Updated January 5, 2022
I’ve been making salves for my friends and family for a few years now. And I am still just winging it as far as measurements of beeswax and oil! I’ve had some people ask me about the ratios. In general, I think I do use a 1 – 4 beeswax to oil ratio, but then again, I don’t use exact measurements, so it may vary.
So, I decided to do an experiment to finally get a solid (no pun intended!) guide for beeswax to oil measurements for different types of concoctions!
I don’t like salves that are too hard or too soft, so I decided to experiment with the middle range of ratios of 1:3, 1:4 and 1:5 (beeswax to oil). The type of oil makes a difference in the texture of the salve/balm as well. Jojoba wax is my go to oil, because of the golden color, the lightly nutty scent and because its chemical composition is similar to human sebum, so it is generally non-allergenic. Coconut oil is nice, too. I use that sometimes.
But today’s experiment is being done with beeswax and jojoba.
The questions I want to explore with the salve textures are:
How hard is the salve to the touch?
How quickly does the salve melt and give a nice soothing feeling on the skin?
Does the salve feel smooth or is it sticky?
I started with my double boiler and my sample jars.
1:3 You can see on the tip of the glass stirrer it is a more firm salve. This is harder salve. It is not soft to the touch, the surface had to be pressed and then scraped with my fingernail to gather some up. When I rubbed it on my skin, it is a bit sticky. For me, this is closer to a lip balm than a healing salve feeling.
1:4 Still a firmer salve, as you can see on the tip of the glass stirrer. But the salve surface is decidedly easier to break than the 1:3 salve. Nice feeling of being able to access the salve. Melts quickly when I rub it into my skin and feels like a nice, warm healing experience.
1:5 You can see on the tip of the glass stirrer it is a wetter salve. The surface breaks easily and then it is a mushy experience. Too oily/greasy for me to feel like a healing salve when I rubbed it into my skin.
I wanted to show you a comparison of some brand name salves as compared to my experiments, for reference. The 1:5 is similar to a leading brand that tends to be more sticky. And the 1:3 is similar to a leading brand that tends to be harder. You get to decide what you like better! For lip balm, I’d use the firmer 1:3 ratio and for a warming skin salve I’d use the 1:4 softer and silkier salve.
As I’ve said before, making your own herbal infusions and salves is like cooking! It’s a relaxing, creative and flexible process. If you’ve been cooking for a while, over the years, you’ve developed your own style and have your own take on lots of dishes! Creativity and flexibility is indicative of an accomplished cook! Making herbal infusions and salves is the same type of process. So have fun!