Beeswax in lipbalm – ethical considerations for vegans

I’m ethical and mostly vegan, but I use beeswax (produced by highly evolved social insects) to make cosmetic products, because it’s simply the best base for skin care balms and cosmetics, and possibly the only wax with healing as well as protective qualities. We humans have been using it for skin care for time immemorial, as seen in ancient Egyptian pyramids.

Wild Bee Comb by
Wild Bee Comb by

In an ideal world, I would use only beeswax that is excess to the needs of the hive, collected from the outermost combs of happy hives, sustainably farmed on my countryside smallholding.

I myself don’t have such a smallholding, but I know some one who does.

One might argue that skilled beekeepers can extract beeswax with no harm to the hive, and that bees desperately need safe places (such as ethical farms) to live in this relentlessly exploited world – but there is no doubt that most beeswax “on the market” is extracted using modern industrial bee farming techniques that are are brutal, destructive and probably damage many of the health giving properties of bee products: honey, beeswax, and propolis.

Greenman has tried every kind of alternative wax ranging from hemp oil wax, to Candellila, to petroleum products, to synthetic waxes made from industrial olive oil production (see here for discussion of my researches). But I insist on organic purity and functional excellence.

There is no other wax that matches beeswax, with its tiny platelets formed by the rubbing action of millions of bees, and its mysterious healing qualities. Melting point, consistence at room temperature are handling considerations. But where real, pure, humanely farmed beeswax really comes into its own is in its healing and protective qualities. It naturally forms a waxy protective barrier, but also helps heal. How this healing happens is not scientifically proven, but my intuition and common sense points to the presence of propolis in the hive. Propolis is a powerful healing agent made by bees and used for the protection of the hive.

The beeswax we use at Greenman is as pure as you can get, coming from virgin African forests – and Soil Association Certified Organic.

It’s also humanely farmed, using traditional methods, and brings sympathetic trade to traditional communities in rural Africa. I enjoy working with this beeswax, as I come from Africa and have seen log-hive beekeepers at work in Western Zambia’s rain forest. I support the effort to give traditional cultures an alternative to being destroyed by globalised neoliberal capitalism, even if only a partial alternative.

Other ingredients in Greenman lip balm include:

Bees were traditionally kept in hollow logs, not only in Africa but around the world, with excess honey and comb cut from the outer comb, sometimes without upsetting the bees at all, or after driving the bees deep into the hive with smoke. When hives became old or diseased and the bees left or colonies died, they were cleansed with fire – no pesticides or antibiotics were used, and as a result, Africa remains free of the industrial bee-farming diseases such as varroa mite (recent reports say this is changing in Africa). Modern hives are now used by traditional bee farmers, but the traditional purity is assured by the integrity of traditional African farmers, who have used organic, herbal methods of pest control since time began, and the UK’s Soil Association Certificate.

Other ingredients in BeeBalm help protect and heal skin:

  • Tea Tree Oil, a great, proven anti-viral, anti bacterial anti-fungal and all-round antiseptic that helps heal cold – damaged skin.
  • Cocoa-butter is for moisturising luxury and hints of chocolate.
  • Wheatgerm oil is for anti-oxidant, vitamin E healing.

It’s all packed into a cute oval shaped lipstick that you can see the golden balm through. I keep a tube in my pocket, and have done so for the past 12 years, and use it for every little skin blemish that comes along.

To experience BeeBalm yourself (or PureBee for sensitive skin): follow the link to our ebay shop and we’ll post a tube to you:

Or click here for link to Greenman’s stockist in Brighton: the Honey Shop

Finally, a link to a video by Gaia Beekeeping, showing what a beehive in a log looks like

Thanks! Russell for Greenman Bodycare


Reflections on 12 years of making ethical bodycare products (the Beebalm story)

Greenman is my 12 year-old micro-bodycare-craft-enterprise, based in Brighton’s Seven Dials, where my companion. Depsite various setbacks over the decade and a but I’ve been doing this crazy thing, my companion and continue to blend and pour hand-made organic lipbalms using community-farmed Ethiopian forest beeswax in my studio in Seven Dials in Hove, England.

