Term ‘beegan skincare’ has recently taken off with brands like Skinfix using the label on many of their skincare products. So what exactly does beegan skincare mean and is it ethical?
What Is Beegan Skincare?
‘Beegan skincare’ refers to skincare that uses beeswax or honey – products made by honeybees. Beegan skincare can be considered ‘almost vegan’ as it is usually not tested on animals and does not include dead animal ingredients like collagen. It’s just nectar collected by bees.
At the first glance, distinguishing beegan skincare makes sense. Honey and beeswax are excellent natural ingredients that have been around for a long time. They are known for their soothing and emollient properties and they can be retrieved without killing the bees.
Today, you can also find many vegans that have given up every other animal product, except for honey. Honey seems innocent enough. After all, the world needs bees, doesn’t it?
Is Beegan Skincare Ethical?
Beegan skincare is not ethical from the perspective of veganism. Veganism believes that animals are not for us to use in any shape or form and that includes bees. As The Vegan Society puts it:
Harvesting honey does not correlate with The Vegan Society’s definition of veganism, which seeks to exclude not just cruelty, but exploitation.The Vegan Society
When it comes to beeswax or honey, the skincare industry also has a variety of alternative options available. Beeswax can be easily substituted with a variety of plant vaxes. Shea butter and vegan glycerin have similar properties to honey.
In addition, it is also possible to produce synthetic beeswax or honey as most ingredients in skincare are of synthetic origin anyway. Synthetic ingredients allow for better stability and absorption – there is no reason to believe synthetic beeswax is the exception in that regard.
Unlike food, skincare is a luxury rather than a necessity which only worsens the exploitation. Did you know that each bee produces just a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime? Adding it to moisturizers and soaps is mighty wasteful and it’s something we can easily avoid.
Unethical Practices In The Honey Industry
As with every large industry that uses animals as commodities, ethical issues in bee farming are bound to rise. Bees need honey to keep their hive healthy and nourished. In industrial farming, honey is replaced with cheap sugar that worsens the bees’ healthy as it’s much less nutritious.
Also, the overbreeding of bees negatively affects the population of other insects, including bumblebees. So while breeding bees, we are actually killing bees and harming natural biodiversities. As the article published in Scientific American explains:
High densities of honey bee colonies increase competition between native pollinators for forage, putting even more pressure on the wild species that are already in decline. Honey bees are extreme generalist foragers and monopolize floral resources, thus leading to exploitative competition—that is, where one species uses up a resource, not leaving enough to go around.Scientific American, 2020
Beegan skincare is a trend that communicates some positive values but still lacks the ethical grounds needed for us to support it. If you want to buy skincare that does not harm animals for sure, vegan skincare is the only way to go.
The technologies in the skincare industries are advanced enough to offer equally good synthetic or plant-based alternatives to honey and beeswax. Even Olehenriksen, one of the leading skincare brands, recently took a risk of reformulating its bestselling eye cream to include synthetic beeswax instead of the real one.
Industrial bee farming often comes with ethical and environmental concerns. If you do not want to contribute to these issues, start by choosing skincare that is vegan and cruelty-free.
See also: What Is Vegan Skincare?