Debby, from the Lush Forum, asks this question: There has been a discussion about the use of Sodium Borate in some of the lip balms from Lush. Could you tell us something more about this ingredient?
The Right Brain Replies:
Thanks for the question Debby. A lot of people ask us if Lush formulas are really different than mass market products. In this case, they are.
What is Borax?
Sodium Borate, also called Borax, is used in products that contain high levels of beeswax. The Borax reacts with the beeswax to form an emulsion, a stable mixture of oil and water.
How is Lush different than regular products?
Most emulsions, like your typical skin lotion, are “oil in water” emulsions which means that the oil drops are dispersed in the water. Borax-beeswax emulsions are unusual – they’re “water in oil” emulsions so the water drops are dispersed in the oil. That type of emulsion tends to be more water proof which is good for a lip balm.
Also, because the borax – beeswax combination forms a stable emulsion without the help of additional emulsifiers, this type of formula supports Lush’s position of not using excessive chemicals.
Is Borax safe?
And a final note: if you do any kind of web search on Borax you’ll find that it can also be used as an insecticide, but don’t worry about that. It’s only toxic to humans at very high levels – in fact it has the same toxicity profile as common table salt. (Hey, even water can be toxic if you drown in the stuff!) So a little bit in your lip balm is perfectly fine.