In the beginning I hoped to build my hobby of using natural oils to look after myself, into business that might even pay the rent, and who knew, the sky was the limit. I quickly ran into difficulties of trying to produce craft type goods in the industrialised West. Labour is too expensive, regulations are intense (lipbalm and body oil are regulated as cosmetics, and even the simplest formulation needs to be OK’d by a certified chemist), organic certification costs £600, supermarket distribution requires health and safety inspections of your premises. So you need business plan which can payback an investment, the plan itself costs money and so your overheads excalate to the point where you can only really consider an industrial sized project, for example farming out your production to antiseptic cosmetics laboratories in England, and, soon, you realise, you might as well be manufacturing in India or China and then your unit costs really come down. You can buy whole carton of product fr what it was costing you make single units. But can you really be sure the beeswax they are using is one you specified from the villages in Western Zambia or Ethiopia? I expereinced problems with distributors demanding price reductions for volume orders, and certifications as above. Greenman was not paying the rent, so I had to start night work in social care. So I withdrew from trying to succeed in national distribution, and nearly withdrew the product from sale altogether.

But a couple of people tracked me down, sending somewhat desperate emails, that BeeBalm was the only product that helped with life long problems with cold sores, or PureBee was the only product that helped the sensitive lips of a wind-instrument musicians, and could they buy a pack of ten… One woman was pregnant in hospital in Poland during COVID isolation, and demanded I airmail her a tube of BeeBalm as she had run out. These stories convinced me I must continue with BeeBalm at least for those who seemd to genuinely appraciate the product. So I continued making a few batches per year.

Then, my companion introduced me to a charming Polish Beekeeper who had set up shop in Brighton’s Old Market. This Gentleman keeps most of his bees in Poland, and his product is not certified organic. But he is a real appreciator of bees and their products, and understands what BeeBalm is, and was prepared to stock it even though it is more than double the cost of his in-house lipbalm. So, now, I have stockist again: Honey Shop Brighton

The beeswax we use as pure as you can get, coming from virgin African forest (Soil Association Certified Organic), and humanely farmed using traditional methods, bringing the benefits of traditional farming methods to traditional communities in rural Africa. I enjoy working with this beeswax, as I come from Africa and have seen log-hive beekeepers at work in Western Zambia’s rain forest. Bees were traditionally kept in hollow logs, with excess honey and comb cut from the outer comb after driving the bees deep into the hive with smoke. When hives become old or diseased and bees leave or colonies die, they are cleansed with fire – no pesticides/antibiotics are used, and as a result Africa remains free of the industrial bee-farming diseases. Modern hives are now used, but the traditional purity is assured by the integrity of traditional African farmers, and the UK’s Sol Association certificate.Other ingredients in my lipbalm include Tea Tree Oil, a great anti-viral and antiseptic that helps heal cold – damaged skin. Cocoa-butter is for moisturising luxury and hints of chocolate. Wheatgerm oil is for anti-oxidant, vitamin E healing. It’s all packed into a cute little oval shaped lipstick that you can see the golden balm through. I keep a tube in my pocket, and have done so for the past 12 years, and use it for every little skin blemish that comes along. And yes, I suppose it makes a great stocking filler or thoughtful seasonal present for the winter solstice, if that is your thing.

Follow the link for directions to Honey Shop – for links to online ebay shop ☀️

Or, buy a tube from our ebay shop – we’ll post it to you:

Click here to order BeeBalm

Click here to order PureBee.

