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Herbal Salves Are the Centuries-Old Beauty Secret That’s Making a Comeback — Here’s How To Use Them

Nourish your skin in no time.

Spring is around the corner, which means short sleeves and sandals season is around the corner, too. (At last!) But if you’re like most of us, your skin will need a little TLC before it comes out of hibernation, as the dry winter air cracks and dehydrates it.

The good news is that effective solutions to winter skin problems are inexpensive and easy to find. In fact, women have been using them for centuries. They are – drumroll, please – salves. Healing ointments infused with nutrient-packed oils and herbs, salves rejuvenate dull, dry winter skin without the harsh, skin irritant chemicals found in over-the-counter lotions and creams. Better still, DIY salves are easy to put together. Below are four recipes for salves that solve the most common winter skin issues.

To Soothe a Windburned Complexion: Basil Salve

A salve made with both anti-inflammatory basil oil (its compounds ease skin redness and irritation on contact) and nourishing coconut oil (its antioxidants strengthen and repair skin’s outer layer) calms and repairs weather-chafed skin in no time.

Try it: Mix 2 drops of basil essential oil and ½ tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply to a clean, dry face and let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing.

To Soften Dry Hands: Lanolin Salve

Lanolin, a naturally derived wax that holds 200 percent of its weight in moisture, provides extreme hydration to soften skin and mend cracks. Pairing it with lavender oil (its antibacterial properties fend off infection) boosts the skin-repairing benefits.

Try it: Combine ½ tablespoon of a lanolin balm like Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm (Buy from Target, $16.99) and 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Rub onto hands before bed, slip on cotton gloves, then remove and rinse off any residue in the a.m.

To Firm Wrinkly Skin: Rosehip Seed Oil Salve

High amounts of vitamin A in rosehip seed oil encourage the production of skin-firming collagen and elastin to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. And combining it with squalene-rich olive oil plumps skin for a smoother and more youthful complexion, stat.

Try it: Mix ½ tablespoon of olive oil and 2 drops of rosehip seed oil. Rub on wrinkly areas; let absorb.

To Heal a Cold Sore: Oregano Oil Salve

The oil’s antiviral agents kill the viruses responsible for cold sores, while its antioxidants mend dry, chapped skin along the lips. And using it with petroleum jelly (its petrolatum deeply moisturizes and forms a protective barrier over skin) speeds healing.

Try it: Mix 2 drops of oregano oil and 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly. Dab onto cold sores twice a day; let absorb.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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