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How to Make Butters and Salves

When making butters, salves, and balms it’s important to consider Textures, Ratios, and Order of ingredients.


Let’s first make sure we understand the terms.

  • Butters – plant or nut derived butters like Shea, Cocoa, Mango, or Babassu.

  • Oils – plant or nut derived carrier oils like Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Coconut, Infused Oils, etc. These can have their own therapeutic properties that enhance your product.

  • Waxes – includes Beeswax (most common) but can also be Vegan waxes such as Carnauba wax, Candelilla wax or Soy wax


Textures and Ratios

The texture refers to the consistency and feel of the product which is created by using different ratios between the quantity of butters/oils to quantity of beeswax (or any other wax) that you use. Ratios are the amount of butters/oils to use and how much beeswax.

Keep in mind:

  • The greater the quantity of beeswax, the harder your product will be. More beeswax makes the product harder.

  • The greater the quantity of butter/oils the softer the product. And the consistency of the butters/oils used will also impact the texture. More liquid oils may produce softer products.


Here are some ratios of butters/oils to beeswax for common products. These are not strict ratios and as stated above, the ingredients you choose will affect the final product. By using ratios we can measure any amount for the finished product we want.

For example, if I want to make a hard salve, I might use 2 ounce coconut oil and 1 ounce beeswax. If I want to use more than one butter/oil, I could use any other combination of butters, like 1 oz coconut oil and 1 oz cocoa butter for a total of 2 oz.

Keep in mind that harder butters like cocoa butter (which is very hard) will result in a harder product than if you used more liquid oils such as Tamanu or Camelina so you may have to adjust accordingly.


Order of Ingredients

The order that you add your ingredients when melting on the stove will also yield the best results.

  1. Put beeswax and jojoba (if using Jojoba) in pot on stove in double boiler (allows the salve ingredients to heat and melt evenly without overheating or burning) and gently warm over low heat until melted.

  2. Once melted, add your hardest butter

  3. When these ingredients are melted, add any other hard ingredients – except Shea butter (if using Shea)

  4. Add any other softer ingredients (but not the liquid oils yet).

  5. Stir slowly and leave on heat until all ingredients are melted together.

  6. Remove from heat once melted and add any liquid oils and now the Shea butter (if using Shea)

  7. If using Shea butter, you may need to put back on stove on low temp until fully melted.

  8. After everything is melted, remove from heat. You can add any essential oils to your melted product, give a stir and pour into your containers. OR you can skip the essential oils and remelt the product later to add the essential oils.Cover the containers immediately.

  9. Store in cool location.



The more times you make your product, the better you’ll get at knowing the ratios to use to get the final product you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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