Client Interview: Honey Girl Organics
Date Posted: 03/18/2016 | By:
If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.
That is a kind of refrain when speaking with Honey Girl Organics, a skin care company out of Hawaii. Honey Girl rises to the challenge of making skin care products that you almost want to eat. Certified organic, made with their own Hawaiian honey and beeswax along with European organic extra virgin olive oil, these products seem to bathe your skin in something exceedingly healthy and nurturing. In the dry climes of Colorado, when we received a pot of their body lotion it made our skin smooth, supple and healthy. In the interview that follows you can almost hear the ocean breezes behind them.
Us: I imagine the place you make Honey Girl products to be a kind of paradise. Can you tell us about the surroundings?
Honey Girl: We live in Pupukea, which is on the North Shore of O’ahu in Hawaii. It’s very country out here with forests and jungles surrounding us, and the ocean is just a stone’s throw away. We live right up the hill from Waimea Bay where they just held the Eddie Aikau, a big wave surf contest – a pretty famous surf contest. It was held just a few days ago. That’s about three or four minutes from our house. We live right here on the hill, right above one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. Really, it’s just beautiful up here. It’s like what you would think: very green, lots of palm trees, lots of coconut trees, rolling hills. We love it.
Honey Girl: We started the business about 10 years ago.
I’ve been a beekeeper for about 30 years, ever since we arrived in Hawaii in 1988. During that time, my wife and I were raw foodists for almost ten years. Because of that, our bodies were cleaned out and had become very sensitive. My wife was starting to have sensitivities to things that others didn’t have. One of the big things was that we had a pool in our back yard and she couldn’t go in the pool because the chlorine was wreaking havoc on her skin, particularly her fingernails and cuticles. She asked if there was anything I could do and I said, well, what the hell, lets make something out of beeswax. And, that’s how we started.
Honey Girl: Our main ingredients are organic extra virgin olive oil, organic beeswax, organic honey, pollen propolis, and royal jelly.
How many of those things come from nearby, or from your estate?
Honey Girl: We produce hive products on our estate and also get some from friends on neighboring islands. We source the olive oil – it’s usually Italian or Spanish olive oil. Everything is certified organic. That’s why we carry an organic certificate. We’re one of the few companies in skin care that actually has an organic certificate. A lot of people say they’re organic but, you know, unless you’re carrying a certificate it’s open to question.
Can you tell us about the healing powers of beeswax and honey?
Honey Girl: The combination of these three ingredients—beeswax, honey and olive oil—is just really amazing, really excellent for skin preparations. You wouldn’t necessarily think that honey was such a great thing. I mean it’s a great thing to eat but why put it on your skin? There are tons of reasons why it’s so good. One of the reasons is that it’s a humectant. When you put it on your skin the honey draws moisture to it. So that’s interesting – it will bring moisture up from underneath your skin and it will also bring moisture from the atmosphere to itself and in that way it really helps to hydrate and moisturize the skin. Also when honey starts re-hydrating (in other words bringing water to itself), it sets off a chemical reaction which slowly releases hydrogen peroxide. Little bits of hydrogen peroxide are being created as the moisture reincorporates with the honey and that also is a great thing for the skin in that it helps to keep the skin clean. Honey is also very anti-bacterial.
In nature, honey is probably the best antibiotic available. Honey has a shelf life of about three or four thousand years if you leave it alone sealed in a jar. That’s because it’s so hugely antibiotic that nothing can mess with it. Also the honey we use is raw: raw organic honey. And it has hundreds of micronutrients in it that are just really beneficial for the production of collagen. The presence of honey on the skin actually helps to stimulate collagen production in the skin. That’s a big thing these days especially since people are looking to have younger looking skin more than ever. These days collagen production is a big issue. Honey doesn’t bring collagen to the skin but honey stimulates the skin to produce its own collagen. So those are really great reasons why honey is such a great treatment, if you will, for the skin.
In the old days before modern medicine and the AMA, honey was the go-to cure for all types of burns and cuts. If you had a cut or any kind of open lesion on your skin you would just put honey on it and then wrap it with fabric or something and later you would take it off and your skin would be on its way to being healed. It’s been hugely important for fighting infection.
