This recipe has changed and morphed over the years – but it is basically the simplest and best skin hydration I’ve found. Not only do I make it to use at home, I make extra when I blend a batch to share with new mamas in my community. No photos will be shared of this but, I gained 50+ lbs in my pregnancy with my daughter, and had nary a stretch mark. Genetics, maybe. Serious luck, yes. But also I think daily application of this balm had a big impact- so much so that the nurses doing my non-stress test at 42 weeks were startled by my smooth belly skin and asked what I used ( I shared this recipe with them).
The balm is also great for nipples, nursing and keeping breasts in relative comfort during nursing (safe for baby to ingest – although some may prefer to sub out the beeswax for lanolin until your baby is over 1 year – I didn’t after doing my own research). The only place I don’t use this is on my face (I use it under and around my eyes). Thank my ancestors for some really oily/combination, easily clogged facial skin. But my husband uses it on his face, and he has pretty great skin. So as with all products — try a little bit and test to see how your body reacts to it.
And we used it on my daughter – head to toe. Still do. It makes a really protective and healing butt balm if you find rashes, bumps, or yeasty issues. Please don’t put it on broken skin on anyone without checking with a qualified medical person first.
I use this term loosely because what I add often shifts according to what I have in the pantry. But this is my standard go-to list:
Beeswax Pastilles- This helps solidify the balm, not enough beeswax and it’ll be greasy/runny; too much it could be hard, bar of soap hard, at room temp. I alter the amount in summer and winter batches (summer = more, winter = less). Starting with a 4:1 ratio (oil to beeswax) has served me well. Think you need more? Reheat the balm and melt in some more.
Oils – Your choice entirely. From my experience I use a mix of olive oil, coconut oil (I never leave this out), and jojoba oil. But I have also loved almond oil, avocado oil, apricot oil, and others. Use what works best for your skin. Consider shea butter if you have it.
Dried Herbs – I use chamomile flowers, lavender flowers, rosemary, calendula and rose petals (all organic from Mountain Rose Herbs). Do some research and see what you like. I make a sachet (little bag) of the dried herbs in tea bags or cheesecloth, depending on what I have on hand. If you added the dried herbs loose into the oil be sure to have a good method for straining – turns out not many people like their lotion with bits and pieces in it.
Clean Mason jars and tops, or other containers to store your lotion. I like glass.
Container to melt/heat the oil and beeswax. You’ll be steeping the dried herbs while brewing (see photo below). I use a four-cup pyrex glass measuring cup. My set up is not high tech, unless you consider using chopsticks high-tech. But I do find it is important not to heat the oils directly, but instead use a “double-boil technique.” Mostly because I often start this project then get into something else and leave it on the stove for 1 – 4 hours, occasionally checking to see there is still water in the bottom pan.
Pan/Pot big enough to hold a few inches of water and the container you picked to melt the oils.
I add the oils, drop in the dried herbs, and simmer for a few hours. Near the end of brewing I remove the dried herbs before I add the beeswax. Add beeswax. After the beeswax melts (some stirring required), I pour into my clean jars, set the tops on, then wait for it to cool before closing the jars completely. I find it easier to wait to see if I need to add more wax – determined after it has cooled.
Two final notes – from experience trying to save money and resources. If you use rancid oil or oil that is “off,” you’ll have a lotion that smells “off” too.
If you happen to burn yourself, as I do frequently (but not usually making this balm), putting this balm on the burn immediately and frequently (again be aware of broken skin) has reduced the impact, blistering, and pain. Hope it does the same for you!
Recipe by Cecelia Ungari-Hoskins (Coming soon, the nursing tea recipe in the photo)