5 March 11 • SCB

I found myself in the lotions and potions aisle of my market this week sampling the various hand salves and balms when it occurred to me that I had everything I needed to make my own already at home.

I have been thinking a lot about reducing the amount of waste I create lately. Buying organic or sustainably packaged items is truly not enough. There is much that I don’t need to buy at all, and this is the direction in which I would like to see myself moving.

I created my hand salve in much the same way as my spoon oil. One part beeswax (2 ounces) to four parts oil (8 ounces or one cup). In place of the mineral oil, I used sweet almond oil which is nourishing and healing to your skin (I buy mine at the natural foods store), but otherwise just followed the rest of my spoon oil directions.

I added an essential oil after emulsifying, although the beeswax and almond oil are pleasant enough on their own. I chose lemon oil because I knew the smell would appeal to my lemon-loving son, and I made another batch with eucalyptus oil as a vapor rub. Another option would be to steep dried herbs in the warm almond oil and then strain before adding to the melted beeswax. I am hoping to create an effective bug repellent this way before summer comes. MAV’s piece on bath steeps in the Winter issue of 3191Q has some great herb and flower suggestions.

There are plenty of sites selling containers for homemade lotions and balms, but I encourage you to look around and use what you already have. Wide mouth or shallow jars work well. I filled an old metal film canister with balm to throw in my bag.

Here’s to keeping it simple and healing winter’s hands.