FTM Friday: Hand Salve that Changes Lives

by Janelle Hanchett


You may not believe that hand salve can change lives. You may not see it. You may think I’m exaggerating.ftm friday; www.renegademothering.com


Okay fine I’m exaggerating. But not much.

This stuff has cured eczema (my friend swears by it). It has removed chronic dry hand/cuticle/elbow problems (my own). It fixes cracked lips. It makes hands soft in the dead of winter (well, California winter, but whatevs.). It feels luxurious and wonderful.

It made my grandmother’s hands feel better.

So I will stop there. Because there is nothing more.

It sells in hippie stores for $15.00. We’re going to make it for like $2.00 (and that’s mostly the container).

And the best part? You can make it with three ingredients, or you can go nuts, and, just like the lip balm and body scrubs, short of dumping the entire olive oil bottle into your mixture, you pretty much can’t destroy it. This salve is actually what started me on my Homemade Body Product Path to Madness. I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat.

I mean I MADE HAND SALVE. You don’t just move on from that realization like it’s nothin.

Or maybe some people do. Let’s change the subject.

Anyway, as I learned from this post from Wellness Mama, this salve is composed of three base ingredients: almond or olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax. She calls it “lotion” but really it’s salve.

From there, you can get all crazy and shit: add essential oils, Shea or cocoa butter (I rarely use cocoa butter because it smells like chocolate, which I want to eat, not wear), Vitamin E, lanolin, tea tree.

Infuse the oil with herbs. (oh yeah, I went there. I’ve done it.)

Hello, my name is Janelle and I have infused olive oil with calendula flowers, lavender and comfrey.

I feel better having admitted that. We’ll talk about infusion later. For now, I give you this recipe. This is my favorite one of the blends I’ve made.

Hand Salve (or really freaking strong “lotion”) photo(13)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup almond oil (you can also use 1/2 cup of olive or almond if you don’t have both)

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 – 3 Tablespoons beeswax pastilles (depends on how firm you want your salve; either will work)


1 Tablespoon Shea butter

Contents of 3-4 vitamin E capsules

15-20 drops lavender essential oil

5-8 drops rosemary essential oil

2-3 drops eucalyptus essential oil (watch it this stuff is STRONG)

Put all these ingredients in your trusty jar (Yes, the one you used for the lip balm. No, you don’t have to wash it first.) and melt them by putting the jar in a pan with a few inches of water in it (over low-medium heat). Swirl it around every now and then as it melts. After it’s all melted, add essential oils. I like the blend mentioned above because it’s refreshing and reminds me of the Burt’s Bees salve, which I love.

The Trusty Jar:


Thanks, Rocket.

So then you pour it in containers and cover with a towel while it hardens. I like 2-3 oz. containers. This recipe will fill probably 4 2 oz. containers. So you could easily make half the recipe. A 2 oz. container of this stuff will last A LONG TIME — trust me. If you find the final product too firm for your liking, decrease beeswax in your next batch (or increase oils). photo(12)

After you fill your 2 oz tin and put it in your purse with your lip balm and feel rad, you try with all you’ve got to remember it’s in there when that 80 degree day hits (outta fucking nowhere in February) and you’re like OH SHIT it’s too late now. And you just throw away your purse because obviously.

Not that that’s happened to me. I’m way too organized for that kind of thing.

Clearly I’m organized. I make hand salve.

Only organized people make hand salve. RIGHT?

healing hand salve www.renegademothering.com

Okay I do want to mention one thing: Part of what makes this “salve” as opposed to “plain ol’ lotion” is that it’s really strong. It’s hardcore. Intense. Okay fine it’s fucking greasy. It takes a while to soak into your hands. So don’t put it on at your desk at work, or right before you grab your $400. silk Chanel robe. Buahahahahaha! Damn I’m funny.

I use it after I’ve done dishes and I’m gonna sit on my ass for a few minutes, or before bed. Always before bed.

I mean it. Life-changer. And the best part? My people ask me for it now.

Especially my grandmother, though she only had to ask once.


44 Comments | Posted in FTM Friday | March 15, 2013
  • Lisa

    Did our conversation tonight about your wonderful hand salve spur on this blog? I love our hand salve! And I love you!

