See how to make an easy homemade hand salve recipe! The salve melts on touch to a moisturizing fluid that tenderly protects your hands from dryness and eases irritation. The soothing ointment is formulated with skin-loving oils, tucuma butter, and a calming essential oil blend.
DIY hand salve recipe
When we moved to a quaint little town near the Irish sea 2 years ago, we immediately fell in love with the beautiful seaside. The shoreline is a gorgeous place to explore, and the constant influx of ocean air is truly wholesome.
The only downside is that the salty winds do quite a number on our hands. I’ve been using this homemade hand cream, but found that I need something stronger for the winter months. And so, my hand salve recipe came to be!
The salve moisturizes and protects your hands from drying out and against environmental influences. It’s a wonderful way to soothe and refresh tired hands and can remedy cracked, itchy skin.
If you struggle with dry, parched skin on your hands and fingers, be sure to add this all-natural hand salve to your care regiment. You’ll love how deeply hydrating it is!
What is hand salve used for?
Hand salve is a concentrated ointment that relieves and repairs dry hands. It creates a protective film on the skin and provides an instant moisture boost. The salve is richer and more nourishing than hand cream or lotion and is designed to soothe extremely dry, cracked hands.
Hand salve ingredients
The hand salve recipe gets its restorative qualities from a handful of simple, natural materials. The ingredient roster includes nourishing plant oils and butters, myrica fruit wax, and a soothing essential oil blend. You’ll need the following supplies:
- 1/4 cup jojoba oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp myrica fruit wax
- 2 tbsp tucuma butter
- 6 drops manuka essential oil
- 6 drops blue tansy essential oil
- 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops myrrh essential oil
Before continuing with recipe instructions, allow me to explain the benefit and role of each ingredient in more detail.
Jojoba oil is derived from the nuts of the jojoba plant and is an incredibly multipurpose skincare ingredient. The oil is an amazing moisturizer and humectant, which means it attracts and binds water to your skin.
Although liquid, jojoba isn’t an oil but actually a liquid wax. As such, it forms a soothing and protective seal on the surface of your skin.
Furthermore, the oil is also said to speed up and promote wound healing. Our hands are constantly in use, and it’s easy to end up with a scratch here and a small cut there. So I’m glad, jojoba addresses this, too.
Jojoba is also a rich source of vitamins E, A, and D, which have antioxidant qualities and help fight oxidative stress in your hands. The oil also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties that are effective against certain bacteria.
And the benefits continue as jojoba is noncomedogenic (meaning the oil doesn’t clog pores) and hypoallergenic (meaning it’s typically non-irritating).
Coconut oil is cold-pressed from the flesh of coconut nuts. The oil is rich in saturated fatty acids, which help your skin retain moisture.
Aside from creating a protective barrier, coconut oil also smooths the skin and you will notice the immediately softening effect.
And although it has a greasy quality, coconut oil absorbs really well after a few minutes, providing instant hydration. Plus, nutrients in coconut can calm redness and irritation.
I used fractionated (liquid) coconut oil, but you can also use regular raw coconut oil.
Tucuma butter is extracted from the seeds of the tucuma palm, which are naturally found in the Brazilian rainforest. The plant butter is rich in antioxidant polyphenols, fatty acids, and vitamin A.
Tucuma butter is a wonderful hydrator and smooths, softens, and lubricates your skin. The ingredient mimics the effects of silicone, meaning it locks moisture in and provides a protective barrier.
Although the butter is relatively firm, it melts easily into the skin. It has a natural gloss and almost wet skin feel that doesn’t feel greasy or oily. The woody, slightly green smell reminds me of a summer meadow and warm hay.
To use up leftover tucuma butter, try this bacuri butter recipe from my friend Rebecca of Soap Deli News.
Myrica fruit wax
Myrica fruit wax (also called bayberry wax) isn’t wax in the truest sense of the word but rather a solid (hydrogenated) oil. The vegan plant wax is created from the peel of myrica berries.
The ingredient protects the skin against moisture loss and environmental stressors. The wax also contains a myricetin, a compound with analgesic properties.
