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Sunday, May 6, 2012

DIY All-Purpose Healing Salve

This simple home-made salve can moisturize cuticles, soothe dry skin, and even hydrate your hair. It has a soft and silky texture because it's a combination of shea butter, which is very solid at room temperature, and almond oil, which is liquid at room temperature. The two together make a perfectly spreadable salve.  

(In New York City, find raw shea butter at the Harlem Market or head to 125th Street and buy it from one of several street vendors, 8 ounces for $3 or 16 ounces for $4.)

Apply this salve to dry lips, skin, and hair. I even use it on my face with great results.  To use, scoop out some salve and rub it between your hands until it melts, then work it in wherever you need it.

If you're applying it to your face, use only a light layer. If you use it on your feet, apply it generously and cover them with socks afterward for at least an hour. If you're applying it to your body, use a light layer and allow it to soak in before getting dressed. 

I like to use this salve after a hot bath and a good scrub, just before bed. I apply it to freshly exfoliated skin, toweled-dry, and allow it to soak in overnight. Then I wake up softer than ever. 

1 part almond oil
Pure essential oil, lavender or other, 10 drops per ½ cup of shea butter/almond oil mixture

Place a clean glass container (large enough to contain all of your ingredients) in a pan of shallow, slowly simmering water. Add the cocoa butter to the container and warm until almost melted. 

Remove the glass container from the water bath and stir in the almond oil until the mixture is smooth. Cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the essential oil.

Set aside to cool.

Once at room temperature, cover it and transfer it to the fridge to set. Chill overnight.

Allow the salve it to come to room temperature and apply as needed.

If you find that the texture is too soft or too hard, it's easy to adjust. Melt it again in a slowly simmering water bath, and if it's too hard, add more almond oil. If it's too soft, add more shea butter. If it's not fragrant enough, add more essential oil. Then repeat as before: mix thoroughly, cool to room temperature, chill thoroughly, warm to room temperature, and apply as needed.

A little bit of salve goes a long way, so if you make a big batch, share some with others. I tucked a jar into the Mother's Day package I sent my Mom this year.

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