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Why I No Longer Support Bee-Made Ingredients

Why I No Longer Support Bee-Made Ingredients

Updated May 17, 2019

Disclosure: I only highlight companies and products that align with Empower Palette’s values and/or I personally use. This blog receives a commission from purchases through some of the links in this post (affiliate links). To see a full list of the brands I earn commissions from, check out the shop page.

This week I was going to write a post about 9 honey-focused brands that help protect the bee population. But the deeper I dug, the more disturbed I was. The ingredients produced by bees include honey, beeswax, propolis, bee pollen oil, royal jelly and bee venom. The brands I looked at are considered cruelty-free, but I’m not convinced.

Based on my beliefs and lifestyle, I could not in good conscious write the original blog post after what I’ve learned.

So instead of listing brands and a few EP picks, I am sharing facts/information about these bee-made ingredients and how they are obtained.

When products I list on the blog aren’t vegan, it is often because the ingredients include honey or beeswax.

These ingredients truly are great for the skin. I won’t deny that, but there are other ways to get those skin benefits.


I have a few products with beeswax, so I won’t be buying those again.

If you currently use honey or beeswax for healing properties or hydration, let me know. I can recommend alternatives to suit your needs. I have also listed alternatives for each bee-produced ingredient.

I’m starting with the worst ingredient, bee venom, to put things into perspective for the way bees are treated.


In short, collecting bee venom is considered harmless because the honey bees don’t die or lose their stingers during the process of collection. The venom is in powder form as you can see above.

Honey bees often survive after stinging other insects while defending their nest. However, when attacking a human, their barbed stinger gets stuck in a person’s skin. When the bee tries to pull itself away, it actually tears it’s abdomen leaving the stinger behind. This massive abdominal rupture kills the bee within minutes.

“Bee venom comes from the stingers of honey bees who use it to defend the bee colony. It is now collected without harming the bees. This is done using devices that stimulate the bees and get them to sting a glass plate. Their stingers remain intact and very few bees are harmed. The pure bee venom is then collected from the plate to be used in bee venom therapy products.” - Quote from a bee products brand

I cannot explain what ACTUALLY happens better than this blogger:

HOWEVER, the method in which they obtain the venom is tricking the bees to think there is an intruder, by placing a frame at the entrance of the hive, through which an electric current is passed, administering small electric shocks to the bees, stressing them into stinging a pane of glass and releasing their venom.

Imagine living your entire life being continually shocked into releasing a bodily fluid as you were going about your daily business? Is this a cruelty free life? For the sake of yet ANOTHER pot of Anti-ageing face cream? Should we be involving living creatures in our production of them?

Bee venom is called the natural alternative to botox because it stimulates the skin for a natural anti-aging effect on fine lines and wrinkles.

Alternatives: retinol, peptides, algae & kelp, niacinamide (vitamin B3) & AHAs

Products to try:


Bees aren’t making honey for humans to consume, nor are they building a factory to help create our skincare products.

Flower nectar is collected by worker bees to provide food for the queen, the larvae, the drones and to store as food over the winter after being made into honey. Honey is how bees survive in the winter.

These bees are protecting and feeding their queen and her babies. Why would we as empowered women mess with that?

A single worker bee lives only a few weeks and in that time produces only about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. But working cooperatively, a hive's thousands of worker bees can produce more than 200 pounds of honey for the colony within a year. Of this amount, a beekeeper can harvest 30 to 60 pounds of honey without compromising the colony's ability to survive the winter.

Would you let a stranger take a fourth of your earnings, your livelihood? No one in their right mind would allow that.

Learn more about the process of honey-making here.

What is Manuka honey?

Manuka honey is made from nectar from the Manuka bush flower which grows in New Zealand. It is highly favored because of its strong antiseptic properties. Many of the bee brands I initially found are in New Zealand.

Natural humectants (like honey) help attract water to the surface of your skin and delivers deep hydration. This helps skin to keep itself hydrated on a regular basis.

Alternatives: aloe, hyaluronic acid & vegetable glycerin (in many vegan soaps)

Honey is also used to soothe heal eczema.

Alternatives: coconut oil, chamomile, oatmeal, turmeric, aloe & goat milk (not vegan)

Products to try:


Beeswax is the material bees use to build hives and seal the honeycomb cells. It is produced in the glands of young bees in the hive.

Beeswax is used for intense moisture & soothing properties

Alternatives: plant oils (olive oil, argan oil, almond oil), carnauba wax, & candelilla wax

Products to try:


A red or brown resin-like substance, bees collect Propolis from tree bark and buds. AKA ‘bee glue’, bees use Propolis to seal the hive to keep it hygienic and clean.

Propolis is rich in bio-flavonoids which are companions to vitamin C and are found in citrus fruits and vegetables. It is also considered a natural antibiotic.

Alternatives: oregano essential oil, garlic extract, thyme essential oil, vitamin C rich skincare

Products to try:


This is made from the pollen bees collect from flowers.

Known for being rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Alternatives: sweet almond oil, watermelon seed oil, avocado oil, carrot seed oil, & argan oil

The list of alternatives goes on! Read a full list here.

The below products are PACKED with these oils!

Products to try:


Royal Jelly is a white liquid substance, honey bees secrete. AKA ‘bee milk’, worker bees feed the nutritional Royal Jelly to baby honeybee larvae in the beehive.

Filled with vitamin B, proteins, amino acids, and minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc.)

Alternatives: sunflower seed oil, aloe vera oil, pumpkin seed oil, watermelon seed oil, nut oils

Product to try:

+ vegan mud mask trio

+ 4 vegan beauty brands

What is your opinion on using bee-made ingredients?

Post a comment or question below and don’t hesitate to share this post and help create a cycle of cruelty-free conversation 😘

& remember to allow your authentic self to empower the women around you

3 B Corp Certified Makeup Brands

3 B Corp Certified Makeup Brands

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4 Reef-Friendly Sunscreen Brands + SPF Makeup