This lovely Manitoba Forest Balm houses many of my favourite summer scents in a tin. From warm sunshine to honey to the forest underbrush, this lovely balm smells just like a Manitoba forest in summer, and I can’t get enough of it.
The inspiration for this balm was bayberry wax, a plant based wax that somehow smells just like a sun-dappled forest floor on a warm day. The wax itself is mottled green and almost dusty, and the smell is downright intoxicating, especially on a cold winter day.
It wouldn’t smell like summer without some sunshine-y beeswax in the mix, so make sure you choose a good, fragrant one. The one I’m using for this balm is from a wonderful little apiary near Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. I visit them every summer to stock up on beeswax and wonderfully floral honey that’s often still warm from the hive when I pay for my jar.
For essential oils I’ve selected fir balsam, spruce, pine, rose, and labdanum, with just a hint of smoke from cade. Fir balsam, spruce, and pine will always remind me of the woods, with their characteristic camphoraceous scents. Wild roses can be easily found in the forests of my childhood, and while their scent is not exactly that of the roses used to make rose essential oil, it is still a fitting floral note.
Labdanum always smells of sunshine on warm, dry grass to me, and I nearly always include it in blends that are designed to remind me of summertime. And last but not least, the tiniest hint of smokey cade essential oil represents the campfire on the horizon.
Manitoba Forest Balm
5g | 0.17oz beeswax (USA / Canada)
5g | 0.17oz bayberry wax
7g | 0.25oz unrefined hemp seed oil (USA / Canada)
30g | 1.06oz safflower oil
15 drops fir essential oil
9 drops white spruce essential oil
5 drops spruce hemlock essential oil (this essential oil is not at all related to poisonous hemlock)
4 drops pine essential oil
1 drop rose absolute
2 blobs labdanum essential oil
1 toothpick swirl cade essential oil
Melt the beeswax, bayberry wax, hemp seed oil (USA / Canada), and safflower oil together in a small double boiler.
Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the essential oils. Decant into a 30mL/1 ounce tin and let set up before using.
For a toothpick swirl of the cade, just dip the tip of a toothpick into your bottle of cade essential oil, and then swirl it in with everything else. Be aware that an almost imperceptible amount will still have a really noticeable effect on the final product, so don’t over-do it!
Curious about the hemlock. What does this contribute?
It’s not hemlock, it’s spruce hemlock—it’s a pretty important distinction! Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is all kinds of poisonous. Spruce hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) is a completely different, totally unrelated variety of coniferous tree. Its essential oil adds a lovely note of spruce to the final balm. Do not, for the love of life, exchange one for the other!
Sounds lovely!! How long is this stable for since using hemp seed oil? Is it only the raw material that needs to be refrigerated? Thank you!!
I WISH YOU SOLD YOUR STUFF!! All of it sounds amazing i just dont think i could create it. I love your blog. 🙂
Well… if you’re interested in bankrolling a new business venture 😉 But seriously, this is really easy to make—I really recommend giving it a try!
where do you buy your bayberry wax? This smells real nice coming through my IPad! LOL
I got it from Saffire Blue—link in the big box above the comments 🙂
Great…another beeswax formula. 🙂
All we beekeepers thank you.
Keep ’em coming…love your recipes…you are very creative!
Thanks for your work Marie
I wish you had printer friendly recipe , I don’t like having my laptop near the kitchen and to print the email isn’t paper friendly, love the recipes though.
Whenever I need to print anything I copy and paste the content into a word processor and print that. I’ve also heard that you can install plug-ins into your browser that make everything print friendly. I’ve looked for print plug-ins, but I’ve never found one I’m happy with.
Marie, Thanks for sharing your recipes and the energy it took to create your salve.
Thought you might like to know that for those of us in USA that try to buy from New Directions Aromatics, they have now started charging $20 fee if your order is not over $100. and my order cost just under $30. to ship…I learned a lot researching the ingredients, etc, but quite an expensive venture.
Hi Ginna! I am very familiar with NDA’s minimum order, but here in Canada there just really aren’t many other viable options. Shipping is generally $20–$30 no matter how much you order, and no matter who you order it from. If the shipping is substantially cheaper, the products are shockingly more expensive. Since you’re in the States you have a lot more options that I’m rather jealous of. Try looking up Mountain Rose Herbs, Brambleberry, and Lotion Crafter.
Also make sure that you are in the USA store for New Directions if you are in the US. They also have a Canadian store. I filled my cart on my fiest order and was shocked with the shipping until I realized I was in the Canadian store. I felt the shipping was very reasonable through the US site but I did not order any hazardous material.
No problem. I have been very happy with New Directions. It takes a while for the order to ship, but they always have a note at the top of their page for expected shipping times. Always good quality. My last order was a fairly large box of essential oils, carrier oils and butters and shipping was just below $14 To California.
