Sunday, December 5, 2010

What makes the Bees Knees so good?

When formulating the flavors and consistency of the Bees Knees lip balm, I consider several things.

When considering flavor, I consider pungency and aroma. When searching for a favorite lip balm, I, personally, am sold on the aromas.

When considering consistency, I strive to keep a healthy balance between wax and oils. Most lip balm fanatics know what they like, and many have said that they prefer LESS WAX, when it comes to what they put on their lips. You will find this lip balm to be lighter less waxy that some other lip balms. It glides on and is less invasive on the lips. And from my own personal experience, as well as the reviews of other customers, there isn't a need to constantly reapply the balm

The Bees Knees is choc-full of oils (including coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, vitamin E oil), lanolin, essential oils (with healing and aromatic properties), beeswax, honey and propolis.

Here are some of the benefits of each ingredient in the Bees Knees beeswax lip balm:

coconut oil:
It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. Coconut oil is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care.

jojoba oil: The oil is ideal for people who suffer from sensitive skin conditions. It helps soften the skin and when applied to your hair will increase its shine. It is also known to help reduce wrinkles. In addition, it helps promote the growth of new skin cells. It also possesses anti-bacterial qualities.

sweet almond oil
: Sweet almond oil is obtained from the dried kernels of the almond tree. It is an
excellent emollient, softening and soothing to the skin. It also helps to balance the loss and absorption of moisture, making it particularly effective for chapped and irritated skin, soothing it while nourishing and protecting. Since it is easily absorbed into the skin, it doesn't leave it feeling greasy or tacky. It is used to soften the skin and to promote a clear, young looking complexion. It is a greatly nourishing and protecting oil and is ideal for chapped and irritated skin.

vitamin E
: because of its antioxidant activity, vitamin e is vital in protecting skin cells from ultra violet light, pollution, drugs, and other elements that produce cell damaging free radicals. Vitamin e lotions provide some benefit in preventing and treating sunburns.

lanolin: Lanolin is the natural oil found in sheep's wool. It helps protect the sheep from cold, wet weather by making the wool oily and water-repellent. Sheep are trimmed of their wool regularly, and when that wool is processed for making yarn, the lanolin is removed and saved for use in a variety of products, including skin and haircare products, where it acts as a strong moisturizer.

Lanolin is one of the best substances for use on delicate, dry or chapped skin.

Lanolin works by creating a barrier on the surface of the skin to help prevent water from evaporating. The skin makes natural oils for this purpose, of course, but these oils can be washed away, leaving the skin dry and chapped. At times, the environment may be colder, drier or windier for your skin oils to handle, and adding extra oil on the surface helps gives extra protection.

beeswax: Beeswax locks in moisture, fosters cells and protects skin from damaging environmental factors. reports beeswax effectively "softens your skin and creates a long-lasting protective coating against the elements. It also is a naturally nourishing moisturizer as well as being anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic and a germicidal antioxidant." According to, "Even after processing, beeswax still remains a biologically active product, retaining some anti-bacterial properties and also contains some vitamin A, which is necessary for normal cell development."

honey: Honey is a great ingredient because it doesn't only act as an antibacterial it acts as a moisturizer as well, hydrating and softening the skin. Because honey is a humectant it attracts and preserves water therefore aiding in skin hydration.

propolis: Propolis is a sticky resin, which seeps from the buds of certain trees. The bees gather propolis, sometimes called “bee glue” and carry it home in their pollen baskets. The worker bees then take the resinous material and add salivary secretions and wax flakes to it and use the bee propolis in two ways: firstly to reinforce the hive itself, and secondly propolis protects the hive from bacterial and viral infection.    

The major benefit of propolis is that it is powerfully antiseptic and antiviral.
It is an anti-oxidant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral.

Friday, December 3, 2010

COMING SOON to Reflections bookstore...

Attention Balm Enthusiasts,

For the convenience of everyone, I am currently working to coordinate selling the Bees Knees lip balm in Reflections bookstore. Although I currently offer ten flavors, I'd like to start by making the top five most-popular flavors available at the bookstore.

I am currently surveying to determine the top picks. In the running are: vanilla mint, peppermint twist, coconut creme, mint chocolate, cinnamon stick and tangerine.

It is my hope that offering the Bees Knees in the bookstore will ensure convenience for YOU, the buyer, as well as for me. You will be able to purchase on-demand and not have to coordinate payment/pickup with me. We'll give it a go and see how it works! As always, I appreciate your feedback.

photo courtesy Reflections Bookstore

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coming this week: Sweet Bee Exfoliating Skin Scrubs

Sweet Bee Sugar Scrub: sugar, vitamin E, olive oil and essential oils combine to create a tranquil and smoothing exfoliating scrub for more sensitive skin. Currently available in lavender, lavender-vanilla, tangerine, and peppermint.

Sweet Bee Sea Salt Scrub
: sea salt, vitamin E, olive oil, and essential oils combine to provide a wonderful exfoliating scrub for dry and less sensitive skin. Currently available in lavender, lavender-vanilla, tangerine-coconut, and peppermint.

Sweet Bee Invigorating Coffee Body Scrub: ground coffee, sugar, vanilla bean, vitamin E and coconut oil combine to make a delightfully warm and gentle exfoliating scrub.

These scrubs are to be applied directly to the skin (preferably in the shower, as your skin is moistened and pores opened) and rubbed in a circular motion with fingertips, washcloth or loofah. Rinse off and pat skin dry.

