With veganism becoming the most talked-about topic in the town, successful vegans and soon-to-be-vegans are growing extra conscious about their lifestyles. And this definitely goes way beyond what they eat. Veganism has spread its wings to include even the most essential of utility items in everyday life – whether it’s clothes, accessories or cosmetics like these cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics!
Cosmetics are the most recent of all to have joined the vegan bandwagon as ladies become more aware of what they use on their bodies. Well, at least the vegan ones do and after scrutinizing Vaseline petroleum jelly and cocoa butter’s vegan status, they’re now suspecting the identity of vegan beeswax. Here’s unraveling whether or not beeswax for cosmetics used in lip balms, lip glosses, hand creams, moisturizers, eye shadows, blush, and eye liners is vegan.
What is Beeswax?
Beeswax is a natural wax that’s created by honey bees. This natural substance is secreted by the glands of the female honey bees, also known as worker honey bees of the hive. These glands are found underneath their abdomen and the secreted beeswax is also called beeswax scale.
Is Beeswax Vegan?
No, Beeswax isn’t vegan completely. But, there is a window in this which says, bees are not hurt while extracting beeswax, hence, vegans can use Beeswax. So, some vegans do use beeswax while some doesn’t. Now, it is completely on your disposal to use it or not.
How is Beeswax Made?
The process starts when bees consume honey produced from the flower nectar that they collect. Interestingly, the young worker (female) bees which are considered to be the most efficient at wax production need to ingest at least 6-8 pounds of honey to produce 1 pound wax! This beeswax is then used to build honeycombs wherein the bees raise the young and also store pollen and honey. What is beeswax made of? Esters of fatty acids and several long-chain alcohols.
Reasons to Avoid Beeswax
Of late, there’s been a lot of hullabaloo about keeping all sorts of non-vegan cosmetic products at bay and beeswax features in the list too. Why’s everybody talking about avoiding this important ingredient in creams and lip balms which makes our skin so soft, smooth and shiny? Let’s take a look.
For some people, even vegans, using beeswax isn’t really an issue because they feel that it’s a product obtained from bees in a natural way. Which is to say that it doesn’t involve harming the bees in any way – it’s just a natural process carried out by them so why should it bother us? Here’s why.
Sufficient research has gone in to prove that the process of harvesting beeswax by beekeepers isn’t really that “clean”. If not carried out properly, it can indeed harm the bees. Beeswax is believed to have been derived by pouring boiling water over a honeycomb to melt it. The wax is then strained and cooled for subsequent use. Besides, it’s also not uncommon for farmers to even cut off the wings of the queen bee to prevent her from leaving the bee colony.
Why Vegans Avoid Beeswax?
Going by the basic theory of veganism, any product, as long as it isn’t involve the dead meat of an animal is considered safe for consumption (this pertains essentially to food items). So, they do make use of beeswax at home even while preparing products at home like homemade deodorant.
For stricter vegans who extend application of this principle to day-to-day products in use, anything that’s derived from animals is a strict no-no. This is where beeswax derived from bees fits the bill.
However, for some vegans, the fact that the wax is bee-derivative isn’t the only problem. They’re more concerned about the way beeswax is harvested by beekeepers or farmers at be farms, especially those operating on large commercial scales.
The examples described in the above section are just a minor glimpse into the sorry state of affairs at bee farms. Some queen bees are even artificially inseminated at bee factory-farms, clearly indicating that the insect’s welfare isn’t really taken into consideration in the whole process.
Why is Honey Not Vegan?
This is another product from bees that vegans are sceptical of using. They believe that since honey is produced by bees after putting in considerable effort, exploiting that labour isn’t really fair. Besides, the same doubt arises over the harvesting methods followed by honey extractors at bee farms who may harm or kill bees.
Beeswax can be called vegetarian, of course, because it doesn’t contain any animal flesh per se. However, since vegans go a step further with their definition of the term, beeswax can not clearly be disregarded as non-vegan.
Due to this, some brands consider beeswax as vegan and do add it in their products. Companies like bare minerals do provide vegan products but, some products contain beeswax. Check this article to know whether bare minerals is vegan or not.
This is where beeswax is ticked off the cruelty-free list of products as well and can be safely termed not suitable for use by most vegans (who support cruelty-free products for use). However, the one good news that comes to light here is that you can easily find vegan beeswax alternative in the way of soy wax and candelilla wax. So go ahead vegans and use these guilt-free products on your skin.