There are all kinds of waxes in the world. Of course, as a bee related site, we often talk about the benefits of beeswax and the different ways we can use it. However, it is important that we also consider other wax types and how they might compare to beeswax. After all, if you are making anything with beeswax you have probably wondered about these other waxes too! Today we will look at carnauba wax and how it compares to the mighty beeswax! Carnauba Wax vs Beeswax! Let’s do this!
What is Carnuaba Wax?
Carnauba wax is a natural wax extracted from the leaves of the Brazilian Carnauba Palm, Copernicia prunifera. It is a hard, yellowish-white wax that is widely used in cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals. Carnauba wax is composed of acids and alcohols, with aliphatic esters making up the biggest part. Carnauba wax has a melting point of 82-86 °C (180-187 °F). This type of wax creates a gloss finish on surfaces, so it is often used in waxes and polishes.
What is Beeswax?
Beeswax is a natural wax that is secreted by honey bees to build their honeycombs. It is composed of a mixture of hydrocarbons and has a melting point of around 62-64 °C (144-147 °F) . When rendered, it produces a white, odorless, and flavorless substance. Beeswax has many applications, including as a foundation for cosmetics, in food products, as a lubricant, and in polishes.
What are the Main Differences Between Carnauba Wax and Beeswax?
Both carnauba wax and beeswax are natural waxes. They are both soft at room temperature but become harder as they cool.
Carnauba wax is harder and a much more brittle wax, whereas beeswax is softer and more pliable.
Carnauba wax has a higher melting point than beeswax.
Both of these waxes also naturally repel water.
What are the Main uses of Beeswax and Carnuaba Wax?
Due to its increased pliability and softness, beeswax is better to work with when having to form a product out of it. This, alongside the fact that beeswax burns better, means it is the material of choice for candles.
The main purpose of Carnauba wax, as stated above, is to provide a shine. Therefore, it is often used in polishes (used on anything from furniture to shoes!).
Carnauba wax can also be used as a hardener or a thickener, adding a gloss at the same time. In the past, it has been used widely in makeup, for example. Although more recently, more and more of these applications have been taken over by synthetic materials.
As stated above, both beeswax and Carnauba wax naturally repel water, so can be found in waterproofing or protective waxes. Although, as carnauba wax is so brittle it can’t be used alone, it will need to be mixed together with something else to make it more pliable (funnily enough, this other ingredient can be beeswax!!).