How to make a Massage or Body Balm

how to make a balm

A balm is a great way to use essential oils on the skin, it’s simple to make, easy to apply and feels lovely. It can also be used in a variety of ways, I have included recipes for ‘chest’, ‘pain’, ‘cleansing’ and ‘beauty’  balms below but you can tailor the essential oils in the recipe to suit you personally, (see my shop for tips on essential oil properties and uses for help choosing).

The following recipe makes a good consistency for general use.  It is fairly soft, so ideal for massaging into the skin on your face and body as a nourishing treatment and as a massage balm to lubricate the skin and nourish during massage.

To make 2 x 50ml pots

Recipe for a basic Balm

  • 10g Beeswax
  • 10g Shea butter
  • 80g or ml of base oil, e.g. Olive oil or Almond oil
  • Essential oil(s) of your choice (up to 5ml, see below for inspirations and how many drops to use)
  • Vitamin E, 5 drops (optional)

About the ingredients:

As well giving the balm it’s consistency, beeswax gives a protective and nourishing feel.  Shea butter gives it a creamy smoothness. And then there are the base oils, I usually use almond, apricot or olive oil, which all give it a lovely nourishing feel, but feel free to substitute with what ever you have handy or to experiment with various types, (see my shop for carrier oil properties & uses for help choosing). Vitamin E is a natural preservative so will help your balm last longer (approx.18 months), I use a soy (GMO free) derived version.

You can buy most of the ingredients from myself, except for the beeswax, which I buy from local bee keepers or honey sellers. I would recommend buying the beeswax in pellet form or sheets, as it’s easier to manage, solid blocks are difficult to break up and get the correct amount.

You can adjust the ingredients to suit you as you wish, if you want it softer (for a cleansing balm*), use less beeswax (5g), and if you want it harder (for a lip balm) then use more beeswax (15-20g).

Equipment

  • Scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Bain marie (a sauce pan for heating water with another pan on top so ingredients are heated gently by the steam to avoid heating ingredients directly).
  • Pots (2 x 50ml glass jars)
  • Chopstick for stirring and blending

Instructions

  • Sterilise the pots by putting boiling water in them for a few minutes, then empty and ensure they are completely dry. This is important as the balm can go rancid if mixed with water.
  • Weigh out the beeswax and shea butter using the scale and weigh or measure out the base oil.
  • Use a bain marie to melt the bees wax and shea butter, then add the base oil.  As soon as it’s completely melted remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool a little before adding essential oils and vitamin e, so they are not affected by the heat.  If it begins to solidify give the mixture a stir.
  • Pour the mixture into the containers and leave to cool and set.
  • TIP: I often pour the mix into the jars before adding essential oils, so I can make each pot a different flavour. Decide on which oils  and how many drops to add in advance, as the mix will solidify quickly once in the pots.

Useful Balm Recipes:

Here are some recipes for common uses,  just use the balm recipe above and add the following essential oils.

Chest Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

5% blend strength for application to chest to support colds, coughs and chest infections.

Thyme – 20 drops (1ml)

Eucaplyptus – 20 drops (1ml)

Lavender or Spike Lavender – 20 drops (1ml)

Myrrh – 40 drops (2ml)

Pain & Inflammation Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

5% blend strength for use on specific effected areas.

Chamomile (german) – 40 drops (2ml)

Clove – 20 drops (1ml)

Lavender or Lavandin – 40 drops (2ml)

Cleansing Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

1% blend strength for use on the face

Lavender – 10 drops (0.5ml)

Lemon – 10 drops (0.5ml)

You can use this balm to cleanse your face, remove makeup and grime, just rinse with warm water or a warm cloth afterwards and your skin will be left feeling silky soft.

Beauty Balm (to add to the 100ml balm recipe above)

Use at 2.5% blend strength for stretch marks and scars, and 0.5% to use as a night time nourishing facial treatment.

Rose – 10 drops (2.5%) or 2 drops (0.5%)

Myrrh- 20 drops (2.5%) or 4 drops (0.5%)

Lavender- 20 drops (2.5%) or 4 drops (0.5%)

To help you choose which essential oils to use in your balm, click here to see my List of Essential Oils and their uses. The list is constantly expanding so if there are any oils missing from the list, just let me know and they will be next to appear.

You can pick as many or as few oils as you like, but just ensure the total blend strength is appropriate (see blend strength charts below).

How much essential oil to use

1% Delicate blend strength (for face, damaged, sensitive skin & children)
Amount of base product No. of drops of essential oil to add
10ml 2
30ml 6
50ml 10
100ml 20
2.5% General blend strength
Amount of base product No. of drops of essential oil to add
10ml 5
30ml 15
50ml 25
100ml 50
5% Strong blend strength (for specific areas of the body only eg. an arthritic knee or back ache)
Amount of base product No. of drops of essential oil to add
10ml 10 drops (0.5ml)
30ml 30 drops (1.5ml)
50ml 50 drops (2.5ml)
100ml 100 drops (5ml)

*Coconut oil is also useful for a cleansing balm as it’s very greasy and lifts dirt and grime gently from your skin, it’s great to use on its own for removing eye make-up.