I made this Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar just before my first ski trip in two years. Pathetic, I know. I live at the foot of the Canadian Rockies and I work in the outdoor industry, and yet it’s been two years since I’ve hit the slopes. Anyhow, I knew I would suffer for it in both loss of ability and some serious soreness. So I made these bars, and they were a total lifesaver!

How to Make a Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar

Ever since I made my own white tiger balm I’ve been thinking about ways to add some oomph. Cassia essential oil is the only difference between white and red tiger balm, so that was my first addition.

How to Make a Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar

Next up, peppermint and camphor powder. Peppermint essential oil is really quite pricey, but the extract delivers much of the same sensation without the hefty price tag (or the strong scent, which I’m not overly crazy about). The extract is a fluffy brown powder with a soft, sweet scent.

How to Make a Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar

Camphor powder is actually crystalline, and could be confused with sugar—until you catch a whiff of it, that is. It tends to clump, so I whizzed it through my dedicated DIY coffee grinder (along with the peppermint extract) to break it up.

How to Make a Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar

Neither peppermint powder or camphor powder are oil soluble, so I had to settle for a suspension. Oh well. It worked quite nicely, and the small amount if settling that happened meant the bottom of the bar was stronger than the top of the bar, giving me a bit of choice.

My last addition was a small handful of dried white beans. Lush makes a massage bar with adzuki beans so there’s something in there to massage yourself with, and I thought that was a pretty cool idea.

How to Make a Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar

The result is a beautifully hot massage bar that amps up circulation like there’s no tomorrow. As in, if you write your name on your leg in tiger balm, it will appear in bright red in a moment. Keep this away from all of your sensitive areas (this definitely means eyes, nose, and mouth!)!

Hot Tiger Balm Massage Bar

25g | 0.88oz cocoa butter
25g | 0.88oz beeswax

5g | 0.17oz camphor essential oil
6g | 0.21oz cajeput essential oil
4g | 0.14oz menthol essential oil or menthol crystals
2g | 0.07oz cassia essential oil
8g | 0.28oz spearmint essential oil

1 tsp peppermint powder
1 tsp camphor powder

Melt the beeswax and cocoa butter together in a small saucepan over low heat. Arrange a sparse, single layer of white beans at the bottom of two glass 125mL (4oz) mason jars. You’ll want to use a glass jar for the mould as the high amount of essential oils could corrode plastic or metal.

While the beeswax and cocoa butter melts, weigh out the essential oils in a small mason jar. You’ll need a lot of essential oils, so DO NOT try and do this by drops! You will go mad trying to count them all, and the large amounts mean your errors in counting or calculations, and variations in drops sizes between the different essential oils, can be much, much larger.

The trick with the essential oils is to combine them with the heated wax and cocoa butter without getting them too hot, and definitely not for too long, or you’ll cook off their potency. So, once the wax and cocoa butter are melted together, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the essential oils, trying to use the residual heat from the melting to get everything incorporated. If that doesn’t work, pop the saucepan back over low heat for a little while.

Once the essential oils are thoroughly incorporated you’ll have a very fragrant pool of oils in your pan.

Blitz the camphor powder and peppermint extract together in a dedicated coffee grinder until finely ground. Tip into a small dish and add a spoonful of the melted oils. Mash everything together and then add the peppermint paste to the rest of the oils. Stir to combine.

Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken a bit, but not solidify. Divide the mixture between the two mason jars. Let sit overnight to set.

To release the bars from the jars you may need to dip them in a shallow pan of boiling water before tapping them out.

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