Beeswax is one of the most commonly used waxes in cosmetics and other daily-use products. In the production of beeswax, humans do next to nothing. So you can say that beeswax is an all-natural product as it is made by hard-working, female worker bees.
These bees have wax-producing glands on their abdomen. Bees consume honey that they have produced from the collected flower nectar. The glands convert the sugar in the honey to wax, which is then secreted through tiny pores in the bee’s body as droplets that harden into wax when exposed to air.
These droplets sit as tiny, transparent flakes on the abdomen of the bees. After being chewed and then processed by the bee’s salivary secretions, the wax turns white and becomes soft and pliable enough to use as a construction material for the bees’ honeycomb which acts as a protective shield to keep out all the bad guys (such as competing, raiding bee colonies and pests).
The wax gradually changes color through the incorporation of honey, pollen, and propolis and darkens with age. Depending on the type of honey and pollen, the color of beeswax varies from tones of yellow, orange, and even red to brownish-black.
All around the world, bees are at risk of becoming an endangered species so it goes without saying we need to take good care of them. Worker bees need to eat 2.5 kg to 3.5 kg of honey to produce less than 0.5 kg of wax that is the building block and protective shield for their home – the honeycomb.
Beeswax remains a gorgeous addition in our formulations, but it’s not surprising that many formulators prefer vegan waxes in order to protect our lovely bees. If you use beeswax, we would like to recommend to do so sparingly and source it ethically and, if possible, from a local beekeeper whose bee-keeping practices you can see at first hand.