  • Amy

    You are awesome. I must make this.

  • Lana

    I swear I’m gonna try this. My hunk o burnin love husband’s fingertips actually crack open in the dry winter cold. Not only is it painful, it looks disgusting. This just might be THE CURE!!! I will let you know! Thanks for the tip.

  • jessica

    Love how simple this is.
    Question…is the bee’s wax just there to harden it up a bit? I’m wondering if I could convert this recipe to a face salve or if it would be too greasy (my skin is VERY dry)

    thanks for saring

    • renegademama

      yes, it is just to harden it up, and I’m going to write a full post on it, but I’ll tell you now cause I love ya: try jojoba oil and evening primrose oil maybe 70% jojoba, 30% primrose — and add an essential oil you like (I added rosemary because it’s good for acne) — and just put it on your face AFTER cleansing. Amazing. My skin is never dry any more and it was horrid (between oily spells, when it breaks out). YAY! Go Skin!

      • Nina

        Do you really have to curse so much? I have never heard a woman speak with such vulgur language before. I love your recipes but wonder why all the f bombs and s words and more. I’m sorry for that. You are a better woman than that. I know, because God created you for a purpose and He loves you so. I will try your recipe and hope you take into consideration what I have writeen. Blessings to you and yours, Nina

        • Jen

          God also told us to remove the LOG from our own eye before commenting on the splinter in our brother’s! If you love this person’s recipes and want to use them, then do it. I don’t believe that Renegade asked for your opinion regarding her vocabulary!

          God did create her for a purpose and maybe that purpose is reaching someone that you can’t even hope to reach because you’re so concerned with the words coming out of everyone’s mouths.

          Accept people as they are. You can’t even hope to reach even one soul for Christ until you do!

        • Emily Sutherland

          Don’t tell her to fuck-off, dont tell her to fuck-off….it would be amusing, sure but you’re more mature than that, right? Right, and I’m a fuckin Lady to boot. But on a serious note, these recipes and website are the bee’s knees (or rather, beeswax knees) :0)

        • Gracious

          I’m with you, I had to copy and edit it so I can save it, otherwise I would’ve just drop the site

  • Hels

    This looks like just the thing for my dry and wrinkled old lady hands. I need to get me some beeswax pronto, I don’t mind greasy hands if it means I stop looking like I am shedding my skin!

  • Dee

    I’m going to try this recipe b/c I may have gone crazy the last time I made salve and added way too much beeswax. Ahem. And I’m growing my own calendula this year. How’s that for FTM?

  • sara

    so i made this, substituting the almond oil for jojoba oil, because it is what i had, and 3 tbs of beeswax. i will never buy hand cream again. 3 tbs beeswax was too much, next time i will cut it down to 2. but, for real, i live in the SNOWIEST CITY IN THE WHOLE DAMN COUNTRY. and my hands are not cracked. california winters have nothing on March in New England, its 30 degrees here, we got about a foot of snow on the ground, its windy cold dry awful, and so far this stuff is passing with flying colors.

  • Erica

    Just stumbled across this post and found I had all the ingredients on hand! 10 minutes later and I’m hovering over it waiting for it to solidify so I can take it on a test run.
    Thanks 🙂

  • Tess

    I know I’m a little late for this posting, but can you tell me where you got your containers? I can only find them in bulk

    • renegademama

      Oh this is a sore subject! I got them from Sunburst bottle company because they used to have a warehouse near me so I could avoid shipping costs. Sad face. BUT, you can still order small amounts of certain items and just pay for shipping. Also Specialty Bottle lets you order small quantities.

    • Jodi

      I get my containers from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are $10 for 24 half oz. tins. They have great organic products as well.

  • PJ Clark

    Try this on your feet as well. Mine get very dry/scaly in the winter and this works absolute wonders! I’ll never buy another commercial hand lotion again.

  • Evie Dawson

    Thanks for the suggestion… For me there is nothing that works better than safe and effective essential oils in healing salve bot I will defiently try this..

