Basic Moisturizing Balm


Although dry winter air requires constant moisturizing, it doesn’t have to require creating waste. A simple balm can be used to moisturize and protect skin all over the body instead of a clutter of bottles and tubes intended for every individual part. It can also be used to tame static in hair and clothing and protect skin from diaper rash.

Basic moisturizing balms consist of two ingredients: wax and oil. Wax acts as a protectant and oil acts as the moisture. Popular waxes include beeswax and candelilla wax. Commonly used oils are almond, olive, avocado, grapeseed, pumpkin seed and rosehip seed oils. Infused oils or essential oils can be added to turn the basic balm into a therapeutic salve.

Personally, I use beeswax and whatever oil I have on hand because that combination makes it easier for me to sustain making a safe, economical and low-waste balm on my own. When using beeswax, the best ratio for skin and lips is 1 part wax to 4 parts of oil (1:4 ratio) but 1:3 can work well under warmer conditions (in a pocket, summer weather) and 1:5 can work well under cooler conditions as well as in chapstick tubes.  The most efficient way to make a moisturizing balm is to use a small heat-safe jar (such as a jelly jar) that can also be used as a container for the balm. If smaller containers are needed (such as for use in a purse), the melted balm can simply be poured from the jar into the smaller containers.


You’ll need: 1 part of beeswax, 4 parts of oil(s), heat-safe container with lid (such as a jelly jar), small cooking pan with water and 5-10 minutes of your time.

Place the jar filled with wax in a small pan of water (water should be low enough so that, if boiled, will not get into the jar). Heat until wax melts, then remove pan from heat and stir in oil(s). Let cool until solid or pour into additional travel-sized containers. Use on skin, nails, and hair.