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Simple body lotions and salves

Updated on June 19, 2013

Simple lotions and salves can be hard to come by. I really wanted something with few and all-natural ingredients not only for myself but for my baby. Looking at the ingredients lists on baby products was always so frustrating... everything contained petroleum, chemicals I couldn't even dream of pronouncing or was astronomically priced. Why did it need to be so hard to get a simple, inexpensive cream, lotion or salve for my family? I decided to take a class with an herbalist on making lotions and discovered that, if you have some very basic ingredients, you can experiment with the proportions to make exactly what you want. If you use products that have a long shelf life, you will not need to worry about adding preservatives to get something that will last at least a year.

Quick tips

  • Always use sterilized containers - this will prevent molds from forming and will keep your products from spoiling prematurely.
  • Be creative with your containers... while you might want a specialty container for lip balms, body butters can be put into small mason jars or even recycled breast milk containers!
  • Always use a double boiler when heating your products! Heating waxes directly will scorch them.
  • Use finely chopped beeswax or beeswax pastilles - it melts a lot faster.
  • If you are creating exclusively for baby skin, limit the amount of essential oils as they can cause irritation. Use herbal infused oils for fragrance instead.
  • Vary your oils. Olive oil is fantastic for the skin but has a distinctive smell; grape seed oil has almost no smell and is slightly more hypoallergenic than olive oil.

Best basic salve / lip balm

Let's start with the easiest thing: the basic salve. Adjusting the amount of beeswax will make it harder or softer. You might want a little more for a lip balm but a bit less for a diaper rash ointment.

  • 1/8 cup beeswax
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 4-6 drops of essential oil (optional)

Melt the beeswax and oil together in a double boiler. Remove from heat as soon as all of the wax has melted and pour into your containers. Stir in your essential oils directly before pouring. Great substitution: try replacing part of your liquid oil with a saturated fat such as coconut oil! Keep in mind that you want to make sure you can eat it if you are going to make lip balm so only use food-grade cooking oils.

There are many sources for inexpensive lip balm containers. Search local coops and natural health food stores or buy online!
There are many sources for inexpensive lip balm containers. Search local coops and natural health food stores or buy online!

Body lotions

Body lotions should contain a bit more of the saturated, or solid, oils. Again, coconut oil is a personal favorite and is readily available in any grocery store. But you can also find more exotic butters like shea or cocoa butter online or in specialty stores. Start your lotion in exactly the same fashion as the salve. Add more saturated oil for a thicker, creamier body butter or less for a thinner lotion.

  • 1/8 cup beeswax
  • 1 cup oils (combination of liquid and saturated)
  • 2/3 cup waters

Melt together your beeswax and oils over a double boiler, add any essential oils and then pour into a large glass jar or measuring cup (or a blender if you do not have an immersion blender). Allow the mixture to cool fully (about 2 hours) and then add your waters. Distilled water should be used in place of spring or tap water to lengthen the shelf life of your lotion. Try substituting in other "waters" in small amounts such as vanilla extract or rose water to add depth and subtle scents to your lotions.


The waters need to be blended in slowly. The best tool for the job is an immersion blender but any blender will do the trick. Tip: try to have a blender that you can use only for lotions as cleaning up can be a challenge and some of the ingredients may not be food grade. Blend the waters into your mixture until completely creamed and then scoop or pour into containers.


Be sure to label your creations and be creative! Create your own labels to celebrate birthdays, holidays or to help raise awareness for your favorite cause!

The Barth Syndrome Foundation is near and dear to my heart and all of my lotions and salves are made with "Barth Syndrome Awareness" labels.
The Barth Syndrome Foundation is near and dear to my heart and all of my lotions and salves are made with "Barth Syndrome Awareness" labels.


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