Bee Beautiful

By Frances Prescott

Let me share with you the benefits of beeswax, one of Tri-Balm’s hero ingredients.

I’m a great believer in the healing power of nature and prefer to use natural skincare ingredients whenever possible. That’s why I spent time researching naturally-derived ingredients when creating our first skincare product – Tri-Balm. From plant and flower-based oils that help to moisturise, tone, plump skin and to boost radiance to cereal extracts that improve elasticity and soothe inflammation, I’ve incorporated high performance naturals, proven to deliver results and promote healthy skin.

I also had a challenge to overcome with Tri-Balm; how to create a solid cleansing balm that could withstand the rigours of travel, be spill-proof and heat-resistant, and yet melt easily into the skin when applied. The answer was beeswax. Beeswax (Cera alba) produced by honey bees, is not only one of the best ingredients to use when creating solid products such as lip and skin balms, it’s also one of the most effective emulsifiers – ingredients which help to bind oil and water together - and that make very effective cleansers. But unlike chemically-derived emulsifiers such as petroleum, beeswax remains biologically active, even after it has been processed.

Nectar Know-How
Beeswax is created from flower nectar, which either becomes wax or honey. The honey is then used to feed the bees during the winter while the beeswax is used to construct the combs that create the hive. The worker bees develop wax-producing glands as they mature and from these glands, they secret wax. The bees chew the wax to soften it, and then apply the wax to the comb. To make one pound of beeswax, bees eat 6 to 8 pounds of honey (approx. 6 pounds of honey to 2.72 kilos). The honeycomb consists of hexagonal cylinders that fit perfectly side-by-side and is one of the strongest shapes in nature created using a small amount of material.

Sourcing Our Beeswax
Like all of the natural skincare ingredients in Tri-Balm, our beeswax is ethically sourced and is a cosmetically approved material. Our 100% beeswax is “Globally Sourced” to ensure stocks are not depleted in any specific area - and it is also Kosher and Halal approved. The beekeepers that produce our beeswax only collect the beeswax when the supers – the exterior honeycombs where excess honey is stored – are full. By doing this, they don’t disturb the main body of the hive where the bees live, ensuring that the bees can continue their work undisturbed.

The Power of Beeswax
One of the most trusted and versatile waxes used in skincare, beeswax is rich in emulsifiers which gently cleanse by removing impurities without irritating the skin or blocking pores. It is also packed with protective essential fatty acids (EFAs) including omega 3 and omega 6. These help to maintain the skin's natural protective barrier, vital for locking in moisture. An effective humectant, it also attracts water to the skin to keep it moisturised, as well as having anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. And it contains Vitamin A, vital for the production of collagen and elastin and beneficial for treating skin problems such as acne.

Do Your Bit for Bees

Honey bee populations have been in decline since the 1940s – possibly the result of increased air pollution, higher levels of pesticides, climate change and fewer flower varieties. The good news is that there are simple things we can all do to increase local honey bee survival.

• Plant flowers and herbs that attract and feed bees

I love bees and want to support their plight, so I’ve planted heaps of lavender, as well as other blue and purple flowering plants which are especially attractive to bees. These include Allium, any variety of Crocus, Dahlias, Cornflowers, Globe Thistles, Sage, Borage and Rosemary. Take your pick – there are so many bee-attracters.

• Adopt a beehive
Get in touch with your local beekeeping association and adopt a beehive. You can support the survival of the species without having to take up beekeeping. For information on British schemes, contact The British Beekeepers Association

• Go wild

If you have space in your garden, set aside a small area where weeds and wild flowers can flourish. This is one of the best things you can do to encourage bees. And it goes without saying – avoid using pesticides at all costs.

• Bee inspired

Find out everything you need to know when it comes to bees and beekeeping in Andrew Davies beautiful and practical book, Beekeeping, £6.99, whether your garden is ‘a large country plot or an urban rooftop terrace’.

19 May 2017

Photography by kind permission of Piers Golden