man is in fifth grade, and somehow, it’s already time for “that part” of the health curriculum where they talk about kids and their changing bodies. I remember from my class back in the day that we primarily talked about girls getting their periods, and that’s about all I remember. Nowadays, the conversation is much broader and includes a lot of things that tweens and teens don’t tend to focus on, like self care. And yes, this gets back to the homemade chocolate lip balm. Trust me.
As the wee ones have grown, we’ve changed their self-care routines a little bit, but apparently we need to start thinking more. Fortunately, Mister Man is nowhere near ready to start shaving (whew!), so although they covered the fact that one day he’ll need to, we don’t need to start that process quite yet.
But. It is probably time for him to start wearing deodorant. Between his tae kwon do, basketball, and generally running around like a crazy person outside, he does build up a bit of a sweat most days, and it’s gone from that sweet little innocent kid smell to something a little more powerful and grown up.
I’m that crunchy mom, however. Yes, we line dry our clothes instead of using the dryer. I use shampoos and soaps and lotions that lack a lot of the chemical ingredients that may cause trouble down the road. I use mineral sunscreen instead of the far more convenient spray on chemical sunscreens. So of course I am careful about what deodorant I use, not just for my children but for myself, as well.
Tom’s of Maine is the easy choice for me because it is only a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, too. I avoid anti-perspirants because they block your sweat ducts, which is not a good thing. Instead, I search for a deodorant that has natural ingredients and – most important for me – is aluminum free. Their deodorants have no artificial fragrance or preservatives, which also means they aren’t overpowering in their scent (I’ve already told Mister Man that he cannot ever use those body sprays because they give me headaches).
After the parent meeting, I headed out to Walmart to do our regular shopping and to pick up Mister Man’s first deodorant because, yes, Tom’s of Maine is readily available at Walmart. I picked up the fresh apricot scent for him, something light and pleasant that won’t be noticed by most people, which is exactly what we’re aiming for. My personal favorite is the lemongrass scent, but that’s definitely too strong for a boy, I think.
Conveniently, the Tom’s of Maine deodorant is in the same aisle on the opposite side as the toothpaste, which we are shockingly running low again. And again not surprisingly, I pick up the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, too. (And yay, there’s a $1 off Tom’s of Maine coupon that you can use to get the discount on any Tom’s of Maine product purchased at Walmart!)
We all have our favorites. Mister Man is still leery of anything aside from the Silly Strawberry, while Little Miss is developing grown up tastes quickly and prefers the whole care spearmint. Me? I go for the antiplaque and whitening toothpaste in peppermint. And voila, we’re all happy.
Taking care of their teeth was another topic that is being covered in the health class. We are religious teeth brushers in our house, something I’ve instilled since their first teeth came in. When they were younger, I brushed their teeth for them, but as they got older, I trusted them to do it themselves. They now have an electric toothbrush to help ensure they do a good job of getting all the surfaces of their teeth, and knock on wood so far no cavities for either of them.
It hasn’t always been easy getting them to brush their teeth and to do it properly. I’ve had to check the brushes to see if they’re damp. I’ve sent them back in when it was quite apparent they didn’t really brush. I’ve pulled them from bed when they snuck past the bathroom to go straight to sleep. And I’ve bought more toothpaste than any person should have to.
That’s one learning I got early on with the wee ones. You wouldn’t think that you’d have to explain exactly how much toothpaste to put on your toothbrush because it seems obvious. Too much toothpaste, and the gel is still swirling around in your mouth when you’re done. Apparently the obvious escapes my children. Because as the crunchy mom I hate seeing things wasted, we’ve had lessons about the just bigger than a pea size amount that you need for brushing. I’m happy to report that after many, many attempts, the wee ones finally use the right amount on their own without my dispensing toothpaste for them!
So yes, the ingredients in toothpaste matter to me, too, which is why I choose Tom’s of Maine for all of us. And the same holds true for the lip balms the wee ones love to – and need to – use throughout the year. They are perennial lip lickers, and between the dry air of winter in Chicago and the sun and air conditioning of summer, their lips are always in need of a little care.
What’s a mom to do? Make our own lip balm, of course. I love knowing exactly what goes into the homemade chocolate lip balm, and they think it’s the coolest thing ever. It’s incredibly easy to make and uses ingredients you can readily find – most of which are in my pantry every day anyway.
I store my homemade chocolate lip balm in bead containers I picked up from the craft section of the store, which is perfect to fit in a pocket. Because it uses coconut oil, it can get softer at high temperatures (hello Chicago summers!), and I love that the bead container means that it’s still usable instead of melting in the traditional lip balm tall cylinder of a container.
My recipe for homemade chocolate lip balm takes just fifteen minutes to make, and less than a half hour to set before it’s ready to share with everyone. The toughest part is waiting for it to set, but I find that if I put it in the fridge or freezer… out of sight, out of mind. These make for great party favors for birthday parties, too, especially if you create little custom stickers to go with them.
Our favorite “flavor” is the homemade chocolate lip balm, but you could easily make all sorts of flavors from a tropical version to mint and more by adding some essential oils to the lip balm instead of or in addition to the chocolate.
Coconut oil is great not just for replenishing oils in your lips but also because it provides some SPF as a natural sunscreen. How often do we remember to actually put sunscreen on our lips, too? Guilty here!
Making Homemade Chocolate Lip Balm
This truly is one of the easiest things I make.
2 T beeswax
1 1/2 T coconut oil
1 t cocoa powder
Simply chop your beeswax into small chunks (or buy the pastilles, though they tend to be a bit more expensive). Add them and your coconut oil to a small pot and turn your heat to low. They both have very low melting points, so you don’t need much heat to melt them down for your homemade chocolate lip blam, and you don’t want to scorch them. The coconut oil will melt first, but the beeswax won’t be far behind it.
As soon as they’re most of the way melted, go ahead and pull the pot from the stove and stir until they’re completely melted, then add the cocoa powder and stir until it is fully incorporated.
At this point, I either pour my liquid homemade chocolate lip balm into a liquid measuring cup to give me more control or realize I was really smart and used my metal pot that has a spout!
Once it’s cooled just a bit so that it won’t melt the plastic of my beading containers, I carefully pour the liquid into each container, filling it most of the way up.
I save just a little bit rather than stretching to fill one last container because the liquid shrinks down a bit as it hardens. Once it has gone down a bit, I’ll reheat the remaining balm and pour it on top of what’s already in the bead container.
The hardest part, as I mentioned, is waiting for my homemade chocolate lip balm to harden so that I can start using it. The smell is amazing, and it makes me so impatient! Sticking the containers (without their lids on) into the fridge or freezer to harden up is my best bet. It doesn’t hurt that this also speeds along the process.
Once they’ve hardened, they’re ready for immediate use. They’ll last for months – if you haven’t used it all up by then – and I store my extras (with the lids on) in my freezer to pull out whenever I need another homemade chocolate lip balm. This recipe makes 4 of the bead container size, so it lasts for awhile. Unless I give them away!
See? Growing up isn’t all scary. Though Mister Man is horrified to hear what his body is going to start doing at one point – yes, they still recommend carrying an extra sweatshirt around – he’s totally ok with his new deodorant. And the homemade chocolate lip balm makes it all fun!