Bath & Body - Spring On The Homestead... - Summer on the Homestead

How to Make Gardening Hand and Skin Salve

Gardeners' Hand Salve
Gardeners' Hand Salve

Homemade Gardening Hand and Skin Salve

This gardening hand and skin salve is great for healing rough dry skin. Do your hands, elbows, and heels end up cracked and sore? The good news is that you can make your own healing salve from a few basic ingredients. I started making salves and balms as a way to save money, help my rough, dry skin, and reduce my use of petroleum-based skincare products.

I’ve always had a problem with dry cracked skin, especially in the winter and during the gardening season. That’s pretty much all year. These hard-working hands are always in need of rescue! That’s why I created my own Gardening Hand and Skin Salve from scratch.

Yes, you can purchase hand salves, but they are kind of pricey. And they come in brand new containers that are either discarded or (hopefully) recycled. However, you can make your own. You’ll know exactly what’s in them and you can change the recipe to suit your needs.

This post contains affiliate links or advertisements as a means for this website to earn income. As an Amazon, LLC affiliate, I earn a commission on qualified purchases made through these links.

petroleum free jelly is another product you might like to make.
Poor the hot salve into a heat-proof container and allow it to cool.

Gardening Hand and Skin Salve Saves Money

Making your own gardening hand and skin salve is great for several reasons. You save some cash, control the ingredients and scent, and reduce your waste in the process! I reuse containers from purchased bath and body products or buy metal or glass containers.

If I wish to give some as a gift, I use ‘good’ containers and ask for them back when they’re done. Then I’m happy to refill it for them! These containers can be used over and over until they’re lost or someone doesn’t return them. Small jelly jars also make a nice container for homemade salves.

Learn all about making balms, salves, and ointments at home.

Instructions to Make this Gardening Hand and Skin Salve

This recipe requires oil, beeswax, and vitamin E oil. The other ingredients help to increase the healing powers of the hand salve and give it a nice scent. They’re optional and you may use what you’ve got, or go ahead and purchase some essential oils if you wish.

Although I used a combination of olive oil and sweet almond oil for this recipe, you may use jojoba, grapeseed, coconut, or avocado oil instead. Use what you have… it will help moisturize and protect your hands! You may also add a tablespoon or two of cocoa butter to this recipe to create an extra nourishing treatment for your skin.

This recipe is very similar to my Petroleum Free Jelly...a great ointment that may be used in place of Petroleum Jelly. You may also like my recipe for Peppermint Foot Balm, it feels wonderful on tired feet and my Sore Muscle Rub is great for hardworking homesteaders!

You may also infuse your own oils with herbs from your garden or forage for them. Be sure to dry the herbs completely first. This removes the moisture which can cause your salve to go rancid or moldy.

Here’s a quick video with the basic instructions for creating your own salves and balms…

Here are the step-by-step instructions for creating a batch of healing hand salve for gardeners…

Gardeners' Hand Salve
Print Recipe
4.45 from 9 votes

Gardening Hand and Skin Salve

Make your own hand salve for healing rough dry skin!
Author: Lisa Lombardo


  • Double boiler


  • 1 cup olive oil great for your skin
  • 1/4 cup sweet almond oil nourishing
  • 5 tbsps beeswax beads thickening
  • 1 tbsp vitamin E oil healing
  • 25 drops oregano essential oil antibacterial
  • 25 drops tea tree essential oil antifungal
  • 25 drops peppermint essential oil cooling, pain relief
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil cleansing
  • 15 drops sweet orange essential oil scent


  • Put enough water in the bottom pan of a double boiler so that it doesn't quite reach the bottom of the top pan. Place on medium-low burner and begin heating water.
  • Add the olive oil, sweet almond oil, and beeswax to the top pan of the double boiler. (For a softer ointment, use 3 – 4 Tbsps of beeswax. For a stiffer salve, use 5 Tbsps of beeswax.)
  • Gently stir the mixture until the beeswax is completely melted. Turn off the burner and remove the pan from heat. Using hot mitts, remove the top pan from the double boiler and wipe the bottom of the pan dry.
  • Add Vitamin E oil and essential oils to the mixture and stir. 
  • Allow the oil to cool for a few minutes, then pour into tins or other containers. Allow the salve to cool completely. 
  • Store salve in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for best results.


You may use another oil in place of the olive oil if desired. Coconut oil, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and avocado oil all work well.
If you are allergic to nuts, substitute a nut-free oil for the nut-based oils. Grape seed oil or mineral oil may also be used.
You may leave the essential oils out entirely, or replace them with essential oils of your choice. 
For extra healing, infuse your olive oil with dried plantain, burdock, or yarrow leaves, or with dried dandelion flowers.
Always test products made with essential oils on a small patch of skin to test for sensitivities before applying to a large area of skin.

This Salve is Great for Everyone!

