DIY Salves: How to Make Your Own Natural Remedies at Home

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In today’s fast-paced world, many people are seeking natural alternatives to commercial products, especially when it comes to skincare and wellness. DIY salves offer a wonderful opportunity to create personalized, natural remedies right in the comfort of your own home. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of making DIY salves, essential ingredients and equipment needed, a step-by-step guide to crafting your own salves, popular recipes, safety precautions, and creative ways to use them.


DIY salves, also known as balms or ointments, are semi-solid preparations typically made from natural oils, waxes, and herbs or essential oils. They have been used for centuries for various purposes, including moisturizing the skin, soothing minor irritations, and providing relief from muscle soreness. Making your own salves allows you to control the ingredients and customize the product to suit your specific needs and preferences.

Understanding the Benefits of Making Salves at Home


One of the primary benefits of DIY salves is their cost-effectiveness. Compared to store-bought products, which often contain expensive additives and preservatives, homemade salves can be made using simple, affordable ingredients.


When you make your own salves, you have complete control over the ingredients and their proportions. This allows you to tailor the product to address your unique skincare concerns or health issues.

Natural Ingredients

Most commercial skincare products contain synthetic chemicals and preservatives that may be harsh or irritating to the skin. DIY salves, on the other hand, are made from natural ingredients, such as plant-based oils and botanical extracts, which are gentler and more nourishing for the skin.

Essential Ingredients for DIY Salves

Before you start making your own salves, it’s important to gather the necessary ingredients. Here are the key components you’ll need:

Base oils

Base oils form the foundation of any salve recipe and provide the moisturizing properties. Common base oils include olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.

Beeswax or alternative wax

Wax acts as a thickening agent and helps to solidify the salve. Beeswax is a popular choice due to its emollient properties, but you can also use alternatives like soy wax or candelilla wax for a vegan option.

Herbs or essential oils

Herbs and essential oils are added to the salve for their therapeutic benefits and fragrance. Popular choices include lavender, chamomile, calendula, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

Equipment Needed for Making Salves

In addition to the ingredients, you’ll also need some basic equipment to make DIY salves:

Double boiler or crockpot

A double boiler or crockpot is used to gently heat and melt the ingredients together without burning them.

Measuring utensils

Accurate measurements are crucial for ensuring the success of your salve recipe. Invest in a set of measuring cups and spoons for precise results.

Containers for storage

Once your salve is ready, you’ll need containers to store it in. Glass jars or metal tins with tight-fitting lids are ideal for preserving the freshness of the salve.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making DIY Salves

Now that you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment, let’s walk through the process of making your own DIY salves:

Choosing a recipe

Start by selecting a salve recipe that aligns with your skincare needs or wellness goals. There are countless recipes available online, ranging from simple moisturizing balms to more specialized formulations for specific conditions.

Preparing ingredients

Gather all the ingredients called for in your chosen recipe and prepare them as directed. This may involve chopping herbs, measuring oils, and grating beeswax.

Heating and melting

Place the base oils and beeswax in a double boiler or crockpot and heat them gently until the wax is completely melted. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure even melting.

Infusing oils

If your recipe calls for infused oils, add the herbs to the melted oil and allow them to steep for several hours or overnight. Strain out the plant material before proceeding.

Adding essential oils

Once the base oils and wax are melted together, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in any essential oils or other additives called for in the recipe. Be sure to mix thoroughly to distribute the oils evenly.

Pouring and cooling

Carefully pour the hot salve mixture into your chosen containers and allow it to cool and solidify completely before sealing the containers with lids. This may take several hours, depending on the ambient temperature.

Tips for Storing and Preserving DIY Salves

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your homemade salves, keep the following tips in mind:

Proper containers

Choose containers that are made of non-reactive materials, such as glass or metal, and have tight-fitting lids to prevent air and moisture from entering.

Storage conditions

Store your salves in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as exposure to light and heat can cause the oils to degrade and the salve to spoil.

Shelf life

Homemade salves typically have a shelf life of six months to one year, depending on the ingredients used and how they are stored. Check for any signs of spoilage, such as changes in color or odor, before using the salve.

Popular Recipes for DIY Salves

If you’re not sure where to start, here are three popular recipes for DIY salves that you can try at home:

Calendula healing salve

Calendula flowers have anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties, making them ideal for soothing minor cuts, burns, and skin irritations. To make a calendula healing salve, infuse calendula petals in olive oil and beeswax, then add a few drops of lavender essential oil for fragrance.

Lavender sleep salve

Lavender is renowned for its calming and sedative effects, making it perfect for promoting relaxation and a restful night’s sleep. To make a lavender sleep salve, combine lavender-infused oil with beeswax and a touch of chamomile essential oil for added tranquility.

Muscle relief balm

Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils have analgesic and cooling properties that can help to alleviate sore muscles and joints. To make a muscle relief balm, blend eucalyptus and peppermint oils with coconut oil and beeswax for a soothing, invigorating salve.

Safety Precautions When Making DIY Salves

While making DIY salves is generally safe, it’s important to take proper precautions to avoid accidents and ensure the quality of the final product:

Handling hot oils

Be cautious when working with hot oils and wax to avoid burns. Use heat-resistant gloves and handle the containers with care to prevent spills.

Allergies and sensitivities

Before using any new ingredients in your salve recipe, perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for allergic reactions or sensitivities.

Testing on small areas

Once your salve is complete, test it on a small area of skin before applying it more broadly to ensure that you don’t experience any adverse reactions.

Creative Ways to Use DIY Salves

In addition to their traditional uses, DIY salves can be incorporated into a variety of creative applications:


Use your homemade salves as moisturizers, lip balms, cuticle creams, or massage oils for silky-smooth, nourished skin.

First aid

Keep a tin of healing salve on hand for treating minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and sunburns while on the go.


Apply a scented salve to your pulse points or temples to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy throughout the day.


Making your own DIY salves is a rewarding and empowering experience that allows you to take control of your skincare and wellness routine. By using natural ingredients and simple techniques, you can create personalized remedies that are both effective and affordable. Whether you’re looking to soothe dry skin, ease muscle tension, or promote relaxation, there’s a DIY salve recipe out there for you. So why not roll up your sleeves and give it a try?


Are DIY salves safe to use on sensitive skin?

Yes, DIY salves made with natural ingredients are generally safe for sensitive skin, but it’s always a good idea to perform a patch test first to check for any adverse reactions.

How long do DIY salves last?

The shelf life of DIY salves varies depending on the ingredients used and how they are stored, but most homemade salves can last for six months to one year if kept in a cool, dark place.

Can I customize the scent of my DIY salves?

Absolutely! You can experiment with different combinations of essential oils to create custom scents that suit your preferences and mood.

Can I sell homemade salves?

Yes, you can sell homemade salves, but be sure to comply with any local regulations regarding the sale of skincare products and follow good manufacturing practices to ensure product safety and quality.

Can I use food-grade ingredients in DIY salves?

While food-grade ingredients may be safe for use on the skin, it’s generally best to use cosmetic-grade oils and waxes in your salve recipes to ensure purity and quality.

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