Home-Made Salve

I'm super excited!

The calendula/plantain oil that I made a few weeks ago (here) was finally ready to make into something!  Originally the plan was to make it into a hair treatment, but after getting sun burnt a couple times this year (yes I know, bad bad bad!), I decided I wanted to make it into a lovely healing salve for my skin.

Mind you my sun burn is all gone now, but I'm sure my skin could use some healing even now.

To make a salve you'll need your oil (preferably one of your own making, but it's cool if you don't).  I used extra virgin olive oil for mine, only because that's all I had in my house but there are lots of oils out there for use in home-made cosmetics.

You will also need some beeswax for solidity, and another butter or two.  I used cocoa and shea butters.  Locally you can get both of these things at Simple Remedies herbal shop on Cook St.

First you want to make sure that the jar (preferably glass) is sterile so you'll want to simmer it in hot water while you work on the oil.

So, because I created my own healing oil out of plant material, I have to first get all that plant material out.  This is the messy bit!  First pour the whole jar out into a sieve covered in cheeseclothe  over a bowl.  Once everything is in the cheeseclothe, gather it all together and squeeze all the oils out of the plant material.  This can take some time and will leave you covered in oil...but its great for your skin so it's all good!

Even with the cheeseclothe you may still find that some small particles slip through so you'll want to do another strain.

Once you've removed all the gunk from the oil, you're ready to start creating your salve!
You'll need to finely chop or grate up your beeswax.  As I understand it you can also buy beeswax in 'beads', though I suspect you'll pay more for that.  The butters are a bit easier to deal with, they are generally softer and you can simply scoop or crumble them into a measuring spoon.

Alrighty, you're ready!!  In a pot, combine your oil, beeswax and butters and heat them slowly over low heat.

Once they have melted completely remove from heat and let them rest for a couple minutes then add in some essential oils of your choosing.  You can opt for ones that you simply like the scent of, or use ones that contain healing properties of their own. 

I used Tea Tree, as it also helps preserve the salve, and Sweet Orange.  The scents combine to make a really beautiful aroma.  Make sure you're using the correct essential oils - these are NOT the same as the oils you use to make your house smell nice, just your body!

Do a sniff test of the oil once you've added the essential oils.  Keep in mind that the scent will lessen slightly when the oil is cooled.  Using too little can be so disappointing when you've made up your oil only to find that it smells just like plain oil.

After about 5 minutes it's time to transfer the melted salve into your jars.  Make absolutely sure that your containers are dry.  Any water can cause the salve to go off too quickly.  I like to give mine a good dry in the oven after they've been sterilized.

When you first pour the oil into the jar it will still be quite translucent but it will slowly set from the bottom up until it's completely opaque.  You can see in the smaller bottle in the background how it's setting from the bottom.

It's always best to let the salve set overnight, this allows it to fully harden.  I can't wait to slather this on my over-tanned bod tomorrow!

Here are the general measurments for this salve.  You can play with the amounts slightly to give yourself different consistancies.  Also I based my measurements on how much calendula/plantain oil I had.

12 Tbsp - Oil
6 Tbsp - Beeswax
13 Tbsp - Combination of Shea and Cocoa Butters
50 Drops - Combination of Tea Tree and Sweet Orange Essential Oils

I hope you found this useful and feel confident enough to dabble in home-made cosmetics with this easy step by step.  I promise, other than making the oil initially, this is a simple way to get into making your own creams and salves!