Burt’s Bees New & Improved Honey & Shea Body Butter Is The Bee’s Knees!
Surely you’ve heard the expression “the bee’s knees” and, most likely, you’ve wondered whether these hive dwellers even have knees and, if so, why these joints would be deemed praiseworthy. Well, here’s the most rudimentary answer: though bees don’t have knee caps and such, they do have segmented legs with femurs, tibias and tarsis, and their legs rely on joints that give these insects a fuller range of motion. But what makes the notches in these anthropods’ legs special is their function as a storage location for pollen. Like a treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean, then, the “knees” store the most precious substance in a bee colony, making these anatomical regions vital in importance. When you say something is “the bee’s knees,” then, you’re touting its greatness.
Moving past the apiology lesson and the corresponding linguistic exploration, I can say the Burt’s Bees New & Improved Honey & Shea Body Butter ($13 at BurtsBees.com) is deserving of the “bee’s knees” label — and not just because the rich moisturizer contains honey or because the brand has the word “bees” in its moniker. No, what makes this body butter a prized beauty find is its ability to hydrate and soften skin, providing some much-needed relief for those of us in wintry climates that exacerbate skin woes ranging from dryness and itchiness to ashiness and overall discomfort.
The Honey & Shea Body Butter relies on honey, a natural humectant given its hygroscopic nature — in other words, honey naturally absorbs the moisture in the air so that, when it’s applied to the skin and exposed to the air, it will draw moisture to the skin and seal it into the dermis — and a natural antibacterial, as it contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, thereby killing any bacteria and helping to accelerate the healing of wounds and inflammations. Shea butter extracted from karite tree nuts moisturizes and softens skin thanks to its high concentration of linoleic acid, which helps to repair the skin barrier, delays the emergence of visible aging signs, and functions as an emollient and anti-inflammatory agent. Aside from these two ingredients, the body butter contains such skin-nourishing ingredients as: sweet almond oil, which restores the skin to its optimal moisture balance and conditions the skin; coconut oil, which is mostly composed of lauric acid, which boasts anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, and also contains linoleic and oleic acids, which help to alleviate topical skin problems ranging from eczema to psoriasis and dermatitis; cocoa butter, a powerful lubricant that helps to prevent the emergence of scars and stretch marks; jojoba butter which, given its similarities in composition to that of sebum, is easily absorbed by skin, moisturizing and conditioning without leaving behind any greasy residue; soybean oil, which contains antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals; lactic acid, a natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid that improves texture, exfoliating gently and restoring elasticity to the skin by promoting collagen and elastin production; and sunflower seed oil, a vegetable triglyceride loaded with vitamin E and boasting a lightweight consistency.
Though it’s billed as a body butter, this 99% natural moisturizer has a relatively lightweight consistency (even lighter than, say, yogurt), making it a nice alternative to heftier butters that leave behind a thick, greasy, waxy layer that not only feels uncomfortable but can often take more than a half hour to be absorbed by the skin. In contrast, the Honey & Shea Body Butter will instantly provide relief to those with parched or itchy skin, but it will quickly smooth the surface on which it’s applied, making it feel silky soft.
The one caveat: don’t expect for this lotion to smell like Honey Nut Cheerios or Greek honey cookies. The smell is considerably earthier and nuttier which, in a way, makes it feel more rustic and natural, but which some may find unsavory (particularly if they’re accustomed to more refined scents). I personally don’t find the body butter’s aroma to be troubling, though I wouldn’t necessarily swoon over it either. Then again, given that the scent doesn’t linger on the skin for hours on end, it’s a small quibble even if you do dislike the aroma.