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I’m OBSESSED with DIY salve. In the summer, before I leave the house, you’ll find me sitting at the kitchen table lathering up my legs, arms, and face. I walk into the world looking fly and feeling like silk. It’s a ritual that even my kids have started to participate in, my son always trying to palm some salve when no one is looking (which is fine because it is non-toxic AND edible!).

And in the winter?

Salve prevents my skin from drying out, using it post shower to make sure it stays smooth and healthy. My husband will also use it for windburn after working outside in freeeezing cold temperatures on a difficult day (he’s such a trooper!).

Related: Homemade Vegan Cough Syrup

I used to buy oils to moisturize my skin, because I didn’t want to spend money on toxic mainstream lotions. Yet using oils didn’t do much either- they worked in the summer, but wouldn’t absorb well in the winter. It left my hands feeling very dry and uncomfortable.

Then I started making my own salves, opting for healing ingredients such as cocoa butter and herbs, and viola! Problem solved. It works wonders for your skin, is healthy, and SIMPLE to make. I’ve only done this a few times but once you do it, you’ll always be able to!

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Many people spend big money on beauty products that you can make right in your own kitchen, without a lot of prep. All you really need is a crock pot, and it does virtually all the work!

Cocoa Butter VS. Beeswax

Most salves I’ve seen use beeswax, but I really wanted to try making a salve without relying on that particular ingredient.

I bought cocoa butter after reading about some benefits online (thanks Google!). The unrefined, food grade cocoa butter is basically pure fat, but it is a great moisturizer and antioxidant. It also helps reduce stretch marks!

When I received it, I knew it would be a great substitute for beeswax because it was hard as a rock- I hoped that it would help balance the texture when mixed with the “easily melt-able” coconut oil…and it worked beautifully!

The only thing you should be aware about when saying no to beeswax is that you will be losing the preservative within the salve. I think if you keep your salve in a cool area, and use it in a reasonable time though, it should be fine!

A Note About Adding Herbs to Your Salve

For this particular salve, I used plantain and lavender right from my backyard. If you are foraging your own herbs (and you don’t plan on rinsing), make sure that you pick them on a dry afternoon, when it hasn’t rained in a couple of days. Wet herbs will have contained moisture, and that can be bad for your salve.

If you really want to rinse your herbs (totally understandable!), then make sure you dab them with a towel afterwards and let them sit out for a few hours (or overnight is best!), to make sure that they are dry and salve ready.

For the healing benefits of lavender, click here. To learn more about the healing powers of plantain, watch my short video below!

DIY Simple Vegan Healing Salve

I’ve read, seen, and talked to different people about various salve methods. There is not a one-size-fits-all way to make a salve, and that’s wonderful to know as a beginning herbalist. Below is my own method that I’ve pulled together from multiple sources. I hope you enjoy it!

I used plantains and lavender, but feel free to use other healing herbs! My favorite place to get quality ingredients (other than in my backyard!) is Mountain Rose Herbs.

 

 

 

Ingredients/Materials:

  • 14 oz. unrefined organic coconut oil
  • 2/3 C unrefined food grade cocoa butter (great to get from Mountain Rose!)
  • 2-3 handfuls of fresh plantains
  • 2 tbsp fresh lavender
  • Crock pot with low and medium setting
  • Thermometer
  • Jars- this recipe makes approx. 18 oz of salve. That’s one FULL pint jar (plus a little leftover). You can use a large jar or break it up into smaller jars for gifts.

Directions:

1. Add the coconut oil and cocoa butter to the crock pot. Turn on low, uncovered, and let them both melt completely before adding herbs. This shouldn’t take very long!

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2. Add your dried plant material (plantain and lavender, or other herbs of your choice!). You want to make sure that the herbs are completely covered by the oil, which is why I suggest 2-3 handfuls of plantain. Add a little bit at a time until it is full, but covered!

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3. Turn crock pot up to medium and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 hours. You can use your thermometer to make sure you are keeping the heat between 100-140 degrees. If the temperature is getting to high, turn your crock pot back down to low (you don’t want crispy herbs!).

4. After 2-3 hours, when the liquid is a nice green (see pictured), you can turn off the crock pot and transfer your liquid (carefully!). You can strain through a colander, into your jar OR place your jar in a bowl and carefully pour salve straight from pot into jar, squeezing (cooled!) herbs out with your fingers, so you get every last drop!

