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calendula flowers recipe

DIY Calendula Healing Salve Recipe

Calendula healing salve is a staple if you are into DIY skin care, so we got to work and came up with the best recipe and tips to make your healing salve a success.

What is a Calendula Healing Salve? Is it Different Than Balm?

If you google the definition of balm you will find that it comes from Middle English balm: a preparation for embalming. Not a very appealing picture, but good to know. If you google the definition of salve you will then find it comes from Old English sealfe and it means an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.

Semantics aside, a balm is generally used as a barrier to protect skin (or beard as in a beard balm), and a salve is used to improve a skin condition. A lip balm, for example, will shield sun or wind or cold and will protect your lips. A massage salve will help you get certain nutrients into your skin, often with the intention to sooth sore muscles or diminish inflammation of skin, muscles and joints. And the key ingredient to play with balms and salves is beeswax: a balm takes more beeswax and it will get harder and in the case of a lip balm, easier to use when it’s in a tube. A salve uses less beeswax and more oil, making it easy to spread and massage into your skin. So, to summarize this, a salve is a type of ointment for your skin that contains beeswax but is less hard than a balm, and that you can use to heal or relieve a skin, muscle or joint condition.

How to make Calendula Healing Salve

Just like with cooking food, making your own skin care, or skin foods as we like to call it, thinking with the basics is key. Once you become familiar with the staples of skin care and you have a little practice making your own skin concoctions, you will know what to tweak, which ingredients you can substitute and which ones are essential to a successful product. And, at Better Shea Butter we always try to keep things simple – but not simplistic. We want you to be in control of  your skin care preparations, we want them to be truly helpful, but we do not think you should learn a whole new language and nomenclature or become a cosmetic formulator in order to create some awesome products. In the Ingredients and How-to below we specify which ingredients and steps are vital to making a successful Calendula healing salve, and we tell you where you can be flexible. Let’s get to it!

Ingredients – the long list

Ingredient #1 –  a must have – dry calendula flowers

It all starts with Calendula Flowers. That is the one ingredient that you must have, right? Buy a bag of dry calendula flowers from our store or get some fresh cut marigold (another name for calendula) and dry them in the sun or in the oven. The flowers need to be DRY. Use the whole flower, not just the petals.

marigold flowers

Ingredient #2 – a carrier oil of choice

You need to infuse the dry calendula flowers in a carrier oil of your choice, so here’s where you can be flexible. You can use any oil you have at home: olive oil, sunflower oil, jojoba, apricot, etc. For this recipe we used jojoba oil because its properties resemble the properties of your skin and every skin seems to like jojoba oil, so you can’t go wrong with it.

infused oil for calendula healing salve

Ingredient #3 – beeswax

We have two choices of beeswax here at Better Shea Butter: our yellow pastilles, easy to measure and quick to melt, or our awesome Texas beeswax, which takes longer to melt because it comes in one hard block, but it smells like honey and it has a beautiful honey color. Guess which one we used for the salve! Yup, you got it, Texas Beeswax. But any beeswax will do the trick.

organic beeswax

Ingredient #4 – a cosmetic butter

Although we love shea butter above anything else, we have used Mango Butter for this salve recipe because mango butter is completely unscented and since we are not adding any essential oils to the salve, we prefer something neutral. You are welcome to use shea butter instead of mango butter, just realize that you will smell the characteristic raw and unrefined smokey smell of shea in your salve.

mango butter

Calendula Healing Salve Recipe

Ingredients – the short list

  • 2 cups of dry calendula flowers
  • 6 oz of jojoba oil (or your carrier oil of choice)
  • 1 oz beeswax
  • 1 oz mango butter (or shea butter)

How to

1. Put the calendula flower in a tall glass jar

2. Pour the Jojoba Oil over the flowers and into the jar. Depending on how absorbent your flowers are, you may need to add more oil. Just use enough oil to cover the flowers by about 2 inches

3. Stir well to ensure all the flowers are evenly covered by the oil

4. Close the lid and put the jar on a sunny window sill for 3 weeks to steep. Check it every few days and shake the jar gently to ensure the oil is covering the calendula flowers

*** short intermission ***

Oil infusions done right take a few weeks of steeping. However, if that is not realistic or if you need to use an infused oil faster, you can follow this quick 24-hour oil infusion system: pour the oil with the calendula flowers in a pan and heat over very low heat for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Take the pan off the heat, cover it and set it aside overnight.