  • Chelsea

    Hello I just discovered your website when I was looking for a natural alternative to deodorant because my boyfriend can’t stand the smell of it, eesh. Well I tried the lemon and am on day 2 and it works great, I am super surprised. Now you have me hooked and I must try all your body products and I love the fact that you have tried them all out already for me. I am wondering if you have yet found a natural shampoo or conditioner? If so I would love to get the recipe from you. Thank you!

  • Teri

    I adore this salve. My feet crack and bleed and it does wonders. I do use Peppermint EO for a soothing feel instead. Thank you for this great recipe!

  • kylie j

    For my hands, I have been using the Beeswax Butter Balm (from Made from Earth). I absolutely LOVE this stuff! Everything I’ve ever tried from Made from Earth is amazing. Its a balm, and works really well on my extremely dry hands, winters are bad here in Michigan and this does the trick.

    All of their products use high quality ingredients and real essential oils, and I have been using the Beeswax Butter Balm both on my hands and on my lips. So addicted

  • Diana SC/Mermaid

    I enjoyed your lunacy, and promise not to contradict you — or call you names.
    People maybe don’t understand what it’s like raising children. At one time, I had four (4) teenage children to raise. Was insane enough to marry a second time! He had two (2) children, and I inherited all the lunacy (him included). Trust me, he was not dealing with a full deck. Obviously, I wasn’t either, because I married him. Hang in there, and realize that “Time flies when you are having fun”. Okay! Actually, I really enjoy kids, it’s the adults that kill me. Everyone has an opinion, but I will not be judgemental. What I realized is, that oftentimes people are well-meaning. They are not trying to be mean, just trying to help us out. Even when we want to leave a room, get a pillow, and scream into it at the top of our lungs. Ha! Ha! It’s either that, or throw bodies across a room, or out a window.

    I have to try and make your salve. My feet have more cracks, then our streets we drive on. When its not my feet, it’s definitely my hands. They really dry out with the winter weather. I will be seventy-one (71) in less than a week, so my entire body is drying out. Ha! Ha! Living in Virginia, and we get some cold weather here. Although I grew up in the East, and it was so cold that my tongue could easily stick to a metal post. Can’t imagine why nobody eva wrote about me — i.e. “The Christmas Story”. Laughed my fool head off, when I saw that movie. Anyway, here I am going off, and people are probably saying, “Get the hook!” Yeh, you get the pickcha.

    Thanks for sharing. I needed a good laugh! Got a kick out of some of your comments. We are all on this planet tagetha, with one oar in the wata. Sorry, but I have a habit of writing with my Bawstin accent. yUP!

    You are a keeper — and appreciate ur efforts.


  • Tahara

    I made this and it’s awesome!!! Hands get like sandpaper over the winter (even here in SoCal) and ran out of the boutiqie lavender salve from the farm and needed to recreate (this smells and feels the same) Plus I know a handful of people who’ve got cracking knuckles and such from excema and wanted to give this wonderful gift. My MIL and mom like it so far. I just ordered tins as I’m not liking the small mason jars with 2-part lids. Thanks for great recipe!!!

  • Alyson pandolfini

    Do you sell this product? I would be interested in purchasing .i have a small patch on f eczema on my face and nothing is helping pleAse let me know . Thank you

  • Michelle Ford-Copley

    You are absolutely poifekt! Just like you are! I love your humour, sarcasm (i speak it fluently!) and did I mention I LOVE your humor?! I am definitely gonna try this! I am on a beauty binge but it is also a all natural, try to keep it from breaking the bank but still have awesome products for my ole 48 year old body! I am trying to unbreak what I have done to myself for the last 40 something years…Thank you!

  • Serena

    Will definitely try this. My son and myself have eczema. Right now we use coconut oil and Shea butter but this kicks it up a notch. Can you tell me where I can buy the beeswax?

    • renegademama

      You can buy it on Amazon, but be careful. Some is no good at all. I buy mine at Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Apothecary (online stores). Or the local co-op.

      • Serena

        OK.thanks.I’m excited to try it.

      • Barb

        Serena…are you lucky enough to have an Apiary somewhere close to where you live? I buy mine in pound blocks from a local Apiary near me, so I know that it’s 100% pure and smells wonderful too! All natural, all the way! Love renegademothering’s hand salve too.