Click here to go to Greenman website and for Honey Shop map

PS I now only make Greenman Body Oil to order. The sumptuous, deeply sensual undertones of Bulgarinian Rose Oil come at a price, and makes the product too expensive for everyday use, and too expensive to keep in stock as it is best fresh (useby 12 months). But if you do want a 30ml bottle for the £30 pricetag, please message me and I’ll do a special making for you. Link to product description here:

Fresh Lipbalm delivery to Honey Shop in Brighton

15 November 2021 – The Greenman team has made fresh batches of BeeBalm and PureBee lipbalm. We have now delivered to Brighton stockist, the Honey Shop, in the Open Market off London Road in central Brighton. The Honey Shop is the place to get honey and bee products in Brighton, stocking a wide variety of of honeys and a special health giving propolis extract. Honey is an appropriate stockist for Greenman lip balms, since they are made of special Ethiopian, community-farmed, organic beeswax, collected in virgin African forests. So they are very pure and health-giving!!!

Honey Shop’s owner at work, checking out his bees in the field

Get yours now from Honey Shop! Here’s the map to find Honey Shop (on contact page).

Fresh lipbalm supplies for Honey shop in Brighton’s Open Market (Greenman Beebalm and PureBee)

01 Dec 2020 Greenman has delivered fresh supplies of lipbalm to Green Valleys Honey shop in Brighton’s Open Market. There is a new retail price of £5.90, but Green Valleys has limited supplies for £4.50. Our last price increase was in 2012, and the cost of making by hand, and organic ingredients, has been going up. We think its worthwhile, as we, the makers, use the product daily, and it really works to keep skin and lips moisturised and healthy. We have come to rely on Beebalm to keep lips free of cold sores and minor infections, and also use it to protect minor cuts and burns. It is more expensive to buy ingredients and make in this way.

It is important to only use organic beeswax on your skin – as others may contain pesticides and antibiotics. Ours is not only organic, but community farmed in Ethiopia – see here for info. Tea Tree Oil is well known as an antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal agent. Wheatgerm and Camellia Oil nourish and protect. Our lipbalm is made from fresh ingredients and preservative free and is sold fresh.

Visit the Honey shop in central Brighton’s Open Market – the best selection of honey, plus magnificent bee products including the legendary Propolis tincture, also hand made. The Old Market is home to many artist shops and the Gallery 45 street art gallery, not to mention Reverb Radio studio, herbalists and other natural foods and vintage shops – well worth a visit:

Green Valleys honey shop – Google Maps:


You can also buy Greenman lipbalm online Click Here

Fresh stocks of Greenman Lipbalm in Brighton – deliveries to Hisbe (Supermarket rebels) and Green Valleys (‘Honey’ in the Open Market)

Ethiopian organic community farmed besswax being melted down for Greenman Lipbalm at Greenman's workshop in Brighton

Ethiopian organic community farmed besswax being melted down for Greenman Lipbalm at Greenman’s workshop in Brighton

Greenman has delivered fresh supplies of Greenman BeeBalm (with TeaTree for lip defense) and Purebee (with Camelia – no known sensitivities) lipbalm, to our stockists in Brighton: Hisbe in central Brighton, and Honey (Green Valleys), in the Open Market.

So supplies of your favourite, natural, pure, organic lipbalm with Ethiopian Organic Community Farmed Beeswax are available again in Brighton! Delays were due to problems sourcing cardboard tubes, so we are back to using plastic tubes for now. RRP £3.97 per tube.

Hisbe is an organic foodshop – . Green Valleys (Honey) supplies all manner of Bee products, including propolis and Greenman organic lipblam.

Green Valleys honey shop – Google Maps:


A new batch of Beebalm for spring equinox

We just made a new batch of Beebalm, and the colours seemed especially vibrant on this fine spring day in Brighton… here are some photos of the melting of golden Beeswax (certified organic and community farmed in Ethiopian forests), Cocoa Butter (Ghana), Wheat Germ Oil (France), Jojoba (Argentina) Tea Tree Oil (South Africa).On sale at Hisbe in Brighton, and Manuka Wholefoods in Chichester. Or buy online at Greenman.

