I am a big fan of handmade salves as moisturisers. Especially for very dry or cracked skin, they can be just want you need to heal. I use them, especially in winter, on hands, elbows, heels and any other part that needs some extra attention.
A salve is just an oil (or mixture of oils), such as sweet almond or macadamia, thickened with a butter or beeswax. I have always used beeswax in my salves, because I have a constant supply of it. N-Essentials asked me to try their Shea Butter Moisturiser Cream, which uses shea butter, sweet almond oil and coconut oil, with beautiful essential oils of geranium and myrrh. I was very interested to try this and find out how it compared to the other salves I have made using beeswax.
This is a very easy recipe to make. With only six ingredients that simply need to be melted and poured into your finished jars. The ratios are approximate, so you can get away with rough measurements. My tip for reducing mess - put the ingredients directly into the jar you want to use and then heat the jar in a pot of hot water on the stove top until everything is melted and combined. That way you don't have to clean a pot afterwards and you can never overheat the mixture.
I have not used geranium and myrrh before either, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This is a beautiful combination of essential oils and an added bonus when I use this cream on dry skin, I get to smell it all day too!
Overall, the cream has a different texture to the beeswax salves that I usually make. It is less smooth, more creamy. I found that its better kept in the fridge, as it goes nearly solid and you can scoop out a little bit to use, which quickly melts at body temperature. At room temperature (in Queensland that is 20degC and higher) the cream goes a bit sloppy, but some people may prefer it that way. If you prefer a more solid cream at room temperature, you can add beeswax to this recipe as well. I made another batch with one third beeswax and one third tallow (one third the ratios from this recipe, sorry confusing!) and it makes a lovely lotion bar which is solid at room temperature.
The great thing with this recipe is that you can modify it to suit your needs. You can switch the sweet almond oil for another light oil such as argan oil or apricot kernel. You can also use herbs such as calendula to infuse the light oil (and/or the coconut oil) to add extra healing properties. Of course you can change the essential oils too. I made the cream again with added frankincense, lavender and cedarwood and it smells even more divine. And you only need a few drops of each.
Have you made salves or creams using oils, butters and beeswax?