How to Make DIY Lavender Salve for Soothing the Grrls and Loverbois in Your Life

By Gabby & Laura

Hello, bright and shiny starships. Hope you’re flying high on love and fresh-baked cookies. If you’re not at camp with us, my heart sends you a thousand rainbows and a golden unicorn. We’ll be missing you, dearest heart!

At this camp – along with Mary T., Alex Vega, and Laura W. — I’m part of an Acts of Care workshop. One of the things we’re going to be making there is lavender salve.

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I panic sometimes and panic, for me, leads to anxiety attacks. One day, my very best gal pal rubbed some lavender salve on my hands and the panic attack didn’t come. Her lavender magic has staved off anxiety attacks, helped me fall asleep, and if I put some on in the morning, it generally keeps me calm all day. Like, it could be a placebo, but I’m a believer.

We’re making lavender salve on the mountain and sharing how we make it with you, glorious reader. So you too can go forth in the world and make some lavender salve for one of your best camaradas and help them get through tough times with a small act of community care.

Note: Making things is what my girlfriend does. She has amassed all the tools, jars, and oils to make this type of stuff over the course of about fifteen years. Don’t feel pressured to go out and buy this stuff just to make one thing. Connect with friends who make things or start with lavender essential oil and add drops of it to your pillow. Or, opt for a quick act of free community care: Offer up a hand massage to someone you love when they’re stressed.

Loverboi Makes Lavender Salve

Ingredients

44 g (1.5 oz) of Coconut Oil

  • Price: 44 g @ $7.99/pound  = $0.75
  • Buy local at: Trader Joe’s, Indian grocery stores, any large grocery store
  • Coconut oil acts as a carrier oil that dilutes the lavender oil so that you can spread it all over the important bits of your body. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can use olive oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or avocado oil, but stay away from canola or a generic vegetable oil because I don’t know what’s actually in those and it could make your skin break out.

6 g (.2 oz) of Beeswax

  • Price: 6 g @ $3.99/3 oz = $0.35
  • Buy local at: any craft store (look in candle supplies), beekeepers, farmers’ markets
  • Since oil is liquid, we need something else to turn it into a salve. Beeswax not only solidifies the oil in the container, but keeps it from running all over your skin. As an added bonus, beeswax is an emollient and a humectant, which means it keeps your skin moisturized. If you’re a vegan who doesn’t use beeswax, you can substitute carnauba or candelilla wax (I’ve never used either wax, but I’ve read that neither of them sticks to your skin quite as well as beeswax. I’d throw in 4 g of shea butter if you happen to have some, you know, just laying around).

30 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

  • Price: 30 drops @ $14.41/2 oz = $0.36
  • Buy local at: natural health store (look in aromatherapy section), some large grocery stories (e.g. Fairway, Kroger)
  • This is the stuff that really does the magic. It’s calming, a soporific (isn’t this a great word?), relieves headaches, and soothes itchy skin. We’re going to add a good amount to this recipe, but you’ll still be left with plenty in your bottle to use in other projects.

Materials

  • 1 60-mL (2 oz) container
  • Shallow pan
  • Heat-safe measuring cup
  • Kitchen scale
  • Chopstick or other stirrer
  • Pot holder

Instructions

1. Before you start measuring, fill a shallow pan with water and bring it to a boil.

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2. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, measure the coconut oil and beeswax into the heat-safe measuring cup. We’re going to hold off on the lavender oil, because it could boil off while we’re melting the beeswax and we don’t want to lose any of the good stuff.

3. Place the measuring up in the water-fill pan and let the beeswax (and potentially the coconut oil if it’s cold in your house) completely melt. You can stir with a chopstick if you want to help it along.

gabby boiling
4. When everything has melted, use the potholder to remove the measuring cup from the water (Pro tip: let your water keep boiling while you work. You’ll use it at the end to clean the measuring cup. We’ll come back to this at the end).

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5. Immediately pour the beeswax and coconut mixture into the container you’re going to store your salve in. Quickly add the lavender oil and stir to combine the ingredients.

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6. While you let your salve harden, clean out the measuring cup. It is a complete pain in the ass to try to scrub oily salve out of a cup with a sponge. We’re going to avoid this by using the water we left boiling. Pour some of the water into the measuring cup, swish it around, and pour it out. Repeat three or four times until you’re out of water. There might still be a little salve in there, but it’s a whole lot less to deal with than before.

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7. Use it! Rub the lavender salve on your body. If you have a headache, your temples and/or under your nose are good places. If you’re feeling antsy or can’t sleep, you can rub it on your chest, under your nose, or even on the bottoms of your feet. Or if your loverboi is feeling any of those things, offer them a lavender salve rub down.

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Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for Autostraddle.com while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.

28 Comments

  1. I DO have some shea butter just laying around. In fact, I was reading this, thinking “Oh man, I’d like to make some, but I gotta get the beeswax” and then you mentioned the shea butter alternative and I was relieved because it would be so convenient. I’ve got it in for making the deodorant featured here a while back, which I love. This site is making me too crunchy.

    Old movie euphemism for queer lady: “She has shea butter in the cupboard.”

    • Hey Eli! If you wanna do Shea butter and carnauba or candllillia wax with coconut oil, do 1/3 wax, 1/3 coconut oil, and 1/3 Shea butter. I don’t think it will be as successful without the wax because it won’t solidify completely but if that doesn’t bother you, it’ll work great!

  2. I am flying high on cookies I just baked,PB&J cookies xD.

    But um great easy to follow recipe Gabi. This’ll be a fantastic gift for my celiac friend with an anxiety who complains I’m fattening her up with GF baked goods every gift given occasion.

    Hey tho is there a reason not to use a double boiler rather than the measuring pitcher? Or is straight using the measuring pitcher just a waste/dishes to clean sparing thing?

    • Do you mean a double boiler like this? Sure, you can use one of those, if you have one. The main reason I don’t use one is that I don’t have one. 😉 If you measure your stuff with a digital scale, you could even weigh your ingredients in the top pan – place it on the scale, tare, add your first ingredient, tare, add your second ingredient, etc.

  3. I made some of this a week or so ago and it truly is magic. Unfortunately the reused container I used wasn’t as salve-tight as I thought it was and I lost half the salve to my counter! Oh well. At least it made my kitchen smell great.

  4. Beauteeeeful! Lavender makes me so happy and chill. I use it with olive oil but as soon as I have my own kitchen again, this project is happening 🙂 hey did anyone ever try drinking the dry flowers as a tea? It’s so good for insomnia, flowery but calming. I was gonna say something else…. Well just massive thanks really for posting something so positive and caring.

  5. Beauteeeeful! Lavender makes me so happy and chill. I use it with olive oil but as soon as I have my own kitchen again, this project is happening 🙂 hey did anyone ever try drinking the dry flowers as a tea? It’s so good for insomnia, flowery but calming. I was gonna say something else…. Well just massive thanks really for posting something so positive and caring.

  6. Excellent title, clear instruction, girls. You both are awesome. Coconut is not only for men, it’s also for pet. I am truly amazed to find out huge benefits of coconut oils. Although, we consume it for different reasons in many times, but never realize that it’s a super food. After reading this http://tinyurl.com/p8f8yu7 when I took a look on this, my passion of coconut oil had touched the top.

  7. Ahh I was so psyched up to make this today but when I was shopping yesterday I couldn’t find any beeswax besides a big expensive bag (23 Euros!) at the honey stall at my local market… might have to order some online!
    Thanks for the recipe! I’d love to see more stuff like this on here!

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