Waxes give cosmetic products a pleasant texture and feel while protecting the skin and hair.
What is wax?
Initially, wax is a substance that resembles beeswax. It’s usually a thick and oily substance, sometimes solid at room temperature, sometimes spreadable. There are many types of waxes, which can be of animal, mineral or plant origin. Here, we’ll focus on the many vegetable waxes that Lush uses, such as rapeseed, rose, sunflower or candelilla wax, to name a few.
Different plants, different processes, different waxes
The processes for obtaining vegetable wax are quite different depending on the plant's species and the desired texture and properties. Here are some examples:
- Acids - Candelilla wax is infamous for being extracted from a succulent plant with sulfuric acid, a very dangerous material. Luckily, Lush creative buyers have found a supplier that has pioneered a new technique with the less harmful citric acid.
- Hydrogenation - This process is frequently used in the vegetable oil industry, improving textures and shelf life. The transformation can range from the slight thickening of an oil, to its solidification into a wax. Soy wax is a good example of this.
- Solvents - Take rose absolute. Like all absolutes, it is produced by soaking the raw material (rose petals) in a solvent such as ethanol. This results in a waxy paste called concrete which is ‘washed’ again with solvents to separate the wax from the fragrant rose oil. The oil is called absolute and is sold separately. The remaining wax has a faint scent and retains some of the plant’s properties, which is ideal for cosmetic use.
What are the benefits of waxes in cosmetics?
Benefits will depend on the type of wax but, as a general rule, they give our products a nice texture and shine. They sit lightly on the skin and hair to protect them, giving lustre and softness. Some waxes will be very fine to the touch and hardly felt, others will provide a strong conditioning sensation.
Where does Lush get them from?
Each wax has its very own story! To find out more, browse your Lush product’s list of ingredients and click on the ones you are interested in. This should take you to a page full of details.