Minding her beeswax

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Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 9:41 am | Updated: 9:47 am, Fri Feb 22, 2013.

Did you know that, when it comes to making bath and body products, the same attention to safety and detail should be taken as when you prepare a family meal? That was the sentiment expressed by Roslyn Horton Saturday morning during a workshop she led on making lip balm and soap using beeswax.

Throughout her two-hour presentation, which was held at Landmark Park, Horton emphasized safety above all else. The second part of her presentation focused on personal preferences in the products that those in attendance would make.

“Cleanliness is the first thing you should consider,” Horton said as she reviewed a few safety measures she encouraged the workshop participants to follow. “Use clean utensils, like when you are preparing your food. High temperatures are involved in both processes. The same rules of safety in cooking should be observed.”

Another key safety tip applied to the maker of the product and the consumer.

“Safety for self and for those using your products is important,” she continued. “I recommend that you use organic materials whenever possible. Good pure products work well. And, personally, I like to use unprocessed products. Just remember, the less processed, the shorter the shelf life. Some of the ingredients that we will use need to be stored in a freezer to save it. Fortunately, beeswax does not need to be frozen.”

Horton noted beeswax was the catalyst that launched her career into making bath and body products.

“My first introduction to beeswax was through my grandmother,” she said. “She used it on her thread to keep it from tangling.”

But her interest in working with beeswax didn’t really blossom until the mid-1990s.

“A friend of mine offered me some beekeeping equipment,” Horton said as she reflected on her early work with beeswax. “We had just moved to a farm (in Dale County). At first, I was just interested in making my own honey (Horton Honey Farm LLC). The Wiregrass Beekeepers Association and Houston County Extension agent Phillip Carter took me under their wing.”

But it was a personal need that sparked the experimental side of Horton’s work with beeswax.

“I did some research on bee stings and bee venom,” Horton said. “I was interested in learning more about propolis, which bees make from tree resin.”

The research stemmed from her desire to help her father, who suffered with psoriasis.

“I started trying to make something to help my daddy,” Horton continued. “I learned to make lotions. I used that and propolis and emu oil to make a cream for my daddy to use.”

It was during this experimentation that Horton found another use for her cream – fighting the effects of fire ant stings.

“My husband walked in with several fire ant stings,” she noted. “I used the cream on the stings. He had no pusters to come up from the stings.

“That’s what got me started. My husband Norman believing in me.”

That belief sparked the creation of Fire Ant First Aid, which stands alone as its own product line. Beemu is the bath and body product line that is made with propolis. Beemu products are antioxidant and antibacterial.

With a product line in mind, Horton turned her farmhouse kitchen into a work station.

“All of the work that I do is done in my kitchen,” Horton said. “I designed the kitchen to accommodate me and two teenagers. I studied long and hard about kitchen design.”

For her eager students, Horton says Saturday’s workshop was intended for them ‘to get the tools and run with them. I want them to get started doing their own projects.”

Saturday’s workshop featured the melt-and-pour method of making lip balm and soap. Horton walked the participants through each phase leading to the finished product. Every participant received samples of the lip balm Horton made. After completing that portion of her program, Horton focused her attention on making soap. After her demonstration of the method, Horton turned the participants loose to make their own soap. The color choice, shape and fragrance decisions were left to the participants. Their eagerness to get started brought a smile to Horton’s face and a nod of approval as each participant showcased their creations.

For Belinda Johnson, of Dothan, the two hours that she spent in the workshop were well worth her time and money.

“I’m interested in learning about beeswax and making body products,” Johnson said as she waited for her turn to use one of the microwave ovens during the soap-making portion of the workshop. “I heard the ad on the radio and called and signed up my sister-in-law and myself.

“Roslyn Horton is wonderful. She’s been at it a long time. It was well worth the time and money to come. I would love to come again.”

For those interested in creating their own product line, Horton offered a word of caution.

“If your product goes out of your area, outside of your circle of family and friends, it has to be labeled according to the (federal and state) law,” Horton said.

Among the things that have to be on the label are the ingredients, the maker’s name and contact information.

For more information about workshops offered at Landmark Park, call 794-3452 or visit www.landmarkpark.com. For more information about items made by Roslyn Horton, contact her via email at roshorton@hotmail.com.

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