Does Beeswax Benefit Skin? (And What It’s Really Doing In Your Skincare Products)

by beautifulwithbrains
how beeswax helps skin

Bees are your skin’s BFF.

These industrious little insects are hard at work to give your skin everything it needs. Like honey, the sweet nectar that moisturises your skin and fights acne at the same time.

And beeswax. Less famous than honey, beeswax is everywhere – especially in solid products like lip balms. What makes it so popular?

Here’s everything you need to know about beeswax in skincare:

What Is Beeswax?

Beeswax is a natural wax bees make to build the walls of the honeycomb where they’re going to raise their children and store their pollen.

Bees need to consume around 10 pounds of honey to produce just one pound of beeswax! To put it into perspective, bees need to collect nectar from nearly 2 million flowers to make just one pound of honey.

Beeswax is mostly made up of esters of fatty acids and long chain alcohols that give it its moisturising and thickening properties.

Once humans take it from the hive, they create three types of beeswax with it:

  • Yellow beeswax: This is the raw beeswax product.
  • White beeswax: Bleached yellow beeswax.
  • Beeswax absolute: Yellow beeswax treated with alcohol.

Fun fact: its Latin name is Cera Alba (cera means wax). That’s how it usually appears on the ingredient list of skincare products.

Related: The Complete Guide To Honey In Skincare: What Is It And How Does It Help Skin?

Beeswax Benefits: How Does It Help Skin?

Beeswax is an emollient that makes skin softer and smoother. It works by creating a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in.

Moisture is the key ingredient that makes you look younger and healthier. When your skin has all the moisture it needs, it gets softer to the touch; it plumps up so that fine lines and wrinkles look smaller; it takes on a dewy glow.

By keeping moisture in, beeswax helps to hydrate your skin and make it look its best. But this barrier also has another function: it protects your skin from environmental assaults.

Harsh weather, irritating skincare products, pollutants & co can break down your skin’s protective barrier and dry out your skin. By reinforcing this barrier, beeswax helps prevent dryness and irritation.

Related: The Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin

What Else Does Beeswax In Skincare Do?

FYI, its moisturising properties ain’t the only reason you’ll find beeswax in skincare products. It has two other jobs:

  • Fragrance: Beeswax has a natural honey fragrance that makes skincare products smell delicious.
  • Thickener: It thickens the oil portion of solid products (think lip balm) to give them their solid shape. It also stiffens eye makeup products without hardening them.
  • Water-resistant: It makes mascaras waterproof and smudge-proof.

Related: Is Fragrance In Skincare As Bad As Paula Begoun Says?

Does Beeswax In Skincare Has Any Side Effects?

Beeswax in skincare is generally considered to be safe. Unless you’re allergic to it. In that case, stay away.

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Beeswax?

The Bottom Line

Beeswax in skincare is mostly a thickener to give products their shape. But when it’s high on the ingredient list, it helps to keep skin moisturised and safe from environmental aggressors, too.

What’s your take on beeswax in skincare? Let me know in the comments below.

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164 comments

Andrea July 6, 2011 - 5:35 pm

I patch tested allergic to beeswax. I have been using Aquaphor ointment on my lips for years as a lip balm alternative and its great.

beautifulwithbrains July 6, 2011 - 5:59 pm

Andrea, I’m sorry you are allergic to beeswax too but it’s great that you managed to find a lip balm that works for you. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure others will find it useful. ūüôā

Tonya March 22, 2012 - 12:16 pm

At 4 years old I was stung and found out I have a severe bee allergy. After a few years of allergy shots and little improvement I also developed a honey allergy. I only discovered this after eating some Honey Smacks! This isnt just a concern while eating but also a topical allergy. I made the mistake of using a shampoo with honey in it when I was 19 and suffered hives and hair loss. I never thought something sticky like honey would be in shampoo! Next I started having problems with beeswax so avoided that too. I used medx lip balm on day and my blood pressure dropped so low I passed out and ended up in the hospital over night and on steroids and benadryl for over a month to suppress the allergic reaction. I recently started to have problems with carnuba wax also. So many meds are coated in it to help make swallowing them easier so be careful!!! My question to all is… Does anyone know if synthetic beeswax is made from anything coming from bees? I have not tried it because I can not find an answer. I am only guessing but I think my allergies have something to do with the enzymes in the bees that help them break down pollen, make wax and honey. Honey bees are the ones I am most allergic to and have the worst reactions too. Any info would be helpful! Good luck to all those dealing with this sort of thing

beautifulwithbrains March 22, 2012 - 7:45 pm

Tonya, I am so sorry to hear that, how awful! I wish I could help you, but unfortunately I don’t know if synthetic beeswax is made with anything that comes from bees. I will try and do some research but I can’t promise anything. If I find something, I’ll let you know straight away.

