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This winter – save chapped lips, save bees

How Lowen's Skincare's newest product is aiding the bee population

November 19, 2015 by Centaine Hlushak on Highwood Crossing, Lowen's, SwizzleSticks SalonSpa

The new Be Local lip balm is the latest collaborative product from Lowen’s Skincare, with 80% of the ingredients coming from Calgary – a rare occurrence in the realm of cosmetics.

With a guiding hand from REAP, Lowen’s Skincare joined forces with Apiaries and Bees for Communities (ABC), SwizzleSticks SalonSpa, and Highwood Crossing for honey, beeswax, and canola oil.

This project has been in the works since May of this year, when Chad Zelensky, owner of Lowen’s Skincare, came to Stephanie with the desire to start using more locally-sourced ingredients in his products.

Chad explains that he chose lip balm to be his vehicle of hyper-locality as it is not only an extremely popular Lowen’s product, but it is also an easy marketing strategy, since lip balms are found next to the till in most retail spaces.

The nature of Chad’s lip balm formula also allows for easy integration of local ingredients. “In our business, collaboration is important,” Chad says. “This was the opportunity for several REAP businesses to collaborate on a project that really worked out well.”

Tim Neis, VP of SwizzleSticks SalonSpa says this collaboration was a “natural fit.” SwizzleSticks SalonSpa owns two hives through ABC, which provided the wax. The spa also had a hand in creating the packaging, making sure it was eco-friendly.

“My staff went crazy for it. I think we’re on our eighth box selling it here,” Tim says with a laugh.

The lip balm doubles as a charitable venture as well. With every sale, $1 is donated towards ABC’s Bumblebee Rescue Program – promoting bumblebee education and habitat protection.

In 2015 alone, ABC fielded 150 calls from concerned Calgarians with bumblebee hives in their yard or homes. ABC will educate the callers on how to deal with them, in most cases encouraging them to leave the bees alone until their lifecycle is finished.

However, there are cases where the bees will not be able to safely complete their lifecycle in the hive’s current location.

“This year we had two removals where the hives were in the actual dryer vents of the house, so every time the dryer ran, bees were being blown into the house,” says Eliese Watson, founder of ABC and the Bumblebee Rescue Program.

In cases where the bees must be removed, ABC will transport the bees out of the property in small wooden boxes built by a children’s group in Kensington, and take them to a garden to finish their lifecycle. The donations will allow ABC to keep doing this service free of charge.

In conjunction with the lip balm, ABC is also selling copies of its Little Books on Bees series at participating retailers, with $3.50 from each book sale going towards the Bumblebee Rescue Program.


  1. Be Local lip balms make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers! (Who doesn’t love a gift that gives back?) Click here for a list of REAP retailers or purchase online directly from Lowen’s Skincare.
  2. Visit Apiaries and Bees for Communities online to learn more about this awesome organization, and how else you can help save the bee population.