Beeswax is a golden yellow wax produced in the beehive of honey bees (genus Apis). It’s made up mostly of the esters of fatty acids and is chemically very closely related to the other oils used for soap, lotions and balms. The beeswax that I use in my products comes to me in small beads that have been cleaned of impurities and are easy to weigh and pour.
In the hive, beeswax is used by bees as the structural foundation for their honeycomb storage system. People have used beeswax for centuries for a variety of purposes. In candles, beeswax is preferred because it’s clean burning and does not produce smoke like petroleum based waxes do. The Roman Catholic Church requires that the Easter Pascal candle be made of beeswax.
It has been traditionally used in art for lost wax casting and to make beautiful Russian Pysanky eggs. For many generations, beeswax was used by bagpipers to wax the hemp that protected the joints on drone and chanter stocks. The smell of beeswax always reminds me of my early years in music.
I melt a bit of beeswax with sweet almond oil and gently rub it onto the wood in my house to protect it. This is especially great for the cabinets near the sink that seem to always get splashed with water.
In body products, beeswax makes a wonderful, natural thickener and adds a protective barrier which locks in moisture. It also smells wonderful on its own and adds a hint of lovely amber color to products. I use beeswax in my highland Fling Soap, and in all of the lip balms and lotion bars. It's a wonderful, natural addition!