Wax is not like wax - you cannot replace emulsifying wax with beeswax

Wax is not like wax - you cannot replace emulsifying wax with beeswax
Don't you like the fact that scary-sounding emulsifiers or emulsifying waxes appear in recipes for natural cosmetics? Are you wondering why we don't use beeswax instead of emulsifying wax? Wax like wax. Or not? You can buy the individual ingredients right below the procedure.More information
Ingredients for this recipeEmulsifying waxes
You can buy the individual ingredients right below the procedure

Can I replace emulsifying wax with beeswax in the recipe?

This is a question we often get, and unfortunately (or God?) we have to answer in the negative. Emulsifying wax is irreplaceable. Replacing the emulsifying wax with beeswax or another natural wax is about like replacing the egg yolk in the Linne batter with mustard, since both ingredients are yellow and gooey. Mustard will not work in Linnaeus. Like beeswax instead of emulsifying wax.

Don't you like the fact that scary-sounding emulsifiers or emulsifying waxes appear in recipes for natural cosmetics? Are you wondering why we don't use beeswax instead of emulsifying wax? Wax like wax. Or not? You can buy the individual ingredients right below the procedure.

A true emulsion

If you've been following the production of homemade cosmetics for some time now, you might argue that you've seen creams with beeswax on the Internet that looked more than good. Yes… But no. :) It is not a real emulsion , i.e. a smooth, uniform mixture created from two liquids that do not make friends on their own, which in most cosmetic products is oil and water or hydrolate. A classic "real" emulsion cannot be produced without an emulsifier.

If you don't mind reading English texts, a great article comparing true emulsions and "emulsions" made with beeswax, explaining why beeswax really cannot be mistaken for emulsifying wax, was written and documented by Formula Botanica.

What is emulsifying wax?

As you probably understood, emulsifying wax is an irreplaceable raw material for the production of skin creams and milks, which are (mostly) a mixture of oils and water. Here, the emulsifying wax acts as a glue that keeps all the components of the product together. If an emulsifier were not used, after some time the components of the cream would separate and a two-phase product would actually remain - similar to two-phase make-up removers or various salad dressings, where, without shaking, we can see a clearly separated oil layer and water layer.

It's fine with make-up removers and dressings, but shaking (or rather whisking) the cream before each use doesn't sound very appealing, what do you say?

How emulsifying wax works

According to Wikipedia, an emulsion is "a heterogeneous mixture of two liquids that do not spontaneously mix with each other. They are usually liquids of different density and polarity. An emulsion consists of a dispersion medium and a dispersed (scattered) substance. The dispersed substance is usually in the form of small droplets in the dispersion medium.

We all know from elementary school chemistry classes that water and oil don't mix. But emulsifying wax will change that - it will firmly connect water and oil and create a beautiful relationship between them, an emulsion, and that's what we want.

In addition to combining normally immiscible ingredients, emulsifying wax also thickens the product and ensures that the resulting product reaches the skin more easily (you already know that when you apply oil or butter, the skin should always be moist so that the oil can penetrate structure of the skin and did not remain only on the surface, the emulsion, as a mixed oil and water, can logically handle this luxuriously without the need to moisten or add anything).

In depth (but understandably)

Emulsifiers work at the molecular level, where, thanks to their properties, they attract both water and oil to each other at the same time. Emulsifying waxes can be thought of as a "compound" of different ingredients with different abilities. A part of the emulsifying wax attracts oil to itself, and the other part absorbs water into itself like a sponge. The emulsifier actually catches the water and oil, binds them together and no longer separates them.

And the best part?

You definitely don't need to be a chemist or know exactly how it works to be able to make a face cream or lotion. It is enough that you know that some kind of emulsifier must be used for production, that without it it simply will not work well, so it is not worth replacing or omitting it.

Selection of emulsifying wax

Emulsifying wax is not just one. There are many of them, they differ in the type and type of ingredients they hide inside. All these ingredients hiding from the emulsifier are commonly derived from plants – coconut, palm, olive and the like.

It should also be remembered that NOT all emulsifiers are "complete" emulsifying waxes. Some emulsifiers are thickeners, others, for example, co-emulsifiers (they provide part of the emulsification process, but something needs to be added to them in order for the emulsion to form and last). Therefore, before creating (and buying) it is always good to know what I want the raw material to do and to be sure that it really can do it.

The most widely used emulsifying waxes for the production of natural home cosmetics

Emulsifying wax NF (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60)

NF emulsifying wax should definitely not be missing at home. It is certainly one of the most used emulsifying waxes by all the creators of home cosmetics, and for its simple, reliable use and very good price, it is THE emulsifier we recommend to start with if you are going to start mixing at home. Emulsifying wax NF offers not only emulsifying, but also thickening and softening properties and is perfect for both skin creams and hair products. It exfoliates and smoothes the skin and gives hair long-lasting softness and shine. It is excellent for creams, smoothes the skin, and in hair products it provides lasting softness and shine. Thanks to its thickening properties, it is excellent for use in the production of milks and creams with a higher oil content, it is not necessary to add any other emulsifier to it, and it "carries" and stabilizes essential oils and fragrances well.

BTMS (INCI: Cetearyl alcohol > 50 and behentrimonium methosulfate 20-30)

If you are especially attracted by hair cosmetics, reach for BTMS. This emulsifying wax creates beautiful fine emulsions, lowers pH and is absolutely non-irritating. It is suitable for shampoos, conditioners or hair masks, but also for light body creams, which will definitely not burden the skin. Skin and hair are perfectly silky, soft and smooth thanks to BTMS. BTMS smoothes the hair fiber and prevents it from drying out. Because it reduces the static effect, it greatly facilitates the detangling of hair, even very long, curly and unruly ones.

Olivem 1000 (INCI: Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate)

Olivem 1000 is considered a more "natural" option as far as emulsifiers are concerned. It is a little more expensive and can be a bit more difficult to work with than the one mentioned above, however it is still a very reliable oil-in-water emulsifying wax (more water than oil in the product) suitable for beginners. Olivem 1000 creates extremely fine, soft to fluffy emulsions. Its biggest advantage is the long-term maintenance of a high level of moisture in the skin. The skin is soft and visibly hydrated with it.

Olivem 900 (INCI: Sorbitan Olivate)

Sibling of the aforementioned from the Olive family. Olivem 900 can conjure up beautiful dense and very rich water-in-oil products (more oil than water) or completely water-free creams. The resulting product spreads beautifully and leaves a protective film on the skin. It is therefore suitable for the production of nourishing hand and foot creams, thick body creams, protective creams for small children or preparations for very dry skin . But that's not all! Olivem 900 is also popularly used in the production of decorative cosmetics, it is great for creating lipsticks, cream make-up or mascara.

This is certainly not a complete sheet of emulsifying waxes. But these four are a great base with which you can reliably handle many things (in the company of cetearyl alcohol or cetyl alcohol, they are basically unbeatable). Their use is simple and variable, because with different proportions of emulsifying waxes and other ingredients in the recipe, you can conjure up a whole palette of different textures and preparations.

But definitely don't stay only with them! Also explore the aforementioned co-emulsifiers or other emulsifying waxes. It's a joy!

Do you emulsify? :)

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