Summer is finally here, yes the weather is debatable, but it is great to be outdoors. Flowers are in bloom and bees are buzzing – well for the minute anyway.
Bees have been here for thousands of years, living along side us providing an abundant of food with their fine art of pollination. However, we all know that something has gone wrong. No-one knows exactly what; climate change, loss of habitat and wild flowers and pesticides are just but a few of the suspected culprits. Whatever the reason or reasons, it’s clear that man is the main instigator. We are destroying the bees – ironic really seeing that we need them so much. Bees pollinate around 75% of our main food crops, so we’ll be kind of stuffed without them.
As well as a KEY role in our survival, the bee’s production of honey is another thing that has served us well throughout history. Honey has long been a prized possession, dating back to ancient times. Nowadays it is well known for its health and medicinal purposes, it is also amazing for our skin so therefore is a popular ingredient in many skincare brands.
If we want to continue benefiting from this precious commodity, we need to start doing our bit to help the bees.
We CAN make a difference by making sure we choose brands that practice good ethics when it comes to their honey (also by choosing organic whenever we can, avoiding pesticides, fungicides and insecticides in our garden and planting bee friendly plants and flowers).
Therapi Honey Skincare is a prime example of a brand that harnesses the power of honey, while also doing an incredible job of protecting bees and raising awareness of their plight. Therapi’s founder Tanya Hawkes, has been a Bee Keeper for over 25 years, so to say she knows a thing or two about them is an understatement. It was her love of bees that started the range and continues to drive it. The entire range is Soil Association certified and 5% of profits go to bee conservation projects. The welfare of bees is paramount to the brand;
“our aim is to do as much as we can to reverse the decline in bee numbers and the loss of biodiversity”.
There are currently three product lines – Rose Otto for normal to dry skin, Orange Blossom for normal skin and Lemon Myrtle for oily and combination skin. All products are made in-house using plant based ingredients such as cold-pressed organic oils and plant butters which are then mixed with the magic honey, beeswax and propolis. It is a beautiful range that can work wonders for your skin.
Tanya very kindly answered some questions for me on organic beauty, organic honey and of course bees –
What does organic mean to you?
Organic is central to our philosophy of beauty as wellness and is the link between our two passions: exceptionally pure skincare and a love of nature.
In many ways, the ecology of the human body is a microcosm of the natural ecosystems that we are a part of, and it is through supporting these two holistically that we achieve wellness.
With organic you are getting the very best and cleanest ingredients, whilst promoting a sustainable system that not only benefits us but is making the world more beautiful and resilient in the process – as beekeepers, we love the fact that organic farms don’t allow toxic pesticides and are wonderfully biodiverse, supporting 50% more wildlife!
Why is organic beauty important?
Our skin is our largest organ and our interface with the external world – much of what we put onto our bodies penetrates the skin and accumulates in our tissues where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. By choosing organic beauty, you are not only choosing products that are free from all the nasties, but you are also choosing products that are full of nutrient-rich ingredients – in fact organic ingredients contain up to 70% more anti-oxidants than their non-organic counterparts!
However, it is important for organic products to be certified as unlike food, there is very little regulation in the beauty industry and companies can claim their products are organic when they may contain less than 1% of organic ingredients.
We work with the Soil Association for our organic certification as their logo is a guarantee that products meet the highest standards of quality, purity and transparency throughout the entire soil to skin chain. All aspects of production come under the certification process – from the farming techniques used to the environmental footprint of the packaging.
Soil Association certification also guarantees that ingredients are free from GM ingredients, nano-particles and have been grown without the use of toxic agrochemicals. Animal testing is prohibited and wild harvesting must be sustainable. Finally, all labeling must be clear, honest and include English in the INCI ingredient listing, so it really is the gold standard in organic beauty and we are incredibly proud to have it!
What beauty product couldn’t you live without?
Our Propolis+ Ultra Radiance Cream is my desert island product as it has completely transformed my skin. I have very reactive dry skin usually (my children would say crocodile skin) but this cream instantly gives me a super-hydrated, glowing-with-health complexion. I have been overwhelmed by the response to it and am delighted that so many people love it too – it has actually become our best-selling product!
What is inside your make-up bag?