Then there’s beeswax which is another fantastic ingredient for skincare. Beeswax not only helps to repair your skin but beeswax itself is the same kind of wax that our body produces. You can find wax on your body most easily in your ear. But your body’s skin actually produces small amounts of wax all the time that is released through your sebaceous glands, along with some oil. That stuff helps to condition your skin and keep it pliable, strong and healthy. When we get older what happens is the production of those waxes and oils slows down and our skin becomes drier and thinner – not as strong as it used to be. When you get to be older you can get skin that is kind of wrinkly and dry-looking and kind of scaly. All of that is really due to a decrease of the oils and waxes being produced by our body. So to be able to add a wax to your skin that is exactly like the wax that your skin already produces makes it really easy for the skin to understand and assimilate. It’s easy for that skin to say “oh yeah that’s good stuff, let’s use that.” So the wax doesn’t just sit there on the surface, it gets incorporated into the skin.
And then as far as olive oil goes. Olive oil has been used for thousands of years. They started using olive oil way back in Egypt and ancient Greece as a skin preparation and also as a medicine. So, it’s just a fantastic thing. The main thing that is so fantastic about olive oil is the amino acids that are in it are almost an exact match to the amino acids that our body needs to create the proteins that actually make our skin and the rest of our bodies healthy. It’s just a very natural fit once again.
So those three ingredients are just really good for the body. If you were to ingest them they would be good for you, so to put them on your skin they’re good for you. The main thing we like to tell people is that whatever you put on your skin is going to be incorporated by your body. So the skin isn’t some kind of barrier that keeps everything out. Most of the elimination of our body actually happens through our skin. We also incorporate a lot through our skin – it’s a two-way street. Things that you put on your body will be absorbed into your body. You’ll either use it or it will get stored in your fat, joints, etc. So it’s important to keep in mind when you’re using skin preparations that you’re doing something that will be healthy for your body. Like: if you wouldn’t eat it then don’t put it on your skin.
It all sounds amazing. But I’m also curious: does putting honey on your skin get sticky?
Honey Girl: [Laughs] Well the oil and beeswax help to reduce the sticky feeling. And also, you don’t need a whole lot of honey in order to get the benefit of it. So you don’t need to smear raw honey on your skin, walking around like that and attracting flies and everything else. A little bit is good – too much is going to be sticky.
How do you manufacture the products?
Honey Girl: The factory is on our property. We have a shop here where we work and it’s getting bigger and bigger. We’re growing, but we still have the operation here on our property. We make everything by hand in small batches. We take in our ingredients and we mix them up in small batches, pour the product into jars, label and shrink wrap them and send them out the door.
Sounds like fun.
Honey Girl: Yeah, it’s pretty good, we have a good time with it.
How did you find Leapin’ Lizard Labels?
Honey Girl: Leapin’ Lizards is great. We have friends that we do business with and they had some labels being printed by Leapin’ Lizards. We just saw them and said “Wow these are fantastic labels.” Before we found them, we were making our own labels here using laser printers and label stock from an Internet company. And they were okay. But boy, I’m telling you, they were nowhere near the quality of Leapin’ Lizard. So when we saw those we were saying “Wow we’ve got to use those.” And we made the switch.
And have they grown with you?
Honey Girl: Yes, we still use them. We have a hard time keeping up with our own demand, so we hope that Leapin’ lizards will be able to keep up with what we’ve got going on. But yeah, we sure hope to keep working with them. It’s a great company. Customer service is amazing – easy to talk to, really friendly, great prices. Everything is just really great with them.
How do we find Honey Girl Organics products?
Honey Girl: There are a million ways to find us. You can go to www.honeygirlorganics.com and we ship everywhere. We’re also in a lot of retail stores across the country, including Whole Foods Market and a lot of health food stores and co-ops. There are about 400 stores across the country that carry us now. If you go to our website and sign up for our newsletter then you’ll get regular updates for sales and promotions and everything like that.
And a little reminder to the reader: our products are very concentrated, so just a little bit goes a long way. Our Face & Eye Crème is just 1.75 fluid ounces. That’s usually enough to last someone about 6 months, give or take.
Thanks so much!