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Organic Salve Base Recipe – Three Ingredients and Extra Gentle

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This skin-protecting salve base recipe can do it all.

Need an extra gentle salve for baby? A bug balm for hiking and camping? An “ouchie salve” for scrapes, bumps, rashes, and cuts? A lip balm for chapped winter lips? A fragrant solid perfume? 

This one salve base recipe can be fully customizable to make any of the above and many more. Once you learn how simple the base recipe is you will be making salves, balms, and perfumes for every occasion. 

Photo collage of different sized, golden colored salves with text overlay.

Salve Made With 100% Organic Food-Based Ingredients

I developed this salve base recipe with the sensitive in mind. I’m not likely to put any ingredients on my body that I wouldn’t put in my body. That’s why this salve is made with organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter, and organic extra virgin olive oil. These three ingredients are food-based, extra gentle, soothing, and protective. 

Organic Beeswax 

Beeswax is used in this salve base to bind the other oils and keep the salve firm and emulsified. Beeswax is naturally hydrating and protective. It is safe and gentle for all skin types and especially suited for itchy, dry, and sensitive skin.

Organic Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is the slow-pressed fat from the seeds of the cacao tree. It is rich and creamy and has a pleasant chocolaty aroma. Cocoa butter coats skin and helps to seal in moisture without a residual greasy feeling. 

The Difference Between Raw and Roasted Cocoa Butter

Raw cocoa butter has a milder chocolate smell and is perfect for people who are sensitive to odors or who will be scenting their salves with infused or essential oils. Sometimes a more chocolaty scent is appreciated and complementary to a recipe. In that case, roasted cocoa butter has a deeper scent that works perfectly with those formulations.

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is the rich oil from the olive fruit. It has been used in food and cosmetic preparations for centuries. When applied to the skin it acts as a protectant against free radicals, adds antioxidants and vitamins that help repair damaged skin, and helps to prevent excess moisture loss. 

A 2-ounce tin of solid perfume.

Adding Herbal Oils to Your Salves and Balms

Essential Oils

Most people don’t realize just how strong essential oils really are. Practicing essential oil safety is essential!

I really love what Devon from Nitty Gritty Life has written about essential oil safety and I trust her knowledge on the subject completely. Read through her article for the best essential oil practices and her handy chart showing the different dilution levels. She advises using no more than 0.5% (for sensitive groups) to 5.0% (for short-term use) of essential oil to carrier oil. I’m personally even more reserved than that — especially with astringent oils like peppermint, lemon, or orange.

For reference, my following salve base recipe has about 7 ounces of carrier oil. 

Chart showing the proper dilution ratios of essential oils per ounces of carrier oil.

Infused Oils 

Unlike essential oils, infused oils are a much safer option that can also be made easily in the comfort of your own home.

A simple method of infusing oil is as basic as macerating 1 ounce of fresh herb (1/2 ounce, dried), placing it in a bottle or jar, and filling it with 4 ounces of extra virgin olive oil. Leave this oil in a warm water bath for 12 to 24 hours. After fully infused, strain the oil through a sieve and use it in the following salve recipe. 

Oil Infusion Ideas

Try infusing calendula flowers for a skin-healing infusion, lavender buds for a relaxingly scented salve, or rosemary for a circulation-stimulating balm. 

There are many other great ways to infuse oil and I suggest finding a comprehensive book written by a knowledgeable herbalist!

Tin of golden beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil salve with descriptive text overlay.

Customizable Salve Recipe Ideas

Never add essential oils without first testing them (diluted to proper concentration) on your skin. Use the “essential oil safety” link and chart above to determine concentration levels. 

I’ve included some of the variations that I have made in the last year and the graphics that I used to make labels. 

Super Gentle Everyday Salve

To make a super gentle salve that is perfect for everyday use just follow the easy base recipe below without adding any essential oil or infused oil.

A 4-ounce tin with solid golden salve.

Maunka Honey “Ouchie Salve”

This customization of the basic salve recipe includes a little raw Manuka honey to speed healing of burns, scrapes, bites, and rashes. 