I have a small but much loved selection of essentials. I love Ilia lipsticks and always have Bang Bang with me plus whatever other shade I’m trying from their range. I use W3LL PEOPLE mascara – black at the moment but I love the new plum colour and there is sometimes a dazzling pot of loveliness from RMS for my eyes, lips or cheeks, but my daughters keep stealing them!
I also carry a travel size bottle of our Rose Otto Hydrating Toner, which is the perfect on-the-go cleanse/tone/moisturise skin reviver – I use it in my hair too as a light moisturiser. I’m also never without a honey lip balm – we make a limited edition pot and I have one in every bag and pocket.
What beauty product should every woman own – is there a key product that every woman could benefit from?
Every woman is unique and her skincare needs to change with time and with the seasons, but regular gentle and effective cleansing is the first step to good skin health. I love our Honey Gel Cleansers and use them with a konjac sponge to give myself a daily mini facial.
What is the best piece of beauty advice that you were given and by whom?
‘Less is more’ is the beauty mantra of our talented cosmetic chemist who works with me on the Therapi products. I keep my skincare simple and use only the very best organic ingredients. I also subscribe to the idea that if you cannot put it in your body, why put in on your body? – which is why we only use food-grade ingredients in our products – it’s all about edible beauty!
Why is honey so good for our skin?
As a highly nutritious superfood, honey possesses many therapeutic properties that are beneficial for our skin, so much so that it is now widely used in western medicine to treat wounds and burns, accelerating tissue repair and preventing infection.
In skincare it is a multi-tasking hero: with high levels of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, honey provides essential skin nourishment and encourages cell regeneration, whilst its ability to attract and hold moisture makes it the perfect natural humectant to keep skin soft, supple and hydrated. It is also a natural anti-bacterial agent so is great for purifying blemish-prone skin and reducing inflammation.
What are the benefits of choosing organic honey over non-organic honey?
Honey like wine has terroir – the combination of soil, climate, landscape and flora reflect in the final product. Certified organic honey is made by bees living in areas free from toxic agrochemicals, often in pristine wilderness or areas where the balance of nature and human activity supports a rich biodiversity. This environment produces a pure high quality honey and one that is so much better for the bees and for us.
Just as importantly however, is that the beeswax is pure. Beeswax is a fat and therefore a sponge for chemicals in the environment, which means non-organic beeswax is often heavily contaminated – not good news for the bees or for your skincare.
Bees are in terrible danger, how can we make sure that our beauty regimes are bee-friendly?
You’d be surprised at how many products contain beeswax and it’s big business! It’s in moisturisers, lipsticks and even mascara so much more widely used than you might imagine. When you choose certified organic beauty products it is a guarantee not only of purity, but that the product is bee-friendly. The Soil Association set very high animal welfare standards and their organic certification means any honey or beeswax is sustainably and ethically produced – so look for their logo.
How else can we help bees in our every day lives?
The problems bees are facing are not confined to pollinators – the dramatic change in land use in the last 60 years has taken a terrible toll on much of our wildlife. Most of Britain’s countryside is farmland and sadly our food system currently relies heavily on toxic agrochemicals that accumulate in our soils and watercourses, and many pesticides like those in the neonicitinoid group act on bees as neurotoxins. Habitat fragmentation also means that there is not enough connectivity between habitats anymore so many species struggle to move between areas for mating, foraging and dispersal.
I believe that the plight of bees has a unique message. In many ways bees are the barometer by which we can measure our relationship with nature, and illustrate the synergy between land and man that is at the very heart of the organic movement. As consumers we can make an enormous difference by choosing to buy food produced on wildlife friendly farms where nature is encouraged – organic food is best wherever possible because the farms are carefully regulated.
We can also plant bee friendly plants in the garden (just be sure to check with your garden centre that the plants haven’t been doused in neonics!) and remember to leave some wild areas for habitat so that as a nation we can create an extensive patchwork of bee forage and provide bees and other pollinating insects with food and homes.
Like the bees, our aim should be to work with nature and leave the world more beautiful than we found it.
Thank you so much Tanya for your wonderful answers!
Has anyone else tried Therapi Honey Skincare? How are you making your beauty regime bee friendly?