How to Make Gardening Hand and Skin Salve

Gardeners' Hand Salve

Make Your Own 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 my own 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.

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.

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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 your own batch of healing hand salve for gardeners…

Gardeners' Hand Salve
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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 my own lip balm and this peppermint gift set is a great collection for anyone who loves a spa treatment!

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

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