Organic skincare, green skincare, clean skincare . . . there are so many terms for skincare with good intentions… but have you heard of regenerative skincare? We’re not just talking about how our products help to regenerate your skin cells—we’re also taking important steps to source ingredients that help to regenerate the planet, too!
Re·gen·er·a·tive (adj.) to regrow, to be renewed or restored especially after being damaged or lost. The act or process of regenerating is regeneration.1
We truly care about the earth! As a team, we’re always trying to reduce our footprint in every department at Botnia. From offering recyclable and compostable shipping supplies, sourcing our ingredients as locally as possible, and soon, offering even more sustainable packaging (more to come in 2023!).
We can save our earth
Generations before us have long practiced working in harmony with the land, but in our modern times, we’re finding ways to do things faster than ever before. This unfortunate increase in pace has thrown off our natural rhythms, causing disruptions as minutely as within ourselves (which can show up as skin conditions, disease, and mental health issues) and affecting our planet worldwide. By bringing to light the choices we’re able to make every day, we can help turn this picture around. Working with local biodynamic farms like Open Field Farm in Petaluma, CA where we source our sweet Annie, yarrow, and meadowsweet, and regenerative farms like Tookey Farms in Forestville, CA, where we source our calendula, chamomile, and rose geranium, we’re supporting the small farms and farmers that rebuild the earth every day.
Regenerative beekeeping at Botnia
At our own Sausalito micro-farm, we’ve begun to incorporate biodynamic farming practices this year. An important part of biodynamic farming is cultivating a diverse farm, bringing animals and plants together as they would exist in a natural ecosystem.
We are now proud bee parents of our very own bee hive, with the help of our friend Candice of Sonoma County Bee Company! We love working with Candice because of her hands-off approach to keeping bees. Regenerative beekeeping focuses first and foremost on the needs of the bees, which is why it’s often referred to as “bee-centered beekeeping.” Regenerative beekeepers see bees as pollinators first and providers of the honey second, meaning that the hive is largely left alone to do its thing.
By welcoming a hive onto the micro-farm we’re increasing the pollinator diversity in our garden. You can think of bees as the MVP pollinators. Bee pollination is absolutely essential for plants to reproduce, generate seeds, and keep flowers and fruits blooming. We love this at the micro-farm because we harvest flowers from plants including rose, chamomile, yarrow, calendula, rose geranium, and sweet Annie for our skincare!
On the flip side, bees depend on plants for food, collecting nectar and pollen from flowers, so the wide variety of plants and herbs on the micro-farm (and beyond!) is a beautiful environment for them. And it isn’t just plants that benefit from bees – thriving flora provides habitat and food for other insects, birds, and animals and improves air quality in our community.
This year, we’re also giving the MVP award to Candice’s bees for helping to create the new honey mask that’s in our holiday healing mask set this year! Honey is extremely healing when used topically and works with all of Botnia’s powdered masks; it’s the perfect addition to your at-home skincare apothecary.
Bees are a community. There are different roles that each type of bee plays.
First, you have the queen bee. Her main goal is to lay enough eggs to populate the swarm if she’s healthy. That’s a lot of work for one bee! So, she has a posse of bees that focus on feeding her royal jelly, much like the grape feeders of the old Roman world. The posse follows her around and keeps her warm and happy throughout the year.
Once baby bees (brood) arrive in the spring, the nurse bees are the caretakers of the bee community. These bees never leave the hive and are responsible for feeding the baby bees royal jelly to help them grow up strong. The coolest thing about nurse bees is that they produce royal jelly from their own glands!
Drone bees are the only male bees in the community. Drone bees can be spotted by their eyes that are twice the size of a normal worker bee. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen to produce eggs. They don’t have stingers and are unable to feed themselves without the assistance of the worker bees. In late fall, the drone bees either die or get kicked out of the hive by worker bees as the drones would take all of the hive’s resources too quickly if they stayed. The drones return to the hive in late spring.
Lastly, we have the foragers or worker bees. Worker bees are all female and their main job is to gather pollen and bring it back to the hive to use as food for developing the brood. Worker bees can be spotted with their pollen baskets around their back legs and when traveling from flower to flower will help to cross-pollinate plants in nature. Most fruit and our world’s food supply rely on the bees’ work to pollinate: that’s why they are so important for our ecosystem! Other jobs of worker bees in addition to foraging pollen: honey sealing to keep the hive insulated, drone feeding, being part of the queen’s posse, honeycomb building, pollen packing, removing dead bees from the hive, protecting their environment, bringing water to the hive, and fanning the hive to keep the hive cool.
An update on Botnia’s bees
We’ve had our bee hive for about six months now and we’ve taken Candice’s hands-off approach seriously. Emily, our farmer, has only harvested a handful of honeycomb from the hive to give our bees some space to hibernate for the winter. Other than that, we’ve been monitoring their behavior each month and checking in with Candice to make sure they’re healthy and happy.
In the wintertime, our bees will still be active but more in survival mode. Since it’s too cold to forage they’ll be clustering and fattening up with their honey storage that will last them all winter long. This is why we don’t harvest any of the honey beforehand. If there’s not enough honey to last the winter, the hive will unfortunately die. If the weather is warm enough (like it can be in sunny California), you’ll still see the bees foraging for pollen.
In the spring, it’s swarm season when bees reproduce and find new places to build hives. We’re hoping to have another hive next year and are designing a swarm catcher to catch our own bees and prevent them from leaving our micro-farm.
When you use regenerative skincare, you can feel good knowing the choice you made to support regenerative practices honors our love for the earth. Mother Earth truly provides us with the most amazing healing ingredients that love and nourish us back.