  • Jen

    Lol! I came across this in Pinterest and stopped to check it out. Just had to say I want to follow you on ur blog alone bc that was freaking hilarious. Coincidently I could see myself saying the same dang things!

  • Debbi

    Just a quick question… I have beeswax in a giant chunk. Hubs bought it and got something like 5#. Should I just fill a tablespoon with the solid wax or melt it first before measuring do you think? I’ve never worked with it before, so I feel kinda dumb asking, but I don’t want to ruin a batch!


    • Tahara

      My wax is also in a large chunk and I grate it on our metal household greater on I think one of the smaller settings – and everyone will tell you it won’t come off, but all you have to do is pour boiling water from your teapot or something over it which melts it and you can wipe it away and I still use my greater for cheese 🙂

      • Sarah Brown

        On that grated beeswax note…when you add it into a tablespoon, do you smush it all down, or just fill it up as is…kinda like brown sugar, not sure if it’s supposed to be packed or non-packed 🙂 Thanks!

        • renegademama

          No need to pack down, and honestly, it would work if you did. I use these measurements VERY loosely, and it’s always turned out great.

  • Luis

    Has anybody have issues with the oils “separating from the beeswax? I tried to soften my salve by adding more and all that has happened is the oils separating. Am I using too much oil or need to add something different to bond it better?

    • Tahara

      I’ve made this several times and no issues. I add a little shea butter and vitamin E and it’s lovely!!! I gave to my friends and family for holidays. It healed my moms severely chapped/cracked hands. I use it daily (even on lips at night); my 4yo feet that are peeling from eczema -great stuff!!

    • Pam

      I haven’t tried this salve yet but I have had separation issues with others. The best method I’ve found for stopping the separation is to cool the salve in the freezer. The various compounds used solidify at different temperatures. The freezer seems to cool them at an even rate which keeps the ingredients from separating.

      • Luis

        That’s a great idea! Thanks!

  • Maureen Sreenan

    would grape seed oil work well instead of almond or olive oil ? i know its a lighter oil, may also absorb faster… but i have used this mostly for massage because of peoples allergies to tree nuts.

  • Jen

    bahahaha to all this butt hurt people talking about the language used. Nice recipe, I look forward to trying to out. And seriously, don’t change a damn thing about the way you blog. I’m beyond happy to read a realists blog, and sometimes you have to drop the f bomb. Those that find it that obscene should remove the stick and move on.

  • Fran

    Comment policy: I don’t have to worry about your requirement because you’ve already done it. Was it really necessary to use foul language?

  • Kris

    Awesome recipe! And a great spunky, down-to-earth way of speaking to your reader like you’re sitting across the kitchen table from them, not standing at a podium. I was sitting behind my monitor at work with a huge shit-eating grin!
    Where have your been all my life?!?!?!
    Can I say “soulmate”? Is that creepy?
    Ha! Probably. *shrug*
    I can’t wait to get home and poke around your blog.

    Also, I often infuse my herbs in coconut oil so they’re half way to firm from the get-go.
    And it’s nice to see the Mountain Rose plug. They’re a great company that’s local to me and I can’t say enough things about how amazing their products are.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe and the chuckles.

  • Bex

    You should reblog this and sort of reinvent the idea behind it. I actually came across your blog AFTER deciding to recreate Burts Bee’s Hand Salve, bit for a completely different ailment. My husband suffers from lower back pain and invested in a quite pricey online product I shall not name, it seems to be from the Australian Outback… despite the ridiculous price, it actually worked GREAT, so I checked out the ingredients and got super excited to make my own! It is literally the same product, with a few more essential oils added in there. I’m going to use Lavender, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Vanilla, Chamomile, and Hyacinth for a little extra pleasant scent. I used his purchased roll on when I strained my neck and got a pretty tight knot. I’m not even lying, it works ON CONTACT. I am just thrilled to give this a try and see how well it goes over with friends and family. I also make a pretty amazing coffee scrub for in the shower. Maybe I’ve got a calling here…. keep the good recipes comin, dollface!