Synthetic beeswax is being seen more and more often on ingredient lists for cosmetics. Like most who use cruelty-free beauty products, it is generally thought that synthetic beeswax didn’t contain any animal ingredients and that synthetic beeswax is vegan. But is synthetic beeswax vegan? Recently it’s come to my attention that this may not be the case.
In this post, I share what I have learned about synthetic beeswax so that we can all be better-educated consumers and make better choices about the product ingredients we use.
What exactly is synthetic beeswax?
According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), “synthetic beeswax is a wax synthetically derived to be generally indistinguishable from natural beeswax with regard to composition and properties.”
Synthetic beeswax is made by blending a mixture of fatty acid esters, fatty acids, and alcohols together to achieve a consistency similar to natural beeswax. It can be found in cosmetics, skin care, hair products, and even some household items. It’s meant to lend a structure similar to beeswax. For example, it could make a lipstick creamier and easier to apply.
Is synthetic beeswax always made from the same ingredients?
There does not appear to be a set formula or ingredient list for synthetic beeswax. There are many different formulas and variations out there. Most synthetic beeswax is made without of the use of animal ingredients. And, originally, the goal was to create a wax similar to beeswax without the use of any animal or animal-derived ingredients.
Is synthetic beeswax vegan?
The synthetic beeswax used in products may or may not be vegan.
In doing research on this, several cruelty-free brands told me that their synthetic beeswax does contain lanolin as one of the fatty acids. Lanolin is an oil derived from sheep’s wool and is often a bi-product of factory farming or slaughterhouses. Others have told me that the synthetic beeswax they use is a blend of real beeswax and other fatty acids. They label it as synthetic beeswax because it is not pure beeswax.
In all of these cases, when asked if the products containing synthetic beeswax were vegan, all brands said no. When asked, the brands were all able to identify the ingredients of their synthetic beeswax and which ingredients came from animals.
Most of the time, is synthetic beeswax vegan?
Yes. Most of the time, synthetic beeswax is vegan. However, since several cruelty-free brands have stated that their synthetic beeswax is not vegan, it’s important to always ask the brand what ingredients their synthetic beeswax contains. Brands should be aware of this and, when asked, able to give you an ingredient listing of their synthetic beeswax.
For those who are concerned about natural ingredients, you may want to steer clear of anything containing synthetic beeswax. While it is considered generally safe for use, it may contain ingredients derived from coal and petroleum. It may cause skin irritation in some.
I have studied ingredients on the EWG website extensively and I agree with your assessment. I will offer that I believe this ingredient was developed because it is cheaper to produce than real bees wax. I doubt these corporations care one bit about veganism or animal welfare.
Thank you so much for this helpful and informative insight. I have a sensitivity to beeswax, and am finding it very difficult to fine makeups without some form of wax. It’s been a challenge to research each item, but has been enlightening and exciting to learn that there are good wax-free items available. Thanks again for your time and energy seeking this info. 🙂
I’m so glad this helped, Jeanne!
I have the same condition!
It’s been so difficult for me to find products containing as much wax as possible… Do you habe any product suggestions?:)
Thank you in advance and I’m exited to hear what you’ve found so far:)
This is useful it’s awful that most lipsticks don’t detail ingredients.
I will have to be more careful from now on.
Thank you for this report!
Thanks for taking the time to look into this. I’ve just assumed that synthetic beeswax would be vegan, but now it looks like I’ll have to recheck the lipsticks I’m currently using to make sure….