DIY Moisturizing Hand Salve Recipe

Heather Dessinger

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Homemade hand salve in round metal tins

Loads of dishes, gardening, cold weather <<< Whatever’s got your hands feeling chapped and dry, this easy hand salve recipe is just the TLC they need. It’s perfect for chalky skin and cuticles, and making it is literally a simple melt-and-pour process. Although it’s based on my calendula salve recipe, there are two important differences:

  • You don’t need any herbs to make it (although you can use them if you want to)
  • It’s a thicker, more intensive moisturizer than your typical salve

I’ve been applying it at night after I say goodnight to my littles, and once more at bedtime. I pop some cotton gloves on on my hands to keep my sheets clean, and by morning my dry hands are soft again. 

So, what is hand salve?

Basically, it’s a mixture of oil and beeswax that acts as a deeply moisturizing, protective emollient. In this recipe I’ve also incorporated unrefined shea butter because it’s naturally rich in vitamin E and adds thickness. 

You can use just about any oil you have in your kitchen or bathroom to make it – olive, avocado, almond, etc. If you have skin nourishing herbs like calendula, comfrey or plantain on hand for making tea or other herbal preparations, you can infuse them into your oil for extra TLC. 

Here are step-by-step instructions on making all three: 

  • Calendula infused oil –  Gentle enough for babies and yet potent enough to draw the attention of researchers, calendula flowers are the “secret ingredient” behind many beloved face serums and lip balms.
  • Comfrey infused oil – Sometimes called knitbone or All Heal, comfrey has been used for centuries to support bone and wound healing. It’s also often used in skincare products due to its moisturizing properties.
  • Plantain infused oil – Plantain is sometimes called the “band aid” plant because – thanks to the presence of iridoids – it has a very soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on skin. It also contains allantoin, which supports skin healing.
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3.90 from 55 votes

DIY Moisturizing Hand Salve Recipe

This moisturizing hand salve recipe is perfect for dry skin and cuticles. Just melt and pour the ingredients, and you're done!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Author Heather Dessinger


  • double boiler (or stainless steel bowl and a pot large enough to set it in)
  • stirring spoon or fork
  • 2 oz tins or other containers



How To Make Hand Salve

  • Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a stainless steel bowl set inside a pot of boiling water.) 
  •  When the beeswax is melted, add in the shea butter (if using) and allow it to fully melt. 
  • When the shea butter is melted, add in the oil and let it warm up for 1-2 minutes. Stir everything until it is well combined and then remove the mixture from heat.
  • If you're adding essential oils, allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before stirring them in. You want it to be warm and pourable but not hot.
  • Pour the salve into your container (or containers) and allow to cool fully before using.  I used three of these 2 ounce tins.

How To Use Hand Salve

  • Apply to cuticles, hands, and dry skin patches as needed. 


Shelf life: Approximately 6 months. 
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Want More DIY Recipes?

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Easy Homemade Deodorant – Summer-tested and husband approved, this recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make and WORKS!

Magnesium Body Butter – Magnesium is often called the “magic mineral” due to it’s ability to relax muscles, help with stress, support restful sleep, and ease growing pains for littles Unfortunately for some people, magnesium oil can cause an itchy or uncomfortable sensation when applied in undiluted form. In this recipe, I’ve blended it with coconut oil and beeswax to ensure that it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.

This body butter recipe incorporates magnesium, which is often called the “magic mineral” due to its ability to relax muscles and support restful sleep.

Dandelion Salve Recipe – Rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids, this salve works beautifully as an all-purpose healing balm for cuts, scrapes, burns, bug bites, chapped skin and more. According to this study, both dandelion flower and leaf extracts protect against UVB-related photoaging and senescence (aging at the cellular level).

Overhead view of homemade hand salve in round metal tins

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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20 thoughts on “DIY Moisturizing Hand Salve Recipe”

  1. Dear Heather:
    Thank you for your recipes. With them , it seems to me as if we return to be like the ancient women of wisdom connected with nature

      • Candelilla wax is sometimes used as a substitute for beeswax, but it is a harder was and less is usually needed. Unfortunately I haven’t tested it in my recipes so I’m not sure how well it would work or exactly how much to recommend.

        • 5 stars
          Every week I look forward to your recipes both for eating and applications for salve and other other healthy living tips. I know you have an e-book, which I don’t know if I have ever received(?) I wish you had both the 25+DIY recipes and gifts(?) In a hard copy.
          Thank you for putting this newsletter out. So great!

  2. I can’t wait to be able to buy the ingredients for some of these recipes. At the moment we all need the hand cleaner and balls. I cant get the alchohol. it’s would be nice if someone in the UK did a pack . We really need these things NOW don’t we

  3. 5 stars
    !The recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it. It was written so that is easy to read and understand. Also the saftey guides are good. I would give you. 10 / 10

  4. 5 stars
    Made it Love it. Even my children have cracking hands right now. We live in a dry climate, so this will be useful year round for us. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    I tried this and aside from the mix turning a little grainey it is great. I use it on my feet, especially
    my heels. My heels have become drier through the years and nothing keeps them smooth after sanding off the dry stuff is this salve. I like it.

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for your posts and recipes. Confirms so much of what I am learning in my ACP class as well as what I am learning about the use of herbs. You always make my day and put a smile on my face. Thank you for sharing.
    Donna Kiehn

  7. 5 stars
    This looks great but with my busy schedule I’ll probably not get around to it. But do you have a suggestion for a good, natural hand salve? Most of the top rated ones have petroleum, etc. Trying to find one that’s healthier.

    • Can castor oil be used in place of the olive, avocado or almond oil? Just wondering because castor oil seems so healing in other applications.

      My right thumb keeps painfully cracking open… and my hands look like ancient dried parchment. I really need some kind of intensive hand treatment THAT WORKS.

      Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, for food and herbals! Since also I’m already on your email list, where could I go to download your free pdfs on healing balms, etc.?

  8. 5 stars
    My go to lip balm recipe. I personally found the salve too firm to use on my hands and ended up using it for my lips. I can highly recommend it, especially the almond oil version.