So why do I use beeswax in my products? Some might be wondering in this day and age of veganism why I choose to use a wax that is considered an animal byproduct. From some perspectives, that is a concern. For me, it depends on how the beeswax is harvested. Beeswax that is mass harvested could most definitely cause concern to a honeybee colony. I use beeswax from one source, a local honey farm called Ash Hill Farms in Nova Scotia. It is a small family run business and it is considered cruelty free.
So How is Beeswax Made?
Beeswax is a natural byproduct created by honey bees during the process of making honey. Bees consume pollen and honey within the hive, which they transform into beeswax and then secrete the wax to form the structural part of the hive. They need both honey and beeswax to survive. Lucky for us, there is always a surplus of both. As long as the honey producer does not exceed the limits of this surplus the colony should thrive and honey and beeswax products can still be produced ethically.
At Ashhill Farms all of the wax comes from the cappings, which is the wax covering the honey on the comb. The wax is removed manually with an uncapping fork. The cappings are then spread out outside so the bees can remove any remaining honey on the cappings. The empty combs are reused year after year so the bees don’t have to rebuild them. The wax is then heated in water and melted so that most of the debris will sink to the bottom. The wax is allowed to harden and then removed from the water and put through a very fine filter. The wax is never heated above 170 F as this will turn the wax darker and likely destroy some of the good properties of the wax.
So why do I use beeswax in my candles?
Beeswax removes airborne pollutants from the air when it is burned. Don’t ask me how – I’m not that scientific! – but look it up. Something about negatively charged ions attracting positively charged ions (dust, pollen, odour and other pollutants) and neutralizing them to refresh the air we breathe. How amazing is that?!
The smell of beeswax is so sweet and satisfying that no scent is necessary. However, the addition of pure and natural essential oils has many added benefits, such as enhanced natural fragrance and the benefit of calming both the body and mind with the right blend.
Beeswax has a slow burn time and burns clean.
Beeswax has many added benefits when used in cosmetics and natural skincare products. I have to quote New Directions exactly because they couldn’t have summed it up better:
“Used cosmetically, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes, and calms the skin. It exfoliates, repairs damage, promotes the skin’s regeneration, diminishes the appearance of the signs of aging, soothes itchiness and irritation, and creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier against environmental pollutants. Used in hair, Beeswax nourishes, conditions, and softens the strands while promoting the hair’s lustre.”
“Used medicinally, Beeswax helps soothe and facilitate the healing of abrasions. It prevents harmful bacteria from entering the body through chapped and broken skin and it provides the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or skin ailments, such as eczema and rosacea.”
As someone who has suffered from dry skin, eczema and other skin conditions, I can honestly say that there is no better natural product ingredient than pure beeswax. I will continue to use it and to promote its amazing qualities and benefits and I will continue to only source my beeswax from ethical, low scale producers.
Ash Hill Farms
New Directions Aromatics