  1. Follow the base recipe below using infused oil if desired.
  2. When the salve base is fully melted cool the mixture to 120℉.
  3. Add 70 grams (1/6 cup) Manuka honey and whisk quickly until the texture becomes that of a creamy body butter.
  4. Quickly use a rubber spatula to transfer the salve into three 4-ounce jars or tins.

Manuka Honey Salve Variation: Add 20 to 40 drops each: lavender, rosemary, and clary sage essential oils. 

Watercolor label for Manuka honey salve with rosemary, lavender, and clary sage.

 

Different sized tins with solid golden salve made from beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil.

Solid Perfume

This customization of the basic salve recipe adds enough essential oil to make a lovely solid perfume.

Solid perfume makes an excellent gift or favor.

  1. Follow the base recipe below.
  2. When the salve base is fully melted remove it from the heat and add your essential oils.
  3. Pour the liquid salve base into six small 2-ounce tins and let cool completely.

Forest Spirit Solid Perfume Variation: Add 50 drops each: patchouli, atlas cedarwood, and frankincense essential oils. 

Watercolor label for a solid perfume made with patchouli, atlas cedarwood, and frankincense.

A 2-ounce tin of solid perfume.

Lip Balm and Chapstick 

This customization of the salve recipe makes a wonderfully soothing lip balm or chapstick.

  1. Follow the base recipe below using roasted cocoa butter.
  2. When the salve base is fully melted remove it from the heat and add your essential oils (up to 1%) if desired.
  3. Pour the liquid salve base into twenty-four 1/2-ounce tins or fifty empty chapstick containers and let cool completely.

Chocolate Orange Chapstick Variation: Add 20 drops of sweet orange essential oil.

Watercolor label for a chocolate orange chapstick made with cocoa butter, beeswax, olive oil, and orange essential oil.

Different sized tins with solid golden salve made from beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil.

Bug-Off Bug Balm

This customization of the salve recipe makes a bug balm that is sure to keep biting critters away!

  1. Follow the base recipe below using an appropriate infused oil if desired.
  2. When the salve base is fully melted remove it from the heat and add 150 drops of bug repelling essential oil (some of these include cedarwood, lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, rosemary, sage, tea tree, thyme, and clove).
  3. Pour the liquid salve base into six 2-ounce tins and let cool completely.

Bug-Off Bug Balm Variation: Add 150 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil.

Watercolor label for a lemon eucalyptus bug balm.

A 4-ounce tin with solid golden salve.

Different sized tins with solid golden salve made from beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil.

Organic Salve Base Recipe – Three Ingredients and Extra Gentle

Yield: 12 ounces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

An extra gentle salve base recipe that is easily customizable for making herbal salves, balms, chapsticks, and perfumes.

Ingredients

  • 112 grams (1 cup) organic beeswax pastilles 
  • 112 grams (1 cup) organic cocoa butter wafers
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) organic extra virgin olive oil, infused if desired

Instructions

  1. Combine all three ingredients in a medium-sized glass bowl.
  2. Fit the bowl over a medium-sized pot of simmering water to fashion a double boiler.
  3. Let the ingredients melt slowly, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula.
  4. Once fully melted, remove the glass bowl from the pan with pot holders and stir in any additional ingredients or essential oils.
  5. Pour or scoop the liquid salve carefully into tins or jars for storage.
  6. Let the salve cool completely before using.

Notes

Never add essential oils without first testing them (diluted to proper concentration) on your skin. Use the "essential oil safety" link and chart above to determine concentration levels. 

For reference, this salve base recipe has about 7 ounces of carrier oil. 

Tin of golden beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil salve with descriptive text overlay.

Regina

Friday 19th of November 2021

If I don’t have cocoa butter, can I omit it and just use beeswax & olive oil with the essential oils?

Butter For All

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Regina!

Yes you can. But please note the consistency will change, it will be less solid. I'm sure it will still make a lovely product!

Let me know how it goes!

Courtney

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