Smell (Irrelevant to effects)
The scent of the balm is more subtle than intense, with bright tones of green tea that mingle pleasantly with mint, arnica, chamomile, and lavender. We were pleasantly surprised by how much we liked the smell of the salve — the more we smelled it, the more we liked it. It strikes a balance that’s neither cloying nor overtly medicinal, with a refreshing profile that’s not too intense for use before leaving the house (elevator tested and approved).
Considering the oil-based nature of the balm’s formula, we were curious how the scent would wear throughout the day. The smell of the balm fades slowly over time, neither suddenly disappearing or remaining “loud” all day long.
This makes it more friendly for people sensitive to strong smells than many other topical CBD products, especially lipid-based formulas like salves, balms, and creams that tend to retain the volatile compounds responsible for their strong scents for longer periods.
The texture of the salve is dependent on its temperature. At cellar to room temperature, it’s quite firm, but starts to soften quickly when warmed by hands or skin (or ambient temperature — the product appears more gel-like than it actually is in our photo because the tin got extra warm in the sun. The balm is probably about 85-90°F in this photo, and appears firmer and more matte at cooler temperatures. This likely owes to the formula’s mixture of hemp seed, olive, and essential oils with beeswax.
Because of the relatively waxy consistency, it takes a little bit of working over the balm’s surface with your fingertips to achieve the right consistency for application. We didn’t mind this — it’s actually kind of a nice opportunity to take advantage of the soothing scent of the product while it warms — but it does make it less of a snap to apply than, say, a cream or ointment with a softer texture. On the flip side, that waxiness helps form a barrier over skin that we found pleasant, especially for very dry skin, that a cream or ointment wouldn’t be able to achieve.
When applied to the skin, the salve absorbs fairly quickly without leaving behind any greasiness or stickiness. If more of a “glide” is desired (as when massaging a body part), the balm can be applied more liberally to extend its smoothness and promote slip between hands or a massager and the target muscles.
The wax in the formula will eventually start to set up again, but you can buy yourself considerable amount of time by keeping the product warm as you work with it. It’s not a perfect substitute for a massage oil, but it’s also not ineffective at facilitating a relaxing and therapeutic massage in a pinch.
The product absorbs well into dry, flaky, or cracked skin (like knees, elbows, and heels) while also forming a light layer over the area, providing a barrier to protect the skin and promote healing. Those of us with skin that tends to chap or flake found this aspect of the product especially helpful for problem areas, and we can see ourselves reaching for it as the weather cools off and the air dries out.
After application, skin feels exceptionally hydrated, smooth, and supple for about an hour (the pronounced effect begins to fade after this, but it remains notable for a surprising length of time), making it a good option for very dry or moderately inflamed skin. That said, if you live in a hot, humid climate, you may find yourself feeling extra sweaty for a little while in the places you applied it. This dissipates as the salve absorbs fully into the skin and is comparable to other balms or heavy-duty moisturizers, but we felt it was worth a mention nonetheless.
Effects (Onset, Duration, Intensity)
Immediately upon application, the balm feels intensely hydrating, with a very subtle tingling sensation (likely from the peppermint and clove within the formula). The feeling is pleasant, especially on itching skin, but we might exercise caution before putting it on a sunburn (not to say you couldn’t, but perhaps do a test patch before committing to your entire back).
The product calls this sensation “warming,” but we didn’t feel it in the form of heat so much as a pleasant sense of nerve and blood vessel stimulation that brought awareness to the area we applied it to.
Since we’re often put off by conventional warming balms (looking at you, IcyHot!), we appreciated the subtlety of the sensation, which proved effective at stimulating circulation and blood flow without being unpleasant or painfully intense. This effect also makes the balm a nice product to reach for before a good restorative yoga or stretching session.
After about ten to fifteen minutes, the tingly feeling faded as our muscles began to relax. We noticed muscle tension and soreness starting to dissipate, and it was easier to release tension from tight places. The soothing and pain-relieving effects continued to build for the first 20-30 minutes or so after application, remaining noticeably effective for anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on the amount used and the severity of the symptoms in question (and also how active you are following application – we found it to be more effective when we had the time to relax for a bit after use).
While we enjoyed this salve, it lacks the “oomph” of other topicals we’ve tried in the past. Because of the moderate amount of CBD per ounce of this formula (60 mg), it’s probably best suited for milder symptoms rather than severe, acute pain. That said, it’s excellent at helping aid relaxation in sore spots, helps relieve minor pain and soreness, and provides a protective barrier for irritated skin while supporting healing and reducing inflammation.
We ended up more impressed with the Comfort Balm than we expected to be, especially when used before bed. Those of us who are prone to morning aches and pains found substantial relief in those areas when we used the balm before going to bed at night. We also noticed less stiffness upon waking when we used the balm overnight.
Best used for
As a topical CBD product, the Restorative Botanicals Comfort Balm is best suited for targeted relief exactly where you need it. This makes it particularly helpful for extra relief in sore spots like knees, elbows, shoulders, and wrists. It’s also a good option for people looking to speed up athletic recovery or relieve soreness caused by a particularly strenuous activity.
We could also see it being helpful in soothing some types of skin irritation, though we recommend doing a patch test before committing to a large or sensitive area (and, as always, keep this stuff away from mucous membranes and genitals).
Best used with (Complimentary Product)
As a topical CBD product, the balm will work most effectively in conjunction with a systemic product or two. If you’re working to relieve chronic symptoms that crop up throughout the day, we suggest a longer-acting product like Restorative Botanicals’ Bolder CBD Gummies.
If you need fast-acting relief from acute symptoms that come on fast and strong, try a tincture (let it absorb under your tongue for a minute or two to get relief as quickly as possible) or a vaporizer. Restorative’s Restore PURE6 hemp oil should do the trick.
Whichever product type you choose, a systemic dose of CBD will help support the action of the salve at the site of pain by alleviating inflammation from within for all-around relief.
For intense symptoms, you may find that combining multiple products is the way to go for you, and that’s okay! Find what works for you and your body – CBD carries no risk of addiction, tolerance, or dependence, so you’re safe experimenting to find what your body needs.