In honour of Robbie Burn’s day, I’m sharing this recipe for a Scottish Rose Salve today (“O my Luve is like a red, red rose”). It was inspired by a recipe request from Jade, who wrote “I love this [rosebud] lip salve. I’ve been using it for 9 years and it’s a staple. However, it used to be $5 a tin and now it’s $8… I guess I’m not looking for a complete dupe because if there is a way to have the salve still give my lips the awesome shine without all that petrolatum that would be ideal.” As a fellow rose lover, how could I resist?

How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve

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The base of the salve is a simple blend of liquid oils thickened with beeswax. I chose castor oil for its shine, and sweet almond oil because it’s a wonderful low-scent lip balm oil. To that I added a single gram of fragrant rose wax (made from real roses, but far more affordable than rose essential oil) for a subtle, real rose scent. Yum.

How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve
How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve

For a hint of pink I’ve added some carmine. The powdered stuff is water soluble, but so finely ground that it distributes really well into oils without any grit. If you’ve only got the oil dispersed dye, that’ll work brilliantly as well. If you don’t like carmine or don’t have it you can use a wee bit of red iron oxide, but be aware the colour will be more of a reddish brown than the pretty popping pink I got. FD&C Red #7 is also a good pigment alternative to carmine in terms of a colour match, though it’s obviously not natural.

How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve
How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve

I’ve rounded things out with a bit of bergapatene-free bergamot essential oil (the variety that won’t give you sunburns) and some sweet, vanilla-y benzoin for a well rounded scent that’s not overwhelmingly floral or one-dimensional.

How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve
How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve

The packaging for the original that Jade loves is wonderfully old school with some fantastic Victorian charm and style, so I thought this would be a great place to use a vintage jar I found at a garage based antique shop here in Calgary. It came with a smudge of a very yellow, very greasy salve in it, but I was happily able to get it clean while saving the original label. Isn’t it cute?

How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve

The final salve is silky smooth, slightly pink, lightly glossy, and downright lovely. It’s a bit softer than a straight-up lip balm, but works well in lip balm tubes as well as tins.

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Scottish Rose Salve

12g | 0.42oz beeswax
12g | 0.42oz castor oil
36g | 1.27oz sweet almond oil
1g | 0.03oz rose wax (Need a substitute?)
6 drops vitamin E oil

1/64 tsp carmine or 5 drops liquid carmine dye (I use these spoons to measure tiny amounts like nips)
6 blobs benzoin essential oil
6 drops bergapatene-free bergamot essential oil

Weigh out the beeswax, castor oil, sweet almond oil, rose wax, and vitamin E oil into a small heat resistant glass measuring cup. Place that cup into a saucepan of gently simmering water to melt everything together.

Once the oils have melted, remove them from the heat and stir in the carmine, benzoin, and bergamot essential oil. Pour the mixture into wee tins (lip balm tubes work, too), let it set up, and enjoy your Scottish Rose Salve!

Makes 61g (2.15oz)

If you don’t want to use carmine you can use a bit of red iron oxide instead, but the colour will be more of a browny red than pink. You can also leave out the colour completely.

How to Make a Scottish Rose Salve

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