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Base Salve Recipe – and 5 Essential Oil Blends to Try With It

by | Oct 13, 2016

Salve isn’t something that’s in the mainstream bathroom closet anymore, is it? We have lotion and lip balm, but that’s about all.

Before I started exploring herbs and essential oils, I didn’t exactly know what salve was. My best guess was that it was a moisturizer for your skin, hard like lip balm and sold in oversized lip balm tins.

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At the time, I didn’t know how versatile salve was. It’s the only thing that softens my alligator knuckles during these mountain winters, and I can mix up essential oil blends to make healing and happy-smelling magic in a tin.

I have a basic recipe that can be used by itself or with whatever skin-friendly oils you have on hand.

Okay, let’s melt.

Base Salve Recipe


What you need… 
1 pint mason jar
medium saucepan
2oz salve tins (optional)
stainless steel butter knife
3 tbsp beeswax, grated or pastilles
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c coconut oil
5 drops vitamin E oil
essential oils of your choice (look below for my favorite salve blends)

Pour about 2 in. water into a saucepan, and place a mason jar in the center. Turn the heat on to medium. Add the beeswax and coconut oil. Once softened, add the olive oil. Keep an eye on it, and occasionally stir with a stainless steel butter knife.

Once everything is incorporated and looking uniform, remove from the heat. Take the knife you used to mix and put it in the fridge for three minutes. Check the texture of your salve and make adjustments according to your preferences. If it’s too soft, add a little beeswax. If it’s too hard, add some olive oil. Repeat the knife test until it’s perfecty-perfect.

salve recipe
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Now, you have a couple of options. You could let your salve base cool and keep it on hand as-is to use as a carrier oil with your favorite essential oils, ready when the whim strikes.

Or, before it solidifies, you can split your salves into 2oz tins and make yourself a little variety of salves, all essential oiled up and ready to use.

I like to split them into tins and use a toothpick to stir essential oils into each individual tin. Each blend below makes a 2oz tin. Of course, the blends are adjustable to your preferences! I tend to like about 40-50 drops per tin, keeping in mind that some oils are stronger than others.

These are of my favorites to drop into a 2 oz tin of salve base, but this stuff is versatile. Use what you like.

Muscle Tingle

20 drops wintergreen
20 drops peppermint
5 drops clove or ginger


20 drops lavender
20 drops chamomile


20 drops lavender
20 drops tea tree (sometimes labeled by its botanical name, melaleuca)
5 drops geranium

Workin’ Hands

20 drops rosemary
20 drops cedarwood
5 drops lemon

Cracks & Scales

15 drops myrrh
15 drops lemongrass
10 drops chamomile

We’ll get to advanced salve preparation soon – infusing oils, adjusting to make room for shea butter and such, but for now let’s stick with the ease of dropping in our favorite essential oils.

Planning to whip some up? Send me a pic of your creation!

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