Can't decide what best suits your skin type? See the chart below for a comparison of the salt and sugar scrubs. These scrubs make a wonderful PRE-SHAVE exfoliate.

These scrubs are designed to exfoliate and moisturize with healing oils. They can be customized to meet your personal skincare needs. CALL OR EMAIL to request yours or to determine what would work best for your needs. The cost for each 3 oz. scrub is 50 cents.

Healing hand salves and soothing vapor rubs, just in time for winter....COMING SOON!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Survey of Demand: Vapor and Hand salves

I am currently contemplating two new beeswax products: a lavender or eucalyptus vapor salve (very similar to Vick's vapor rub) and a hand salve. These products would be very useful for the approaching winter season.

I'd like to get a feel for the demand. If you would like to see these products available for purchase, please leave a comment in the "comments" section of this post.

Thank you for your help!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the BUZZ around here...

The Bees Knees lip balm: I just ordered 500 more tubes for lip balm. They should arrive midweek, and we've got PLENTY of McCarty beeswax....therefore, MORE LIP BALM ON THE WAY, folks!

I am working to add more flavors, but I want to test demand before investing MORE money into the operation. It will be safe to say, I should have each of the flavors below available by the beginning of next week:

Vanilla Mint
Orange Spice (our seasonal scent--think orange, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla)
Peppermint Twist
Dolce Cappuccino
Honey Lemon
Lemon Mint
Cinnamon Stick

If there's a flavor combination from above that you'd like me to custom-make, I may be able to do that for you.

McCarty Apiaries Raw Honey
All honey from last week's extraction has been sold. We plan to extract again in the late spring; if we have any available before then, I will contact those on our waiting list.

An aside: It was accidental that we had honey to sell this year, as we (the bees, primarily) usually only produce half of what they did this year. We are hopeful that our hives will remain strong (and not swarm this year) and the queens will produce even stronger hives than last year. We, here at McCarty Apiaries (primarily the senior beekeeper) will work hard to make the bees' winter easy and spring much alive for them--all in hopes for a fruitful yield next extraction!

If you are not on our waiting list and wish to be, reply to this post or email us direct at

Sunday, October 24, 2010

THE BEES KNEES: for sale

it starts here...
the star ingredient, the beeswax, was absent for the shot

and ends here:
an all-natural lip balm, a blend of beeswax,vitamin E, lanolin,joboba oil, coconut and essential oils.

"the bees knees" is a term indicating excellence of quality.
Bees carry pollen back to the hive in sacs on their legs. The allusion in this term is to the concentrated goodness to be found around the bee's knees.

Today was my first (of many to come) attempt at crafting my own lip balm. By blending beeswax from our own McCarty Apiaries, with vitamin E, lanolin, coconut oil, jojoba oil and essential oils, I created 50 tubes of lip balm with MINIMAL ingredients.

After experimenting with my first batch, I was able to perfect the recipe, providing the best consistency with a comfortable level of flavor. The Bees Knees is currently available in Orange Spice, Vanilla Mint, Peppermint, and Tangerine flavors. More flavors, including Cappuccino, Lemon, Lemon Mint and Cinnamon, to come within the next week or so!

If you are interested in purchasing YOUR OWN Bees Knees, please contact me, via this post, email, or by phone. The cost is $2 per tube.

BEEmused: Honey Extraction 2010!

the extraction begins HERE:
incensing the bees as you remove the frames from the beehives. Our senior beekeeper was stung four times, his youngest apprentice, only three. :(

The above is a photo of a filled frame before uncapping.

these particular frames had been frozen.
He heated the wax a bit to ensure it wasn't frozen.

The first step in the process is to break or remove all of the caps, this may be accomplished with an automated uncapper or with a manually operated knife. The removed bits of wax, called uncappings, are rich in honey which can be slowly drained off with the help of some heating.

The uncapped frames are then placed in a honey extractor, which spins them so that most of the honey is removed by the force of spinning.

The resulting honey will contain bits of wax and must be passed through a screen so that clean liquid honey results.

more honey continues to drain from the wax from the extracted honey.
Unwanted hive debris, bits of wax, and so on may still appear in extracted honey no matter how carefully you perform the extraction process. After being jarred, the honey will naturally filter itself, as any wax and residue will rise to the top. Upon opening, the wax can be neatly scraped from the top before the first consumption.

Not necessarily part of the process, popcorn may be used to catch any stray drippings. (I caught the little guy doing this and thought the combination unusual. Think, caramel corn.)

the result: no-heat, unfiltered 100% raw Oklahoma honey.
We have about 17 quarts+ 30 pint-jars full, a decent yield for our small operation.
And because of the frozen frames taken from earlier in the year, we have TWO VARIETIES, each having a distinct flavor.

Any honey that can't be harvested, which includes any left on the frames after extraction, can be placed outside so that it will be reclaimed by the bees. This must be done early in the morning or late in the evening as the bees will aggressively harvest such a rich source. As I look out the back window this morning, I am watching them devour the remnants.

After extraction last night, we counted and estimated that we extracted twice as much as the past two years. This means that we may be able to sell and share our honey with others who have been asking. Of course, there will be a limited supply, but it is exciting to merely consider the yield.

Our extraction process has gotten much simpler and much less laborious, messy and time-consuming. Also, my appreciation for these thousands of busy bees has increased exponentially over the years. The entire process is amazing. Their God-given design allows us to enjoy and savor the fruits of THEIR hard work. And how fortunate we are to be able to do so!