First I made Air Conditioning in a Bottle, and then Air Conditioning in a Tin, and now I’m making Fireplace in a Tin. Frankly, I can’t believe it’s taken so long as I am far more likely to require heating than cooling up here in Canada. Let’s not delay things any longer!



The heat in this deep red, spicy balm comes from warming essential oils—chilli seed, cassia, and black pepper, primarily. These essential oils are blended into a glassy balm thickened with candelilla wax so you can easily glide a thin layer of the balm across your skin.

You’ll find this balm has quite a bit in common with hot tiger balm, sensation-wise. It’s missing the cold essential oils (the peppermint and menthol), of course, but you’ll find it works nicely as a sore muscle rub as well as a warm-up rub. I find it starts as a burn and wanes to a warming simmer.

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Because these essential oils are designed to stimulate circulation, they can be irritating—especially in sensitive places. I opted to make this a solid instead of a spray to reduce the risk of it ending up in places you don’t want it (like eyes, nasal passages, and lungs). Be careful when applying it not to touch your eyes, pick your nose, or touch any other sensitive bits before thoroughly washing your hands. I also wouldn’t recommend use of this balm on young children.

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This recipe does contain a high concentration of essential oils in order to deliver to physical sensation we’re going for. I tested the recipe with lower amounts—at 4g of each essential oil you couldn’t feel anything, and at 10g of each it was just a slight itching. If you aren’t comfortable with high concentrations of essential oils don’t reduce them—just don’t make this recipe. I’ve written a more detailed article on essential oil concentrations here, with info on safety and what not 🙂

Fireplace in a Tin

5g | 0.17oz candelilla wax
20g | 0.7oz safflower oil

15g | 0.53oz chili seed essential oil
15g | 0.53oz cassia essential oil
20 drops black pepper essential oil (optional, honestly)

Melt together the candelilla wax and safflower oil in a glass measuring cup in a pan of simmering water. While they melt, weigh out the essential oils (do not try to convert the weights of the essential oils to drops—there is no reliable way to do this and I have no idea what quantity of essential oil you’d end up with in your final product).

Once the oil and wax has melted, add the essential oils, stir to combine, and decant to a glass jar. I recommend glass over anything here (especially plastic!) because of the high concentration of essential oils.

Makes ~45mL/1.5oz.