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5. Let your jar cool at room temperature (see how lovely green it is!?). If it’s the summer, you’ll probably want to pop this is the refrigerator for a couple of hours so it can harden up. If it’s the winter, it may be so cold in your house that it does that anyway, or you can place it outside for a bit to cool it down and stiffen it up!

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6. After you get it to harden, let it sit back out for about 30 minutes. I know, I know, hot, cold, hot cold, but listen carefully- once you got that initial hardening, you’re good to go. I keep my salve in my bedroom, because it’s the coldest room in the house, and my salve stays soft but never turns to liquid. It’s always perfect and ready to use.

Congrats! You just completed your healing salve!

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Salves should be stored in a cool place, preferably 72 degrees so that it doesn’t go liquid again. If, for some reason, it does, just place it back in the fridge for a few minutes. That being said, don’t go all crazy with temperature shifts and your salve. I made the mistake of bringing my salve on vacation with me, causing it to spoil due to too many temperature changes. It definitely made me a sad panda! Keep your salve cool, and you will have nothing to worry about:) If you store this salve properly, it should last you a few months!

DIY Simple Vegan Healing Salve
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Ingredients
  1. 14 oz. unrefined organic coconut oil
  2. 2/3 C unrefined food grade cocoa butter
  3. 2-3 handfuls of fresh plantains
  4. 2 tbsp fresh lavender
  5. Crock pot with low and medium setting
  6. Thermometer
  7. Jars- this recipe makes approx. 18 oz of salve. That's one FULL pint jar (plus a little leftover). You can use a large jar or break it up into smaller jars for gifts.
Instructions
  1. Add the coconut oil and cocoa butter to the crock pot. Turn on low, uncovered, and let them both melt completely before adding herbs. This shouldn't take very long!
  2. Add your dried plant material (plantain and lavender, or other herbs of your choice!). You want to make sure that they herbs are completely covered by the oil, which is why I suggested 2-3 handfuls of plantain. Add a little bit at a time until it is full, but covered!
  3. Turn crock pot up to medium and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 hours. You can use your thermometer to make sure you are keeping the heat between 100-140 degrees. If the temperature is getting to high, turn your crock pot back down to low (you don't want crispy herbs!).
  4. After 2-3 hours, when the liquid is a nice green (see pictured), you can turn off the crock pot and transfer your liquid (carefully!). You can strain through a colander, into your jar OR place your jar in a bowl and carefully pour salve straight from pot into jar, squeezing (cooled!) herbs out with your fingers, so you get every last drop!
  5. Let your jar cool at room temperature (see how lovely green it is!?). If it's the summer, you'll probably want to pop this is the refrigerator for a couple of hours so it can harden up. If it's the winter, it may be so cold in your house that it does that anyway, or you can place it outside for a bit to cool it down and stiffen it up!
  6. After you get it to harden, let it sit back out for about 30 minutes. I know, I know, hot, cold, hot cold, but listen carefully- once you got that initial hardening, you're good to go. I keep my salve in my bedroom, because it's the coldest room in the house, and my salve stays soft but never turns to liquid. It's always perfect and ready to use.
Notes
  1. Salves should be stored in a cool place, preferably 72 degrees so that it doesn't go liquid again. If, for some reason, it does, just place it back in the fridge for a few minutes. If you store this salve properly, it should last you a few months!
Beautifully Bohemian https://www.beautifullybohemian.com/wordpress/
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Have you made a salve before? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Let me know below!

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7 comments

Reply

Thank you for sharing your recipe! Great tips to use cocoa butter instead of beewax. This seems to be a useful salve I would love to try it. Pinned!

Reply

Thank you for pinning! Yes cocoa butter is a great alternative to beeswax:) I hope you get to try it soon!

Reply

Though I just began to follow your blog I find it very interesting and useful as a source of knowledge. Thought provoking posts mixed with posts about natural, green living and homeschooling. All these are the reason for my nomination of your blog to the Versatile Blogger Award. Feel free to visit my blog to read more about it. Have a great week 🙂

Reply

Awww, thanks so much Charlotte!! You are awesome!! I’ll go check it out now:)

Reply

I’ve been using coconut oil as my moisturizer. It’s great for my face, but doesn’t quite cut it for my hands. I’ll have to give your salve a try… Great to see a recipe not using beeswax! Thanks 🙂

Reply

Yes I can totally relate! The cocoa butter works really great on my hands, especially in the winter time. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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