Basic Beeswax Formulas
Beeswax makes a superior polish for wood and leather. For recipes calling for shredded wax, grate the wax into shavings with a cheese/vegetable grater.
- Leather Dressing
- 5-6 oz. Beeswax
- 8 oz. tallow
- 8 oz. neatsfoot oil
- This is not a polish. It is a lotion that conditions and waterproofs smooth leather superbly. Heat ingredients together to 160 degrees F. Mix thoroughly and pour into containers.
~~Roughly equal parts of beeswax and olive oil melted together is all that has been needed for centuries to make a salve that helps prevent and heal chapping and rough skin. Olive oil has been mixed with beeswax for centuries, and is good for dry skin that needs to be softened. In modern times odorless/colorless mineral oil has been mixed with beeswax to make a soft, flexible coating that is not absorbed by the skin and repels water yet is removed easily with soap and water.
- A Basic Concentrated Hand Lotion
- 5 parts by volume beeswax
- 3 parts by volume coconut oil
A cream that is fairly solid when cold but will “melt” onto your hands as you rub it in….
Melt ingredients in separate heat-resistant wide-mouth jars in a simmering pan of water. Measure the melted ingredients into another jar in the the pan of simmering water. Mix thoroughly. Place the mixture jar in a pan of cool water and continue stirring. Transfer the cool cream into final containers. Ingredients other than coconut oil may be used. It is in this formula because it melts at skin temperature. Olive oil is often mixed with beeswax to make a skin lotion. When whaling was an industry, spermaceti was prized for skin lotions – and lamp oil, curiously enough.
- Lip Balm
- 1 Tablespoon shredded beeswax
- 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon glycerine (optional)
- 1 large vitamin E capsule
- 1-2 tsp. honey.
- 4 drops of essential oil such as almond, peppermint, orange or lemon.
- Heat the beeswax, coconut oil and glycerine to 160 deg F. Add the vitamin E capsule and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add the honey and stir until the mixture starts to thicken (140 degrees or so), then evenly add the essential oil while stirring and continue to stir the mixture until cool. Pour into final containers (like small screw-top balm jars) at about 120 degrees and let set until completely cool.
- “Natural” Lip Gloss
- 1 Tablespoon shredded beeswax
- 2 Tablespoons oil of your choice
- Natural coloring as needed
- Heat the beeswax and oil to 160 deg F. For color, add a natural vegetable coloring (like beet powder, raspberry or blackberry juice, or even coffee that has been ground into a powdery consistency, etc.). You will have to experiment with the right combination of wax oil and color. Pour into final containers and let set until completely cool. Package with a lipstick brush.
~~Lanolin was first suggested for use in cosmetics during WWII as a substitute for beeswax, which was needed for the war effort (another story altogether). After the war its use was continued and the foul-smelling grayish goo remains with us cosmetically to this day. Lanolin, to be blunt, is wool grease. Anyone who’s ever smelled a wool rendering plant or has felt pure lanolin can understand the term “wool grease.” Lanolin is not listed in any of the formulas on this page but it may be used in any of the formulas for skin or cosmetic use and it is often mixed with beeswax commercially.
- Basic Beeswax Cold Cream
- 1 part Beeswax (17%) (all parts by weight)
- 2 parts Water (33%)
- 3 parts Oil (50%)
- Borax – 5% to 6% of the beeswax used
- Heat the beeswax and oil to 160 degrees F. Heat the borax and water to 160 degrees F. Mix and stir. Perfumes or essential oils should be added at 140 degrees F, and the mixture should be stirred until it is 120 degrees when it should be poured in jars and allowed to cool.
The borax emulsifies the beeswax, sort of like making soap. Borax is alkali and it neutralizes the fatty acids in beeswax when mixed, producing an oil-water emulsion cream-like in consistancy.
- Artists’ Varnish
- 3 parts in volume of finest turpentine spirit
- 1 part in volume of pure bleached beeswax.
- Heat the wax and turpentine to 160 degrees F. Mix thoroughly until cool. Wax varnish has a beautiful non-glossy sheen. It is easy to remove from a painting or plaque without damaging the paint, though it yellows a little faster then most other varnishes so you will have to clean your painting sooner (after ten to fifteen years). However, it gives a period effect that is hard to duplicate with modern materials.
- Basic Beeswax Wood Polish
- 1-1/2 parts Turpentine or white spirits
- 1 part Beeswax
Heat the wax to 160 degrees F. Heat the solvent to 160 degrees and add to the wax. Mix until cool, then transfer to final containers.The ratio of solvent to beeswax determines whether this is a paste wax or a liquid polish. Other ingredients are often added such as pigments, lemon oil, linseed oil, or tung oil. More volatile solvents such as naptha aare also added or substituted to make a faster-drying, thinner polish Carnauba wax is often added to make a harder, shinier finish.
Classically, on “raw” wood the paste polish is applied warm, so the turpentine soaks into the pores of the wood and pulls some beeswax with it. Excess polish is brushed or scraped off. When dry, the resultant wax film is polished with brisk rubbing. This beeswax and turpentine polish may be “renewed” many times by brisk polishing. When more wax is finally necessary, though, it is best to remove as much of the old wax as possible before applying more polish. Old wax will often “gum up” and make polishing more difficult.