The Benefits of Beeswax in a Body Cream

nourish your skin with oil blends

nourish your skin with oil blends or should you use cream?

I love using oil blends on my body and try to do it daily, however I do know many people who just won’t use oil on their skin because it’s too high maintenance – meaning it’s too messy, or it ruins their underwear or it takes too long to soak in or blah, blah, blah! I may be preaching to the converted here but using oils on your body can be so beneficial. When I say “oils’ I am referring to coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil and other carrier oils. This past winter my skin looked like crocodile skin so I decided to whip up a batch of cream with beeswax, oils and cocoa butter (basically because that’s the stock I had available).

Bees and their beeswax - pic via sweetbeez.org

Bees and their beeswax – pic via sweetbeez.org

It did really help my skin and I remembered one of my clients saying that her facialist sometimes talked about the right time for cream and the right time for oil. So when your body skin is scaly and horrible, that would be the perfect time to use a cream.

Why?

In a body cream, if it’s made naturally, you’ll get oil, water and emulsifying wax at the very least. You may also get essential oils, beeswax, cocoa butter, mango butter or shea butter too, to make it rich and gorgeous. Then hopefully there will be some pure essential oils added to the mix to give you a scented experience and emotional support. If you have a cheap cream made in huge vats, by big companies that is sold all over the world you’ll get water with a whole lot of synthetic crap. So when I talk about using a body cream I’m referring to a beautiful hand-made cream or a high quality cream from a boutique shop, health food shop or a market.

Handmade cream - pic via tipjunkie.com

Handmade cream – pic via tipjunkie.com

In a body oil blend you’ll be getting a carrier oil (or oils), and some essential oils which in itself is a wonderful treat but sometimes you just need a little more.

What’s the diff?

The wax. And beeswax is the bomb and adds so much more to a cream than a synthetic wax could ever do.

 

pola wax - a synthetic emulsifying wax

pola wax – a synthetic emulsifying wax

Most people will also use an emulsifying wax that is sure to combine the oil and the water into a smooth cream, although I’m sure others could make a beautiful cream with only beeswax. It is now much easier to find a 100% natural emulsifying wax but many waxes sold on the market will have synthetics in them. If your emuslifying wax beads are very white they probably have some synthetics in them. Anything with a number in it, like PEG-150 Stearate, is synthetic. A lot of synthetic preparations are safe to use but some are not. You can check the toxicity of ingredients at www.ewg.org/skindeep/

 

Wax will

* provide a mild barrier between your skin and the environment and give protection which is wonderful for dry skin and rashes and will help the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis

* make your skin feel beautiful and soft as it acts as an humectant (draws and holds moisture) and as an emollient

* have some mild actions including being an anti-inflammatory agent as it has been used over the centuries for wound healing

* mild anti-bacterial action as in honey (we know to use honey for coughs and colds because of this)

 

I recommend using a combo of both oils and creams on your body, and as in everything in life, mix it up a bit.

And from William Cowper’s poem, “The Task” (1785): “Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor”.

 

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

 

 

Absolutes? Not Absolutely

the fragrant jasmine blossom

the fragrant jasmine blossom can be steam distilled or an absolute

Straight from Wikipedia I thought this was a good explanation of an absolute:

Used in perfumery and aromatherapy, absolutes are similar to essential oils. They are concentrated, highly-aromatic, oily mixtures extracted from plants. Whereas essential oils can typically be produced through steam distillation, absolutes require the use of solvent extraction techniques or more traditionally, through enfleurage.

So basically absolutes are essential oils derived from solvent extraction or enfleurage.

Enfleurage is a term to describe the extraction process. It can be cold or hot and unfortunately animal fats are used. Right off the bat that turns me off. I’m a vegetarian and have been for nearly 30 years. I don’t wear leather and try to be mindful of everything I buy or consume in my life. I don’t buy absolutes for this reason. This method was created hundreds of years ago specifically for perfumery. I really can’t think of anything worse than mixing botanical substances in hot tallow to extract a scent. Blah. And if you didn’t know –  hoofs and other materials from the bodies of horses, cows and pigs are boiled up to make things like tallow and gelatine.

I’m not even sure if this method is used in commercial production at all.

Adorable cow and calf

Adorable cow and calf

In both instances, once the fat is saturated with fragrance, it is then called the “enfleurage pomade”. The enfleurage pomade was either sold as it was, or it could be further washed or soaked in ethyl alcohol to draw the fragrant molecules into the alcohol. The alcohol is then separated from the fat and allowed to evaporate, leaving behind the absolute of the botanical matter. The spent fat is usually used to make soaps since it is still relatively fragrant.

Wikipedia

Then there’s solvent extraction which usually uses some type of chemical to extract the scent. Often hexane is used which some people claim is safe, but I’m not quite sure about that. It’s usually alcohol that’s used and I suppose it’s relatively harmless. When this method is used a “concrete” is formed, which is then soaked in alcohol. When the alcohol evaporates, the absolute remains.

the structure of hexane - from wikipedia

the structure of hexane – from wikipedia

Gasoline has a high amount of hexane but I’m not sure about the origin of the hexane that used in absolute production. I’m unsure if it would come from petrol, or if it would be synthesized in a lab and sold by chemical companies. At any rate, I’d prefer to buy a steam distilled oil, or an oil produced by CO2 extraction which is also called Super Critical extraction. That sounds a bit wrong but the CO2 method seems to be an environmentally friendly way to extract aromatic compounds. I’ll do a separate article on that.

tuberrose

tuberrose

Oils that you may find as an absolute –

Rose

Tuberrose

Jasmine

Oakmoss

Lotus – pink and white

Frangipani

Boronia

Beeswax

Labdanum

Tagetes

Tomato leaf

Violet leaf

Carnation

Champaka

And there are probably lots more too. It’s totally up to you as to what oils you buy but I prefer to choose oils that have a more simple extraction method.

Your thoughts?

oakmoss - is this sustainably produced?

oakmoss – is this sustainably produced?

 

copyright suzannerbanks 2013