Beeswax and organic olive oil are what I use as a base for my handcream (or skin balm as it could more accurately be named.) I can’t call my beeswax organic because that would require a 6 mile radius around my hives to be certified organic land. That is not possible anywhere in the UK! I guess I could import organic beeswax but that would increase the price of the product by a factor of about 5 which would make the cost prohibitive for the vast majority of my customers.
Many of my customers in Trumpington and Cambridge also value that they know where the beeswax has come from.
So, what exactly is beeswax? Chemically it is a long chain carbohydrate which has antibacterial and antifungal properties making it useful for skin preparations. The bees make “honeycomb” out of it both for storing honey and also for laying eggs/rearing brood in. If the comb has been used for brood because the cocoons that surround the larvae before they emerge are left in the cells, the wax will then need more filtering than if it has only contained honey before being used for skin preparations. It is made from the sugars contained in nectar and making 1lb of wax is equivalent in nectar terms of 7lbs of honey!
While in my skin balm I do not make use of this property, bees wax can act as an emulsifier, enabling water to be whipped into the mixture to form an emulsion which is what salad cream and skin creams are.
I do not call my preparations vegan as beeswax is an animal product. However some vegans are not as strict as others and some will eat honey and use preparations containing beeswax.