Back before Christmas, when I was making the hand cream and body scrub for gifts, I stumbled upon a recipe for a hand salve made with beeswax. Naturally, I was excited by this, because beeswax can be local: emulsifying wax? Not so much. So I made a tiny batch, using organic avocado oil, as a gift for my friend Nadine, who, like me, has a tendency towards “difficult” skin, especially on her hands. In the holiday craziness, I never had the chance to take a picture (or write a post); in fact, I can’t even find the original recipe I adapted to make this. Luckily I jotted down the basic ingredients and remembered the method (simple as it is) so I could reproduce the salve, because Nadine loves it and has run out.
Avacado oil is touted to have many benefits for problem, sensitive, mature, or sun-damaged skin, and is also reported to be excellent for sufferers of excema and psoriasis. I tend to take this type of information with several grains of salt (I’m a scientist, people: show me the data, then we’ll talk.), but I can tell you that this salve absorbs really nicely and even softened my heels, which have gone far too long without a pedicure and exfoliating treatment. I ordered both the avocado oil and the beeswax from Mountain Rose Herbs, but organic markets often carry avocado oil and, in summer, a beekeeper comes to my local farmer’s market and sells beeswax. This summer I may pick some up and, with my Stolor Organics sunflower oil, make 100% local hand salve!
- 1/4 cup (1 oz) beeswax pastilles
- 1 cup (8 oz) avocado oil
- 10 – 15 drops bitter orange essential oil
- 10 – 15 drops grapefruit essential oil
- Add oil and wax pastilles to a small heat-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until all the wax is completely melted. Add essential oils, wafting your hand over the hot oil in order to smell when the aroma is strong enough.
- Pour into clean jars, cover and allow to sit undisturbed overnight. Once the mixture cools, it’s done!
Yields about 1 and 1/2 cups.
- Choose any essential oils you like; the avocado smell is quite strong, so you’ll need something bold to not be overwhelmed by avocado. You can find essential oils at most larger whole foods stores, alternative health centers, yoga studios and acupuncture offices often sell them, or you can order from Mountain Rose Herbs.
- I’ve seen recipes for a homemade antibiotic salve with by adding tea tree oil.
- Any cosmetic or cooking oil can be used here, if avocado is not your thing. I use sunflower oil in my hand cream most often and really like the texture, mild aroma, etc.
- This is a quite soft salve; most recipes call for a 1:4 ratio of beeswax to oil (2 oz or 1/2 cup beeswax with this amount of oil). This is how I made it at Christmas for Nadine, so I made it this way again. I do like the texture of this one, it is smooth and spreadable without too much effort.
At room temperature, indefinitely. There is a lot of discussion as to whether this will go bad, or rancid eventually, since it does not have any commercial preservatives: I have to assume that it would, but so far it seems to have lasted at least 3 – 4 months without issue. If you are concerned about shelf-life, a sterilized jar would not hurt.