The Buzz on Beeswax
It's easy to make your own lip balm
By Sean Conway, Tribune Media Services, 5/10/2010
There are some things our technologically advanced society just can't improve on. The honeybee is one of them. Since ancient times honeybees have been kept and appreciated not just for their honey but also for the waxy multicell comb they produce to store it in.
Melted honeycomb produces what we commonly refer to as beeswax, a material that since ancient times has been put to many different uses, from manufacturing to food production to the arts…
By now beeswax has been largely displaced from these traditional uses by newer materials and techniques, but it remains much in demand for specialty products that take advantage of its unique qualities. Beeswax candles, for example, burn largely without producing the smoke and dripping characteristic of other candles. Beeswax is valued for its emollient, softening and antibacterial properties. Thus it's a common ingredient in skin care products such as moisturizer and lip balm.
Brenda Brock, owner of Farmaesthetics (farmaesthetics.com), a company that creates organic skin-care products for select spas, boutiques and high-end hotels such as the Four Seasons, stopped by to tape a segment of this week's episode of "Cultivating Life." Brock shared a simple recipe for lip salve that combines local beeswax and fresh herbs from the garden (which is described below)…
The materials you'll need to make Brenda's beeswax lip balm include a quart-size storage jar with cover, a strainer, some cheesecloth, a double boiler, and small new or recycled containers for the finished salve.
Also assemble these ingredients: about 1/2 cup (packed) lemon balm leaves, washed and dried; 1/2 cup organic almond, grapeseed or soy oil; 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E; 2 teaspoons organic beeswax; and 1/4 teaspoon pink grapefruit essential oil. Note: If you can't find lemon balm, lavender or mint can be substituted.
1. Put the lemon balm leaves in the jar; pour the almond oil over the mint, then add vitamin E. Cover tightly; let mixture set a week or longer in a cool, dark place. This will allow the essential oils of the lemon balm to infuse the almond oil.
2. Strain the oil-herb infusion twice through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to separate the oils from the lemon balm. Discard the lemon balm.
3. Combine the infused oil and beeswax in a double boiler. Heat gently (but do not boil) over low heat until the beeswax is melted. Remove pan from heat; add the grapefruit essential oil. Pour mixture into tiny lip pots or jars. Allow to cool; cap securely…