When my friend, Siobhan, at the Country Market in Westport, Ireland, brought me a grocery bag full of beautiful beeswax from her home hives, I could feel the magic in the comb. I enjoy her generosity and desire to help other makers from local markets and Ireland. It is one reason I love living in such a small Irish community and why local markets can be the backbone of the community. The beeswax represented a year's worth of both Siobhan and bee labor build the beeswax, and it felt like I was holding time in my hands.
Waste into Wonder
Usually, Siobhan just throws it away because she has no time to think of a use. Can you believe it?! Honey bees use beeswax to create the divine-looking hexagonal comb to store honey and pollen and for the queen to lay her eggs. Bees must consume almost 3 kilos to produce just 500 grams of beeswax. But there is something magical and timeless about beeswax beyond its structure. It is one of the oldest raw ingredients used in skincare. We don't have to wonder why. Finding a beehive undoubtedly became a sticky search worth the bee-stings for our primitive ancestors.
What is good for the hive must be good for the skin, right?
I know as well as you do that there is a reason why artificial products like emulsifying waxes can cause more problems than good. Handmade products bring more than ingredients because the creator made them with love and a giving intention. Bees do the same and weave natural elements into their home's foundation.
Here are just 3 quick ones:
1. Beeswax is strong enough to be the building block of a healthy hive, and for the same reasons, it forms a natural barrier on the skin's surface. A beehive can sustain shear wind force because beeswax protects against environmental damage while being permeable.
Artificial skin creams can clog pores and cause blemishes, especially for acne-prone skin. Beeswax fits like a lock and key into your skin, as nature intended, and can deliver herbal vitamins to soothe the skin without blocking the pore.
2. If you’ve touched a beehive, you know that beeswax has some give and bends a little to a firm touch. This quality carries into natural cosmetics by making skin more elastic and springy. It keeps it looking young, protects it from cracking by locking in moisture, and gives skin a soft texture.
3. Even without being in soap, beeswax brings anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-allergy, and anti-fungal properties to the skin. So if a cream or salve is applied to even sensitive skin, it is hygienic and safe.
Bees symbolize a connection to a central purpose, a community in the spirit of a common cause. Like pollinators, I am reminded of an invisible force working in my favor. Receiving locally sourced beeswax from a friend is a gift and part of a community spirit, just like a hive. I bee-lieve looking for ingredients brings spiritual energy into products.