Lisa March 22, 2012 - 7:52 pm

Tonya, how awful — my problem (and the problem of many who have posted here) is just a topical reaction to beeswax, but your problem is much more serious. You truly have a severe allergy that could be really serious (as I do with penicillin).

I don’t have the answer to your question either; I wish I could help. Obviously you will have to be extremely diligent in researching cosmetics — many do contain carnuba wax or beeswax, lipsticks especially. And wow, meds being coated with carnuba wax — what a nightmare!

I wish you luck and hope you can find the answer to your question.

Lisa in Austin

Mikayla December 6, 2012 - 1:44 am

I am allergic to beeswax. I actually go into Anaphylactic Shock if it gets in my mouth. I had my eyebrows waxed once and broke out in hives. It sucks because a lot of makeups have beeswax so I am very limited. I can’t eat jellybeans either. ):

beautifulwithbrains December 6, 2012 - 6:49 am

Mikayla, I’m so sorry to hear that, how awful! And it’s a shame there aren’t more beeswax-free products around, that must be very frustrating.

tennis4me February 12, 2013 - 11:41 am

Do you know any beeswax products also contain resin? I m very allergic to resin/colophony and it seems everything that I use on my lips and face contain it.

beautifulwithbrains February 12, 2013 - 9:50 pm

Tennis4me, I’m sorry to hear that. I know that colophony is used in lip products for its stickiness. I’m not sure if beeswax contains it, but there may be traces of it in unpurified, organic beeswax. Try using the purified kind only, as during the process, they remove all the resins and other impurities that may be in it. Hope this helps.

TN Sun Balm Pact SPF50 PA+++ Review | beautifan May 9, 2014 - 9:42 am

[…] Beeswax is a thickening agent. It thickens the oil portion of solid products (like lipsticks), giving them structure and keeping them solid. It stiffens eye makeup products without hardening them. When used in¬†mascaras¬†it provides the main body of the product and gives it smudge-proof and waterproof properties.¬†It is also an emollient that smooths and softens the skin.¬†In addition, it keeps an emulsion (a blend of water and oil) from separating.¬†It may also be used in depilatory products to remove unwanted hair.¬†Allergies to beeswax can occur. However, beeswax should have no side effects when used correctly in cosmetics formulations. ¬†(source ;¬†x) […]

Lisa May 27, 2014 - 10:38 pm

Just wanted to let those of you out there who are allergic or very sensitive to beeswax know that I just found what I think is going to be a fantastic lip balm (and line of gorgeous, natural lipsticks).

I had totally given up on finding a lip balm without beeswax (almost all lip balms contain beeswax, especially the “natural” ones, and I’ve even been sensitive to one I tried that didn’t contain beeswax). I’ve resorted to using Mentholatum on my lips at night, but I know it’s awful and contains toxic ingredients. I just found Red Apple Lipstick (www.redapplelipstick.com), a small company that makes handmade, 100% gluten-free, paraben-free, lead-free natural lipsticks and cosmetics, all made in the USA, and they have a lip balm that people rave about called Rallye Balm. It does not contain beeswax, and it actually heals dry, chapped, cracked lips by hydrating them and letting them breathe. Read about it here:

http://www.redapplelipstick.com/rallye-balm-gluten-free-lip-balm.html

I am so excited to have finally found a product that I think will work! The creator of Red Apple Lipstick, Jay Harper, explains why traditional lip balms DON’T work and why Rallye Balm is so different.

I’m also going to order some of their beautiful lipsticks; I don’t think any of them contain beeswax but am going to check to be sure. They have an amazing guarantee — they will refund or exchange any product for 6 months after purchase, so there is no risk (it’s hard to choose lipstick colors online).

Thought others of you out there might want to check it out too.

Lisa in Austin

Gio May 28, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Lisa, I’m so glad you’ve finally found a new line of lip products that work for you, and thank you for sharing with us. I’m sure a lot of people who are sensitive to beeswax will find it helpful.

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