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DIY beeswax skincare recipes

4 DIY Beeswax Skincare Recipes

When it comes to nourishing our skin, I’m a firm believer that Mother knows best–Mother Earth, that is. Though most of my favorite natural skincare ingredients are made from plants, beeswax is one of the few animal-derived ingredients I also use frequently. Beeswax is one of my favorite ingredients when it comes to giving texture and thickness to salves, lotions, creams, lip balms, and even hair wax. Beeswax is a beloved emollient, softening rough and dry skin patches, and it makes a formulation somewhat water resistant. It also protects the skin from trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and against harsh weather conditions. For these reasons, beeswax skincare recipes are some of my all time favorites.

Today, my friend, host of the Skin Body Spirit Summit, Andrea Endres, shares must-know information about beeswax, and four simple DIY beeswax skincare recipes:

Beeswax quality

Honeybee on flower

Quality is everything, and that is why I always get my beeswax from a local beekeeper. Beeswax is a product produced by bees that are incredibly important for the pollination of our crops and therefore our food system. Commercial beeswax production has had detrimental effects on the bee population. This is why it’s important to support local, responsible beekeepers who work to secure the bees’ wellbeing and immune systems by leaving them the majority of honey. instead of feeding the bees with cheap sugar substitutes. Local, responsible beekeepers are also less likely to use harmful pesticides.

Inside the beehive, the wax is built into hexagonal prismatic wax cells that we call honeycombs, which function as storage places for larvae and food, i.e. honey and pollen. Within time they get dirty and contaminated with debris. At that point, the bees abandon their hive and build a new one.

Therefore a beekeeper only takes what would have been left anyways and ensures a healthy hive. That’s why it is important to find a responsible beekeeper in your region. Don’t be afraid to ask about how how they care for their beehives, and how they process the wax and honey. 

Beeswax substitutes

Though beeswax is a staple ingredient in classical herbal skincare recipes, it’s not an ingredient our vegan friends like to use. There are several plant waxes that could substitute beeswax in formulations. However, the ratio of the amount used will differ significantly, as will the “feel” of the finished product which is why we won’t go into them any further here.

Some examples of other waxes that can be used in skincare formulations that don’t come from bees but plants are carnauba wax, candelilla wax, soy wax, rose wax, rapeseed wax and berry wax to name a few.

Beeswax skincare formulation facts

Melting point:  61-65°C / 141.8-149 °F

Solubility: soluble in fat, butters and oils and essential oil but not in water. It also blends somewhat with heated alcohol and fully in boiling alcohol.

Color: Some beeswax is semi-transparent white with almost no scent, others come in different color variations of brownish to light yellow with a heavenly sweet honey scent.

There is:

  • White beeswax – also called Cera alba within the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI). This one is bleached and the methods used for that can reach from natural bleaching through sunlight to chemical bleaching processes using hydrogen peroxide or even chlorine.
  • Yellow beeswax – Cera flava as INCI name. This one is not bleached and usually can be extracted through a variety of methods using heat and water as the most natural method.

Practical advice when working with beeswax

It can be tricky to clean beeswax off your kitchen gadgets and cookware, as it leaves a thick layer of resistant wax that won’t wash off simply with soap.

Here are some tips to remove it: Heat your dish, pot, or gadget at a low temperature in the oven, in very hot water, or carefully on the stove and then wipe clean with paper towels.

Be careful so you don’t burn yourself, and never pour beeswax down the drains!

If you plan to add essential oils to your beeswax skincare recipes, be sure to measure them out as precisely as possible. Essential oils are used in tiny amounts and hard to weigh out on a scale. A rule of thumb is that 1 gr = ca 1ml = 20-25 drops.

DIY beeswax skincare formulation tips

The following beeswax skincare recipes are base recipes that allow you to add your personal blend of plant oils and essential oils. If you are new to this, a cheaper oil like a good quality olive oil will do just fine to start out with and will give you the chance to make mistakes and get a feel for the formulation.

herbs and flowers with carrier oils

When you feel comfortable, you can mix and match your favorite plant oils, macerates/infused oils, and essential oils. I always recommend organically sourced ingredients and cold pressed, raw or native oils and fats when possible to ensure the highest amount of nutrients.

I left preservatives and antioxidants out of the recipes, as everyone has their own preferences and ingredients they like to use and the dosage thereafter varies. This does not mean you should skip these. Preservatives need to be added to formulations using water to prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, while antioxidants are added to all recipes to keep the oils from going rancid.

To add antioxidants to your recipe simply replace the amount you want to use from the oil part of the recipe. To add preservatives, simply replace the amount you want to use from the water part of your formulation. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended usage range, and test your formulations accordingly.

It is also a good idea to check the pH of your water-containing products to make them skin friendly (slightly acidic), and to make sure your chosen preservative works within the pH range. 

Remember to always take notes during your experimentations, writing down the proper INCI or latin name of the ingredient you have used. Label your finished products and store them away from heat, light and moisture.

