Monday, 23 January 2012

Thrifty Balm

During the winter months, my skin needs extra comfort. I like to use balm but am always shocked at the exorbitant price charged for it. Depending on which ingredients you use, balm can be made from as little as 50p per 50ml. Another bonus is that it only takes about 5 mins to make, 10-20 mins to cool...& the washing-up is minimal. Stored in a dry, cool environment, a 50ml pot of balm will last me about 2-3 months. Today I made 2 lots of balm; a pot of lavender balm & another pot of olive oil & rosemary balm.

Lavender Balm

First of all, I found some lidded containers to put the balm in (saved from face cream). Then I measured the volume of the container (I couldn't find my measuring jug so resorted to measuring spoons & water instead) 

Using basic measurements of 5ml oil to 1g wax, here's what I did...

To make a 50ml jar of balm 

30ml oil (sunflower, olive, almond, etc...)
6g beeswax
10 drops essential oil (if using)

Grate the wax straight into the jar/pot. Add the oil. Put the jar/pot of oil/wax in the microwave (place some kitchen absorbent paper underneath the pot in case of spillages).

Grated wax in pot, add the oil then melt...

Microwave on medium heat until all the wax has melted. (I microwaved the pot on medium heat for 1 min, then rested it for 1 min then gave it another 30 secs.)

Carefully stir the hot liquid with the end of a teaspoon. When you remove the spoon the liquid sticking to it should quickly start to set to a balm consistency.

At this stage you can add essential oil. (I like lavender, chamomile or geranium)

Leave the liquid to cool & set. If the balm is too hard, add more oil & remelt. If it's too liquid, add more grated wax & remelt.

I prefer to use the microwave as there is no need to transfer hot liquid between containers. If you don't want to use a microwave, use the double boiler method (pyrex/glass bowl over a pan of simmering water- ensure the base of the bowl does not touch the hot water, melt & then carefully transfer to container whilst still in liquid form).


A small amount of Vitamin E oil can also be added as a preservative (use the contents of one vitamin E capsule for each 20ml of oil). Sometimes, I like to add a small amount of honey to the mix before it's melted (approx half teaspoon for each 20ml of oil)

A 30g bar of beeswax costs about £2.  I often use oil from the food cupboard but you can also buy special oils such as almond, grape seed, rose hip, etc... at a health food shop (also check out pharmacies). If you don't have any essential oils try using a stronger oil such as olive oil or a flavoured oil (rosemary is very good!)

This basic balm recipe can be used to create;
  • lip balm
  • rich hand/nail cream (especially good after building/ gardening type activities)
  • deeply moisturising face balm
  • night balm (lavender or chamomile essential oil)
  • foot cream
  • balm for dry skin (steep calendular petals in oil for a few weeks, strain then add to wax)
  • vapour rub for colds/coughs (add Olbas oil or eucalyptus essential oil)
  • anti-bug rub (add lemongrass or citronella essential oil)
Olive Oil & Rosemary Balm
For more ideas on how to bring cosiness & comfort to the winter months, visit the January Making Winter Blog Hop over at Silverpebble...

31 comments:

Mrs. Micawber said...

This looks easy and wonderful. My husband has made his own lip balm in the past, and now I'm tempted to try something similar.

For repelling bugs, I've also had good luck using peppermint and tea tree oil.

Ginnie said...

Oh, this looks great. And now I have to think of something cozy for the Making Winter blog hop. (Think, think, think)

driftwood said...

wow, that looks like alchemy. magic balm. lovely x

annewheaton said...

Where do you buy your beeswax from?

litlove said...

You are amazing! I confess I have never made any skin care products of my own, but you do explain how to do it in a way even I can understand. I have bought bottles of almond oil in the past, though, to use directly on my skin (and it's very good). I miss Culpeppers, which supplied me with all the oils that I needed. Anyway, this is an excellent recipe and one I'm tempted to try.

Thrifty Household said...

I use almond oil directly on my skin as night cream (I mix it with chamomile & lavender oil) The balm is good to take if we're going away somewhere (less chance of spillage)

You can get beeswax online, directly from a beekeeper (I often use a bar of 100% beeswax from my local hardward shop) Always check that it is 100% beeswax though...

Magic Cochin said...

So easy! I might have a go... I have a bar of bees wax from the beekeeper who lives just up the road, so what a great use for it :-)

Might help to heal the big crack on my right thumb.

Celia
x

Thrifty Household said...

It will certainly soften the skin...this probably sounds very strange but have you thought of using super-glue? (It was used during the second world war by US medical teams instead of stitches). My Mum used it for a crack on the pad of her finger & it did the trick brilliantly!

Iz said...

