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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Manuka Honey Skin Saver

This moisturizing DIY skin salve is full of some usual suspects -- cocoa butter, shea butter, and almond oil -- but it also contains something special: manuka honey. Apply it to your face, hands, or hair as an overnight moisturizer or use it as a spot treatment for dry and irritated skin.

The fats in this recipe as well as the honey help moisturize skin. Honey also contains nutrients needed for tissue repair and rejuvenation. One variety of honey in particular, manuka honey, comes from bees that gather nectar from manuka trees in Australia and New Zealand. It's been shown to reduce inflammation and stimulate skin cell growth.

If you don't have manuka honey, use raw honey from a local beekeeper. (Find your local farmers market here.) Avoid pasteurized products because treating honey with heat destroys many of its healing compounds.

I used coco butter and shea butter in equal amounts because in their raw, organic forms they each have a strong aroma, but together, neither one is overpowering. You could add your own aroma with pure organic essential oils if you like. I left mine unscented.

This salve may be soft just after it's made, or even a bit soupy if it doesn't contain quite enough of the solid fats. However, if you allow it to sit and cure at room temperature for a week or two, the consistency will become a bit firmer and beautifully creamy. You can always adjust the consistency by using low heat to melt it back into a liquid, then adding more solid fat (shea butter or cocoa butter) to make it firmer or more liquid fat (almond oil) to make it softer, before cooling it allowing to set again.

This recipe makes about a cup of salve.

  • ½ cup almond oil
  • ¼ cup raw organic shea butter
  • ¼ cup raw organic cocoa butter
  • 1 teaspoon manuka honey (or raw, local honey)


  1. Use hot, soapy water to wash the glass jars you'll use for storing salve. Dry them completely with a clean towel, then set them aside on a clean surface to finish air-drying.
  2. Fill a sauce pan (large enough to accommodate the measuring cup) with two inches of water. Bring it to a gentle simmer over low heat.
  3. Add the almond oil to a glass liquid measuring cup. Add chunks of shea butter until the liquid level rises to ¾ cup. Add chunks of coco butter until the liquid level rises to 1 cup.
  4. Place the glass measuring cup in the simmering water, being careful not to splash any water inside the cup. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave it in place just long enough for the solid fats to become liquid. Do not over-heat the oil mixture. 
  5. Once the solids have just dissolved, transfer the glass measuring cup to a cooling rack. Allow the oil mixture to cool until it's only slightly warm, then stir in the honey until dissolves fully. 
  6. Pour the salve mixture into a small glass container for daily use and any excess into a large glass container (or more small ones). Cool the salve completely to room temperature. Meanwhile, label the lids.
  7. Once the the salve has cooled completely, cover the jars tightly and transfer them to the fridge overnight. Once set, the salve will turn from clear to opaque. 
  8. Store the small jar for daily use at room temperature and any excess in the fridge.
  9. To refill the small container for daily use, bring the large container to room temperature, then place it in a pan of gently simmering water over low heat until the salve liquifies. Stir and then refill the small container. Cool both jars to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge. Once the salve has set, bring the small container back to room temperature.

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