Myrica fruit wax also helps to thicken and stabilize the formula. It lends the hand salve recipe a velvety skin feel that is unmatched by other types of wax such as beeswax or candelilla wax.
I used a myrica fruit wax in the form of small, cream-colored pellets. In North America, you can also buy blocks of green bayberry wax. Both types can be used for this homemade hand salve recipe.
In case you can’t find some of the ingredients, have a look at the possible substitutions below.
- Jojoba oil: argan oil, squalane oil, camelia seed oil
- Coconut oil: babassu oil or simply use more jojoba oil
- Tucuma butter: babassu oil, shea butter, or coconut oil
- Myrica fruit wax: berry fruit wax, coconut wax, sunflower wax, or beeswax
Essential oils for hand salve
I infused my hand salve recipe with a soothing essential oil blend of manuka, blue tansy, myrrh, and lavender. Read on to find out why I chose these oils specifically. Of course, you can also create your own custom blend. You can safely add up to 40 drops to the homemade salve.
Manuka essential oil
Manuka honey oil is your new best friend if you want to calm dry, irritated skin. The aromatic oil is steam-distilled from the New Zealand manuka tree, which is also the source of manuka honey.
Manuka oil is disinfectant and can speed up wound healing. It encourages the growth of new cells and new tissue. This effect is quite helpful to heal cracks and abbreviations while protecting the affected area from infection at the same time.
Blue tansy essential oil
Blue tansy is a wonderful oil to calm dry, itchy, and damaged skin. The calming effects come from azulene, a bioactive with antioxidant and anti-irritant activity.
The oil’s blue color won’t be noticeable in the finished product. The herbaceous aroma lends the salve a sweet and fruity scent that perfectly matches the smell of the tucuma butter.
Myrrh essential oil
Next, we have myrrh essential oil. The oil is packed with nourishing compounds that act calming and can help your skin retain moisture and increase radiance.
The terpenes in myrrh increase the absorption of the other ingredients and have an anti-inflammatory effect against dry, inflamed skin.
Lavender essential oil
The soothing qualities of lavender essential oil probably need no introduction. The oil is full of antioxidants and other bioactives that numb pain and relieve skin inflammation.
Since the oil also boasts antifungal and antibacterial properties, lavender can help alleviate eczema and psoriasis symptoms.
How to make hand salve
I absolutely love this natural hand salve recipe because it comes together in about 15 minutes. Once the tucuma butter and wax have melted, you’re practically done. Let’s have a look at each step!
Step 1: Melt ingredients
Add the tucuma butter, myrica fruit wax, jojoba oil, and coconut oil to a double boiler or small pot. Warm in a water bath over low heat until the plant butter and wax fully melt. Then remove the double boiler/pot from the heat and dry the condensation outside the pot with a kitchen towel.
Step 2: Add essential oils
Add the essential oils and gently swirl the mixture to incorporate the oils into the salve.
Step 3: Package
Pour the salve mixture into a glass jar or storage container.
Step 4: Let solidify
Allow the hand salve recipe to solidify for a couple of hours or overnight. The salve takes a while to set and will remain liquid if the ambient temperature is too warm. You can put the jar into the refrigerator to help along the process.
How to use hand salve
DIY hand salve is a fantastic helper to keep your hands well cared for and good looking. I’ve written down some pointers that explain how to use it.
- Using a small spoon or cosmetic spatula, pick up a small amount of the ointment. A little goes a long way with salve.
- Apply it to the back of your hand or any other area you want to treat.
- Then massage the salve into the skin with circular motions and gentle pressure.
- Wait a few moments for the salve to absorb.
- If using the salve in addition to hand cream and balm, apply the hand cream first, then add a little of this salve, and finally lock everything in with a fine layer of hand balm.
- I like to put on a thick layer before bed and a little bit when I have to do chores outside during the day.
How often can I use this hand salve recipe?
You can apply the salve as often as you want and use it several times throughout the day.
When can I expect results?
