After a good climbing session my hands definitely feel like they need a spa break, and a beer or three. The thought of having to hold anything at that moment in time fills me with fear, especially when I can still feel the burn from pulling on holds, and I’m mourning the loss of my fingertips. I imagine there is a debate on whether to moisturise your hands after climbing or not. Does it help, or does it ruin the calluses? I guess it’s down to a personal preference and I think it’s nice to be nice to your hands. There are plenty of climbing balms out on the market to help soothe these pains. The good ones are around the £6 – £10 mark, which I guess wouldn’t break the bank, but why pay that when you can make your very own?
DIY Climbing Balm
– Heat proof bowl and pan for double boiling
– Spoon or something for stirring
– Moulds, jar, tub or container to store balm
So to make a solid balm the most important ingredient is bees wax. There’s bound to be somewhere near your home that sells it, which is nice because it’s naturally made by your local bees, but if not then Ebay is your friend. Some kind of oil is needed too for moisturising, you can use olive, avocado, coconut, or whatever oil you have in your cupboards. I’m fairly sure you could stop there and it would make a decent, solid balm. On the other hand the list is kind of endless for what you can add in like essential oils, herbs, dried petals etc. The recipe below is a pretty basic antiseptic one, which I chose as it is extra effective on cuts and grazes. Just remember to have equal parts of everything, and 1 drop of essential oil for every 2g/ml.
– Shea butter – 25g
– Bees wax – 25g
– Tea tree oil – 12 drops
– Olive oil – 25ml
1. Fill the pan 1/4 of the way with water and bring to the boil. When it’s boiling, reduce the water to a simmer and fit the bowl into the pan. The bottom of the bowl should not reach the water. Add the Shea butter and bees wax and let them melt, stirring occasionally.
2. It takes about 10 – 15 mins, but once the butter and wax have melted together, take it off the heat and add the olive oil and tea tree oil, gently mix it all together.
3. Quickly pour your mixture into the container/mould of your choice. I tried to make a wick with string for in the container to make it easier to remove from the tub, but as you can see it didn’t work. I think if it had something to strengthen the string it could be a option to get the balm out of the container in one piece. However, the silicone cupcake mould worked great to make a loose bar, so I recommend using these or something similar.
4. If you get impatient and prod your balm before it has set like I did, you can heat it back up in the microwave if the container it’s in is safe to do so. It will liquefy again and you can fix it back up. When it has cooled down for about 20 minutes, you can speed up the setting process by popping your balm in the fridge for another 20 minutes.
5. Once it feels firm and has completely set, you’re good to take your creation out of the mould and marvel at what you’ve made.
I found that you only need to use a little bit of this balm as it starts to melt on contact, and after about 5-10 mins it has all soaked in leaving a lasting feel of moisture. The loose bar is easier to use than the broken pieces, but they both get the job done and make your hands feel great.
Let me know if you try this and what ingredients you use!