Foot Salvation in a Jar

Reader Contribution by RenÉE Benoit
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I walk barefoot. I’ve walked barefoot since a kid. I’ve even walked barefoot in snow, if I was too impatient and wanted something outside in winter and was too lazy to put on shoes or slippers. My husband thinks I’m crazy but that’s just how I am. I love the feel of the earth between my toes and the floor beneath my feet. The only time this becomes a problem is during goat’s head sticker season. Ow! I’ve found another one. You would think I would learn but you can’t teach this old dog new barefoot tricks!

The other problem is my feet get very, very dry. I mean, extremely dry to the point of soreness. As I’ve gotten older this is even more of a problem. Fortunately, I have discovered my own homemade remedy which I will now pass on to you. Years ago I bought an amazing ointment from a cosmetics manufacturer. I used it with great success until the manufacturer decided to discontinue the product. Oh, no! I read the ingredients on the jar of the quickly dwindling supply and decided right then and there that I was going to make my own. The manufacturer’s ointment smells better than mine, I have to be honest. But mine works very well so who cares? Mine doesn’t smell bad. To me. Maybe you can improve the scent. If you do please let me know how you did it.

This recipe is so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Homemade Dry Feet Salve


  • 2 oz shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa butter
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • Essential oils of your liking (I like tea tree oil for its antiseptic properties and peppermint oil for its aromatic properties)


Double boiler (An old-fashioned double boiler is hard to find these days and if you do find one they are very expensive! I use a slightly bigger pot that holds a smaller pot inside it. It’s also very convenient to have a smaller pot that has a spout. I got both my pots at a secondhand store. I use these pots exclusively for making cosmetics. Then I don’t have to clean them out as well as would be needed to cook food in them)

A small jar with a lid, approx. 4 oz. (this can be any jar you’ve saved up. Baby food jars are great. Old cosmetic jars are great.)

Stirring stick (I use wooden chop sticks saved from after we eat Chinese. They don’t conduct heat and don’t have to be cleaned so well. Just wiped off.)


1. Fill the bigger pot with water about 2 inches deep. Enough so when it starts boiling it won’t boil away fast.

2. Place the smaller spouted pot inside the bigger pot so it rests on the edge and not down in the water. Turn on the heat and bring it to a boil. While you’re waiting for it to come to a boil add the ingredients to the small pot but not the essential oils. Wait on those.

3. Stirring occasionally with the stick, melt all the ingredients together.

Warning: do not walk away from the melting ingredients! These ingredients are not as dangerous as melting paraffin but if you let them get so hot or the bottom pan boil dry you could have a kitchen fire.  Trust me on this one. I know what I’m talking about because I got too distracted one day and the pan did boil dry and it was bad news.

4. When the ingredients have melted add a few drops of essential oils. Start with a couple drops, smell it and if it’s not fragrant to your liking add a few more drops. You can always add drops but you can’t take them away so go slow.

5. Take the spouted pot off the heat and let the melted ingredients solidify. I like to let it solidify in the pan to see what the consistency comes out to be. If I pour the melted stuff into jars and I don’t like the consistency, it’s hard and messy to get it all out to be adjusted and melted again.

6. After it solidifies and you like the consistency melt it again and then decant it into your jars.

What if it isn’t to your liking? Simply melt it again and add whatever ingredient is needed. It’s ok to melt and re-melt.  If it’s too hard, add a half ounce of olive oil. A little bit goes along way in this recipe. If it’s too soft add an ounce of beeswax or cocoa butter. This recipe is meant to be on the stiff side. A little bit stiffer than petroleum jelly.

Note: if you modify the recipe it’s a good idea to note what you did so the next time you make it you will have the exact amount of ingredients and don’t have to start from scratch.

This is how it works best for me: when my feet get too dry and before the calluses start cracking I apply this ointment liberally to my feet and put on socks that I don’t care about. I wear them to bed overnight or put on shoes and wear them all day. When I remove the socks my feet are vastly improved!

Renée Benoitis a writer, artist, ranch caretaker and dedicated do-it-yourselfer who currently lives in a 26-foot travel trailer with her husband, a cat, and two dogs while they travel the Western United States in search of beautiful, peaceful vistas and hijinks and shenanigans. Connect with Renée atRL Benoit, andread all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts.

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