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Infusing Oilve Oil with tea? Trying to make natural lip balm.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'll start off by explaining what this is for. I recently started making beeswax/olive oil lip balm for gifts and people love it! I am trying to start to sell it but would like a larger variety of flavours. Most "fake" flavoring will not mix with the olive oil base. I had an idea to somehow infuse the olive oil with different flavored teas.. I tred heating 6 tbsp of olive oil up yesterday with a tea bag in it but just didn't seem to work, maybe I used too much olive oil for one tea bag?  Or is this just a bad idea all together?

Any ideas for alternative ways to flavour my lip balms?

I need advice!!

Jak

post #2 of 8

I would consider two approaches.

 

First, just go with herbs that have distinct flavors. Mellissa, for instance, for a lemony flavor; lavender for it's unique smell, etc. I don't know if the flavor elements of tea are oil-soluable or not.

 

The second is simple. Just add appropriate essential oils. Go easy, though, because a little of them goes a long way. When making my insect repellent, for instance, I infuse the oil with pennyroyal, then add a couple of drops of citronella oil before the wax sets up.

 

Infusing oil for balms is a slower process than you seem to be using. At no time should it actually be cooked. You can do it at room temperature, which can take weeks in some cases. I speed it up with low heat.

 

When making balms, I mix in the appropriate herb and put it in the oven at the lowest possible setting. Essentially you just want to warm the oil. After a couple of hours I turn off the the heat, and let the container sit overnight. Then repeat the process if I'm using multiple herbs (there are six of them in my basic balm, for instance).

 

When ready to thicken the balm I heat the infused oil gently on the stove top, and add an appropriate amount of beeswax. Rough ratio, for a soft balm, is 1 1/2 ounces beeswax per cup of infused oil. The more wax you add the harder the end product. For a lip balm you could probably go as high as 50/50 by weight.

 

You might also want to consider the addition of Vitamin E oil. This serves two functions: It is a great skin toner, on its own. And it acts as a preservative, extending the shelf life of the balm.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

This is great, thank you! I will definitely be getting Vitamine E oil to add to the lip balm, i'll go on a search tomorrow for some herbs!

post #4 of 8

Jak8, one more tip. If you're going to be making the balms in quantity it would behoove you to buy or build an herb press. If not, you'll lose as much as 1/3 of the oil as you process the balm.

 

Commercial ones are not inexpensive. But they pay for themself over time with the savings you achieve in infused oil.

 

You'd be smart, too, to find a bee keeper and do a deal for your beeswax. If you buy it at retail there are too many middlemen in the way, and your costs go up by 25-40%. Considering this is the second most costly ingredient in your balm, that's where the profit/loss border lies.

 

Speaking of profit/loss, do you know how to figure your production costs?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

So about how much herb per oil amount is generally needed to get a good amount of flavour in the oil? This sounds like something I am going to have to work on for a bit before I get a perfect mix.

 

At the moment I have no idea how to figure production cost.. I know how much I've paid for my supplies so far, that's about it.

post #6 of 8

I can't answer the amount, Jak8. My balms are done for medicinal purposes, and any aroma is serendipitous to that. So you'll have to experiment. And, keep in mind, that you want some medicinal properties as well. The whole point of a lip balm is to both prevent and treat chapping and drying. Flavor and aroma are happy extras.

 

From a business point of view, your equipment is either costed out in one year or amortized over time. More than likely, at this point, you're just talking about a good scale, measuring cups, non-reactive pots, and so forth. If you have as much as a hundred bucks invested I'd be surprised. So that's a straighforward tax write-off. If you buy an herb press you'll have to decide whether costing it or amortizing makes the best sense for you.

 

What you have to consider next are the costs of ingredients and production costs. Convert all your ingredients to cost/weight so you can compare them readily. So, how much per ounce does your wax, and evoo, and other ingredients cost? Then weigh out about ten ounces of the finished balm, divide by ten, and you have your ingredients cost per ounce. Add in the cost of the packaging (which, often, is more than the cost of ingredients). Add 10% to that to cover GSA (general, services, and administration).

 

Because you're working at home, overheads are difficult to figure. I mean, just how much gas, and lights, and so forth, do you use while making balm? And what percentage of your mortgage is absorbed? At this point in time the easiest approach is to just double the actual costs. So, if a container of balm costs $3 to produce, you sell it for $6. That will cover all direct and indirect costs and your profit as well.

 

There are other cost accounting methods, to be sure. But this is the simplest approach for establishing production and selling costs at this point.

 

Do not, repeat not, underestimate these figures. Products like this are almost price insensitive. Think not? Pay attention to that cosmetic commercial which compares the product to the $300 moisturizer. Yes, 300 bucks! If women, in particular, are convinced that a cosmetic product does the job for them they will pay whatever the asking price.

 

Keep in mind, too, you ultimate market. Right now you're thinking of direct selling to individuals, which is fine. But what if the local ski shop becomes a customer? You don't want to undercut your dealers. So, what you have in such circumstances is a six dollar wholesale price. Add 40-65% to that to establish a retail price.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 8

All this talk about infusions has my curious.  This is a little off topic, but so is lip balm off topic for a food forum, but i guess you lick it off your lips, so it can count as food! 

 

Anyway, there is really only one scent i really love, and that is clove.  I'd like to infuse clove into oil.  I have an acquaintance who does this semi-professionally and she said to just put the cloves into the oil and let it sit.  It sat months.  No smell at all!  are my cloves lousy?  should they be ground?  should it be heated?  But won;t the oil go rancid then? 

 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 8

There are a number of herbs and spices whose oils are so volitile that the aromas fade quickly. Cloves are one of them (on the other hand, infused clove oil is great for toothaches; although it's neither as strong nor as long lasting as cold-distilling the actual essential oil). Vanilla, alas, is another.

 

However, vanilla does maintain it's aroma when tinctured, and that might work (I'm just guessing; never actually tried it) with cloves as well. But whole cloves, in a sealed container, last two days longer than forever, so I don't know what you'd accomplish in terms of a cooking ingredient.

 

Cold infusing, as your friend does, is obviously much more time consuming. And there are those who claim the quality is higher than gently heating the oil/herb mix. I haven't seen any hard evidence of that, however, and it's probably more anecdotal than factual---a situation that prevails with much of herbalisim. You just want to not overheat it, and actually cook the herbs or spices.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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