How To Make A Soothing Herbal Salve To Heal Dry Skin

This serious salve featuring dried calendula and essential oils will heal your dry, cracked winter skin.

February 13, 2018
diy hand salve
Allison Young

Salve may have an old-fashioned persona (and a tough-to-pronounce name), but there’s a reason grandma always had the miracle worker on hand: it works!

Not to be confused with body butter or lotion, salve is a simple combination of herbal oil and beeswax—no water—that’s super concentrated to promote healing. It can moisturize those rough patches, de-chap your face and lips, soften dry skin, help heal cracks, and give your super dry hands a hand—so basically, coat your skin in head-to-toe goodness. Making it yourself means money saved, plus you avoid chemicals and petroleum products. Oh, and did we mention it’s super easy to make? Like super easy.


The star ingredient here is calendula. Soothing and anti-inflammatory, the medicinal marigold-ish flower has long been used as a remedy to resurrect dry skin thanks to its wound healing, hydrating powers. Infusing it with olive oil, a potent antioxidant and moisturizer, doubles its powers. Combining the calendula-infused olive oil with beeswax makes the salve solid at room temperature, plus beeswax, a natural hydrator and humectant, provides a protective barrier to help skin retain moisture. Grapefruit seed oil, a proven antifungal and antibacterial agent, acts as a preservative, while healing lavender and anti-inflammatory chamomile essential oils soothe and calm skin—and make the salve smell even better.

The finished product: a salve that delivers serious hydration to winter-weary skin. Here's how to make it.

salve ingredients
Allison Young


DIY Calendula & Essential Oil Hand Salve

2 oz dried calendula flowers
750 ml extra virgin olive oil
4 oz beeswax pastilles
2 oz grapefruit seed oil
¼ oz (or 1 ½ teaspoons) lavender essential oil
¼ oz (or 1 ½ teaspoons) roman chamomile essential oils

Plus you need:
Crock pot, mason jars, glass bowl, cheese cloth, double boiler (32 oz glass measuring cup) and tins (eg 10 2-oz tins)

making salve oil
Allison Young

Step 1: Make the herb-infused oil

Fill four 8-ounce mason jars equally with dried calendula flowers. Top with extra virgin olive oil, seal jars, and place in a slow cooker. Fill slow cooker with water to cover ¾ of the jar, cover with lid, and heat on low for 48 hours or until oil is a deep yellow color.


straining salve oil
Allison Young

Step 2: Strain the herb-infused oil

Remove mason jars from slow cooker and let cool. Place four layers of cheesecloth over large glass bowl and secure with a rubber band. Pour infused oil over the cheesecloth and let drain (squeezing flowers with your clean hands over the cheesecloth can also help). Once drained, gather and squeeze the cheesecloth to get any remaining oil. Measure out 14 ounces of the infused oil for the salve recipe (store remaining herbal oil in glass bottles in a cool, dark place).

pouring salve oil
Allison Young

Step 3: Turn that oil into salve

Melt 4 oz beeswax, 14 oz herbal oil, and 2 oz grapefruit seed oil over a double boiler (a 32 oz glass measuring cup with spout works well). Once melted, remove from heat and stir in lavender and chamomile essential oils (1 ½ teaspoons each). Pour melted oil evenly into tins. Let cool completely before placing lids on tins.