*** end of intermission ***

5. When the calendula flowers have infused your oil – 4 weeks or 24 hours – filter out the oil using a mesh strainer or a cheese cloth. If you don’t have either, try using a coffee filter.

6. Put your beeswax in a glass pirex container and place the container in a pot with about 2 inches of water. Put this homemade double boiler system on the stove at low heat and let the beeswax melt.

7. Once the beeswax has melted, add the mango butter (or shea butter if you decided to use that). Stir and let everything melt together.

8. Lower the heat, then slowly add the calendula oil while stirring. You will notice that as soon as you add the oil, the beeswax will start to harden up a bit. Just keep stirring until everything is evenly melted together.

9. Take off the heat and immediately pour into your container of choice – either a metal tin or glass jar will work.

10. Set aside your containers and let it cool at room temperature overnight to let you calendula healing salve set in place completely.

DIY calendula healing salve

Calendula Flowers
Buy Calendula Here

You made it! Your skin care creation has NO harsh ingredients, no unknown chemicals, no preservatives or fillers or water – just pure nourishment. Use your wonderful calendula salve to soothe irritated skin or to massage aching muscles or painful joints. *** We would love to hear from you! Leave us a comment or asks us anything, we are here for you.

70 responses to “DIY Calendula Healing Salve Recipe

    1. Hello Donaldo! Fractionated coconut oil would work – but regular coconut oil would not do as well. I hope this helps!

    2. Thank you for the recipe. Can it be used on the face? I used to have rosacea and always worried about using something that brings a flare up. Thanks in advance!

      1. You will have to try it, our products do not “cure” anything, they are cosmetic butters rich in nutrients and free of synthetic ingredients and this is normally something that results in soft, moisturized skin. I suggest you test a small amount of product on your skin before you commit to using it.

    1. Hello! Shelf life is 6-12 months, there is no water so it won’t spoil easily – but it should be stored in a closed lid container and away from direct sun or it will start melting. Hope this helps 🙂

    1. Hello! You’ll get about 6oz of product, So you can divide it into a few small jars or tins depending on their size 🙂

  1. Thank you for the recipe. I just started radiation treatments, so this was timely. They recommend Calendula products. I did find I had to use a lot more oil than six oz. with the flowers I bought from you, but they might have been very dry.

  2. is this creamy to scoop out with your fingers, or should it be placed in a tube for a stick rub(i.e. roll up deodorant style)?? thanks

  3. I just finished steeping the calendula flowers. After filtering the oil from the flowers, I have 16 oz of oil. Would you triple the recipe?

  4. It’s much more cloudy where I live now, seeing as we’re moving into winter. Would it still work as well to infuse the oil for 4 weeks if there isn’t as much direct sunlight? Or should I just go the short infusion route? Thanks!

    1. Hello Ruth! It should still infuse well, but you may want to try the short infusion route so that it doesn’t take longer than four weeks.Thanks for your question!

    1. The beeswax is what gives the salve the harder consistency, but you can substitute it with cocoa butter, that’s a hard butter that will also work well in this formulation.

  5. What skin conditions is this salve good for? I’d like to heal eczema with it. Is there some other salve recipe on the site you’d recommend?

    Really loving the blog. Thanks!

    1. Hi Luciana, this salve is amazing for eczema and other skin irritations, calendula is one of the top healing herbs for your skin. Plus, making this salve will sort of take you back to the time when people hand-picked the products they used for their wellness and prepared them with time and care in their kitchen 🙂

      1. Great for treating a breast that is under going radiation therapy… It is keeping the skin hydrated.

    1. A tincture is normally taken orally under the tongue to address some body issue. Does your tincture have an expiration date and is there more information on the bottle? I would personally not use a tincture unless I made it myself or bought it from a reputable company.

