Therapi Honey Skincare
Therapi Honey Skincare is a British born organic skincare company run by mother-daughter team, Tanya and Esme Hawkes. We caught up with founder and beekeeper Tanya Hawkes to learn about beauty and the bees, and why she believes organic can change the world.
Therapi has just turned 4 years old. How did it all begin?
The Therapi story really starts with a bee. One bee to be exact: my grandmother Bee, who despite having little formal education, possessed such a deep love and understanding of nature that she enchanted the world. Although she may not have known it, she inspired me to spend my life seeking those moments of enchantment in nature. I began my working life in wildlife conservation and after a chance encounter with a very enlightened beekeeper whilst I was travelling in Chile. I began to keep my own bees in the Scottish Borders, where I was living at the time.
I was fascinated by the honeybees’ incredible ability to transform sweet nectars, resins and botanical extracts into natural medicines and superfoods. Having spent many years struggling with increasingly hypersensitive skin, I began to experiment with three miracle ingredients from the hive – honey, beeswax and propolis – to create my own skincare products.
From there it just grew and grew. With every bottle and jar purchased, we give 5% of our profits to bee conservation projects.
What makes honey such a special ingredient for skincare?
Bees are intelligent alchemists. Honey is really nature’s liquid gold; in every drop there is the distillation of a thousand flowers and the unique potency of the wild. This rich complexity gives honey many therapeutic properties that make it the ultimate multi-tasking hero ingredient for skincare.
Honey contains very high levels of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that provide essential skin nourishment, whilst its ability to attract and hold moisture keeps skin soft, smooth and hydrated. Not only that, but honey is also an entirely natural anti-bacterial agent so is perfect for purifying blemish-prone skin and reducing inflammation.
You also use beeswax and propolis – what do these do for the skin?
Beeswax is a natural emulsifier, which when combined with plant oils, forms a fine breathable barrier to lock in moisture, protecting skin against environmental stressors. It is similar molecularly to our own body waxes so is very compatible with human skin, making it a great ingredient for moisturisers and balms.
Propolis comes from tree resins that bees collect and modify, using it to line their hive to help with their immune system – in effect modifying powerful tree medicine for their own uses. This rich pharmacopeia also gives propolis natural anti-ageing properties and makes it an all-purpose skin healer.
Our bespoke propolis extract uses a patented extraction process that gives it 5x higher antioxidant levels than vitamin E and has been clinically proven to help reduce the sign of wrinkles by 25%. We use this propolis in our best-selling Propolis+ Ultra Radiance Cream, which instantly pumps and illuminates the skin to give a beautiful healthy glow.
Therapi is certified organic by the Soil Association – why did you choose to go organic?
Three reasons really: for us, for the bees and for the planet. When I formulate products, I only ever want to use those ingredients that are as close to nature as possible. Organic ingredients contain up to 70% more antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts – that means 70% more goodness!
For the bees, organic means that all hive-derived ingredients are harvested sustainably and that their forage must be free from GMOs and toxic agrochemicals. Space is given to wildlife habitat on organic farms – you only need to visit an organic farm to see the difference.
Healthy bees and a healthy farming system make for a healthier planet.
You run Therapi with your eldest daughter, Esme – how did you come to work together?
Ever since she was little, Esme has been a child of the wilderness. Growing up in Scotland, she has always been very connected to nature. On graduating with a degree in Biology from Oxford University, she began helping me with Therapi to get it off the ground. She sees the organic beauty movement as a pivotal piece to living in balance with nature, boosting our health and narrowing the gap between ecology and the economy.
The beautiful thing is that now Therapi feels like it is an entity with its own spirit; it needed both of us to bring it together because we each bring quite different things to the table. Underlying this though is our shared love of nature – it guides everything we do.
It is beautiful thing to have a story spanning three generations – perhaps even more one day!
Finally, what’s the best and the worst bit about working together?
The worst part is more a problem for the rest of the family – Esme and I still live together so that we can put as much money as possible back into the business. It can be hard for the others when we don’t switch off – we’ve had to implement a no work-talk at the dinner table policy!
The best bit has to be the inherent trust in our relationship. Running a young business is a huge learning curve so being able to say whatever’s on your mind is very constructive. Having someone to share it all with is special but having that someone to dream with is even better.