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Carnauba: A Natural Wax for Vegan Skincare

Natural waxes like carnauba are a staple in many cosmetic and skincare products especially those that fall under the organic category. These lipids composed of hydrocarbons and fatty esters are versatile ingredients that serve a wide variety of functions in formulations.

What is Carnauba Wax?

Carnauba is a wax obtained from the leaves of the palm called Copernicia Prunifera. It is extracted by beating the leaves of the palm which loosens the wax. It then goes through a refining process. 

The palm species that carnauba wax is derived from flourishes naturally in Brazil. This is not the same species that palm oil is pressed from and is a tree that grows wildly in native forests. Once a year the leaves are pruned by hand from trees found growing naturally in the forest. 

This harvesting practice allows the trees to continue with their natural growth cycles. To the knowledge of our harvesters, there has never been an instance where this tree was considered threatened or a threat to the environment.

It is available from very dark intensive yellow to light beige color and is offered as flakes, pellets, or powder.

Uses for Carnauba Wax

It is primarily used as a thickening agent. It imparts hardness and reduces the stickiness of color cosmetics. In styling products, carnauba wax imparts hold. Meanwhile, in emulsions, it is often used as a stabilizer and as a viscosity modifier.

In modern formulations, carnauba wax is applied as a nanocarrier to disperse inorganic UV filters in aqueous solutions.

Both carnauba and candelilla wax are applied in barrier repair and therapeutic treatments to reduce transepidermal water loss and promote the barrier function of the skin.

Carnauba wax is a wonderful ingredient to use in natural cosmetics. It is extremely durable and dries to a glossy finish. Commonly found in lipsticks and lip balms, it may also be used in salves, balms, and in any recipe where beeswax is called for. It is a great alternative to beeswax, and a crucial ingredient in the vegan cosmetics industry.

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