This is brilliant - thank you for sharing your recipe, I'm definitely going to give this a go.

The List Writer said...

Oh what a great post - I used to make balm and then stopped. I have no idea why...I am going to make some again. As well as being cheaper, it is so much lovelier than anything you can buy in the shops.

Belinda said...

Great post! I have never thought of melting the beeswax in the microwave. I know, so dumb.

I am so lucky to buy my beeswax from someone at my work who is an apiarist. He has the hives in his suburban back yard! I mix honey (that I also get from him) into my lip balm, and a bit of organic sweet orange essential oil. It is DIVINE!

I've also found that if you add a little papaya extract into the balm then you can heal cuts and burns really quickly.

Attila said...

I've had this or a similar recipe kicking around for weeks but I've been hesitating to try it. Your post today made it so easy and quick that I've just gone and made some; it's still cooling but the bit wiped off the end of the teaspoon has done the trick on my hands. Thanks.

KatEzat said...

This looks lovely, I like the list of variations you suggest!

I tried out a very similar recipe at the end of last year, come and see:

http://lifesjewelsonstring.blogspot.com/2011/11/hand-made-hand-cream-review-and-how-to.html

:)

silverpebble said...

Oh this is wonderful, and I can vouch for it being very soothing. The method is surprisingly easy! MUST make some.

Not So Granny said...

Great recipe thank you. Carrot Seed Essential Oil is a great one to add as it has amazing skin rejuvenating properties. (when you smell it you'll recognise the smell from some very expensive anti-ageing creams)

TheMadHouse said...

I have to make some, now I just need to source a beeswax supplier

Penelope said...

Absolute genius! Alice has taken to making lip balm with petroleum jelly and a drop of essential oil but this looks and is so much nicer. I'm wondering where I might be ale to get some bees was from other than the internet. I might ask one of my colleagues who keeps bees. Thanks so much for posting, all natural, all beautiful and as one of your commeter's said, far better (and cheaper) than anything in the shops !

harmony and rosie said...

Oh how exciting, I am completely and utterly going to make some.
Kate x

quinn said...

Thank you for making this look so easy I am not afraid to try it! I rely on balms to keep the skin on my hands from cracking painfully in winter, and the prices for those little tins are SO high. Will certainly give this a go! :)

(FIrst-time visitor by way of silverpebble...now a new subscriber)

dottycookie said...

Oh wow. WOW! Off to find a source for beeswax. There are so many beekeepers locally someone must hav some!

julie said...

I had no idea it could be so easy and what genius to use the microwave. I am definitely going to give it a go with Amy - sounds like the perfect half term activity for a nearly teenager with a lip balm obsession!

Annie said...

Oh goodness, I feel a balm bug biting! You are a genius! I have everything but the glass pots to hand so I'm off to raid the recesses of a few cupboards :D

Cheryl said...

Ah yes, I remember making lip balm like this. Alas, life's persistent busyness has lured me into thinking it is easier to buy. Thanks for the reminder of just how simple it is to make (and so much better too!).

Cheryl
asimpleyarn.com

zephyr said...

Thanks very much for this!
i'm curious tho...how did the lavender one turn out white when using beeswax? All the beeswax i've seen is that lovely golden color.

And...i'm wondering if i could incorporate some shea butter into it, too.

Thrifty Household said...

I've seen white beeswax & yellow beeswax- I think I must be using a white wax this time as the olive oil in the rosemary balm turned the mixture a lovely yellow colour (& it's also a slightly different consistency).

I don't see why shea butter can't be included. There are various suggestions online for a wax/oil/butter mix...

Julie said...

Thanks for all the wonderful info. I hadn't thought of using the microwave -much easier than the double boiler I used to make lipsalve. I've found a recipe for lotion suggesting using distilled water - any idea why 'normal' water shouldn't be used?! Juliex

Thrifty Household said...

I would've thought it's probably something to do with the hardness or differing chemical make up of water in different areas? (I'm no chemist though!) Maybe distilled water is more neutral? Other recipes I've found use boiled water or flower water or water with small amounts of vodka used as a preservative...
Tap water does 'go off' if left open to the elements so if you do use it, use the lotion within a limited period of time & put a lid on it (refrigerate too- just to be on the safe side?)
These are only ideas- more online checking might be the way to find more information...

Julie said...

Thanks! Think I'd better do soe googling, but your thoughts make sense.Juliex

andamento said...

Sounds wonderful. Something else I'd like to have a go at making...

Poshyarns said...

Oooh, I am rather thrilled by this, I love balm.

lizzie said...

If you are stateside Michaels sell a one pound block of beeswax for $18 but the coupons are frequent and I got mine for $11. The yellow beeswax is unbleached the white bleached.

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