Winter wreaks complete havoc on my hands. I'm talking peeling and cracking, itching, and lots of irritation. I've tried loads of different moisturizers and lotions, but they've all fallen short. Then a friend shared a beeswax salve with me, and my hands were in heaven! I made this version with healing lavender and calendula herbs and always keep a jar next to the kitchen sink and bedside table. This hand salve is a must-have for soft, supple hands!
How To Make a Hand Balm with Calendula Oil
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a very skin-healing herb—and the scientific community agrees, as studies have shown its use in wound care [source]. Salves and poultices made with calendula have been used for hundreds (and probably thousands!) of years.
Renowned for its skin-healing properties, calendula is a pretty little flower that packs a powerful (yet gentle) punch. It’s packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to heal irritated skin [source]. And it has been shown to improve skin hydration in an anti-aging cream [source].
A calendula oil infusion created from dried petals yields a soothing, antibacterial final product that can be applied to skin straight out of the shower or used in everyday items, from homemade first-aid salves to diaper creams. Plus, it's incredibly easy to make at home.
Benefits of Calendula for Skin
Calendula officinalis, also known as marigold, is a plant that has been used for hundreds of years to soothe inflammation and nourish the skin [source]. Its medicinal properties are due, in part, to its numerous anti-inflammatory polyphenols, such as resveratrol, quercetin, and ferulic acid, which help calm inflammation and protect skin from oxidative damage [source].
Heals damaged skin
When used topically in creams and ointments, calendula has been shown to increase skin healing. In a 30-week study that followed 41 adults with diabetes-related foot ulcers, 78% of participants saw complete wound healing after using calendula spray daily [source].
A 2016 study showed that calendula might even increase the amount of collagen in wounds as they heal [source], which may lessen the appearance of scars.
While scientific studies are slim, anecdotal evidence suggests that calendula may help reduce acne breakouts, thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties [source].
How To Make Calendula Oil
You can easily grow your own calendula and dry its petals for infusing or purchase some already dried online. Any natural oil, such as almond or coconut, will work for this recipe, but I recommend olive or grapeseed oil. You can also use jojoba oil, which mimics the oils our bodies naturally produce [source] and so maintains the skin’s healthiest moisture balance while it hydrates and softens.
1. Fill your jar about halfway with calendula petals.
2. Pour oil into the jar until it’s just about full. The herbs will absorb some of the oil, so you won’t end up with quite as much as you poured in.
3. Secure the lid onto the jar and place it in a sunny spot for about a month. In the spring and summer, you can put the jar directly outside. In cooler months, position it by a warm, sunny window indoors. Shake occasionally to redistribute the jar’s contents.
4. After about a month has passed, pour the contents through a small strainer or a muslin bag, straining the oil (or pouring it once strained) into another clean jar or bottle. Straining can take some time, so don’t rush this. If you use a muslin bag, squeeze it around the herbs before discarding in order to get a few more good drops of the oil.
5. The calendula oil infusion doesn’t need to be refrigerated—you can store it in your bathroom cabinet—but if it starts to smell “off,” it’s probably time to toss it and make more. The oil is wonderful as a face and body moisturizer and works especially well when applied to wet skin just after cleansing.
Best Herbs for Wound Healing
Although I rely on calendula and lavender to give this salve its healing powers, there are a lot of other herbs you can use instead. We like to use peppermint for headaches!
Lavender is another favorite when it comes to healing salves and balms [source]. Plus, it smells amazing.
If you'd like to experiment, try some of these:
Lavender Calendula Salve Recipe
This salve is a little oily (it's mostly oils, after all!) as it melts on your skin, but I find that it gets absorbed pretty quickly. The oils and butters in this recipe are also very healing for the skin. Beeswax helps seal in moisture, while shea butter and olive oil replenish essential fatty acids and repair the skin's moisture barrier. The coconut oil also adds antimicrobial benefits to keep skin healthy [source].
