Comparison of Some Natural Waxes Used in Body Products:
Waxes are complex mixtures of large organic molecules: alcohols, fatty acids, and esters.
They are insoluble in water, but most of them can be dissolved into organic non-polar liquids, like oils and many organic solvents. They tend to be malleable solid at or near room temperature, and most melt above 104 deg F.
Compared to fats and oils, they are harder, less greasy and more brittle. They are also very resistant to moisture, oxidation and microbial degradation. In general, waxes can help protect the skin (by forming a film and/or acting as an emollient). They also help thicken, emulsify, and stabilize many body products. This can improve their texture, viscosity, and stability.
Plant, Animal, or Mineral
Many plants and animals make waxes. The oldest know, and used continuously for thousands of years, is beeswax. Some will even argue that wax also occurs naturally in petroleum. Though we by no means consider it equal to plant or animal waxes. In addition to naturally occurring waxes, there are in also man made waxes. In this post, we will take a look at the following waxes.
Animal: Beeswax, Lanolin
Beeswax is a wax secreted by the European honeybee and has been used for thousands of years, for a variety of body product applications: from lotions to salves and balms. It is the oldest known emulsifier for body products. The potential for allergic reaction is low, is not likely to clog pores, and allows the skin to breathe. Include the fact that it’s an emollient, a humectant, and antimicrobial, it’s easy to see why beeswax is well suited to body products.
As with the other natural waxes, beeswax improve emulsions and consistency in a variety of different formulas, can help extend the shelf life of certain ingredients, thicken a formula, and much more. Because beeswax has a tacky consistency on it’s own, adding it to body products produces products with good staying power. Beeswax ranges in color from white to deep amber. It has a melting point of 62 to 64 °C (144 to 147 °F). Because beeswax isn’t brittle over as large of a temperature range as the plant waxes, solid products that incorporate beeswax are less likely to crack or shear. Because this wax is produced by bees, it is not vegan.
Lanolin is wax secreted by wool-bearing animals, and is made up predominantly of long chain waxy esters. It is a greasy thick solid. Studies have shown that lanolin is a long lasting emollient that breathes, and reduces skin roughness. That makes it easy to understand why lanolin, and lanolin derivatives, are used extensively in both the personal care products, as well as many health care products. Lotions, salves, balms, and ointments are where you are most likely to run into lanolin in your medicine cabinet.
Other applications include use in lubricants, rust-preventive coatings, shoe polish, and other commercial products. The melting point of pure lanolin is 38 °C (100 °F). Unfortunately, out of the natural waxes looked at here, it is the most likely to cause allergic reaction. This should be kept in mind when purchasing or formulating body products. This wax is made by wool bearing animals, as such, is not vegan.
Carnauba wax comes from the carnauba palm (Copernicia cerifera), which is a native of Brazil. The wax it produced is a hard brittle amber to brown colored solid. Bleaching the wax can lighten the color. It is known as the queen of waxes because it is the hardest wax. Used most commonly to give a glossy protective finish to a variety of products – car paint, leather, wood, food. Edible – used since 1920 for waxing fruits and veggies, and added to pastries. In cosmetics, carnauba wax is used to add stiffness to mixtures like mascara and lipstick. It is also used in emulsions like liquid and cream lotions. Melting point: 82–86 °C (180–187 °F). It’s E number (food additive number) is E903. This wax is vegan.
Candelilla Wax is a brittle brownish yellow wax that is made by the Candelilla shrub, native to Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It’s primarily used to harden other waxes without raising their melting point. Additionally, it is used as a glazing agent for foods, a binding agent for gums, in the manufacture of varnish, and as a hardener for lip balms and lotion bars. Melting Point: 68.5–72.5 °C(156-163°F). It’s E number (food additive number) is E902. This wax is vegan.
Waxes For All
With the exception of lanolin, which is a thick pasty solid at ambient temperature, the others mentioned are firm, that can be bought in a variety of shapes/sizes: slab, chunks, flake, pellets, powder. Size can have an effect when trying to measure or melt the wax. Which wax you pick, will depend on personal preference, and your desired results.
Links giving some basic information on various natural waxes:
A note on Paraffin Wax:
Many of you will say paraffin is not natural, since it is a petroleum product. Others might try arguing that it is natural, because be isolated naturally from crude, simply by distillation. In that respect, it could be argued that it is natural. So, here goes: Paraffin wax is isolated during the petroleum distillation process. It is a bluish-white opaque solid. It was first isolated and used in Germany in 1830. Since then, a long and varied list of uses has come about. As such, most of us got our exposure to paraffin early on – it is the primary ingredient in crayons, candles, and Vaseline. Most uses make use of the fact that paraffin wax can be used as a protectant, a lubricant, or a sealant. Because of it’s slippery feel, paraffin is added to body products to make them easier to spread around.
Another reason it is used in beauty products is because it is a relatively cheap way to make skin feel moisturized. It’s important to note, that even though the skin feels hydrated after applying paraffin wax containing products, paraffin is not hydrating, and doesn’t do a good job or repairing skin damage. And, it is not necessarily good for the skin for other reasons – It clogs pores, doesn’t let the skin breathe, and can contain trace chemicals from the petroleum distillation process that are harmful. Melting point:37 °C (99 °F). It’s E number (food additive number) is E905. This wax is vegan.
A Good Direction for Amazing Skin Care
Even if you believe that paraffin is a natural option, it is our opinion that with very few exceptions, a more wholesome, nourishing, natural wax can, and should be used. Our recommendation is Carnauba wax if you are waxing your car or beeswax if you would be using on your skin. When it comes to protecting and keeping your skin hydrated, beeswax is incredible at both. You can try this in our solid lotion bars. Just pop out the puck and rub it where your skin is dry and will notice just a little protects and moisturizes your skin. Beeswax is a humectant and will draw moisture to your skin even in extremely dry climates as well as sealing in the moisture without clogging your pores.
More Bees solid lotions are a fantastic choice for natural care for your skin. These lotion bars are great for sensitive or worked skin. Whether you clean, build, sew, file, whatever it is you do our solid lotions are capable in helping repair and protect your skin. You can click the link below to our store and try one of these fantastic products for yourself.