Enjoy complimentary international shipping
← return to journal
Ingredient Spotlight: Candelilla Wax

Ingredient Spotlight: Candelilla Wax


All lipsticks require a certain ingredient to give them their solid structure - and that is wax.

Three main waxes are used for this purpose: beeswax, carnauba wax and candelilla wax, the latter being the one we prefer at Juni. 

As candelilla wax is not an animal or insect by-product, it is perfect for vegan users and, therefore, fits the mould for a Juni ingredient.

Candelilla wax - or candelilla cera - comes from the plant euphorbia cerifera, which grows in northern Mexico and the American state of Texas.

Our candelilla wax is certified organic and sustainably and ethically sourced from Mexico according to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and European Union Good Management Practice (EU GMP) guidelines.

It provides the same thickening agent properties of beeswax which allows pigments and other ingredients to be incorporated. It also contributes to the glossy appearance of lipstick.

Candelilla wax also has health benefits, preventing moisture loss from the lips by forming a barrier and it has anti-inflammatory properties.

These waxes ensure that an emulsion does not separate into its oil and liquid components and are used widely across cosmetics and personal care products.

They give lipsticks structure by increasing the thickness of the lipid (oil) portion. This allows for the smooth application we have become so accustomed to.

Candelilla also enhances absorption into the skin and has a faint, sweet scent which is similar to beeswax.

In England, lipstick gained popularity in the 16th century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Then, it was made from a mixture of beeswax and red stains from plants. The Chinese were the first to use beeswax in lipsticks, however, more than 1,000 years ago.

Candelilla - which means ‘little candle’, a reference to its initial use as candle wax - is popular among those wanting a vegan, cruelty-free ingredient and it has the added benefit of being ideal for people with an allergy to bees, pollen or honey.

Here’s the science-y bit: Candelilla wax is obtained by boiling the dried stalks of the candelilla plant in water. The molten wax is then skimmed off the surface, allowed to solidify and refined by subsequent passage through filter-presses.

As well as lipsticks, candelilla wax is used in lip glosses and creams, body creams, body lotion and eyelash masques.

It can also be found in chewing gum, crayons, candles and fireworks.

It is such a wonderful ingredient that it even has its own organisation, The Candelilla Institute. Who would have thought that wax could be so interesting?

Madeleine x