Wednesday, January 17, 2018

how to make herbal balms & salves

herbal beeswax salve by Stella Crown
One of the favourite cosmetic creations that beginners prefer and love, are balms and salves because they are easy to make as they consist only two main ingredients: oil and beeswax or plant wax. Balms and salves are actually half-sterile ointments based on beeswax and enriched with herbal infused oils that are traditionally used to nourish and hydrate a fully dehydrated skin and relieve a variety of irritations, wounds, burns etc. The only thing that you have to do is to add a certain quantity of wax; the more wax, the more solid the balm.

The beeswax that I use, I buy it only from beekeepers, as what is sold in flakes in stores is usually refined. The difference between the two types of beeswax is immediately perceived as the authentic pure beeswax smells more like honey than wax. As for the olive oil of the basic recipe, I would suggest early harvest olive oil or  wild olive oil. However, you can always use plant waxes such as soy wax, sunflower wax etc.
There are millions of different recipes for balms and salves worldwide, whose composition and combination of herbs and oils depend on the intended use.
They are preserved longer than creams and lotions without preservatives as they don’t contain water. Here, however, I must say that many of us which add materials like aloe vera gel or vegetable glycerine, water-soluble components. That’s why we are forced to use a natural preservative such as grapefruit seed extract, otherwise we will welcome the staphylococcus in our lives and we really don’t want that at all. Anyone who claims that the preservative is a kind of chemic and toxic ingredient and is simply dangerous and you better run away. 
Balms and salves are famous for their greasy texture, which many people don’t like, so it’s a nice idea to add corn starch or arrowroot powder, while adding vitamin E to me is necessary and important in order to protect the oils from oxidation.

Today I will present you the basic beeswax salve recipe which consists only of olive oil and beeswax and three more variants plus my own recipe with comfrey, lavender and hemp seed oil because I want you to see the difference in their texture.

the basic recipe
8 g | 0.28 oz beeswax
1 g | 0.04 oz vitamin E

the herbal version
I always thought that the best oils for our skin are herbal infused oils such as olive oil or almond oil, which also have a basic advantage: they are not oxidized as easily as the rest vegetable oils. And if you want to honor your witchy skills, you only have to to collect the herbs. The modern alchemists, however, prefer mostly the well-known botanical stores.

for the herbal formula we need to make the infusion first
Take your sterilised jar, fill it up to the middle with chopped dried herbs such as, calendula, St. John’s wort, chamomile etc. The herbs are selected according to your needs and either make a combination of herbs or make a herbal oil for each herb separately. Then fill the jar with the vegetable oil you chose (ratio 1: 4) until the herbs are covered. Add vitamin E to prevent your oil from oxidizing. Close with a lid and leave the jar in a bright and warm place (not in the sun) for about 20 days. Shake it regularly.
Alternatively, you can use the bain marie method as we did with the alkannet root, here.

42 g | 1.5 oz herbal infused oil
8 g | 0.28 oz beeswax
1 g | 0.04 oz vitamin E

… & if you didn’t have time to infuse your herbs in oil, you can make a mix of ready herbal oils that you will find on the market like calendula oil, chamomile oil, etc.

the rich version
In this formula, we have a balm that can be used for massage or for very dry skins or even in a lip balm, in which 25% consists of butter or solid oils such as coconut oil.

30 g | 1.1 oz herbal infused oil (liquid)
12 g | 0.42 oz vegetable butters
8 g | 0.28 oz beeswax
1 g | 0.04 oz vitamin E

the stable version

Here, we increase our beeswax content from 15% to 25% in order to be used in lip balms and lotion bars, while the remaining 75% is made up of liquid and solid oils.

18 g| oz liquid herbal oils
19 g | oz vegetable butters
13 g | oz beeswax
1 g | oz vitamin E

give us a recipe, please..

herbal balm with comfrey, lavender & hemp seed oil
recipe for 100 g | 3.5 oz

16 g | 0.56 oz beeswax
14 g | 0.49 oz lavender infused oil 
14 g | 0.49 oz comfrey infused oil
10 g | 0.35 oz calendula infused oil
10 g | 0.35 oz hemp seed oil
15 g | 0.53 oz vegetable glycerine
6 g | 0.21 oz corn starch
1 g | 0.04 oz allantoin
1 g | 0.04 oz vitamin E
1 g | 0.04 oz natural preservative
8 drops palmarosa essential oil
6 drops frankincense essential oil
  • Before you start making the balm, sterilise tools, containers, working surface and wear gloves. This job is not allowed to be dirty.
  • Pour the beeswax in a beaker and melt it with the bain marie method. Then add all the vegetable oils except hemp seed oil. Stir thoroughly with a stainless whisker.
  • In the same time pour the vegetable glycerin in another beaker and heat in with the bain marie method also. Add the allantoin and the corn starch and mix thoroughly until the powders are homogenised with the glycerin. Add it to the oil- beeswax mixture. Mix well.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat and continue stirring with a coffee mixer until you see it coagulates (it takes a jelly texture). Add vitamin E and hemp seed oil and stir again with the coffee mixer.
  • Pour the balm in your jars. Turn off with a lid after making sure it has cooled completely.
  • The synergy of the herbal oils that we used, gives us a balm healing, soothing and refreshing with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Hemp seed oil, however, is the final touch that takes off our balm. The essential oils of lavender and frankincense are regenerative while palmarosa accelerates the renewal of skin tissues.

Stella Crown©