The story of my ‘Balmy’ business:
I live near the southern tip of Africa in Hermanus, where I work as a freelance journalist, editor and natural balm producer. Both my and my husband’s family are prone to allergies. Cortisone and antihistamines have been a mainstay of our well-being for decades.
About a year ago I woke up to what we were using on our skin – mostly mineral oil/petroleum-based, hydrocarbon products containing preservatives, such as parabens. While the jury is still out on whether exposure to such synthetic compounds is linked to cancer or endocrine-system disruption, I decided I didn’t want to risk it and would rather know what I was putting on my skin, and that of my children.
I started looking into natural, non-toxic alternatives that I could make at home. A friend gave me a basic ‘baby balm’ recipe, which she had made and sold under her Earth Nurse label, based on olive and grape seed oils and beeswax.
And my journey into making my own natural skincare products began.
A few weeks after using my Baby Bee Balmy – made from olive, grape seed and apricot kernel oils, beeswax, and lavender and calendula essential oils – my husband experienced great relief from the eczema on his face, neck and arms. My own dry skin loved the balm, which also brought my daughter’s eczema under control. If my son had any rashes or mosquito bites, the balm sorted it out in no time. I started giving it to friends and family, who praised its healing and soothing effects in relieving allergic, dry and itchy skin conditions; nappy rash; sunburn; stretch marks; chapped lips; cracked heels; bites; cuts and scrapes, and burns. Even itchy skin conditions on dogs were healed after a few applications of
Baby Bee Balmy.
I have since adapted the balm through numerous trials, and now add sweet almond and jojoba oils to the olive, grape seed and apricot kernel oils, beeswax, and dried lavender and calendula flowers.
The plant- and animal-based ingredients, which I use in my balms, have special properties for the skin and have been used by healers and herbalists for centuries:
--‐ Olive (Olea europaea) oil has moisturising properties and is quickly absorbed into the skin. It is packed with anti-oxidants to help repair cellular damage caused by the natural process of ageing. Olive oil also has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8.
--‐ Grape (Vitis Vinifera) seed oil is a non-greasy and light skin oil. It is packed with anti-oxidants, has regenerative and restructuring properties, and is effective in wound, anti-ageing and acne treatments. It has mild astringent properties that help to tighten and tone the skin, and can reduce swelling. It is rich in essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, which strengthens cell membranes. Its anti-oxidant properties also prevent pores from becoming clogged.
--‐ Sweet almond (Prunus amygdalus dulcis) oil contains Vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6, and is extremely rich in Vitamin E, which makes it an excellent moisturiser for dry or inflamed skin. It is easily absorbed into the skin and has an SPF of 5.