One of the best things about learning herbalism is experimenting with various recipes and ingredients. I’m always blending, brewing, or infusing something, and it’s fun being the mad scientist. Of course, not every experiment turns out as planned, but I seem to have a decent success rate. There isn’t really any other way to develop your skills…it’s all about trial and error.
I share my creations with family and friends, and they are honest in their feedback, which is helpful. That means that when I get a double thumbs up, I know they’re not just being nice.
After tweaking recipes and experimenting with different oils, butters, and herbs, I have finally created a near-perfect winter skin salve. This salve works exceptionally well on chapped, irritated skin. The texture is light, it goes on easily, absorbs well, and leaves skin super soft and protected from harsh winter elements. My goal was to create something to use on my knuckles and cuticles that would last through a single hand-washing, without causing actual “butter fingers.” This fits the bill, and because it is a medium-soft salve, it can easily be applied to larger areas (like whole hands and feet lol).
I will be honest here and admit that this is an endeavor I’ve already put a bit of time and effort into. I’ve made some wonderful body butters, but they are too greasy to be used on hands (if you plan to use your hands for anything). I tried adding arrowroot powder to remedy this, highly recommended in the DIY blogger world, but that not only didn’t reduce greasiness, it actually seemed to DRY skin. Other balms and lotion bars I’ve made were okay, but not deeply moisturizing and if they weren’t too hard, they developed a gritty texture from the shea butter.
I wanted to create the real deal – something that works the way it’s supposed to, that I would actually buy if I had not made it. Something better than okay.
So, for this project, I opted to cut out the shea butter. I also reduced the amount of coconut oil in the recipe, because while EVCO has numerous benefits, it does not absorb very well (or very quickly). I feel like admitting that is blasphemous in the natural health world, but I stand by my statement.
I decided to try a (mostly) new set of ingredients that I hoped would work well together, adding flower power for multiple skin healing and soothing benefits.
- Mango butter – A semi-hard, off-white butter derived from mango seeds. A mild, neutral aroma (unfortunately doesn’t smell like mangos). Rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C and quickly melts into skin.
- Grapeseed oil – A light, greenish oil made from grape seeds. High in vitamins A, C, E, D, as well as fatty acids and antioxidants. Easily absorbed, also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
- Calendula – Possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties which are effective for treating a number of skin issues. Has been shown to speed wound healing rates in scientific studies.
- Red Rose – Moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, high in vitamin C, exceptional at softening dry, irritated, sensitive skin.
- Licorice root – Anti-inflammatory actions similar to corticosteroids, emollient, antioxidant, antiviral (good for cold sores), may lighten age spots.
My efforts and experiments have paid off and the final product is amazing! I’ve received multiple thumbs up from my “reviewers!” This salve is also my own favorite product to date.
After you’ve prepared your infused oils, this recipe only takes five minutes!
Winter Skin Salve
1.5 T grated/chopped beeswax (or pellets)
1 T unrefined mango butter
1 T grapeseed oil double-infused with red rose petals
1 T grapeseed oil double-infused with licorice root
1 T extra-virgin coconut oil double-infused with calendula flowers
1 tsp. vitamin E oil
10-20 drops essential oil (optional – I used 8 each of lavender and rosemary, for additional skin healing and antimicrobial benefits)
Melt beeswax and mango butter in a double boiler over low heat. (I use a Pyrex measuring cup over a small saucepan for easy pouring). When melted completely, add infused oils and vitamin E. When thoroughly combined, remove from heat. Wait several minutes before adding essential oils, as excess heat can destroy the volatile compounds. Stir and pour into small tins or lip balm tubes. Allow to set for several hours or overnight.
Use as desired! If you make this, please let me know how it works out for you!