Difference Between Balms & Salves

Posted on February 21st, 2022 to Education

Oils, balms, salves, creams, lotions—you could get a little dizzy considering all the different products available to put on your skin. And, now that so many topical products are being formulated with cannabidiol (CBD), it’s not always easy to figure out which product is best to use.

Some skincare products are easily discernible when it comes to their difference and how they should be used. For example, a lotion is easy to point out compared to skin oil. However, some topical products are a little more ambiguous. Perfect example? Salve vs balm.

What is the difference between a balm and a salve?

On a surface level, salves and balms may look a lot alike. And, in truth, the two different products do have a lot of similarities. However, there can be slight variances that are worth getting to know.

A Closer Look at Salves

A salve, such as Hunger Mountain Full-Spectrum CBD Salve, is usually made up of a combination of some type of wax, herbal oils, and skin-nourishing ingredients. For example, our muscle cooling salve is made with candelilla wax, sunflower seed oil, tea tree oil, and, of course, full-spectrum CBD extract. The end result is a formula that is thick but malleable. For example, you can gently press your fingertips into a salve without a lot of resistance.

A Closer Look at Balms

A balm is also made with ingredients like candelilla wax or beeswax, oils, and skin-nourishing ingredients. However, a balm tends to be heavier on the wax and lighter on the other added oils and agents. Therefore, a balm also tends to have a thicker, waxier consistency than a salve. You would need to press relatively firmly on a balm to submerge your fingertips in the product.

Salve vs Balm – The Differences and Similarities to Consider

So, essentially, a salve is a topical product that easily glides across the skin and melts away for absorption. On the other hand, a balm goes onto the skin in a thick layer, does not melt away so quickly, and may work well for protecting the skin instead of delivering nourishing agents. Whether you have a balm or salve, both are made without water; it is the ratio of oil to wax ingredients that determines the end consistency.

Think about the difference in consistency between a solid tube of lip balm and a squeezable tube of lip moisturizing salve. The former is often used to protect the lips from the elements—sun, wind, or cold—the latter is designed to actually deliver moisturizing agents to the skin of the lips. The former stays on for a while, the latter melts away rather quickly and absorbs into the lips.

Both balms and salves are applied directly to the skin. However, balms can be better for a more targeted application. The product will not spread as easily, so it is not as ideal for large-area coverage. On the other hand, a salve is easy to massage into the skin and is perfectly suitable for application over a larger area.

Balm or Salve – Which one should you use?

It really can be a matter of preference, but whether you opt for a topical product that is a balm or a salve should also rely on what you expect to get from the product. For example, if you purchase a full-spectrum CBG salve, which is incredibly beneficial for the skin and body, you are likely looking to reap the benefits of the particles in that product quickly. The salve can be rubbed over a certain area of your body to reap the advantage of almost immediate relief.

This is not to say that cannabinoid-infused balms are no good—they do have their value. For example, a lot of companies offer CBD balms to target bodily aches or muscles after a grueling workout. These products go onto the skin and stay put for a while, slowly delivering the desirable agents through the skin for more extended delivery of effects. Likewise, some products formulated with a thicker, balmy consistency are designed to offer a layer of protection, such as a CBD-infused lip balm.

Final Thoughts on Salve vs Balm

Salves and balms are both valuable products, but they do have different consistencies. The different consistency between the two has a lot to do with the rate of delivery of the nourishing agents in the product and how well the product can be worked into the skin. The most important thing to consider with any topical product is the quality of the ingredients and what you expect to experience with use.

If you are looking for cannabinoid-infused salves for your everyday wellness plans, be sure to take a look at our topical CBD and CBG salves at Hunger Mountain Hemp. Each of our topical products is formulated with skin-nourishing ingredients and 100 percent organic full-spectrum hemp extracts for an optimal experience.

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