Beeswax Vs Emulsifying Wax in Hand Lotions – How to Choose

There’s a lot of ‘buzz’ about using beeswax in cosmetics because it’s a natural ingredient but there are reasons why it shouldn’t be used in hand or face lotions. First of all, it’s not an emulsifier. What does that mean? It means that it won’t chemically mix with the oils and water. If you have a lotion with water in it, it will separate and you’ll have an oil and wax glob and water sitting there. I know, I’ve done it. Even when you use only beeswax and oils, which do mix well together, the final outcome is either a waxy or greasy feel, there’s nothing there to smooth out the consistency, which is what water does with an emulsifying wax.

People claim that you can use beeswax as an emulsifier but actually that’s only partly true. You can use the beeswax but you then have to add borax to the mixture as the beeswax will NOT mix with water without the chemical reaction that borax creates. So yes, beeswax is natural and has great qualities, which is why I use only pure white beeswax in my lip balms along with organic oils and 100% pure essential oils. Using it in a face cream or body lotion just doesn’t work without the borax and I, personally, don’t want to put borax on my skin or face. It’s not necessary in the lip balm to create a smooth feel because the product is different than a lotion. In the case of lip balm, you want the oils so they absorb quickly into your lips but on your skin or face, the combination is waxy and greasy..

According to Mountain Rose Herbs, emulsifying wax is “a vegetable based wax, from naturally occurring fats and esters, further processed into a convenient “pastille flake form”. This excellent medium is used to create a bond between water and oil for products which require their binding together. Makes a fluid cream, and lotion without the separation, and complements the finished products end texture.”

So whether you’re making or just buying natural hand lotions or face creams, avoid the ones that are strictly made from oils and beeswax or you’ll get a waxy, greasy feeling lotion. I know that’s not what I want to put on my skin or my face. And don’t be put off by seeing that it contains an emulsifying wax but make sure it’s from vegetables and not petroleum based if you want to stay as natural as possible with your cosmetics.