Beebalm used to heal a cold sore in hospital – testimonial from Poland

Bee Balm TT prod shotI just received a brilliant testimonial from Poland:

“I had a bad cold sore at the time I had to go to the hospital to give birth to my baby and I took a few of the (medicated) cold sore patches with me (not to pass the infection to my baby), but they only made my cold sore worse.

After couple of days my husband brought me my lip balm (Greenman tea tree BeeBalm) and after couple of days not only it helped to soothe it but my cold sore was gone completely.

Ada (Poland)”

Cold sore remedies

Green man vine9 - webThere’s is a great, well researched and referenced account of how cold sores work on Disabled World. We can’t get rid of cold sores permanently, because the virus (Herpes Simplex) lives in our body and comes to the surface to reproduce when conditions are right. It likes warm, wet, acid environments – like around your lips. When your natural skin defences are down – say during sunburn, or winter wind and cold dehydration the virus surfaces and multiplies by invading vulnerable skin cells so causing the sore blister.

Remedy and Prevention: We can make conditions hard for the virus when it surfaces, and we can help our skin to heal, for example with the natural remedies in Greenman’s BeeBalm. In my experience daily use of BeeBalm keeps my lips in healthy condition and any cold sores are infrequent (around once a year, usually when I don’t use the balm for a few days), minor and brief (three days from tingle to gone).

There are many other natural remedies detailed in the Disabled World story – for more, click here:

To buy Greenman’s lipbalm, click here:


The original testimonial that Greenman’s Beebalm helps heal cold sores

My recent experience with Facebook/Shopify caused me to reflect on my claim that that Beebalm can help heal cold sores. The thing is, EVERY TIME time I get feedback when I supply a tube of BeeBalm to someone who has a cold sore, they say its a really good remedy:

  1. immediate comforting of sore
  2. over a day or so the sore/blister stops growing and dries out
  3. over the next few days the skin heals.

It’s logical really, Tea Tree Oil and Beeswax and Wheat Germ Oil have been known to provide anti viral, skin care and vitamin E properties for a long time.

In some cases, people have been using pharmacy medications to no avail, and even feel a bit desperate, and found BeeBalm to work. And they tell me, so I feel confident about recommending this as a remedy. I’m going get more testimonials organised. In the meantime, below is the original testimonial from my original blog that made me feel I should share my confidence with others.

Alicia’s letter (2012)

With permission, address withheld.

Re: Greenman BeeBalm

From: Alicia (address withheld)

Date:: Saturday, 8 September 2012, 19:58
Hello Russell
The BeeBalm works well. I have so far have not got a cold sore (knock on wood). I use the BeeBalm almost everyday and even gave one to my mother.
Sent from my iPhone
Alicia’s original paypal note (with her order for two tubes of BeeBalm)
“i heard that this will work for cold sores. im going to cross my fingers. i been having cold sores for a very long time. i frist got one at the age of 7 or 8.”



A fresh batch of Body Oil – Greenman’s luxuriant golden skin tonic to remind you of summer

Golden Wheatgerm

Golden, organic, unrefined, French wheatgerm oil – good for your skin

Golden and luxuriant in an understated, earthy way. Frankincense from Somalia, Moroccan rose absolute, unrefined, organic wheat germ oil from France, jojoba oil from Arizona, these are all wonderful, warm tonics for your skin. Counterpointed with Tea Tree and Eucalyptus to lend an antiseptic quality and keep the balance of your skin just right. Perfect for moisturising, shaving, rubbing into your hair, or beard, between your toes, wherever. Not tested on animals, but tested on ourselves since 1994. It’s made with the expensive premium products but we just can’t give them up!

380_12.08.04_Body_OilSo we made a fresh batch…. we have a limited quantity of 30ml bottles with spray tops for £10 plus post and packing… click on the link below to go to our Palpay buy buttons, and we’ll post to you.

Buy Body Oil –