A Balm is a one of the simplest, most healing remedies – the kind of thing that you want to have on your bedside table, in your kids room, in your purse, the medicine cabinet…
This balm is necessary for hardworking hands, irritated summer skin, dry skin (heels I’m looking at you!), bites, stings, sunburns… it’s an herbal bandaid that makes everything better.
I don’t know about you, but I like having that one thing that you apply to every need.
- Your kiddo falls… aw… here put some balm on it!
- Feet looking neglected… put some balm on it!
- Lips feeling a bit chapped… put some balm on it!
- Hands itching because you decided to weed the whole front yard and refuse to wear gloves… put some balm on it!
So, YES. It’s good!!
What makes this balm a magical cure-all, are the ingredients. And there’s only a few at that: oil, beeswax, dried peppermint and dried lavender.
You get the soothing moisture from the oil, healing protection from the beeswax – and then it’s enriched with these herbs that have some serious medicinal qualities! You might be surprised to learn just what these pantry ingredients can do!
Can we talk about this combination for a second. It’s amazing! (I’m trying to warm you up to the idea of the next step – infusing these herbs into oil… more on that soon)
Think about a day outdoors – in the garden, bug bites, sunburn – your skin feels hot, itchy and irritated.
The minute you apply this balm, you feel the effect. Peppermint cools your skin, it relieves pain and itch. While, lavender soothes your skin, brings down inflammation and helps your skin to heal.
It’s very potent, but at the same time gentle enough for sensitive skin and children.
And to get all that herbal goodness into our balm – we’re going to make our own peppermint & lavender infused oil – from scratch!
I know, if this is the point where you start thinking…. hmm, this is sounding complicated… I promise you it’s not! An infusion is a simple preparation – if you’ve made a cup of tea, you’ve made an infusion before!
You’ve totally got this!
STEP ONE to making this Necessary Balm: Infuse the oil
PS: Infusions are not hard!
Here’s what you need to know about infusing: it’s going to take either time, or heat to extract the properties of the herbs. And this makes sense:
- When you make a hot tea, you pour in hot water and let it steep for 3 minutes. It’s fast.
- When you make a cold-brew tea, you pour in cold water and let it steep over night. It’s slower.
But both ways work. Right now at home, I have a jar of oil that’s been infusing for 4 weeks! I like it slow, because there’s nothing that I need to do, it just sits there and does the work. But knowing how to make an infusion quicker, like I need it right-now-today, is also super handy.
But you need to know the secret.
And I’m going to let you in on it! The way to make an infusion in just four hours, super-potent, like it’s been brewing for weeks… is to break up the whole herbs, into teeny-tiny pieces.
This opens up and releases all the good stuff inside – the nutrients and delicious smelling essential oils so that the oil can easily soak it all in!
Once you’ve blended the herbs into this gorgeous smelling herbal-powder that you wish you could dive right into… All that you need to do now is pour in the oil and set it in the oven.
And, now you’re now officially a person who infuses oils, and makes your own skincare! No big deal.
Which oil should you use? I went with almond oil, mostly because its neutral in scent so that the mint and lavender comes through. But also, two other big reasons:
- It’s long lasting. It takes a long time to finish a tin of balm, so I need an oil that will not go rancid. Almond Oil has specific properties that gives it a really long shelf life. (those same antioxidants do your skin a lot of good too!) You’ll be able to keep this balm for 6 months!
- It’s moisturising. Almond oil is high in Oleic Fatty Acid, which gives it a rich and moisturising quality. It’s going to help to protect and restore your skin’s mantle, really good for healing skin.
PS: try this balm on your feet at night too!
STEP TWO to making this Necessary Balm: Beeswax
Beeswax is what creates that thick creamy consistency. The more beeswax you add, the harder your balm (think lip balm) The less beeswax you add, the softer your balm (think vaseline)
It’s more accurate to weigh your beeswax, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale – don’t worry! Right now I don’t have a kitchen scale – and for me, four tablespoons of shaved beeswax to 1 cup of oil turned out a good balm!
Remember, weather makes a difference – if you live some where it gets really cold or hot, that will affect the outcome. Play with the recipe. I developed my body butter recipe while living in Bali – for me it comes out creamy, but a reader living up North in the States told me that hers came out rock solid! So, if your balm comes out too hard, or too soft remelt the whole thing and add in more oil to soften the balm, more beeswax to harden it.
You need to melt the beeswax so that it can combine with the oil – and the best way to melt beeswax is in a double boiler, over gentle heat.
As soon as its melted, pour in the infused peppermint + lavender oil (minus the herbs! strain those out)…
Soon this rich golden liquid will cool and harden into a thick, gorgeously green, balmy state.
- 1/4 cup dried lavender
- 1/4 cup dried peppermint
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp almond oil you loose some to the herbs
- 4 tbsp beeswax
Set the oven to 300/150
As soon as it reaches temperature turn off the oven
Grind the herbs in a blender into a coarse powder
Combine the herbs with the oil in an oven proof dish and place it in the oven
Let it sit for four hours in the oven. Don't open the door! The oven will slowly cool - and the heat will infuse the oil, gently.
Strain out the herbs
Melt the beeswax and combine with the oil
Pour the mixture in a container, allow to cool and harden
Shelf life: 6 months
PS: My husband really dug into this balm! It’s been really helpful for dry skin. I’m telling you, its necessary!!