Use it as often as needed to keep cracks and inflammation at bay. Oh, and it isn't just for hands either—use it on your feet, lips, elbows, knees, or anywhere that needs some TLC.
Lavender Calendula Salve Ingredients
—3 ounces olive oil
—2 ounces coconut oil
—2 tablespoons dried lavender
—2 tablespoons dried calendula flowers
—2 ounces beeswax pellets, white or yellow
—2 ounces shea butter
—50 drops lavender essential oil
—Glass measuring cup
—Pan of simmering water
—Fine mesh strainer
—8-ounce jar with lid
Step 1 | Melt oils
Combine the olive and coconut oils in a small pan or glass measuring cup and microwave in 30-second intervals until just melted.
Step 2 | Infuse herbs
Add the lavender and calendula to the warm oils and let steep for about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing gently to extract as much oil as possible.
You can skip this infusion step if you're using calendula-infused oil. No need to combine two different oils, just use 5 ounces of the infused oil.
Step 3 | Add beeswax and shea butter
Pour back into the glass measuring cup and add the beeswax and shea butter. Heat in the microwave for 1–2 minutes, stirring frequently.
If you're worried about breaking down the beneficial properties in the herbs, place the measuring cup in a saucepan filled ⅓ of the way with water and heat on low until the beeswax and shea butter are melted.
Step 3 | Add essential oil
Let cool for a few minutes, then add the lavender essential oil, if using.
Step 4 | Transfer to a jar
Pour into a heat-safe, shallow jar with a tight-fitting lid.
How to use the healing balm
To speed up healing, apply at night before bed and wear gloves to lock in the moisture.
The consistency of this hand salve can be adjusted depending on your preferences. Use less beeswax for a softer salve and more beeswax for a firmer salve. To test the consistency ahead of time, place a spoon in the freezer right before making your salve.
After combining all your oils (step 4 above), dip the cold spoon in the oil mixture and quickly pull it out. The salve should solidify on the spoon within a few seconds, letting you test the consistency. Simply add more liquid oils for a creamier consistency and more beeswax for a firmer one.
Calendula Hand Balm FAQ
Can calendula oil be ingested?
Calendula is safe to use topically [source]. If you wish to take it orally, you should always consult your doctor before use.
Does calendula oil clog pores?
Calendula itself is actually great for acne-prone skin. But when making your own calendula-infused oil, you need to be careful about the carrier oils you use. For example, jojoba (known to be anti-acne [source]), sweet almond, and grapeseed oils are all noncomedogenic, meaning they shouldn't clog pores.
Can you put this healing hand salve on an open wound?
To keep the infection risk to a minimum, I recommend waiting a day or two for the wound to scab over before applying a homemade salve.
Is there a vegan wax I can use in place of beeswax?
Carnauba wax is my favorite vegan wax. Since it has a slightly different texture than beeswax, feel free to adjust the measurements until your balm reaches the right consistency.
Are the measurements in this recipe by volume or weight?
I measure by volume with measuring cups.
How long will the recipe last?
This healing salve will keep for 6 months to a year.
Can I add honey?
Yes! Try this honey hand balm recipe.
Want more balm recipes?
Check out these 13 Homemade Herbal Balms and Salves
Lavender Calendula Healing Hand Salve
- Glass measuring cup
- Pan of simmering water
- Fine mesh strainer
- 8 ounce jar with lid
- Combine coconut and olive oils in a glass measuring cup, and microwave in 30-second intervals until melted.
- Add the dried calendula petals and lavender buds.
- Let stand for 30–60 minutes then strain. (Warm again if it's too thick to strain.)
- Place the infused oil back into the measuring cup, and add the beeswax and shea butter. Heat in the microwave for 1–2 minutes, stirring frequently. (If you're worried about breaking down the beneficial properties in the herbs, place the measuring cup in a saucepan filled ⅓ of the way with water, and heat on low until the beeswax and shea butter are melted.)
- Remove from heat, and add the lavender essential oil (if using).
- Pour the mixture into a heat-proof glass container and let cool completely.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.230