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Watch Me Make the Lip Balm That's Probably in Your Pocket Right Now


A couple of weeks ago, the folks at Burt's Bees invited me and a handful of writers down to North Carolina to see how the iconic lip balm and a few other products get made. It was an impressively easy process, and this company's got it down—Burt's Bees has been in business since 1985, after artist Roxanne Quimby met photographer and beekeeper Burt Shavitz while hitchhiking and then started to use the unused wax from his beehives in Maine to make candles. Here's what I learned.

First, we stopped by one of the manufacturing facilities to see it all in action. Turns out, Burt's Bees process is super simple. Because it's just about melting down waxes and adding natural colorings and flavorings, it's a very streamlined and takes only two to three hours to mix. Once the ingredients in the balm are combined, the concoction is heated and cooled multiple times to get out any air bubbles or cracks. Then it's poured into the famous yellow casings in a very precise process that's all automated:

Then we went to the development lab, which, because Burt's Bees uses only the gentlest, most natural ingredients, is completely open to the rest of the company's offices. Here's a view from the balcony above it:

Then it was time to show us the magic by having us make a tinted lip balm of our own from a variety of waxes, oils, and mineral pigments.

First, the wax (bees wax and) was melted down.

Then we followed the pigment recipe to get the shade we chose (a gorgeous fuchsia).

The color was mixed, and while it was still warm, we poured it and a few other colors into the tubes.

And there we were—lip balm, all ready to go!

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