What is Synthetic Beeswax?

This week a client brought in their favorite night cream, one of the ingredients listed was Synthetic Beeswax. Is this like calling polyester – synthetic silk. Would you still buy it knowing that it was not silk? With a world full of fakes Louis Vuitton® now we have an ingredient that is at least being honest about it and not being the real deal but why.

What is Man-made Beeswax and is it an ingredient that you want on your face.

Synthetic Beeswax is a match of the physical and chemical properties of the natural beeswax and is a mixture of fatty acid esters, fatty acids, and alcohols from petroleum based ingredients. They can be found in Cosmetics, Depilatories, Furniture, Wood, and Leather Polishes; Leather, Textile, Wood, and Paper Finishes; Candles, Lubricants, Moldings, Lithography, Non-food Inks and Coatings.

Why do they use this synthetic Beeswax in cosmetics?

Natural Beeswax has a unique characteristic that adds certain solidity to emulsified solutions, facilitate the formation of stable emulsions and increase the water holding capacity of ointments and creams. Natural Beeswax not only improves the appearance and consistency of creams and lotions but it is also a preferred ingredient for lipsticks, because it contributes to sheen, consistency and colour stabilization.

Because Synthetic Beeswax has similar properties to natural beeswax it can be incorporated into the cosmetics at a substantial lower cost. In cosmetics and personal care products, these waxes are used in lipsticks, baby products, eye and facial makeup, as well as nail care, skin care, suntan, sunscreen, fragrance, and non-coloring hair preparations.

Is it safe to use Synthetic Wax? Though there is not alot known about the effects of this synthetic wax – there has not been an enough studies at this point of only about 135 studies, but a few have shown that synthetic beeswax have had the following negative results.

  • may have a skin irritating effect
  • is suspected of being an environmental toxin (aquatic)
  • caused diarrohea in rats and skin irritation in bunnies

Warning to Vegans

The main reason for using Synthetic Beeswax is cost saving and profit but unfortunately it is now being marketed to Vegans. As Vegans do not use any animal product or byproducts of animals, beeswax, lanolin and spermaceti cannot be used in any of their cosmetic products. But unfortunately their lifestyle has lead them to using an ingredient that may be harming them and the animals that they wish to protect. For the vegan conscious I suggest that they look for products that contain soy wax, candelilla wax, carnauba wax and jojoba these are all plant based wax and eco-friendly as well.


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debra spence
Debra Spence is a Qualified Medical Aesthetician, Cosmetic Scientist, Lecture and Author. Owned of an Australian National Award Winning Medi Spa. Now is concerntrating on Education of Skin and Skincare plus provideing advance treatments to her private patients. Plus developing Zen Dejour a Result Based Cosmeceutical Skincare Range and Dermal Solution Private Lable Professional Skincare.

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