Cosmetic Beeswax – Why Using It Is Good for the Environment

Beeswax has been used as a cosmetic ingredient for hundreds, in not thousands of years. Its emollient and protective properties make it a very useful ingredient in moisturisers and lip gloss. A study by German scientists compared four products – two barrier creams and two moisturisers and found the moisturiser containing beeswax to be the most effective in protecting the hands of dental technicians handling irritating substances in their lab work.

Beswax never goes off – the one found in ancient Egyptian tombs is still usable today! It is sustainably produced and harvested without causing harm to bees. It seems and ideal cosmetic ingredient. But not everyone agrees. Over the last decades a vegan trend has developed. According to vegans beeswax is an unacceptable ingredient because it is of course of animal origin.

This trend puts some pressure on cosmetic companies and some have replaced beeswax with waxes of vegetal origin like carnauba or candelilla wax, or with hydrogenated vegetal oils.

We at The Herbjar have decided not to follow this trend even though it might lose us a few customers. Here is why. Leaving aside our dislike for hydrogenated fats and the technical reasons like melting point (which makes beeswax a better ingredient for moisturisers than carnauba or candelilla wax) using beeswax and bee products in general is the eco-friendly thing to do.

If the whole world went vegan overnight and we all stopped consuming  honey and beeswax, how many beekeepers would still be tending to their hives? The ones keeping bees for a living would certainly have to find something else to do. We would soon have an ecological catastrophe on our hands.

The honey bee has been in the news for a few years now, more precisely since the colony collapse disease first struck in 2006. Bad news have followed  every year since and we have been often reminded how much the ecosystem and our food production depends on the honey bee. There are tens of crops – from apples to onions to cauliflowers – that need insect pollination. With the advent of modern agriculture, the habitats of wild pollinators has been largely destroyed. Which means that we are now relying on the honey bee for some 80% of insect pollination.

The British Beekeepers Association recently reported that 33.8% of the honeybee colonies were lost over the winter, more than double the number reported last year. While scientists are trying to discover the exact causes of the problem and breed bees that are more resilient to disease, beekeepers across Europe and North America are under huge economic pressure. Buying their products, even if we have to pay more for honey and beeswax, will help them weather these hard times till a solution will hopefully be found.

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