$14! Lucky you! My shipping is never less than ~$25 these days, and is usually closer to $30 🙁
Sounds like a lovely recipe, I really enjoyed reading about it. Your description reminds me of the senses I enjoy 🙂 I was just wondering where you find the bayberry wax? I also shop with new directions, and am really happy to have the resource available in Canada.. I find it a little too easy to fill my cart above $100 😉
Thanks, Mairin! The bayberry wax is from another Canadian supplier, Saffire Blue—link in the big box above the comments 🙂
I also spend part of the summer at RMNP and I definitely can smell the summer in this balm! Can you tell me what apiary you visit? I need to get some of that sun-warmed goodness! Thanks!
(And if you ever want to do some cook shack lotion making let me know!)
Hi Sheena! What a small world 🙂 The apiary is called Raven Creek Farm, I visit them at the Saturday market by the red barn just outside the park. I bought a massive block of beeswax from them in 2013 and I’m still working my way through it, but I’ll definitely need more honey this year 🙂
I made this yesterday, minus the Bayberry, as I do not own any. I love it! Reminds me of home, which used to be Michigan. Please don’t tell me how beautifuler it could’ve been had I used Bayberry 🙁
It’s summer Marie! Enjoy the warmth and those delicious looooong summer days. I miss never-ending daylight after dinner time.
Oh BTW, Cade??? Holy Smoke that stuff is potent. Glad I bought the .06ml sample cause I doubt I’ll ever use that up! But I like it. Sorta.
Oh my heavens, I know! But isn’t it also wonderful (in super tiny amounts)?! It makes me want s’mores something fierce.
I shan’t press the point… but if you ever get a chance to get some bayberry, do it, and then spend the weekend huffing it 😉
Makes me want to go camping, definately. The Cade.
I am glad I bought it because I love woodsy scents and it goes right with it……oh I see you’re coyly telling me that I’m missing out without that Bayberry…:'(
I SHALL find some! I’ll come back here and let you know when this happens. This is a mission, now!
Mission: Bayberry! Watch out, Tom Cruise 😉
Thanks to your ravings about bayberry wax, I finally got around to placing my first order with Saffire Blue. The shipping charges to the US made me wince, but I know you guys have it much worse in Canada so I’ll shut up. 😀
The forest balm is cooling on my counter at the moment. I didn’t have spruce hemlock and cade so I substituted with a teeny bit of poplar balsam and birch tar. The white spruce essential oil was really thin and I might have used more than 9 drops, oops. I’m not sure if that’s why the end result has a sharper scent than I’d like. *sniff* In any case I have a bit of cold coming on and I rubbed some of the remaining balm from the beaker on my chest. All the conifers really helped so yay for that!
Yay for bayberrry! You may find the balm mellows out as it cools and sets—I have found that with other scent blends, especially when some of the scent that comes from ingredients. Good luck with your cold and thanks for DIYing with me 🙂
Totally going to make this soon! Searched for the labdanum on amazon.ca, as NDA doesn’t carry it anymore nor does Saffire Blue. Seems like the price varies hugely depending on brand … some are called Absolute and others are called Essential Oi? Can you please take a look and let us know which brand seems OK. the Mystic Moments appears to be the best price.
Also wondering about the Rose Absolute … $$$ …. could I use some of my rose wax instead?
Ahhh, no! I’m so bummed NDA has discontinued labdanum *rage face*. They made no mention of it in any of their newsletters, which I check religiously for that sort of thing, so I am PEEVED. Rarrrr. This one seems pretty good from the description and the price, but all of them are so much more expensive than the one NDA used to sell. Mystic moments seems pretty good, too. SIGH. And yes, you can definitely use rose wax instead; swap out 1g of safflower oil for 1g rose wax 🙂 Happy making!
I would like to give this a try (after my NDA order gets here with a couple missing EO’s). How do you think it would work using cera bellina instead of beeswax to make it a salve? Would I use the same amount of cera bellina as beeswax?
I was thinking the same thing 🙂 I was wondering what a good sub for cade would be too, as I don’t have it.
I’m sure you can, but I haven’t tried making recipes I originally developed with beeswax with cera bellina, so I’m not really sure. I’d refer to my beeswax and cera bellina experiments and go from there 🙂 You will lose the awesome beeswax smell, though 🙁
I found bayberry wax on Etsy and can’t wait to make this balm. Her is the link for the 1 ounce, but they also sell a 1 pound size for $24. https://www.etsy.com/listing/577006603/make-your-own-bayberry-candles-genuine?ref=listing-shop-header-0
Thank you! 🙂
What would this recipe be used for? would this be a suitable Beard Balm or strictly on skin ?
You could definitely use it as a beard balm! Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂
Stupid question. How do you use this balm? As a solid perfume? Or like body butter?
More like a body butter 🙂
Hi Marie! I’m looking to make some products with hemp oil and stumbled upon this formula thread! I’m curious though – looking at your more recent formulas, and comparing with these older ones – it seems like you’ve moved away from essential oils and towards ready-blended fragrance oils? Am I right? And if so, is there a reason? I’m looking at all the exotic-sounding EO’s you’ve listed in these “10 things to make with hemp oil” and so many I’ve never heard of: cade,
cajeput (?!), labdanum, etc. They sound mysterious and ultra cool but I wonder if you were to “Bee Better” these formulas, would you still use them? Thank you from deep in the forests of Nova Scotia!