Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One Balmy Evening

It was a balmy evening. Okay, although it was topping out at about 75 degrees on the December evening in which I am discussing, I don’t mean the weather here. I mean, we were making lip balm. 

Ba dum bum! 

Sorry for the bad pun, but it was just there, waiting for me.

Anyway, The middle child had been furiously perusing YouTube videos about cosmetics, how to apply them, how to make your own, etc. So much that at dinner one night, she regaled us with “How to lose a guy with ten bad makeup mistakes.”

I kid you not.

I was laughing too hard to hear much more than:

“Number one, sticky lips. Number two, pasty face. Number three, spider lashes. Number four, clown cheeks…” She was terribly serious about it, but when you are eight, it is hard to get that type of information across without inciting giggles.

Another example of this cosmetic craziness was a few weeks ago at the local Walgreens. She was closely inspecting the makeup wall, telling me about this “Great Rimmel quad of eye shadows” that had an “awesome assortment of pigments.” The lady behind the cosmetics counter was listening. As we went up to pay, the lady politely asked the middle child if she was interested in makeup.

“Yes, I like to learn about it,” she said politely. “Also, I’ve been hearing some really good things about these Just Bitten lip stains. Can you tell me about them?”

The woman’s jaw dropped. 

Welcome to my world.

On to the balms. One of her favorite vlogs is a young teen girl who makes her own cosmetics. In one post, she shows viewers how to make lip balm from petroleum jelly and cooking extracts like vanilla and peppermint. Oh, how she had hooked the middle child (who has started to carry the youngest child along in her wave of cosmetic obsession).

I “just had to” watch this balm post. “Please, can we make these? Please?”

I said the characteristic “we’ll see,” and went on with my day.

Later that night I started Googling lip balms and supplies and containers, etc. While we could have gone with the super-basic supplies in the vlog, I was interested in something that might actually be good for our lips, last longer than 10 seconds and wasn’t recommended by a 14 year-old.

I discovered a great site that sold a lip balm base of shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin E, etc. And it wasn’t pricey. They also sold vanilla flavoring designed to be mixed into an oil-based base (cooking vanilla has too much water in it) and little containers to pour in the finished balm.

I said nothing and waited for these goodies to arrive. They did, along with the month of December and the aforementioned warm temperatures. I went ahead and kicked on the Christmas tunes anyway and called my little cosmetics expert.

“Oh. My. Goodness!!!! You didn’t!” She squealed. “Look what Mommy got us! Can we make it now?” They danced around and around the kitchen.

We laid out all the supplies and set ourselves to make a batch of vanilla and a batch of peppermint (I opted for the extract on this one for experimental sake).

We began with one pound of base. It came in a big tub in a solid form. We wanted to make half of the tub and divide that half into two flavors. This was a great chance to sneak in a little math.

Me: “If one pound of base needs 6 tsp. of vanilla, how much vanilla do you need for ½ of a tub?
Youngest Child: “Twelve!”
Me: “Think about it again.”
Youngest Child: “Oh, wait! Three!”
Me: “Very good! What about half of that?”
Youngest Child: “One and a half.”
Me: “Awesome! The pipette is marked with milliliters, though, so we need to convert that 1 ½ tsp. to milliliters. Here is our kitchen chart. It shows 3 tsp. equal 15 ml. so what do we need?”
Middle Child: “7 ½ ml.!”

So we dug out ¼ of the tub of base and put it in a Pyrex cup. They took turns adding 7 ½ ml. of the vanilla flavoring to the base and put the cup in the microwave.

“We should put it in 30 second intervals,” said the middle child. Seriously, that’s what she said.

*Oh, here it should be noted that the girls both asked me not to tell their friends’ moms about this because they wanted to give out a few of these as gifts, so hush-hush, okay?

After warming and stirring for about a minute and a half, we were ready to pour. I handled this part because of the hot liquid and glass.

“I have 14 containers out for you, Mommy.”

“I took the lids off for you.”

What awesome helpers!

Almost immediately, the balm began to cool and harden and change from clear to a creamy white.

I capped the containers and slid them to the side to finish cooling.

“Now peppermint!” said the middle child.

We followed all of the above steps again, but when it came to using the pipette to get the peppermint extract, we all nearly choked on the fumes. Peppermint extract is very pungent.

“Oh, that is WAY too strong!” said the middle one.

“What about adding a little vanilla to the peppermint?”

“Great idea! 1 ½ of vanilla, too?”


And on we went until we had 12 containers of peppermint/vanilla all lined up cooling.

The youngest said, “I bet there are only 12 and not 14 because we used less peppermint.” Why not?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Interlude for sweet dreams~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning they decided to try the balms.

“Oh, the vanilla really helped tone down the peppermint,” said the middle child. “It balanced it out a lot.”

“This feels really good and smells outstanding,” she said. The youngest nodded, smushing her lips together and rubbing in the balm.

Now we know we can do it and it works. What flavor combos will they come up with next? Oh, and stay tuned-she may launch her own elementary school cosmo-vlog!


Anonymous said...

orange! orange/vanilla like sherbert...

Emily said...

Ohhhhh...that would be awesome! I used to love the orange Dreamsicle with the vanilla ice cream inside the orange Popsicle. Yum! We're doing it!

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