I have recently added a most delicious ingredient to my deodorant: beeswax. This is my first encounter with beeswax and I am bowled over by its amazing texture, divine smell, and vast health benefits. When I make deodorant, I love swirling it into the mix and watching its rich gold colour change my deodorant into deliciousness. Besides making my deo smell and feel good, beeswax prevents Earth Ant deodorant from becoming too soft in the summer months, and gives it perfect anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. I did not want to add any artificial emulsifier to the mix, so beeswax did the trick!
When I started supplying Ethical Co-op with my deo, they were a lot more ethical then I imagined and scrutinised all my ingredients. They specifically wanted to know where my beeswax came from, and if the bees are farmed sustainably. My beeswax comes from my brother-in-law Mike Draxl, who is a part time beekeeper in Heidelberg, about 50km from Johannesburg. He wrote this about his bees that gives a little insight into the bee-keeping world and is definitely worth sharing:
African Wild Honey started with a few small hives and big dreams of achieving honey in its raw and natural state straight out of wild hives. Wild hives are everywhere, and bees find niches and holes in trees, old anthills and even the ground.
Mike Draxl, an engineer with a love for bees, tried beekeeping as a hobby and expanded it slowly when people in the surrounding farms asked him to remove troublesome hives. Our first caught bees were exactly these wild bees from trees stumps and holes, that we put into box hives on the highveld savanna and grasslands on a game farm outside of Heidelberg. Keeping the honey in its raw and natural state has been a primary focus since the beginning almost 10 years ago. Although some of our 100 hives are now sometimes kept where there is more nectar flow, such as in gardens and near bluegums, there are still about 30% of the hives which still find their nectar from the veld flowers. The honey is taken off the hive and spun out in a hand turned centrifuge, a labour of love by the beekeeper himself. It is then filtered through a cloth just to remove any bits, and that’s it! It goes straight into the bottle for your consumption.
Any wax which may come from the hive is put into our solar wax melter, an invention of Mike’s. The sun melts the wax and separates it from the left over honey and brood. What we get is a beautifully pure yellow wax with no impurities, heated only by the sun. We strive to add nothing, take nothing away, and have sustainable bee keeping practices at all times. This may be the reason why we have never found a bee disease in our hives as the bees are wild, coming from different strong genetic lines. The strength of a hive is often based on bee keeping practices, which Mike keeps with the highest quality standards that he can.