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How Do I Make Beeswax Salve?

Dan Harkins
Updated May 21, 2024
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Many cosmetics products contain beeswax, particularly those advertised as all-natural and suited for sensitive skin. Aside from thickening qualities in facial creams, moisturizing lotions and lip balms, this honey byproduct collected from beehives plays a more prominent role in various herbal salves. A beeswax salve can easily be made at home to help stop itching and burning that arises from bug bites, allergic rashes or sunburn. Aside from the obvious ingredient, these thick concoctions are often rich in various plant oils reputed to have moisturizing, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Making a beeswax salve starts with heating any number of plant-based oils in a pan over medium-low heat. Some of the more popular oils used in folk salve remedies are jojoba, coconut, almond, canola and olive oils. Herbalists may also add other effective ingredients to this type of salve, such as mashed plantains, chickweed, vitamin E and comfrey leaf. Essential oils from flowers might be added for a pleasant aroma or perhaps a known insect repellent like citronella.

Once these oils are mixed and heated, beeswax is slowly added until the liquid thickens into an ointment-like consistency. One recipe uses about 2 oz. (about 56.7 g) of beeswax for nearly 5 oz. (about 141.8 g) of assorted oils. Some thinner salves use a five-to-three ratio of oil-to-wax. To test whether the consistency is correct, a small amount of beeswax salve can be poured onto a plate. Once it cools, it should have the approximate texture of spreadable butter.

Before the salve cools and hardens completely, all the other ingredients should be stirred through. The medley possibilities are rich, from frankincense or cloves used to ease congestion to patchouli or sandalwood used for aromatherapy. If adding other ingredients changes the consistency, more beeswax or more oil can be added to thicken or soften the salve. Once the mixture has been poured into a bowl and cooled completely, it can be distributed to small jars for use.

Other at-home cosmetic products can be made from beeswax and these oils, only in different proportions. A beeswax balm perhaps uses the most beeswax, which has been scientifically proven as a natural skin protector. When lotion or cream is being concocted from beeswax, less beeswax will be added to the oil. Ingredients renowned for moisturizing or anti-aging like aloe vera or cocoa butter will predominate in beeswax lotions, not the anti-itching or antiseptic ingredients of a beeswax salve.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins , Former Writer
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.

Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Dec 25, 2013

The trick to making beeswax salve, or any kind of salve is not using too much heat. I always use the double boiler method. This is the best and safest way to melt and mix ingredients for a salve. There is no direct heat applied, so the beeswax and oils do not lose their benefits. Also, oils are flammable, so it's very dangerous to expose any salve ingredients to direct heat.

By fify — On Dec 24, 2013

@ddljohn-- I think it's necessary too add at least one carrier oil because beeswax by itself is very thick and sticky. It's difficult to apply and it doesn't absorb well.

When an oil like coconut, castor or olive oil is added to beeswax, the salve becomes softer. So you can easily spread it on your skin and it will help with absorption as well. These oils also have moisturizing benefits, so the resulting salve will be more effective.

Essential oils are not required in a beeswax salve, but they will make the salve smell good. Some essential oils also have therapeutic benefits.

By ddljohn — On Dec 24, 2013

Is it necessary to add carrier oils and essential oils for a beeswax salve?

Dan Harkins

Dan Harkins

Former Writer

Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
Learn more
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