We love a good collaboration and we can’t bee-lieve it’s been a year since our last offering with Candice of Sonoma County Bee Company! If you know Candice, you know that she’s an incredibly warm, happy, and kind-hearted person who’s greatly intuitive with the Earth and its natural cycles. Our sister-love for Candice is never ending and we’re so thrilled to be offering you our fourth collaboration with Sonoma County Bee Co.!
In the wake of so many massive years of change, what we want to offer this year the most is healing. Time to heal ourselves. This year, we’ve stepped away from the still and created something brand new for the holiday season… Welcome, Healing Mask and Honey Mask Set!
Our synergistic mask set is essential for any home apothecary and is made from all organic and cared-for plants and honey, handmade with love in northern California. Our powdered healing mask from Botnia features yarrow, calendula, and oats, while Sonoma Bee’s honey mask is infused with rose, Oregon grape root, kelp, and propolis extracts. Combined together, this mask set is perfect for anyone who has barrier-compromised and inflamed skin. Our healing masks have been created to work together, helping your skin heal, but also giving you time to heal. Our hope is that these masks will inspire you to carve out 5 to 10 minutes of healing quiet time to lie down and be nourished.
What makes Sonoma County Bee Company’s honey different?
In the past, we weren’t particularly partial to using honey for skincare because sourcing truly matters when it comes to using ingredients on your precious skin! As with all ingredients in our skincare, we have witnessed firsthand how organic, natural botanicals and extracts can dramatically improve skin health. This experience is why we take great care to source the highest quality ingredients as locally as possible.
Candice and her beekeepers practice treatment-free and feed-free beekeeping. This means that they never use chemicals on their bees in any way, and never feed them sugar syrup. They do their best to work with nature and the natural cycle of the superorganism. They let the bees be bees. Sonoma Bee’s honey is ethically harvested, only when there’s a surplus. They take great care to recognize how much honey is needed for the bees’ survival over the cool winter months. Their honey is real honey and they really care for our bees. There are many changes Candice and her team are trying to make to the honey industry and these are just a few. Doing their best to care for their bees better than before!
This particular honey mask is different from the honey you might use for your tea. Adding elevated benefits to this honey with herbal glycerites specific for nourishing and rejuvenating the skin. While you can eat this honey the taste may be more bitter than you care to enjoy.
Q & A with Candice of Sonoma County Bee Company
Botnia: Why should we choose organic honey over conventional honey?
Candice: Honey is one of the most adulterated foods on the planet. Substitutes like rice syrup and corn syrup can be used to bulk up the yields. You should always try to find a local beekeeper to buy from. You can contact your local beekeepers association as well, I’m sure they would happily provide you with a list of names and farms.
Botnia: What are the benefits of using honey in skincare?
Candice: Honey is naturally antibacterial. Aiding in preventing breakouts. Honey also contains antioxidants protecting against oxidative and environmental damage. Honey is hygroscopic (draws in moisture from the air), and emollient (softens the skin). Honey contains amino acids that are essential for maintaining hydration. Proline is an abundant amino acid and works to evenly disperse water over the surface of the skin.
Botnia: What are some historical uses of honey as skincare?
Candice: Honey is not new to skincare. It’s said that Cleopatra took baths of honey and milk steeped with roses. Sounds amazing, right? Honey has historical uses for healing going back to Ancient Greece. Even though cultures may not have known the science behind why honey would be beneficial they were still keen on rubbing it on cuts and wounds. They must have known something. As far as skincare ingredients go, honey hasn’t received as much scientific research as other ingredients.
Botnia: Who should be using honey in their skincare routine?
Candice: Honey is beneficial for anyone to use on their skin. Our bodies have evolved with plants. And the honeybees are evolving with that plant nectar and we’re just putting that plant nectar on our skin, so I think it’s one of the most literal ways we can connect with nature.
Botnia: What are the benefits of the other ingredients in this honey infusion? (Glycerin, rose extract, Oregon grape root extract, kelp extract, propolis extract)
Candice: We wanted to give your skin the natural enzymes and minerals found in raw honey and add beneficial and soothing herbs. So rather than infusing herbs into the honey (having to heat the honey would destroy this), we used vegetable glycerin for our plant extracts. We can extract the herbs at a higher temperature, pulling more constituents into this healing honey mask.
Rose is high in antioxidants and aids in regenerating skin cells.
Oregon grape root has a wide range in Northern CA northward to British Columbia. One of its primary bioactive agents isoquinoline alkaloids are well known for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Kelp is mucilaginous (sticky) and antioxidants help to protect your skin from UVA rays.
Our Propolis extract rounds out the mask with another powerful antioxidant and moisturizing. Propolis is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It contains terpenes which are antimicrobial and antifungal. Oftentimes beeswax can be confused with propolis. Propolis is a resin produced by honey bees. Honey bees collect resins from trees and young flowers. They coat the inside of their hive with propolis, filling cracks and holes and they even create a propolis “door mat” at the entrance. Wipe your feet, ladies!
Botnia: What’s your favorite part about making this honey mask?
Candice: I love mixing the ingredients together. They all need to be similar in temperature to combine. I warm up my workshop where I crush and strain our honey. The room gets to about 85 degrees, so the smells are wonderful and the warmth is so comforting.
How to use our mask set
Combine ¼ tsp Botnia Healing Mask and ¼ tsp Sonoma County Bee Company Honey Mask in a small bowl. Mix well. Apply the mask to freshly cleansed skin. Lay in a calm and nervous system-supportive environment: enjoy tea and turn on your favorite relaxing music. Let sit for 15 minutes and rinse clean with a warm washcloth. Apply your favorite moisturizer or facial oil and enjoy your freshly nourished skin!
Troubleshooting honey crystallization — It’s alive!
A note from Candice: Honey will crystallize. I always have to remind people of this and I just want to shout it from the rooftops that if you have honey on your shelves for years and it’s not crystallized, it’s probably not all real. It’s likely been mixed with rice syrup or corn syrup, so I always celebrate when my honey crystallizes! We say, “Keep it crunchy.”
A few things you can do with your crystallized honey: mix it with mustard for a delicious honey mustard. The crystals tend to break down because mustard contains allyl isothiocyanate, a compound that produces that nasal clearing sensation that wasabi and horseradish are also known for. Yay science!
You can also mix your crystallized honey with some butter for a delicious honey butter that pops. Or simply melt the honey into your hot cup of tea. Just don’t throw it out. Honey in all forms is gold.
If you’re looking for that smooth-flowing fluid that you want to spread on your skin, you can simply place the crystallized honey in a warm water bath on a slow and low simmer until it has melted to its liquid form.
Or, try leaving it in your car on a warm day or in a sunny window.
There’s no need to throw it out! Active honey crystallizes. Temperature fluctuations and the amount of sucrose in the flower nectar cause crystallization over time. When honey inside the hive crystalizes, the bees work to warm that honey by adding small droplets of water. The bees won’t waste that so we won’t either.
For both Candice and me, it’s an honor to create quality skincare for you. Each part of making these masks was considered, so you have only the highest quality products on your skin. And that makes us giddy. We hope you use this mask or gift it to those you love with good health and glowing, vibrant skin, knowing the women who stand behind each seed, plant, and bee.
Justine, founder of Botnia Skincare
& Candice, founder of Sonoma County Bee Company
P.S. If you’d like to read about the story of our mask set, find it here.