With a longtime mission for educating and helping people to better understand the role of the honeybee, it should come as no surprise that founder of Marin Bee Company, Debra Tomaszewski, has turned her passion into not only a thriving skincare company, but a nonprofit foundation as well. As backyard beekeepers, Debra and Bill Tomaszewski felt a need to spread the word about the worldwide die-off of the honey bee due to Colony Collapse Disorder and other environmental factors by teaching free beekeeping workshops in their community. The demand for their workshop continued to grow, which led them to begin their nonprofit, Planet Bee Foundation.
While tending her backyard hives, Debra began to see the amazing skincare benefits of honey. She began experimenting with other simple ingredients that are meant to sooth and calm the skin, and the results that she and her family saw from her recipes were outstanding. With plentiful honey at her disposal, Debra began formulating the skincare that is now a part of Marin Bee Company.
Utilizing the immense benefits of California wildflower honey, she has created a unique line of products unlike most others on the market today. While you can be sure that Marin Bee Company products contain a number of skin loving ingredients, you can be just as sure that they are free from harmful ingredients such as PEGs, parabens, synthetic dyes, phthalates, mineral oil, talc and synthetic fragrances, to name a few.
In the post below, we are so excited to bring you a wealth of knowledge straight from the experts over at Marin Bee. They have answered our questions below on topics such as beekeeping, the role of bees, and the best sellers in their product line. Marin Bee Company has also generously provided a discount code to SHOP their products with a 20% discount using the code BEEGREENLY, valid through July 7, 2017!
We may have an exciting giveaway with Marin Bee Company happening over on our Instagram account as well, so be sure to head over to check out our feed to enter!
Why bees, and what is their role in our ecosystem?
If it weren’t for bees, many fruits and vegetables would never make it to market. 1/3 of all the bites you take wouldn’t be possible without honey bees. Beekeeping, honey production, and honeybee pollination contributes over $14 billion annually to the US economy.
Honey bees are a keystone species and play a vital part of our ecosystem, acting as highly efficient pollinators of our food crops, as well as for wild flora which other species depend upon. We need bees to keep our crops and earth healthy, but in recent years their numbers have been decreasing by the billions. As their numbers dwindle, the ecosystem and all parts of the food chain are impacted.
Crops such as almonds, avocados, and apples would not exist without pollination. Pollination is the process by which honey bees help plants to produce fruit (technically anything with seeds on the inside, so that includes things we normally think of as vegetables, like cucumbers and tomatoes) by transporting pollen from one flower to another. As the bees gather nectar and pollen, their tiny hairs are coated in pollen, which falls into the next flower they stop and visit.
Considering that the average honey bee can visit more than 2,000 flowers in one day, honey bees greatly increase the chances of a plant producing a fruit or vegetable. While they pollinate, honey bees are also collecting pollen for themselves which they transport back to the hive, where it serves as the main source of protein in their diet and sometimes makes its way into their honey.
Beekeeping 101 and the benefits of pure raw honey
Backyard beekeeping is a very rewarding hobby. Not only are you helping the planet by supporting important pollinators but the honey is itself a very sweet reward! Marin Bee Company founder and backyard beekeeper, Debra Tomaszewski, discovered the profound effect honey had on her skin while tending her hives; her delicious honey improved her skin and complexion. As her children grew into adolescence, skin became a particular issue at her home. Concerned for her teenagers’ skin, Debra brought them to doctors, but all the standard prescriptions were too harsh and irritating for their delicate skin. Debra looked to her trusted bees and crafted effective and powerful homemade remedies to help her children.
She combined her freshly harvested honey with soothing, time-tested ingredients like oatmeal, aloe, olive oil and added nature’s own “cure-alls” such as salt, clay and essential oils created from powerful botanicals. Her children and even their friends experienced stunning results. Using her homemade formulas, Debra’s own skin began to show less signs of stress, appearing healthier with a natural glow. Her honey was providing a second sweet reward. Honey is such a powerful natural ingredient in skincare long known for its restorative, healthful properties and as a powerful rejuvenator for the skin and body. The highly concentrated and unique combination of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and prebiotics in honey helps regenerate skin. Honey straight from the hive, unprocessed, with no additives, chemicals or preservatives contains a distinctive blend of beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and powerful enzymes, deeply nourishing and protecting skin from environmental damage. Its antimicrobial properties break down dead skin so that it can easily be sloughed away and exfoliated. Because it naturally contains water, pure honey is a humectant, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air and hydrates skin, leaving it silky smooth. At Marin Bee is important to be as sustainable as possible so it is important to us to use locally sourced honey. Wildflowers have fed honey bees for millions of years and California’s lush “nectar corridors” are alive with the vibrant colors and sweet fragrances that attract and feed honeybees. “I first developed Marin Bee formulas with my own honey. It only made sense to support local growers and the nature surrounding me,” explains Debra. “I’m a big believer in, ‘Change starts in your own backyard.’ It is the founding principle for our work with Planet Bee Foundation, our bee and pollination education nonprofit, and I am extremely proud that California Wildflower Honey is at the heart of all our products.” All our Wildflower Honey is cultivated on the hillsides of Northern California and supports local habitats, native species and assists in repopulating honey bee populations.
Interested in learning the basics about beekeeping? We’ve broken down for you how to get started and what to expect and prepare for all year long as a beekeeper! We have a great page on the Planet Bee website, but we’ve shared the info below as well.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
The beekeeper has a few vital items in his or her arsenal – here’s the basic list.
