Instead of buying expensive skin smoothers, why not make your own – and make your house smell divine in the process? Here three recipes, directions and material sources for our DIY Lip Balm, Body Scrub and Skin Salve Recipes.

Lurie Garden Rooftop Honey Lip Balm

Every year, the plants of the Lurie Garden are visited by thousands of honeybees. They come from our own Lurie Garden beehives and the rooftop hives on several downtown buildings, including the Cultural Center and City Hall. We sell our Lurie Garden Honey at our Urban Wild event in the Autumn each year.

  • 1 cup sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup beeswax, grated or chopped
2 Tablespoons honey

Place almond oil and beeswax in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until mixture melts. (Alternatively you can heat the oil, and beeswax in a stainless steel pot on the stove set to low.) Whisk honey into beeswax mixture; stir well until completely mixed together. Carefully pour into small containers with lids. Set aside to cool completely. Apply to lips as a moisturizer or on top of lipstick for extra shine. Makes about 1-1/2 cups which fills 15 one ounce tins.


Local honey is preferred for this recipe. Lurie Garden Honey is available at our Urban Wild event in the Autumn each year. Honey from the Chicago Honey Co-op is sold on their website and at the Green City Market during the summer. Tins can be purchased online at EBK containers. Sweet almond oil and beeswax can be purchased at Whole Foods or online through Mountain Rose Herbs.

Lurie Garden Body Scrub

This scrub is great for exfoliating skin, especially on hands and feet. It is also a great product to remove sticky sap from certain plants!

  • 1 cup sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower oil
  • 2 cups Epson, sea, or kosher salt or sugar for a gentler scrub
  • 4-8 drops essential oil

Place salt or sugar in a bowl. Slowly add oil and mix with salt until desired consistency is reached. Add 4-8 drops of essential oil to give scent to the scrub. Popular oils are lemon, rosemary, and peppermint. Gently rub scrub on skin once a week prior to bathing. Do not use on sensitive areas like your face. Note, the oil could make your bath or shower slippery – please use caution.


Sweet almond oil can be found at natural food stores such as Whole Foods.


You can use grated lemon rind or ginger root (processed until fine in a food processor) to scent the scrub instead of using essential oils.
You can adjust ratio of salt or sugar to oil to adjust the consistency of the scrub to your personal preference.

Lurie Garden Sage Citrus Salve

Herbal salves are great for nourishing and healing dry, chapped skin. They are easy to make and require just a few ingredients. If you grow your own herbs and are able to dry them, you can use them in this salve. Feel free to experiment with different herb and essential oil combinations. This recipe will fill six 2 ounce tins.

  • 2 ounces dried sage
1 cup light olive oil *you can buy the cheap stuff
  • 1 oz. beeswax, grated
  • 10-15 drops Sweet Orange or Lemon essential oil
  • Box grater
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Cheese cloth
  • Stainless steel pot
  • Ladle
  • Small 2 ounce tin

Place the herbs and oil in a stainless steel pot set to low heat. Cook for three to four hours, stirring occasionally. The oil should not be bubbling as that will burn the herbs. Strain the herbs out through two layers of cheesecloth and return the oil to the pot. Add the grated beeswax and stir until completely melted. Add the drops of sweet orange oil and stir. Ladle the salve into small tins. Allow to cool completely before putting the lid on.


Beeswax, dried herbs and essential oils are all available at Whole Foods. If you are buying large quantities Mountain Rose Herbs sells bulk herbs, oils and containers. Small tins with lids can be purchased from EBK Containers.