Almost all Au Natural Skinfood products contain world-famous super ingredient Manuka honey, which is provided to us by our hard-working honey bees. We care deeply for the wellbeing of our bees, and only use ethically harvested honey and venom. Read on to find out more about how we do this.
Au Natural Skinfood relies on the hard work of bees to produce our Manuka honey rich products. Living for just a short six weeks in the summer and four to six months in the winter, each bee only produces 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. Collectively, however, a hive makes enough honey to not only support itself over winter, but also to have a little extra, that beekeepers can harvest for food and of course for skincare.
Manuka bees collect nectar and pollen from flowering Manuka bushes native to New Zealand. Whilst carrying the collected nectar back to the hive, they break down the complex sucrose of the nectar into two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Tucking it neatly into a honeycomb cell, the bees then beat their wings over the newly gathered nectar to thicken it. When complete, the honeybees cap the cell with beeswax, sealing in the perfected Manuka honey.
Bees are an exceptionally important part of our ecosystem, and we need to look after them. You can rest assured that no bees are harmed in the making of our Au Natural Skinfood products – in fact they are treated like rock stars and given the very best environment to live and thrive off! We choose to source our active 16+ Manuka honey from local apiaries who use ethical and sustainable practices. This means that their hives must be placed in native vegetation free of GMO’s and pesticides, and the beekeepers must leave enough honey and pollen for the bees to feed on until the next season. Manuka honey harvesting must also be done without the use of synthetic repellents.
While honeybees may be small, they make an essential contribution to maintaining human health, and indeed, our survival. It is thought that one in three bites of food we eat depends on bees for its production, and their influence is spreading into health and skincare. Now is a perfect opportunity to plant something in your garden, or even in your kitchen or apartment, that will help to keep our honeybee population growing.
Our apiarist Will Silibourne from Whitestone Ridge in Oamaru in the South Island of New Zealand perhaps loves honeybees more than he loves people. The process of extracting our pure bee venom is done by placing a glass sheet into the beehive with a very weak electrical current running through it. When honeybees sit on the glass, the weak current encourages them to stick out their stingers and expel a small amount of venom, without removing their stingers. This encourages other bees to follow suit, due to the pheromones released. The bees then happily go about their business of collecting pollen unharmed. Once the bee venom is dry, it is scraped off the glass and put into our products.
Our beekeepers are careful to only remove honey that is capped off with wax, which indicates that honeybees have lowered the moisture content of the Manuka honey; too much moisture will lead to fermenting. To separate the honeybees from the Manuka honey, an escape board is placed under the hive the day before harvest. The bees head down the tunnel on the escape board and emerge in the brood area, so that the following day there are no bees in the hive and the Manuka honey is ready for harvest. Manuka honey is a particularly thick honey, which is harvested by gently scraping the honeycomb from the bee frames. To separate out of the wax, the Manuka honey is gently heated, put though a course filter to remove impurities and then it is ready to eat. Our Manuka honey is harvested using industry best-practice methods which are strictly cruelty free.
Wonders of Manuka Honey
Manuka honey comes from flowers of the Manuka bush, which bloom only 2-6 weeks per year and is native to New Zealand. Grown along remote and arid coastlines and sun-kissed by New Zealand’s intense UV light, further strengthening and protecting the bush. Manuka honey is the only honey with the unique ingredient methylglyoxal, which possesses powerful antimicrobial properties, with up to four times stronger anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties compared to regular honey. As well as skincare, Manuka honey is used in healthcare worldwide to treat wounds and burns. Superfood Manuka honey is the hero ingredient in Au Natural Skinfood’s products helping to balance our skins pH and microbiome.
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