Magic Manuka Balm

The story behind our Magic Manuka Balm

Exciting news here at Bee Sensual. We have a new and amazing product – Magic Manuka Balm!

How it came to be?

The owner of Kauri Cliffs wanted to meet with me last year to develop a range of manuka products for their spa. He had used manuka honey with great success on a wound on his leg and is now a firm believer in it’s amazing properties.

I played around with ratios of honey to my organic balm and eventually settled on the perfect blend – 15% 10+ manuka honey with organic beeswax, organic almond oil and vitamin e oil.

He loved it and when I trialled it on myself it left my skin feeling AMAZINGLY soft and hydrated. I fell in love. Since it has such a high manuka content I decided it must be good for all sorts of things and I set to work testing my theory. Not long thereafter I fell off my bicycle and grazed my elbow well and truly on rough tar (long and not so lady-like story) – great testing opportunity!

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1) 30 September 15 – 2) 11 October 15 – 3) 04 May 16

I know, elbows aren’t that sexy, but hey we’re all about self love here, and these pictures really show you the amazingness of what the balm did. The balm is literally all I ever used on it. I taped it up every morning and evening with a gauze and a good helping of the balm and it never scabbed, dried up or got infected! I was sold.

magic-manuka-balm-bee-sensualI’ve used it on pimples with great success and one of my friends loves using it as a deeply nourishing cleansing mask. It tastes amazing too (I know from making it), but I didn’t say that 😉 I also recently heard it did great things for someone’s eczema. So I’m looking forward to more stories!

Basically the balm is wonderful for pimples, scars, wounds, rashes, eczema, massage and pretty much anything else. If you would like to read more about our magic manuka honey collected by our bees from the many stands of native bush in the beautiful Far North, head over to our Ingredients page.

To purchase – head over to our shop 🙂

The Beginnings of a Natural Skincare Journey – Bee Sensual

So why Bee Sensual? I was asked the other day.

Hmmm. Great question. Where to start? I wondered. Do I go all the way back to my teenage years? Or later in the piece where meeting a beeman inspired me to combine my love of natural with the magic of bees and create a natural skincare product with the healing properties of honey? Or do I just go to the first time I got a concoction right and began creating names and logos? Hmmm…

Join me on the journey of natural skincare to find out why Bee Sensual began…

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Everyone loves natural skincare that’s animal friendly 🙂

In order to answer the above question I need to give you a little background.

I was the product of two very nature loving, eco-passionate parents who liked to live in remote places in South Africa. At about 14 I started using my first body moisturiser. It was a well known South African brand that my mum used because it didn’t have petroleum in the ingredients list + the company was very strong about beauty without cruelty and increasing awareness around animal testing. Since I had been awakened to label interrogation, the only facial product I used throughout my teenage years was aloe gel.

Skip forward about 10 years to NZ, where once again I was on the hunt for a natural skincare solution. At uni, in Dunedin, us girls fell in love with a cocoa butter brand that smelt deliciously tropical and reminded us of days on the beach, however left a lot to be desired on the ingredients list. So, true to my nature, I kept the hunt alive and one day at a market stumbled across a hand made Body Butter. Not only did it smell delicious, but it was almost completely natural. I was hooked. For the next few years this was my go-to.

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Cocoa butter in its raw form.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), the creator took a full time job and I could no longer order my Body Butter from her via email. Well, I thought to myself, the ingredients list doesn’t look too complicated…. Being a bit of a DIYer I decided I was going to try and recreate something similar, but even better. My love for creating wonderful natural skincare was born. In the process I studied every ingredient and found a couple of more suitable replacements that had a good reputation, and I decided to use 100% pure essential oils for the scent.

This journey to create my own natural skincare concoction came with many failed attempts. How on earth do you get the water and oil phases to stay together? What do you do when they separate? Which essential oils are going to be best together? How much cocoa butter do I put in to make it a body butter rather than a lotion?

Even though it wasn’t that long ago, Google was nothing like it is today, or maybe I wasn’t as adept at using it as I am now.

There was a lot of trial and error and for a while I gave up. I used some ‘natural’ brand that didn’t overly inspire me, and stored my creations away for a rainy day.

In 2007 I met a beekeeper, who is now my fiancé, and we travelled and worked in Australia for three years. In 2008, whilst living in our van at a honey factory in Tasmania I was once again inspired to try my hand at making my own natural skincare, only this time using the amazing leatherwood honey and beeswax as part of my concoction. There were failures, but also a few more results that began looking a little more like success.

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The amount of honey in this factory was overwhelming…in a delicious kind of way! Oh and the smells!

We’re getting closer…

Long story a little shorter, I kept playing. I built up a wonderful suitcase of all the different goodies used to create natural skincare. I did more research.

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Bee Sensual’s silky smooth Body Butter 🙂

By the time we came back to NZ in 2011 to start our own beekeeping business, I knew that I wanted to start my own natural skincare brand as well. By the end of that year I had drawn a million logos on a million different pieces of paper and slowly slowly it all came together at the end of 2012. My very own natural skincare dream became a reality – Bee Sensual. The tagline: Simply Sensuous Skin – natural handmade skincare.

I am now even more passionate about interrogating labels. Even when you see ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ on the front – you can’t always believe what they tell you and it pays to know what to look for on the back of a label. I am also even more passionate about using only 100% pure essential oils to create beautiful scent combinations for my natural skincare products.

Bee Sensual is continually evolving, and even though this story illustrates why it started, it is now so much more…. Not only am I passionate about using only natural products on your precious skin, but I believe deeply in taking these moments to be mindful, get in touch with our senses, take a few moments of me-time and gift ourselves with a dose of self-love that we all deserve.

I want all women (and men) to realise that beauty is not skin deep. Beauty is so much more than that. If you can start to see your own beauty and give yourself the love that you deserve, you will glow with an inner beauty that no concoctions can ever create, only enhance!

The bees know it’s spring…manuka is flowering

The bees know that it’s spring…

While us humans think that it is still winter, wet, windy and cold, the bees have other ideas! They are starting to build up their populations in anticipation of the first bloom of spring.

And for us here in the Far North the first bloom of the season comes in the form of manuka. Manuka honey has some delicious and unusual properties. First up, it is really difficult to extract or spin out of the comb. Once the bees collect the nectar and store it in the comb, the honey sets like jelly and will not cooperate with traditional honey extraction methods. A clever device has been developed which is known as a pricker; this device has thousands of plastic needles that extend into the comb to agitate each cell of manuka honey, break the surface tension and loosen it, ready to be spun out in the traditional manner (We’ll share pics when it’s being extracted).

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Manuka honey also has well known and documented anti-bacterial properties. This has been great for beekeepers, as the unique properties of the honey have driven demand up from all over the world and hence the price beekeepers receive per kilogram. The flip side of the high prices has seen many cowboys enter the industry, and the etiquette that once governed where hives were placed is harder to find. Our theory is to make the health and well-being of our bees number one, create wonderful relationships with our landowners, and see the silver linings 🙂

So for now our Bee Sensual hives are healthy with booming populations of bees and are sitting in sunny apiary sites with the beautiful manuka flowers starting to bloom en masse a short flight away! The season is off to a good start, now it is up the weather gods!

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Aroha,

Harlan and the bees x