You don’t have to be a gardener or homesteader to have rough dry skin or to make your own salve. If you do a lot of cleaning or working with your hands this hand salve will help keep your skin from chapping and cracking.

I hope you enjoy this hand salve as much as I do! I also love making lip balm and this peppermint gift set is a great collection for anyone who loves a spa treatment!

Learn how to make all-natural bath and body products.

Have you ever made your own hand salve? What do you use it for? Leave a comment!

Make your own gardening hand and skin salve

75 Comments on “How to Make Gardening Hand and Skin Salve

  1. Great idea for a gardening salve. Winter time hits us with rough skin. And my husband works all day outside, so he’s even begin asking for a hand cream. I like that I can adjust the scents to make it more fresh and manly, because many lotions are kind of girly.

    Nice video too!
    Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! I’m gonna make it.

    1. Hi Laurie,
      It’s super easy to make and I like being able to customize the scent, too. My husband likes cedarwood, frankincense, and citrus essential oils. I hope this helps!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for hosting! This is what I featured the week of 5-18 to 5-23 on my blog. On Tuesday was a Perfect Chili Seasoning Mix. Wednesday saw a Sweet Pickle Relish. Thursday was a Coffee Creamer bundle. And winding up this Week of Homemade was a Cocktail Sauce. Enjoy!

  3. Lisa
    We were both thinking alike this last week. I ‘m sharing my salve recipe. I can’t wait to try yours!
    xo Lisa S

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I’m going to be trying this since my hands get so beat up in the garden, especially while pruning.

  5. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this recipe. My hands get so dry during gardening season. I know this salve will help.

  6. I currently use a salve every night before I go to sleep. It has made a world of difference to my skin!. I will be trying this one when I run out!

  7. I can’t wait to try your recipe for gardener’s hand salve. My hands get beaten up in the garden and this should be really helpful, thanks!

  8. 4 stars
    Thank you Lisa!!! That salve sounds like it would be so soothing on dry, cracked over-worked hands. Super easy to make and I bet it smells wonderful as well.

  9. That sounds like a nice recipe. I make a very simple salve with plantain, olive oil, beeswax, and no scents.

  10. 5 stars
    Nice! I already have the essential oils – now to add the other ingredients to my wish- list. I love making my own natural self-care products. Thanks!

  11. I don’t care for gloves, I like to feel the medium I’m working with, so, no surprise, my hands are very dry and rough. I can’t wait to make your Gardener’s Hand Salve and re-experience softer hands!

  12. I love the idea of making my own salve and lotion, but cannot handle greasy hands. How do you get around that?

    1. Hi Megan,
      I usually apply the hand salve before going to bed. Some oils are lighter and soak into skin better. Almond oil soaks in pretty quickly. Because I wash my hands so often, this salve is one of the only things that keeps my skin from drying out and cracking, so if it feels a little greasy it is worth it to me.

  13. Thanks for the recipe. I am traveling and with all the handwashing my hands could use some now. I am using plan Olive Oil which works great. I wish I had the salve as it would be more benefical and less messy.

  14. Thank you again for offering this giveaway. I’m excited to hear who won, it is sure to be a blessing!

    1. Hi Barbara,
      You can leave out the essential oils if you like. I have another recipe on my site for ‘petroleum-free’ jelly that is similar to this but with one optional essential oil. Her is a link and the article has a ton of ideas for using the jelly/salve…you can also use it in place of hand salve. I hope this is helpful!

    1. I’m very happy to offer the giveaway…and I’m so thankful for all of my blogging friends who pitched in with the prizes! Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth!

    1. Hi Rob,
      I hope you enjoy the gardeners’ salve…it has saved my hands from some pretty rough conditions!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    1. ….so because YOU are allergic to the ingredients you give the recipe 1 star?! What in the world?! That is so unfair. If you have allergies then why would you even bother looking at this recipe, let along comment on it?!?!

  15. Been looking at your other salve recipes, a lot of good ones to try!
    Thanks for all the opportunities to enter this giveway

    1. Hi Deb,
      Apply to your dry hands before gardening, after washing them, taking a shower, and before you go to bed at night…It will help seal in moisture. I hope you like it!

  16. 5 stars
    I haven’t yet made your recipe but plan to in the next few days! I was a hairstylist for 20 years and with my hands in water constantly the winter wrecked havok on my skin! I can’t wait to try this

    1. Hi Deserae!
      I hope you enjoy using it as much as I do! It is really helpful for keeping my hands from cracking in winter too. 🙂

  17. I’ve not made my own salve before but something like this would be great for me (although I don’t have gardener’s hands… yet). I have been getting a lot of cracks and bleeding around my thumbs and knuckles this year.

    1. Hi Elizabeth!
      Ouch! I used to have that problem every winter until I started making my own hand salves. It is easy to make! Best wishes with the giveaway!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.