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DIY Salve Makes a Great Gift: Easily Customizable and Great for the Skin

Winter can be a magical time of year. Festive Christmas decorations, trees, and holiday gatherings. But winter also can bring dry skin. And unrefined and organic oils and butters can bring soothing relief -- especially when coupled with essential oils. I've seen simple salves and body butters do wonders for dry skin.

Yes they are oily but using butters and oils that soak in easily can help. And the salves are great for really tough spots like feet and elbows or awesome to use at night before bed. So how do you make a salve? It's as easy as measure, melt, and pour.

When I first started making body butters and salves I was overwhelmed by the number of recipes I encountered. But when an instructor had me think in terms of ratios of oils/butters to wax and understanding the therapeutic properties it was a moment of enlightenment.

A lower ratio of oils/butters to wax = a harder salve, a higher ratio of oils/butters to wax = a softer salve. Here is a simple recipe I like to use as a base for therapeutic salves and it is a 1:5 ratio of beeswax to oils/butters.

You'll need a glass measuring cup (4 cup works really well but 2 cup with suffice). You'll also need a double boiler set up. You can easily create this using a pan of water in which you'll place your glass measuring cup.

You'll also need glass jars. I like using 2 oz jars for my salve because a little goes a long way.

You'll also need 1 ounce of beeswax, 3 ounces of jojoba, 2ounces of shea butter, and if you like essential oils. It's best to use raw, organic, and unrefined oils, butters, and waxes, to get the most benefits from the salve. A glass stirring rod or clean popsicle stick is useful for stirring essential oils into the salve.

Measure the beeswax and jojoba in your glass measuring cup and add to the water in your pan or double boiler over low to low medium heat to melt.

Once the beeswax is melted add the shea butter and melt. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

If adding essential oils you can either add directly to the 2 oz jars then top with the melted salve and mix or add eos to the entire melted mixture. It will depend on if you are making several different kinds of salve or a bunch of the same kind.

If adding essential oils to the bottom of 2 oz jar 10-12 drops total will give you a 1% dilution and 20-24 drops total with give you a 2% dilution. If you wanted to make a skin soothing salve you could try adding 6 drops of lavender and 4 drops of frankincense or if you wanted to make a cooling foot salve you could add 5-6 drops of peppermint, 5-6 drops of lavender, 4-5 drops of frankincense, 4-5 drops of orange. Or a combination or peppermint, rosemary, and lavender would be nice too.

Once you add the essential oils to the jars pour the melted salve on top and stir with a glass stirring rod or popsicle stick. I find it easiest to do this one jar at a time, have or have a helper. You can keep the melted salve in the warmed water to keep it liquid. If it does solidify you can always remelt. You just want to make sure the essential oils are distributed evenly throughout the salve.

If scenting the whole batch you'll just need to add 5-6 drops or 10-12 drops per ounce of salve to get a 1% or 2% dilution respectively. So if you made the recipe about you'll end up with about 6 ounces of salve so you'd need 30-36 drops for a 1% dilution and 60-72 drops for a 2% dilution. Add the essential oils, stir to mix well, and pour into jars.

Let the salve cool and it's ready for a label and gift wrapping.

In this recipe the shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii) offers many benefits. It has a high level of steric and oleic acid as well as cinnamic acid. These fatty acids work to help the skin maintain its moisture and elasticity. Shea butter also contains sterolins which are said to be beneficial in healing scars. Shea butter helps soothe dryness, itching, and irritation. It is useful to soothe sunburns and has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

Jojoba oil (Simmondsia sinensis or chinensis) is actually a liquid wax. It has a very long shelf life and is highly penetrating and similar to the skin's natural oils. Jojoba contains protein, minerals, an a waxy substance that mimics collagen. It is high in steric, oleic, and palmitic fatty acids.

Jojoba is great for dry skin and hair and soothes itching and irritation. It also supports the natural pH balance of the skin. Jojoba can help replace the benefits of the natural oils (sebum) we lose as we age.

And beeswax is beneficial too. It acts as the hardening agent in our salve but also has emollient and soothing properties for the skin. It has antibacterial properties, reduces inflammation, and contains vitamin A which is essential for cell development.

So if you have someone on your gift list that loves DIY gifts or is simply difficult to buy for try creating and customizing a simple salve. It's not only a thoughtful gift but also very healing and beneficial during the dry winter months.

Of course if you don't have the time or ingredients to make a salve give me a call or send an email. I can teach you in a class or make up a custom salve you'll love. Visit the web store to learn more.

If you have questions about salves, carrier oils, essential oils, or aromatherapy contact Tricia.

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