Dr. Bronner's

Magic Balms Usage Cheat Sheet

Lisa Bronner holding Dr. Bronner's Unscented Magic Balm and Arnica-Menthol Magic Balm - Usage Cheat Sheet

There is no Dr. Bronner’s product that I underestimated more than the two Organic Magic Balms. The more I have these around—and really, they’re my near constant companions. I always travel with them—the more uses I find for them.

I wanted to share with you all that I’ve stumbled upon, and I hope if you have more, you’ll add them to the comments below!

Personalities of the Magic Balms

The two balms share a name and the same base ingredients but have decidedly different personalities. The Unscented Magic Balm is more like the kindly older relative—the one you go to with all of life’s big and small rufflings, nurturing, mellow, soothing, comforting. The Arnica-Menthol Magic Balm, on the other hand, is like the crazy family member who bounds into the room and takes over the conversation, bringing a party wherever they go, either solving your problem or making you forget you ever had one.

Arnica-Menthol Magic Balm: When I first encountered the Arnica-Menthol Balm, no one told me what it was for—it just showed up on my desk in an unlabeled tin. So I drew my own conclusions: I thought it was a plant-based version of Vicks Vapor Rub. Turned out the intent was as a sore muscle rub. It is definitely both.

Unscented Magic Balm: The Unscented Balm’s first impression was far less obtrusive. I thought it was nice. I had little idea how often I’d turn to this balm every day. Though the Arnica-Menthol took all my attention at first—it does kind of demand it—slowly but steadily the Unscented Balm proved its worth.

As I raised my kids, I’d whip out the Unscented Balm daily for chronically chapped cheeks, overly wiped noses, behind-the-ear crustiness, calloused elbows, skinned knees. And for myself, even just today I’ve brought out the Unscented for my underarms after shaving, for removing stubborn waterproof mascara, for softening dried cuticles.

My Arnica-Menthol balm is the one that most commony goes missing from my drawer as my kids snag it for their various issues. They know it’s what I would tell them to grab anyways if they came to me and asked what to do. (Depending on the issue, my kids know that my go-to remedies are always to drink a glass of water, take a nap, go for a walk, go to the bathroom, or use the Balm.)

I always travel with both balms because not only are they exceptionally versatile, replacing a bunch of products, but also they are the solution to so many of the unexpectancies of travel. What one can’t fix, the other can.

Ingredients in the Magic Balms

What I love most about the Magic Balms is their simplicity. (Who’s surprised?) The Magic Balm base—which is all that’s in the Unscented Balm—has seven ingredients. Five oils (avocado, jojoba, coconut, olive, hemp seed), one wax (beeswax), one antioxidant (Tocopherol). And each ingredient is edible. (Don’t eat the balm. I’m making the point that it’s healthy for skin.)

How simple is that?

Then, the Arnica-Menthol Balm adds in the power combo of two kinds of peppermint oil (Mentha arvensis and Mentha piperita), menthol crystals, and Arnica montana oil.

Uses of the Magic Balms

Here’s a printable version of the list below!

When you first twist open the balm, you’ll need to break the surface either by rubbing your fingers across it for a few seconds or using the back of your finger­nail to scoop up a bit more.

Unscented Organic Magic Balm

The Unscented Organic Magic Balm is ever soothing, comfort­ing, and nourishing and is my go-to for any chapped or itchy skin.

Smooth and soften skin: Smooths and softens rough elbows, heels & cuticles. This is especially effective right after a shower or bath.

Protect skin: Protect skin grazes while healing. Prevent chafing use prior to running, boogie boarding, or other activities. Coat red or irritated noses and cheeks for protection & prevention during a head cold or in cold weather.

Tattoos: Protect new tattoos as they heal & brighten old ones.

Beards: Use to tame unruly beards and softens coarse ones.

Face: Blend a touch of powdered makeup with balm and apply to cheeks and eyelids for a dewy glow.

Lips: Line lips heavily with lip liner and then blend in with balm for nourishing color.

Eyelashes: Apply to eyelashes for a nourishing overnight masque.

Eyebrows: Tame and style brows by applying a thin layer of balm and then brushing with a spoolie. Use alone or over brow pencil.

Nails: Soften hardened cuticles, nourish nails, and naturally shine.

Hair color stain prevention: Prevent hair dye from staining skin by applying a layer along your hairline prior to the dye treatment.

Hair styling: Smooth dry hair frizzies and add shine. Apply to dry hair, starting about 1” down from the part. Use on loose or tied back hair.

Pregnancy: Rub into stretching, itchy bellies.

Diaper rash prevention: Apply a thin film as needed.

Pets: On pets, apply to dry paws, itchy skin, or irritation around casts and bandages.

Customize: Blend a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Place a few drops on the surface of the balm and rub in with your finger.

Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm

The Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm, with its power­house of mentholated vapors, is cooling and enlivening.

Muscles & joints: Massage into sore muscles and achy joints.

Feet: Energize tired feet at the end of a long day with a thick layer of balm and some comfy socks.

Bites: Rub into insect bites to cool the irritation.

Massage: Use as a massage oil for a full body or partial mas­sage. Warm a small amount between hands to liquify the balm before applying.

Congestion: Apply to your chest and neck when you’re congested.

Post workout: Rub into tight muscles.

Bruises: Rub gently into bruises.

Pick-me-up: Deeply inhale from container for an instant boost.

Disclaimer—Not intended for medical advice. Recommendations are based on personal experience and conversations.

Uses for Empty Balm Container Tins

Once your balm container is empty, give the tin a second life:

  • A travel container for pills or hair ties.
  • Contain small objects like pins or buttons.
  • Line with cotton and store jewelry.
  • Re-purpose as a gift box.

And so giftable!

Both of these balms make great gifts for anyone who is heading out on an adventure, expecting a baby, or just needs a little TLC. They decorate themselves, so just tie them together with a little rafia or twine!

I am still discovering more uses for these versatile balms. Please share below what uses you’ve discovered!

Further reading

This use and many more are in my book, Soap & Soul: A Practical Guide to Minding Your Home, Your Body, and Your Spirit with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, available now in hardback on or at your favorite bookseller, and as an eBook and audiobook (read by me!) from wherever you download or listen.  

Download Now!

Organic Magic Balms Cheat Sheet

Organic Magic Balms – To know them is to love them!


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Jo says:

Just a question. I live in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. I have searched many places hoping to find the rice water shampoo and conditioner bar. I usually buy all my other Dr. Bronner’s products at London Drugs. Do you know where I might purchase the Rice Water bar, other than online? Thank you so much. PS I will now be looking for the Magic balms too.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jo – I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying our products! We don’t have a rice water shampoo or conditioner bar, but I know you’ll love the balms!

Dania says:

I use the baby balm to remove makeup, it works beautifully. It’s the best to bring with you when you travel because of the size and the convenient container.

Aline says:

I use your Arnica-Menthol Magic balm in our clinic (where it’s very popular) and at home. Great list of additional uses!

I’ve heard you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. Promise I won’t eat it, but thank you for mentioning that all ingredients are skin safe. That’s not the case for most of the alternatives.

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

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Print Now!

Organic Magic Balms Cheat Sheet

Organic Magic Balms – To know them is to love them!