Skincare that Heals!

Salves & Balms

by Kahla Rowan

herbs, herbal skincare, natural skin, healing salves, herb class


The First Step is Infused Oil
If you want wonderful skin care products that are very inexpensive and that work well, make your own oil and salves.  Infused oils are the first step to healing salves and balms.  I always thought that oils would be too “oily” on my skin.  But letting physics rule the day, I have learned that water allows oil to penetrate our dermis (skin) layer.  Put oils over your body when you are wet from the shower or bath.  Allow a couple of minutes for the oil to soak in then towel off as usual.  You will feel soft and not oily.  Careful, the bottom of the tub can become slick.

I used the simpler method for making infused oils.  Fill a jar to the top with fresh plant material.  Make sure that the plant material is dry to the touch.  You do not want any water in this process!  I often let mullein set a day indoors, in the air conditioning, drying before making an oil since the flowers are somewhat spongy and can hold onto the moisture.  I also wait for 3 days after the rain before collecting plant material.  Once in a while, in the spring time you can collect a day or two after a rain when the wind is howling at 45-60 mph but otherwise I try to wait.  Again, make a mattress with the plant material and fill the jar to the top with oil.  This is really tricky.  I have many students that are discouraged from making oils because their first attempts all ended with rancid, moldy oils.  In very wet seasons, I gently heat the oil.

A variety of oils can be used to make infused oils and ultimately salves.  I often use olive oil for dry skin, almond oil for normal skin, grapeseed oil for oily skin and castor oil for pain.  Olive oil is good for all skin types, not just dry, so use only olive oil if you wish.  I also use coconut oil and cocoa and self-refined shea butters.  

Be sure to put your bottle of oil on a tray or plate.  Oils will seep profusely, so be prepared.  Comfrey oil in particular, likes to seep heavily.  Let your oil sit in the sunlight for a couple of days; then tuck it away for 6 weeks.  During that time, check on it, pray with it and set your intention.  Drain your plant material after the allotted time. This is best done with one of two methods unless you are lucky enough to own an herb press.  Drain the oil through a small pored sieve or wring through a cloth. Put the plant material on the compost pile.  Your soil microorganisms will love it. Make sure the jar you store the oil in is as air tight as possible and that the oil goes all the way to the top of the jar.  Air will increase the possibility of the mixture becoming rancid or moldy.    

This wonderful enhanced oil works well as a skin softener for the entire body.  Use after a shower and before drying off, as described earlier.  

Do you want to know how to make this oil into salves, balms and rubs? Join us at The Laya Center on May 3, 2018.