The Natural Choice: Why You Should Make a Herbal Balm.
We live in a fast paced world where multi national companies dictate our behaviour. Most of the lotions, potions, balms and salves that we put on our skin are synthetic, produced in factories, marketed stoutly at our insecurities.
Yet one of the most effective things that we can put on our skin is a simple herbal balm - a straightforward mix of herbs, oil and beeswax - that has been proven over millennia of use.
Here is why I think that everyone should have a go at making their own herbal balm.
There's nothing better than nature's healing touch:
Herbal balms are crafted from plant-based ingredients known for their therapeutic properties. From calendula and rose to comfrey and chamomile, plants have been used for thousands of years, in various cultures, to address a wide range of health concerns, handed down from generation to generation. What else has that kind of pedigree.
The best way to make a herbal balm is to take your time, to soak the plants in the oil for weeks before straining them out and mixing the oil with wax. During those weeks you gently tend the mixture, stirring it, checking it every few days. It is a slow though very simple process that makes you pay attention.
Gentle and safe:
Unlike many synthetic products, herbal balms are kind to your skin. They contain no harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances, or preservatives that can irritate or harm your skin. Balms made from gentle plants like calendula are suitable for all skin types, even babies.
You can customise your balm:
Herbal balms are really versatile. Obviously you can change about the plants you are using for different benefits but, if you make your own balms you can also vary the consistency by changing ratio of wax to oil. Technically a balm is quite thick - think lip balm - and a salve (from the Old English sealf) is thinner, like an ointment. You can decide exactly what kind of texture you would like. Balms can be used to soothe chapped skin, treat insect bites, bumps and bruises; salves are useful for massaging sore muscles and moisturising skin. You can also play about with the oils - something like jojoba oil has fine particles and can be used on your face, almond oil is a lovely neutral base, olive oil feels much more medicinal as though it must be doing you good!
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly:
Homemade herbal balms are really sustainable, there are only three ingredients and they can be made in the kitchen, reusing existing packaging. You can make whatever quantity you need, you can tweak it if it doesn't come out the way you wanted, and any left overs can be stored to make a new batch.
Revolution and Resistance:
Learning to make your own balms from plants is a kick against consumerism, especially in the world of skincare, wellbeing and cosmetics. Building skills, reconnecting to traditional methods, pausing to make something, rather than simply clicking BUY NOW.
I have a tutorial about how to make balm here
If you would prefer to have a kit with all the supplies you need, along with a written guide and video instructions you can buy that here.