Sunflower wax helps thicken and harden products (which is great for their preservation and reduces the need for packaging) but still melts easily on the skin, leaving a glossy look and a lightweight feel.
The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is a flowering plant that grows up to four meters tall on a long, hairy stem. The large yellow petals of the flower suggest that it’s a very big one (7cm-30cm wide) but take a closer look and you will see that their dark centre is actually composed of multitudes of small flowers, that each produce a fruit and form a seed.
The plant is thought to have a good phytoremediation potential, meaning it can clean soils from heavy metals like zinc and nitrates thanks to their deep, absorbing root system. Many materials can be derived from sunflowers, such as dyes, oil, wax and lecithin.
Lush purchase this ingredient from an American-Dutch supplier specialising in natural waxes. First, crude wax is separated from sunflower seed oil in India, by a refinement process called winterisation. Then, the wax is sent to the Netherlands to be further processed and ready to be used in cosmetics.