Beeswax is secreted by worker honey bees for use in the construction of honeycomb. In its purest form Beeswax is white but most commonly seen in a variety of shades of yellow through to brown due to the natural colouring in the pollen, the age and care of the hive as well as the quantity of propolis present.
The most widely recognised bee is Apis mellifera which is native to Europe, Africa and latterly China. The worker bees feed on honey in order to produce the wax which is secreted from glands in liquid form which then solidifies into wax scales. These scales are in turn transformed into comb and cappings as required. To extract the Beeswax the honeycomb is melted with hot water and the crude wax skimmed off the surface.
In its raw state beeswax remains popular, after washing and filtering, for use in candle making and in the manufacture of comb foundation. For most commercial uses however, Beeswax requires further filtration and bleaching, after which it is graded into three main colours, white, light yellow and natural yellow.
In cosmetics beeswax is used as a thickening agent and an emulsifier. It has wonderful emollient, soothing and softening properties and helps the skin retain moisture. It will not cause a problem and clog the pores but brings a host of positive attributes, such as healing and antiseptic properties to the formulation.