  6. Can I use organic Calendula oil in this recipe and skip the flowers? I have all the ingredients except the flowers. Thank you!

      1. Unfortunately I did not write that down when I made the recipe for this article, but if you add the amount of ounces in the recipe, you’ll see you will get about 5-6 ounces total (the calendula will absorb part of the oil so you won’t get all that oil once the flowers are done infusing). If you use the size tins I have here, you can probably fill 4 or 5 of them. Sorry I can’t be more exact! Below is a link to similar tins:


  7. I want to make a hot pepper salve for pain. I have the peppers and have read many recipes but did’t like ingredients such as acetone. How do you think your recipe would work with a hot spice.

    1. I am not familiar with using hot peppers and acetone in a salve, if you have a link to that recipe or article please add it below so I can check it out. My suggestion for a DIY salve to ease pain is to use either infused calendula oil as in this recipe, or try to add CBD oil in your salve. It is quickly gaining popularity and we have several customers making their own CBD ointments who swear by it. Just an idea.

  8. Would you be able to use a small crockpot (slow cooker) in the 24-hour oil infusion method for the three hour heating time? On warm or low? Thanks!

  9. Could you use any type of flower like lavender to make a salve or is there a different recipe for it?

    1. You can use any other dry flower or herb, make sure to use dry and not fresh herbs or you will introduce moisture in your salve and it will tend to mold pretty quickly.

    1. If it smells rancid or if you see anything that looks like mold growing on your flowers, it’s gone bad. Now, personally, even if it didn’t look or smell bad, I would not use that oil on my skin since mold and yeast and other bacteria could still be growing without being visible. The longest recommended infusing time is 4 weeks so 1 year is way past that point.

    1. Technically you can, it will work in your formula. But if you have the opportunity to infuse your own, it will be healthier and smell more earthy and natural.

  10. Can you use an infuzium 420, or magic butter machine to do a quick infusion? Can you use fresh calendula flowers with this type of quick infusion?

  11. Hey there, thanks for this article. I usually use all infused herbal oil. 1 cup to 1oz of beeswax. Is it hard with just the 6 oz infused oil and 1 oz butter instead of 8 oz of combined oil and butter to 1 oz beeswax?

    1. A balm formula traditionally has beeswax in it to give your skin an extra protection from water evaporating from your skin and making it dry.

  12. Should the oil be clear once made (the way jojoba oil looks without anything in it), or is it normal to look like some debris from the flower petals are in the oil? I used a mesh strainer. Also, can I use the flower petals for anything else after it has been used to make the oil?

    1. It’s totally normal for the oil to have flower debris unless you use a very fine mesh strainer. Flower petals left over can simply be tossed in your yard 🙂

  13. I appreciate you so much. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. To top it off your products are high end. ?

    1. Rosehip oil used daily on your skin for at least 30 days, coupled with daily SPF use, should lighten your skin gently and naturally, depending on how much discoloration you are trying to handle.

  14. Hi
    Would I be able to use Kokum butter instead of Mango or Shea butters; and also could I use grape seed oil instead of Jojoba?

    1. Yes and yes, but Kokum is a little more firm/hard than mango and shea, so if you do that, use half of the beeswax in the recipe.

  15. Salves and balms can be packaged in small containers, either plastic. glass or tin. A little salve can go a long way so you don’t need a large container.

  16. About how much calendula oil do you end up with after straining, and how much is used in this recipe? I’ve already made my oil but didn’t measure….??

  17. Where would the jojoba oil and calendula flowers be listed on an ingredient label? Would they go at the end of the label, or near the beginning?

  18. Hi, I would like to know if I can use Coca butter and Caruba instead of Olive oil and beeswax in the salve.

    1. You can substitute Carnauba Wax for Beeswax but you need to use 1/2 the amount that you see here because Carnauba is a lot harder/more firm. I would not use cocoa to replace Olive oil because it would make the salve too hard, but you can replace it with a different carrier oil.

  19. How many bags of calendula flowers would I need to get two cups’ worth? I’d like to make this for my mom (who has eczema) but don’t know how many bags to get.

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