I have purchased several pairs of garden gloves over the years, and finally gave up. I can not garden in gloves. The result? If you’re hard on your hands, your doing it right. The time spent weeding, pruning, planting, tilling, and spreading mulch, can wreak havoc on your hands. Lotions are good, but a herbal hand balm, made with nature’s ingredients, is what you need for skin repair after a hard day’s work in the garden.
Calendula plays a role in most of my skin care products. It is reported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and skin healing properties, and is said to have skin regenerative properties. Now, I need to stop here, and say none of these claims have been approved by the FDA, but I can tell you I have seen a difference in the healing of broken and damaged skin that can occur with gardening. You can judge for yourself if you have the same results. The alternative choices of lotions filled with perfumes, and chemicals are not for me. I will choose natural anytime.
I first make my products by infusing dried calendula in sunflower oil for a couple of weeks. Why sunflower oil? It has been reported to be beneficial for soothing damaged skin, and has anti-inflammatory properties. I also use olive oil, but sunflower is a little lighter, and has a less oily feeling to me.
The flowers are then put through a strainer lined with either cheesecloth or a coffee filter. The essential oil of lavender is added, and beeswax thickens it to a balm. I then quickly pour it into the tins, and put them in the refrigerator to cool.
Sunflower oil that has been infused with dried calendula petals 3.5 ounces
Beeswax .5 ounces
Lavender essential oil .5 teaspoon
Mix the oil and beeswax in a glass canning jar, and place in a saucepan containing a few inches of water. Heat over medium heat until the beeswax melts. Remove from heat, add the essential oil, and pour immediately into tins, or a glass container. I place mine in the refrigerator for a while to allow it to cool.
I like this ratio of oil to beeswax, because it hardens to good consistency for tins. You can put less beeswax for a thinner consistency. Just play around with it until you find the balm you like.
Want to try some for yourself? You can find this and other skin care products on my Etsy page.