• Hive tool – A metal object, shaped similarly to a crowbar, used to pry apart propolis-sealed boxes and box lids.
• Smoker – Normally used to subdue the bees when opening a hive — this kind of smoking is bee-friendly and does not hurt bees in any way.
• Bee Suit and Gloves – The beginning beekeeper should wear a full suit, to be safe. Suits are made of heavy-duty material to prevent stings.
• Veil – Protect your face! The veil is vital, and its specially designed mesh allows you to see what you’re doing. This helps protect you and your new winged companions.
• A Hive – Your honey bees will need a home, and there are many types to chose from. We recommend a Langstroth Hive. Made of wood, this timeless design is a favorite in North America.
• Honey Bees – Pre-order them around January for spring delivery. We recommend Carniolan Honey Bees. They’re known for their great gathering zeal. Carniolan Bees overwinter well so they take advantage of early nectar flow, producing honey early in the season. Carniolans are exceptionally gentle and easier to work with than other, more aggressive breeds. This is important because you may wish to raise your honey bees in close vicinity to neighbors.
WHAT TO EXPECT YEAR-LONG
The beekeeper’s year is very seasonal. We’ve listed some of the basic duties required of the beekeeper by season.
• Populate your hive now! You can catch a swarm, purchase a 3 lb. package of honey bees, or split an existing hive.
• Inspect your honey bees for health — Is the queen present and laying eggs? Are there parasites or disease present?
• Keep an eye on your honey bees over the season to ensure they have an adequate pollen collection and are thriving.
• We recommend using natural treatments to control mites and diseases. You can use products like Hopguard II — a natural mite repellent derived from hop oil — if you are noticing any signs of mites.
• Split your hive if it gets overpopulated! It will swarm if you don’t catch it in time. (Splitting a hive means taking half of the bees and putting them in a new hive. They will also need a new queen).
• Depending on the productivity of your hive, you may need to add extra honey frames (supers) to the top of your hive.
• You may be able to harvest honey, dependent on your hive’s productivity*.
• If the temperature of your hive grows too warm, you will need to add an extra brood box to prevent overheating.
• Remember to split your hive if it gets too crowded!
• Check your queen to ensure that she is healthy and laying eggs.
• Check your honey bees to ensure there are no diseases or parasites within the hive.
• Check your hive’s honey stores: if they have a surplus, you can harvest!* If not, or if the
honey stores look low, you will need to supplement their food supply with sugar water and pollen patties.
• If you are in an area that experiences harsh winters, consider covering your hive with something to keep the chill off – honey bees do not leave the hive if the temperature outside is less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t need to worry about trapping them inside the cover. Just ensure it’s breathable, and that they have an adequate food supply all winter long.
• Wait it out! Honey bees will only forage when the weather is nice, so winter is the beekeeper’s vacation time.
*Be patient, a new hive might not produce enough honey to harvest the first year.
Ingredients harvested from nature
Our luxurious and effective face and body products reinvent time-tested ingredients to create innovative green beauty that nourishes and detoxifies skin from head to toe. Here are four of our favorite Marin Bee ingredients:
You’ll find Oatmeal in almost all Marin Bee products because it is known for its extraordinary ability to soothe and pamper skin. All our Avena Sativa (Oats) is guaranteed gluten-free. Oatmeal has been used throughout times as a natural, effective treatment to cure skin problems. It is a key ingredient in our Detox Masque because it not only calms irritated skin but also works as an effective barrier to help protect skin from environmental factors.
We love Pumpkin Fruit Enzymes! They are a natural exfoliant rich in magnesium, phosphorus, iron and folate, as well as Vitamin A and phytonutrients. Pumpkin has been used on the skin for centuries for its healing properties. Pumpkin Fruit Enzymes are powerful, yet gentle enough for sensitive skin. We feature Pumpkin Fruit Enzymes in our Detox Masque to naturally and gently exfoliate dead skin cells to help renew and brighten skin.
We can’t say enough about Calendula. Calendula is very calming and is well known for its ability to reduce inflammation and soothe damaged skin. Featured in our Lip Repair, Calendula is a stand out ingredient because of its high concentration of flavonoids and plant-based antioxidants that help shield skin from free radical cell damage.
We really are all about the bees at Marin Bee and both our Lip Repair and Honey Butter contain beeswax because it locks in hydration and provides skin and lips with a long-lasting protective barrier from environmental factors. Beeswax is rich the in Vitamin A, which is necessary for normal cell development and has been used for centuries in the treatment of wounds and other skin conditions.
Which Marin Bee products should you start with? Here is an overview of their bestsellers
Currently our face products are selling beyond expectation! We believe this is because they are unlike any products currently on the market. Our Detox Masque is 1/3 California Wildflower Honey and crafted with soothing ingredients to calm irritated skin and reduce redness. Simultaneously, the Detox Mask also purifies, minimizes the appearance of pores, and evens out skin tone. Our founder developed the product to seek an effective and nontoxic alternative for her teenagers’ problem skin to the harsh chemicals being prescribed to them. The Detox Masque can be used as a full face mask as well as a spot treatment.
Our Lip Repair is a favorite among makeup professionals as it is a nourishing and moisturizing base for any lipstick color, yet its glossy sheen and slight pink hue stands on its own to compliment a clean, natural look. We highly recommend it as an overnight treatment to soothe lips of any dryness or chapping and wake up with them smooth and prepped for the day.
*Photos in this post are courtesy of and belong to Marin Bee Company (unless noted otherwise).