Painter turned beekeeper Kara Brook cares for 18 hives on her farm. The result: a million happy bees, an annual harvest of 800 pounds of honey, and the Waxing Kara honey and beauty line. Here are some of our favorites.
The septuagenarian beekeeper who taught Kara Brook her craft thought she was crazy for wanting to raise bees for their wax. “I needed it for my artwork; I mix pigments with heated beeswax to make paint,” she says. “But he convinced me to gather the honey, too.” Five years later, the 18 hives on her eastern Maryland farm (which house about one million bees) produce 800 pounds of honey annually. Brook began bottling her honeys under the Waxing Kara line, but she immediately began to consider how the company might grow. “You can’t build a sustainable business just selling a jar of honey every once in a while,” she says, “and I wasn’t interested in making granola bars. But I love experimenting with lotions and essential oils.” Now she also collaborates with artisans on beauty products like mineral-based lip tints, cinnamon-clove bar soaps and body butters. Her favorite is a scrub made with molasses, cane sugar and both liquid and dried honey. “I want to put honey into everything,” she says.
Extravagantly thick, lavender-laced Honey Body Butter No. 1 moisturizes the skin with cocoa seed butter and sweet almond and coconut oils. $24 for 7 oz.
The Strength Bar Soap’s scent is spicy-sweet. “There’s lore about cinnamon and clove warding off evil and illness,” says Brook, “but I just like the way they smell.” $9 for 4 oz.
Honey Body Scrub No. 23 is made with molasses, cane sugar, and both liquid and dried honey. From $32 for 8 oz.; all available at waxingkara.com.