Somes FAQs About Burt's Bees Products
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Somes FAQs About Burt's Bees Products

A (health & safety?) question was asked about Burt's Bees products and if they are made from 100% natural ingredients. Expanding upon this, I considered other questions that may arise from customers whom may be interested in products made by Burt's Bees, such as are their products hypoallergenic? Are their unused products recyclable? Why do Burt's Bees only offer their products in small containers? and a few more general FAQs about their products.

Are Burt's Bees Products 'All Natural' and/or 'Organic?'

Burt's Bees cites a logical distinction between 'natural' and 'organic.' While striving to meet an 'all natural' criteria on their products, there are vastly differing views on what exactly constitutes 'organic' in consumer products. "Organic" may mean little in some products such as bee's honey, or any bee products for that matter.

While the 'organic' bee farmer may place their hives 5+ miles from the nearest flowering crop where pesticides are known to used, there can be no guarantee that at least some bees have not retrieved pollen from fields where the crops are GMO, or from flowering crops where pesticides or growth hormones have been used.

Burt's Bees tries to source that at least 70% of their product by volume meets accredited 'organic' standards and the remaining 30% may contain synthetic ingredients. The 30% may be industry-standard ingredients for which a 'all-natural' alternative does not exist or is not readily available or economically viable.

The criteria may be beyond the control of Burt's Bees if the specified ingredients are outsourced to a third party where logical controls may be difficult to impose or to accurately verify. Bee products exactly fits this scenario.

Are Animal Products/Byproduct Used in Any Burt's Bees Products?

While Burt's Bees does not test their products on animals, yes, some of their products do in fact, use animal-derived ingredients.

These animal/fauna-based ingredients can include (of course) bee's wax, royal jelly from the bee hive, milk, and carmine. Carmine, also called Natural Red 4.C.I. 75470, or ~E120, is a bright red pigment obtained from the Cochineal scale insect.

Some people have been known to exhibit allergic reactions to products containing 'natural red' derived from Cochineal Scale Insect. My wife used to use Burt's Bees products and it took awhile to discern the cause but I was having mild allergic reactions, even hours after she has cleansed the product from her lips. I am convinced that this was at least a partial contributor of my mild allergic reactions, all of which ceased when she stopped using the product(s) in question.

Allergic Reaction to Burt's Bees Products?

My symptoms included profuse salivation, red teary and intensely burning eyes and less frequently, an curious 'metallic' taste in my mouth with a constrictive throat-gagging sensation. It took some time to finally discover that it was incidental exposure to Burt's Bees (and potentially other?) lip care cosmetics that were the causative.

Notably, nearly all my pseudo-allergic symptoms ceased shortly after we identified the source (a Burt's Bees lip product with colorant) and eliminated it from usage.

What About Allergic Symptoms from Burt's Bees use of Cochineal Scale Insect Products, aka 'Natural Red?'

Generally, symptoms from carmine allergy include mild hives, asthma in some people, and even anaphylactic shock in very sensitive individuals, none of which occurred with me. So perhaps my reaction was not to carmine/natural red but to some other ingredient not exclusive to Burt's Bees product(s.)

At any rate, people susceptible to allergic reactions to trace chemicals should not rule out incidental contact with Burt's Bees natural products as a potential causative.

Burt's Bees products are considered Vegan-friendly but may conflict with some religious sects for their animal-based ingredients.

Certain religious sects may be opposed to animal-based ingredients and as such should avoid their specific product line. Many lipsticks and lip glosses (including the shimmery variety and perhaps answering the original question) do in fact contain fish scales in their ingredients. This fauna-based ingredient may be deemed objectionable to certain religious and ethic groups.

Are Burt's Bees Products Safe for Celiac Patients/Gluten Intolerant Persons?

Burt's Bees recommends that if you are Gluten-sensitive that you contact them directly and inquire about their specific products. This openly suggests that at least some of their products may contain wheat or other gluten fillers and may present a health concern for the Celiac patient.

If in doubt, the concerned users are urged to contact Burt's Bees Customer Service and inquire regarding specific product ingredient concerns.

What Is the Shelf Life of Burt's Bees Products? Are There Preservative Used to Maintain Freshness in Burt's Bee Products?

Because Burt's Bees products are made with natural ingredients, the product is packaged purposefully in smaller consumer portions to ensure their full use is attained before the implied expiry date of three years. They recommend storing unused portions in cool, dark places and away from direct sunlight or excessive heat to prolong product freshness and useability.

Burt's Bees and Environmental Concerns

Burt's Bees formerly had a 'green' unused product return option, but Burt's Bees received postal consumer packaging that far exceeded the actual 'recycling' effort they sought, so the program was discontinued. Burt's Bees actively encourage consumers to seek the own appropriate recycling solution for their unused products.

Many drug stores offer an unused pharmaceutical return-for-disposal program. Unused Burt's Bees products as well as any other unused home HBA/pharmaceutical product can be returned for correct disposal.

Concerned individuals can find their own answers at Burt's Bees' product ingredients page or Burt's Bees Products FAQs page.

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Comments (5)

Good information regarding Burt's Bees. Another note for vegans or anyone opposed to using animal-derived ingredients is that, inaddition to honey, beeswax, and milk, which seem to be common ingredients for this company, they also use lanolin in many items.

Very good article.  You provided a lot of very helpful information. 

I would not call these Vegan Friendly at all. Vegetarian maybe... Vegan - never!

I checked my notes for the product and re-checkd the site FAQS again to verify and yes, some of Burt's Bees products are in fact, Vegan-friendly. Burt's Bees FAQs do not specifiy which ones but they invite the consumer to inquire for additional details.

I like (or at least, understand) their stand on using 'natural' over 'organic' nomenclature as "organic" can be interpreted vastly. Take 'organic lettuce' and probably many other vegetables grown in California... it is probably irrigated with water from the Colorado River, a river known to be polluted with perchlorate (a.k.a. "rocket/jet engine fuel") -a substance known to cause thyroid cancer.

Thanks for the great info. I love the quality of the Burt's Bees line, but knowing that they use crushed bugs for the red coloring is just a bit too gross for my tastes. And cruel. (Not that I'm a fan of bugs, but to kill them for this purpose just seems to go too far in my opinion).

Thanks again for all the great information!