Wellness Wednesday: Q&A with Burt's Bees

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Everywhere we turn it's 'use this natural product,' and 'eat this natural food,' and while it's impossible to know everything about the natural skincare and nutrition options out there, we're trying to educate ourselves one philosophy at a time.

Some natural beauty experts recommend using products made up almost exclusively of essential oils, some say your skincare products should be so pure you can eat them, and some say that not only should your products be clean, but they should be sustainable, too.

To address the sustainability and eco-friendly ideology, we had the privilege of chatting with ​Paula Alexander, Director of Sustainable Business at Burt's Bees. Read our Q&A with her below!

Natural skincare products are all the rage right now; what makes Burt's Bees different?

Burt's Bees was founded by an artist and a beekeeper over 30 years ago –- a time when the natural personal care industry didn't exist as we know it today. Since then, it's been wonderful to see people's awareness and interest in natural personal care continue to grow.

Back then, as is the case today, Burt's Bees remains guided by the wisdom, power and beauty of nature. This purpose permeates everything we do -– from how we view sustainability, looking holistically at how we care for the environment, to how we formulate our products, using natural ingredients and looking to Nature's billions of years of wisdom to guide our formulas.

Different skincare brands boast different natural ingredients. Why bee bi-products like beeswax, as opposed to others like aloe or oils? What are the unique benefits of bee bi-products?

Burt's Bees uses a variety of natural ingredients in our formulas, including botanical oils, extracts and butters like aloe, rosewater, and jojoba oil as well as ingredients from bees -- mainly beeswax, but also royal jelly.

We began using beeswax almost by accident -- our co-founder Burt was a beekeeper and had leftover beeswax from his hives. Out of resourcefulness, he sought out uses for the beeswax, first making candles, and later stumbling upon an old farmer's almanac recipe for lip balm.

Today, we continue to use beeswax in our products and in our formulas as a natural emulsifier to help lotions, balms and lip color products bind. The beeswax also helps to lock in moisture, but also allows moisture from the atmosphere in, forming a breathable barrier on the skin.

We keep hearing about the bee crisis; can you speak to this at all? Has the brand been affected or will it be at some point?

Our beeswax is wild-crafted in Eastern Africa, where beekeepers are not experiencing the same hive stressors to the extent found in North America and Europe, such as urbanization impacting habitat or pests like Varroa Mites. The beekeepers in these remote areas of Eastern Africa use a combination of new and traditional methods in a process that has been passed down through families for generations. You can watch a recent video on our Beeswax Sourcing currently on our website.

While our beeswax source isn't currently at risk, the health of pollinators is an issue which affects us all. Bees pollinate one third of the foods we eat, which also extends to many of the natural ingredients in our formulas. Since the onset of Colony Collapse Disorder in 2007, Burt's Bees' efforts to support pollinator health have spanned research, education and habitat conservation.

Right now, we're in the midst of a campaign to establish habitat called Bring Back The Bees. The USDA just recently announced that beekeepers saw colony losses of 44% last year. To spread awareness of this continual decline in bee populations, we've removed the letter "b" from our logo and social posts. For each purchase of one of our Limited Edition "Urt's Ees" Lip Balms or social post using the hashtag "#BringBackTheBees," we will plant 1,000 bee-feeding wildflowers, with a goal of one billion wildflowers! Readers can visit www.urtsees.com to get involved.

What are your tips for using and integrating Burt's Bees products into your lifestyle? Is there a particular recommended regimen for the products to work most effectively?

If you are just starting out exploring natural personal care, we have a variety of products -- from lip care and color to face care –- and for different skin needs. One of my personal favorites is our Cleansing Oil, which I like to apply at night for a more luxurious cleanse, applying directly to my skin first, then adding water and massaging in, before rinsing. In the morning, I don't wash my face as my skin tends to be on the dryer side, so I instead begin with our Rosewater Toner, followed by our Renewal Firming Serum and Day Lotion with SPF. And, I can't forget to include our new Lipsticks, which I'm especially proud of for their recyclable packaging and 60% post-consumer recycled content. In addition to their sustainable packaging, the formula is naturally moisturizing and available in a range of shades – Blush Basin being my personal go-to.

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