While you will experience moisturizing and soothing effects immediately, it can take several days to increase the moisture levels in your hands and restore cracks. The key is to apply the salve consistently and frequently.
Can I apply the homemade hand salve to other areas?
Absolutely! The homemade hand salve recipe is lovely for moisturizing dry skin in areas such as elbows, legs, and feet.
What is the texture of the hand salve recipe?
Due to the high oil content, this salve shifts between a creamy, semi-solid texture and soft, fluid consistency depending on the ambient temperature. Of course, the salve is still effective regardless of the consistency.
If it’s very hot, the salve might even appear liquid. If you live in a warm environment and prefer a thicker texture, simply store the product in the refrigerator.
What does it smell like?
The hand salve recipe has a refreshing, green smell. The woodsy aroma of the tucuma butter combines with the warm nuances of manuka. You’ll also detect a soft amber-wood scent from the myrrh essential oil.
Even my husband (who is usually disinclined to scented body products) likes the smell and has started applying the salve.
Is the hand salve recipe suitable for sensitive skin?
Yes, the nourishing hand salve should be perfectly okay for sensitive skin since it’s formulated with gentle ingredients. Tucuma butter and jojoba oil are nourishing, while manuka, blue tansy, and lavender have calming effects.
If you have never used myrrh essential oil before, consider performing a patch test first to see how your skin reacts to the oil. Myrrh isn’t irritating by any means, but it can’t hurt to double-check and confirm that your skin agrees with the oil.
Is the hand salve recipe safe for children?
Yes, my DIY hand salve is safe for children. Manuka, blue tansy, myrrh, and lavender essential oil are safe for kids, so you can use the ointment on your little ones, too.
Can I make the salve without essential oils?
Yes. To make the salve without essential oils, infuse the jojoba and coconut oil with dried calendula, comfrey, plantain, myrrh, and other herbs. For more detailed instructions, look at the winter body lotion recipe.
- Packaging: A glass jar is your best option to package and store the salve. The hand salve recipe makes enough to fill a 4-oz / 115 g jar. I used a clear mason jar so you can see the product, but an amber glass jar will offer even more protection against sunlight.
- Storage: To maintain the quality of the product, store your salve in a dry, cool location where it isn’t exposed to heat or direct sunlight. Room temperature is fine. You can also keep the salve in the refrigerator during the warmer months and enjoy a cooling effect when applying it to your skin.
- Shelf life: The natural salve should last for 1.5 to 2 years. The ingredient with the shortest best-before date will determine the overall shelf life.
- 1/4 cup / 50 g / 1.8 oz jojoba oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp / 15 g / 0.5 oz coconut oil (I used fractionated, but regular is fine too)
- 1 tbsp / 8 g / 0.3 oz myrica fruit wax
- 2 tbsp / 30 g / 1 oz tucuma butter
- 6 drops manuka essential oil
- 6 drops blue tansy essential oil
- 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops myrrh essential oil
- Melt ingredients. Add the tucuma butter, myrica fruit wax, jojoba oil, and coconut oil to a double boiler or small pot. Warm in a water bath over low heat until the plant butter and wax fully melt. Then remove the double boiler/pot from the heat and dry the condensation outside the pot with a kitchen towel.
- Add essential oils. Add the essential oils and gently swirl the mixture to incorporate the oils into the salve.
- Package. Pour the salve mixture into a glass jar or storage container.
- Let solidify. Allow the hand salve recipe to solidify for a couple of hours or overnight. The salve takes a while to set and will remain liquid if the ambient temperature is too warm. You can put the jar into the refrigerator to help along the process.
- Use. Using a small spoon or cosmetic spatula, pick up a small amount of the ointment. A little goes a long way with salve. Apply it to the back of your hand or any other area you want to treat. Then massage the salve into the skin with circular motions and gentle pressure. Wait a few moments for the salve to absorb.
- Store. To maintain the quality of the product, store your salve in a dry, cool location where it isn't exposed to heat or direct sunlight. Room temperature is fine. You can also keep the salve in the refrigerator during the warmer months and enjoy a cooling effect when applying it to your skin.