I wanted a creamy feeling salve for dry skin in a dry climate, but it couldn’t feel greasy or tacky on the skin for too long, and it had to have a good glide since I wanted to use it for foot zoning also.
The basic ratio to make any salve is 1 part beeswax with 4 parts oil. Any butters (shea, coconut oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, lanolin, etc) can be added without changing the ratio.
Just melt the beeswax and butters on 50% power in the microwave or in a double-boiler on low heat. Add the oils, and stir occasionally as it cools to prevent separation.
If you want to add water-based liquids, you can add up to 2 parts to the above recipe.
Always melt and combine the oils first, and then add the water-based liquids. This requires more vigorous stirring. I like to use an immersion blender; with the stick blender, they combine and are ready to use in less than one minute.
So, now that you have had your science lesson 😉 here are the oils I used.
1 oz shea butter
1/2 oz coconut oil (virgin)
1/2 oz cocoa butter
1/4 oz lanolin
4 parts oil:
1 1/2 oz peach oil
1 1/2 oz sunflower oil
3/4 oz avocado oil
1/4 oz tamanu oil
optional – (see note above)
1/2 oz aloe vera juice or gel
1/2 oz glycerin
If you want to use this as a “naked salve,” so that you can use it to apply essential oils (or for foot zoning), then don’t add any essential oils. If you do want to scent it, add the essential oil after the oils have cooled partially or when you add the water-based ingredients. Vanilla is a great scent to blend with the slightly nutty smell.
Note: The aloe vera and glycerine help lighten the end feel of the salve so that it doesn’t feel as heavy. They are optional though, and it is still a great salve without them. If you want to make a larger batch, I recommend leaving them out because the shelf life is shortened when you use them. I made a larger jar without them, and then remelt a smaller amount and add the liquids as I need.
To do this, it is 7 parts salve to 1/2 part each aloe gel and glycerin.
The beautiful thing about oils is that you can substitute and use what you have on hand. They interchange really well. If you don’t like a recipe, you can always re-melt and add other ingredients until you have a mix you like. Start with a small batch (even smaller that what is above) if you are trying a new combination. I like to switch my scale to grams for smaller batches. If you don’t have a scale, 1 oz is roughly equivalent to 2 TB for most oils.
This is why I used the oils I included:
The natural beeswax, virgin coconut oil, cocoa butter and tamanu oil are what gave it the nutty scent. Hemp oil is also supposed to have a nutty scent and I will probably try including some of that with that in the future as well. Coconut oil absorbs rapidly, so it also helps with the absorption of any essential oils you want to apply at the same time.
The sunflower oil gives it a good glide so that it rubs in well and doesn’t feel sticky. The olive oil adds a little staying power, so that you stay moisturized longer, because it absorbs more slowly. I like to use the light olive oil because extra virgin olive oil stays greasy feeling for a long time. You can still use EVOO, just use less and add more of another lighter oil.
Peach oil and avocado oil are just medium viscosity oils. They don’t absorb too quickly, which is often a problem here in Utah, and they don’t absorb too slowly or clog skin. Some people like sweet almond oil, but I always have to use olive oil with it because it still doesn’t provide enough moisture on its own in our climate.
Shea butter needs no explanation if you have ever tried it. It is just creamy and luxurious. I even use it on its own.
Don’t let all the information overwhelm you. It really is hard to mess up, especially if you just start with the oil-based ingredients. It’s a bit like making jello or pudding; it is harder to describe than it is to do!
For me, making my own salves and soaps has been really fun, and a bit addictive! I love being able to make exactly what I want AND know that whatever it is, there are no harmful ingredients. About 3 years ago, I stopped using commercial soaps, lotions and hair products on myself or my youngest daughter and her eczema completely disappeared.
If you order from thesage.com
, go to the Catalog, and then the Fixed oils category. They have everything except the light olive oil, which I get from Costco, and the aloe vera which I get from Wal-mart in the pharmacy department. It is in a gallon sized jug and is under $7.