I get a lot of requests for vegan DIY skin care. You might wonder how there could be animal products in skin care and there typically isn’t but I use a lot of beeswax in my recipes which obviously comes from bees and makes many of my recipes not vegan friendly. I’ve explored a couple of plant based waxes to replace beeswax with but never really experimented to find the differences in them and how they compare to beeswax. I decided it was time to dig deeper and figure these waxes out so that if you are vegan and would like to explore DIY skin care, you can with the help of this guide!
First off-In case you don’t know-we use a wax to create a balm, also known as a salve. By adding a wax to oil, heating the mixture so that the wax melts in to the oil, you create a solid substance. Balms and salves are useful because they make using oil products less messy. Lord knows you don’t want to drip oil on your clothing! Also, waxes have their own skin care benefits as well. They are nourishing as well as protective.
Unfortunately, substituting beeswax for a vegan wax is not that simple. Beeswax binds with oil and makes a very creamy, smooth consistency. The bottom line is that I have not been able to recreate such a creamy consistency with a plant based wax BUT I’ve come very close!
The two waxes I’ve experimented with are carnauba and candelilla wax. I melted 2 tsp. of each wax with 2 tbsp. of hazelnut oil and then compared the consistencies of the 2. I also did the same with beeswax in order to compare the two vegan waxes with it.
Candelilla is an all-natural vegetable wax that comes from the leaves of the wild Candelilla plant found in Mexico and the south west region of the US. I found candelilla wax on Amazon. Unfortunately, the brand I have is no longer available but there are several options on Amazon. I would try THIS one.
Carnauba wax is a vegetable wax obtained from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree (Copernica cerifera) known as the “Tree of Life.” I found carnauba wax at Mountain Rose Herbs HERE.
Candelilla Wax: 2 tbsp. Oil/2 tsp. wax
- Glassy appearance
- Difficult to stir
- Good consistency once stirred
- Slight smell but pleasant
- Absorbs faster then the other waxes
- Feels exactly like beeswax on the skin
- Great emulsion (oil and wax were thoroughly combined)
Carnauba Wax: 2 tbsp. oil/2 tsp. wax
- Medium soft
- Easily stirred
- Slightly gritty
- Slight smell but pleasant
- Difficulty absorbing
- Very slippery on the skin
- Emulsified very loosely-mixture was somewhat oily
Beeswax: 2 tbsp. oil/2 tsp. wax
- Hardest out of the 3
- Very difficult to whip or stir
- Smooth and creamy
- Slight smell
- Absorbs at a medium rate
- Not much slip on the skin
In conclusions, I prefer candelilla wax because of it’s glassy consistency, ability to emulsify and I liked that I was able to mix it to form a vaseline like consistency. The carnauba wax was my least favorite because of the gritty feeling. It was slight but enough to be obvious. I was very surprised to find that beeswax is the hardest out of the 3. I could barely press my finger in to it. I was under the impression that the vegan waxes were much harder.
I’m glad to finally crack the code on these 3 waxes! I hope this has been helpful! I’m bummed that my exact brand of candelilla wax is no longer available and it concerns me that the other brands might not be exactly the same but from what I’ve read, my wax performed like a typical candelilla wax.
Do you have other vegan waxes you use? I’d love to hear about them!
P.S. I do have a couple of vegan recipes you might look in to! I’ve planned several more in the near future!