Wax on or wax off?*
How many products do you see in the market place that contain wax? Not just bees wax, but candelilla, carnuba, VeeBee** wax etc. As you may well know, I love to research and with this I wanted to highlight the use of waxes in cosmetics, skin care and beyond.
Also, this is going back to part of the why, why White Cloud products have never contained beeswax and why I am now moving on from Candelilla wax.
So let's start:
Why is beeswax used?
It is silky soft and adds creaminess and helps with the stability in lip balms, body butters and more. It is also non toxic when burned for candles. It also has antibacterial properties for the sustainable Cling film alternative: the beeswax wrap.
How is beeswax made?
Beeswax is made by the bees, they secrete the wax to make the hive. To procure the wax that is then used for cosmetics, the hive is melted down, boiled and then cooled.
The ethical debate:
As there is such a demand for beeswax, this has led to unethical handling of honeybees and their hives. Not just the fact that often the entire hive is melted down but there is also concern that in order to obtain the hive, the Queen has her wings clipped so that she cannot leave. Certainly there are definitely bee keepers who ensure that the wax is ethically sourced and endeavour to not harm the bees in any way, but it is few and far between and as the global consumption of bee related products in on the rise exponentially this is a cause for concern for the ethical treatment of our most precious bees.
The vegan debate
As beeswax is created by the bees, it is considered an animal (or insect) by-product, so it cannot be classified as vegan.
So to the alternatives:
I began White Cloud using Candelilla wax as it has a very similar chemical make up as beeswax. However this comes with its own issues. The wax is sourced from a shrub that is native to Mexico. Even though there are assurances that obtaining the wax does not adversely affect the growth of the shrub and that there are no human rights violations during the procurement process, it is not 100% guarateed. So, quite frankly, I've ditched it from the White Cloud formulas.
I am now in the process of testing the viability of other waxes such as Rice Bran and Sunflower and looking at locally sourced Beeswax as this ensures the well being of the bees. I will keep you posted.
*(I could not resist a reference to one of the best films from the 90’s, and who didn’t try and balance on one foot in a tiger pose on a sunset drenched beach?)
** Do not be fooled by VeeWax, it is basically Candelilla wax, which, as stated above, has plenty of issues. I file Veewax under greenwashing.
Photo by Boris Smokrovic C/o UnSplash