Beeswax or a Vegan Alternative?

For thousands of years humans have used beeswax for many purposes, including cosmetics. Beeswax  is a natural non toxic product known for its versatility, low melting point, won’t turn rancid and can be heated and reheated.  Beeswax is a humectant, which means it attracts water, so it is perfect for keeping the skin hydrated, sealing in moisture, whilst still allowing the skin to breathe. It is a good source of vitamin A, which assists in cell regeneration.

However, there has been a demand at TMF to transition to a vegan alternative to beeswax from our new and existing brands, which has become one of our top formulations. 

Let’s discuss the differences between beeswax and the vegan alternatives,

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honeybees, which is used to build comb cells for young bees and to store honey. Chemically, Beeswax is made up of long chained alcohols and fatty acid esters. Due to the stability of beeswax, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are the two major consumers of beeswax with cosmetics being in the lead on account for the ingredient being used in blush, eyeshadow, lip gloss, lip balm and moisturiser.  

For Brands that are looking to shift toward a vegan alternative, they no longer have to sacrifice their products’ stability as the alternatives to Beeswax are now readily available, in the form of Natural Wax.

Natural Vegan Waxes are a blend of hydrocarbons and fatty esters, with the wax being derived from leaves, peels, and fruits of different plants and are separated from the plant via a process called de-waxing. No chemical reactions are involved.

It is worthwhile mentioning pseudo waxes – namely Floral Waxes, Hydrogenated Oils and a combination of both. Many suppliers can sell these ingredients as a natural wax because the blend is mixed with plant oils and hydrogenated vegetable oil. These waxes are by-products and waste from the production of floral absolutes. Once all the good stuff has been extracted, the by-product is once again extracted with alcohol or other solvents and water, leaving a final by-product that can be sold as a floral wax. There is nothing wrong with using a pseudo wax, it is just good to understand the ingredients you are using.

At TMF, we have been using a blend of different Natural Vegan Waxes in conjunction with Carnauba wax to achieve the same if not better result as Beeswax without the impact on the Vegan market share. The list of useable vegan waxes in the cosmetic and beauty industry are endless and include such waxes as:

Candellila wax

The most frequently used substitute for beeswax in balms, lipsticks and hair wax, giving the product a hard glossiness. Derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub, native to northern Mexico, this wax has a pleasing scent and is less sticky than beeswax. 

Carnauba wax

This is a wax from the leaves of the carnauba palm, native to northeastern states of Brazil. This wax imparts a hardness to a cosmetic product and applied to mascara as a volumising agent or hair styling products for its hold.

Bayberry wax

Bayberry wax is an aromatic green vegetable wax. To remove the wax, the fruit is boiled in water and the wax is skimmed from the surface. Traditionally used in the manufacture of scented candles, this wax is similar to beeswax and can work as an antiseptic, thickening agent and emulsifier to soothe and soften the skin.

Looking to reformulate your skincare product to vegan? The team at TMF can work with you to develop the best formulation using natural vegan wax. Contact us today to find out more.