Beeswax is an excellent ingredient to have on hand for making natural lotions, potions, lip balms and salves.
10 uses for homegrown beeswax
If you are lucky enough to have access to it, or have a good stock from your own beehives, then you can use beeswax to make useful products you can use around the house.
As an ingredient in cosmetics it acts as both an emollient, soothing and softening skin, and a humectant, attracting water and helping to absorb it in the skin. It has mild antibacterial and antimicrobial actions, and it’s also thought to be effective in healing bruises, inflammation and burns, which make it an excellent ingredient in homemade salves. It also gives a soft, satiny sheen to wooden furniture and other objects.
1 Lip balm
If you suffer from dry or cracked lips, you can easily make your own lip balm with a few soothing ingredients. Donna Lee, from Cottage Hill Herbs (www. cottagehillherbs.co.nz) devised this lip balm, which is very healing and soothing to chapped lips. Melissa (or lemon balm) essential oil is anti-inflammatory and has strong antiviral properties, so it doubles as protection from cold sores.
30g beeswax 50g cocoa butter 35ml calendula oil 35ml almond oil 20ml aloe vera liquid 50ml castor oil 3 drops pure essential oil
of melissa per 15g pot
How to make
Gently melt all of the above ingredients, except the melissa oil, in a double boiler until all combined. Pour this mixture into a heated, heatproof glass jug and keep warm. Prepare 15g pots (these ingredients will make 10 pots) by placing 3 drops of melissa a essential oil into the bottom of each one, then pour the liquid carefully into each. Allow to set before placing lids on pots.
2 Furniture polish
Make a simple wood polish with just two ingredients.
1 tbsp beeswax, grated 3 tbsp coconut oil
How to make
Melt the beeswax in a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl over simmering water. When melted add the coconut oil and stir until melted. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow, widemouthed glass jar with a lid. Apply to wood with a soft cloth, then buff with another soft cloth. Double, triple or quadruple the recipe to give as gifts.
3 Face softening conditioner
In a double boiler, melt one part beeswax, one part honey and one part almond oil. Use this as a deep conditioning treatment. Apply to face and neck and leave for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
4 Beeswax seal
Make your letters stand out with a beeswax seal. All you need is a wax seal stamp and beeswax. Melt some beeswax in a double boiler, then drip it onto the back of a sealed envelope. Use the stamp to leave your impression.
5 Simple lotion
You can choose your favourite essential oil or oils to impart a preferred fragrance. Lavender and rose geranium oils are both excellent for treating acne, rashes, fungal infections and other skin disorders. If you use fragrance oils instead of pure essential oils, bear in mind that these oils are synthetic and have no therapeutic value. The vitamin E oil is optional, but as an antioxidant it acts as a preservative, reducing the rate of oxidisation and providing a longer shelf life. If your skin is prone to acne, use jojoba or sunflower oil in place of sweet almond oil.
1 cup sweet almond oil (or olive oil) ½ cup coconut oil 60g beeswax 10 drops lavender essential oil 10 drops rose geranium essential oil ½ tsp vitamin E oil (optional)
How to make
Place the sweet almond oil, coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl over simmering water, and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the essential oils and vitamin E oil. Pour into a clean jar.
6 Lotion bar
This is not soap but a solid moisturising lotion bar. Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids and can help soothe dry skin and rashes, while beeswax adds a protective barrier to the skin to help lock in moisturiser.
90g beeswax 90g sweet almond oil 60g cocoa butter
How to make
Gently heat ingredients in a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl over simmering water, until melted. Mix well, then pour into soap moulds and allow to set. To use, rub between your hands then rub onto your skin, or rub the bar directly onto dry areas, such as elbows, heels, knees, etc.
Vitamin E oil is an antioxident, acting as a preservative and giving a longer shelf life
7 Skin-soothing balm
Donna Lee from Cottage Hill Herbs says this recipe is a healing, soothing balm that is great for rough spots anywhere on the body like elbows, heels, feet and hands. It is also wonderful for babies’ bottoms and mums’ tummies.
2 tsp beeswax 1 tsp cocoa butter 1 tsp shea nut butter 3 tbsp castor oil 1 tsp wheatgerm oil Turmeric essential oil
How to make
Melt all ingredients in a double boiler and heat until well combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add 15 drops of turmeric essential oil and pour into a pot or pots. Allow to cool and set before putting the lid/s on. This balm is rich and soothing, very safe, and gentle with a rejuvenating effect on skin. The turmeric essential oil is anti-inflammatory.