All you need to start is a double boiler, a scale, a silicone scraper, as well as packaging that fits your end product.

4 DIY Beeswax Skincare Recipes

1. Body Butter Bar

Call it a massage bar, lotion bar, solid shower oil or body conditioner. We find many names for those we love. This is a fun product that can be shaped endlessly using silicone molds and makes a fun present.

Ingredients:

  • 36% cocoa butter
  • 27% shea butter
  • 22% locally sourced beeswax
  • 13% plant oil
  • 2% essential oil(s)

How To:

beeswax skincare recipes: body butter bar
  1. Carefully melt the beeswax in a double boiler. 
  2. Add the other butters and melt completely. 
  3. Add the oils and melt completely.
  4. Take off the stove and let cool a bit while stirring.
  5. Add the essential oil(s) and stir thoroughly.
  6. Pour into small heat proof silicone molds and let harden overnight. You can also put them in the fridge for a couple of hours, just be careful not to contaminate nor let them come in contact with water.
  7. Unmold and store in a dry, closed container.

If you use them in the shower, make sure to dry your beeswax bars after every use and store in a container inbetween. And make sure not to slip on your shower floor!

2. Beeswax Lotion

This is basically a body oil thickened with beeswax. It’s really wonderful to use when your skin just needs a little more of everything. Combine any other oils that your skin would benefit from.

Ingredients:

  • 95% plant oil(s) and/or macerates
  • 3% locally sourced beeswax
  • 2% essential oil(s)

How to:

  1. Carefully melt the beeswax in a double boiler. 
  2. Add the oils and melt completely.
  3. Take off the stove and let cool a bit while stirring.
  4. Add the essential oil(s) and stir thoroughly.
  5. Funnel into a glass bottle with a pump dispenser. Let cool completely before screwing on the pump lid.

3. Lip Balm

There are tons of recipes on lip balms out there so I’m gonna give you a more specific one that combines beeswax, a plant wax, coconut oil and cocoa butter. The final balm has an amazing soft feel and really helps soothe dry, cracked lips.

I love using a nourishing, thicker oil like avocado in the oil part. To give this an interesting twist, I combined chocolate and mint!

Ingredients:

  • 30% plant oil
  • 23% locally sourced beeswax
  • 20% coconut oil
  • 10% cocoa butter
  • 10% shea butter
  • 2% cocoa powder (same as for baking)
  • 2% carnauba wax
  • 1% essential oil (peppermint)

How to:

  1. Carefully melt the beeswax and carnauba wax in a double boiler. 
  2. Add the other butters and fats and melt completely. 
  3. Add the plant oil and melt completely.
  4. Take off the stove and let cool a bit while stirring.
  5. Add your cocoa powder and essential oil(s) and stir thoroughly.
  6. Pour into small tins or lip balm tubes. Stir in-between pouring so that the cocoa powder dispenses equally. Carefully reheat the mixture if it hardens too fast. Let harden and cool completely before capping.

4. Basic Salve Recipe (great as a foot balm)

The recipe here is a very basic salve recipe which can be varied indefinitely. Adding equal parts of the essential oils of lemongrass and grapefruit, and simple carrier oils like olive oil makes this an amazing and very effective foot balm. It works wonders on rough feet, smoothing the skin and calluses when used overnight or during the day when wearing socks. 

Ingredients:

  • 81% plant oil(s) or macerate
  • 17% locally sourced beeswax
  • 2% essential oil(s) 

How to:

  1. Carefully melt the beeswax in a double boiler. 
  2. Add the plant oil(s) and melt completely. 
  3. Take off the stove and let cool a bit while stirring.
  4. Add your essential oil(s) and stir thoroughly.
  5. Pour into a tightly closed jar. Let harden and cool completely before screwing on the lid.

In addition to these four simple recipes, beeswax is also a staple ingredient in both historic, and more modern herbal versions of cold cream. Get a fun lesson on the history of cold cream, and learn to make the decadent Everything’s Coming Up Roses Cold Cream in the Vintage Beauty Club!

About the author:

Andrea Endres headshot

Andrea Endres started her natural self-care journey 2004 after attending one lecture that changed her life forever. She became a Holistic Skincare Therapist at Axelsons Institute, Scandinavia’s oldest and largest school for complementary and alternative medicine under Lena Losciale, Sweden’s pioneer of Professional Education and Expertise in Botany, Dermatology and Plant-based Skincare; and holds two nutritionist certifications. She founded the Skin Body Spirit Summit where she is connecting holistic skin health and wellness experts with conscious women looking for individualized practices in skin, body and self care.

Andrea ran her own restaurant in Cambodia, is a Plant Based Chef, and full-time traveler spreading the fascinating and empowering world of holistic skin health while passionately volunteering at a local nonprofit working towards sustainable tourism. Her mission is to help women to become confident in their skin, really owning their choices, their bodies, their worth. Natural and holistic skincare and nutrition were her doorstep to a journey of true empowerment and that is what she wants to pay forward. 

What’s your favorite way to use beeswax for skincare?

Please share in the comments below!

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