Seatons Candelilla Wax
Candelilla wax is obtained from the coating of the “wax slipper plant” Euphorbia cerifera. The wax is deposited on the surface of the plants, during the dry season, to protect them from excessive water loss. The Euphorbia species that produce candelilla wax is indigenous to Mexico, especially in the northern states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Zacatecas. They also occur in the southern states of the USA, Texas, California and Arizona. Candelilla wax is a popular vegetable wax and is available in pellet form.
To extract the wax the plants are dried in the sun for up to two weeks, after which they are pulverised and treated with dilute mineral acid. During the extraction the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off to give a brittle, light brownish opaque waxy material called cerote. The colour can best be described as “café-au-lait”. After solidification the crude molten wax already gives the nice and glossy appeal on the surface, so characteristic for candelilla wax in its applications.
In its refined form candelilla is used extensively in the cosmetic industry for numerous applications including creams and lipsticks where its “slip” characteristics are ideal. It is also used as a thickening agent, an emollient and a film forming agent enabling water-repellence. This water repellence is excellently placed in lipsticks. The film-forming properties of candelilla wax offer the possibility to use it as a fixative for UV filters in sun care products.