Last autumn Angela wrote in asking for a DIY version of an expensive calendula-infused eye balm she was using in Portugal. The ingredient list was beautiful, and as usual, the price tag was a touch shocking. So, with her enthusiasm for the product I took that ingredients list and went for a bit of a run to create a smooth, lightweight balm. Angela’s Calendula Eye Balm is packed with anti-inflammatory calendula and lightweight oils designed to penetrate and moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes (but it’s also great on the rest of the face as well as on hands and lips).

I wanted to enure this balm was smooth and melted readily on the skin so you’d never have to worry about tugging at delicate around-the-eye tissue. I also wanted the balm to sink into the skin relatively quickly so you wouldn’t be left with greasy eyes for ages. As such, the bulk of the balm is made from lightweight, fast-absorbing oils and butters.

Mango butter is a wonderful, rather surprising butter. It’s thick and creamy, but when massaged into the skin it leaves a very unexpected (and welcome) dry finish. If you’re familiar with shea butter you’re no doubt familiar with how it can leave your skin feeling quite heavy and greasy for hours, and if you don’t like that, you need to get yourself some mango butter. Mango butter is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E.

I had calendula-infused olive oil on hand, so that’s what I used for my calendula hit, but if you happen to have a different liquid oil infused with calendula in your pantry, feel free to use that instead. I rounded out the liquid oil part with some silky, lightweight olive squalane, and some fast absorbing, slightly nutty macadamia nut oil. If you don’t have macadamia nut oil, hazelnut oil would be an excellent alternative—and you could use it instead of squalane as well, if you need to.

The balm is thickened with beeswax, but you could use 4g (0.14oz) of either of the c-waxes (candelilla or carnauba) if you want to make a vegan version. A few drops of lavender add a lovely, soft scent, but you could definitely leave it out if you have extra sensitive eyes, or try swapping half the lavender essential oil for chamomile essential oil for added calming goodness.

As a bit of a special finishing touch, I’ve added some silica microspheres. On first glance silica microspheres are just a light, white powder, but add them to pretty much anything, and you’ll see that they’re magic. They help disguise fine lines by softly diffusing light around the skin, creating a wonderful airbrushing effect. They also help give anything they’re added to a silky, dry touch, which is definitely a welcome characteristic in an eye balm. I didn’t add enough to give the balm a completely dry touch, but you could always double to amount if you want a drier touch. The silica is optional as I know it’s a fairly odd ingredient, but I cannot recommend it highly enough for luxy DIY skin care and cosmetics. You could also use twice as much sericite mica instead; it’s not quite the same thing, but it’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing.

Since this balm is 100% oil based, once you have all the ingredients together all you’re really doing is melting everything together, stirring in a few post-heat add-ins, and pouring it into a tin. And that’s it! Bam. Angela’s Calendula Eye Balm is pretty awesome. You should make some.

Angela’s Calendula Eye Balm

7g | 0.25oz calendula infused olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada) (or other carrier oil—whatever infusion you have on hand will work)
6g | 0.21oz mango butter (USA / Canada)
5g | 0.18oz olive squalane (USA / Canada)
2g | 0.07oz macadamia nut oil
5g | 0.18oz beeswax (USA / Canada)

4 drops lavender essential oil
0.3g | 1 drop Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
1/8 tsp silica microspheres (I use these tiny measuring spoons for tiny measurements like this)

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.

Weigh the calendula infused oil, mango butter, olive squalane, macadamia nut oil, and beeswax into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through—this will take about 20 minutes.

Once everything has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat and dry the outside of it off with a dish towel. Set the measuring cup on a towel or hot pad to insulate it from the counter and stir the mixture with a flexible silicone spatula to combine everything.

Add the lavender essential oil, vitamin E oil, and silica to the mixture, and use your spatula to blend them in. Take care to break up any clumps of the silica if they form so you have a completely uniform mixture with no obvious blobs or lumps.

Pour the liquid balm into a 30mL/1 ounce tin and leave it to set up. Once it’s solid and uniform in colour, it’s ready to use! You will find the top layer of the balm is firmer than the rest of it, so go ahead and push your finger through the top layer of the balm before using it to get a true feel for how firm it is.

To use, gently glide a rice-grain sized bit of the balm across the orbital area of your eye—I like doing this just before bed. Enjoy!

This recipe was designed to be firm to control usage. If you have bits between your fingers you’re trying to melt, or you’re using a tool, or you’re digging, that’s a pretty big indicator that you are over-using the product. You should just be gliding your fingers over the surface of the balm and applying a thin film to the under-eye area (not the eyelids), not digging out chunks of it and applying that. You’ll be applying lip balm type amounts, not body butter/lotion amounts.

Shelf Life & Storage

Because this salve is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.

Want to learn how to make your own herb infused oils? Click here.

I’ve had a lot of requests for an eye cream, but I’ve been pretty hesitant to work on one—mostly because I don’t have a test subject as I don’t have under-eye bags or dryness or whatever people use eye creams for. When I release a recipe I want to know it works, but without a test subject, that’s hard!