Vegan Crafting Made Easy: A Vegan Beeswax Alternative

vegan beeswax alternativeWe have been all about the beeswax this week! Julie shared a recipe for natural beeswax furniture polish on Monday and then a whole roundup of beeswax crafts yesterday. I’ve got to say that as a vegan crafter, I want to get in on all this eco-friendly waxy action! But since beeswax comes from bees, that makes it off limits for vegan crafting purposes. So! I did a bit of digging and turned up a great vegan beeswax alternative: candelilla wax!

Like beeswax, candelilla wax is totally natural. Unlike beeswax, though, it’s a plant product. Candelilla wax is made by boiling the leaves and stems of the candelilla shrub with a very low concentration of sulphuric acid. The resulting wax works great in many projects where you’d use beeswax, like making furniture polish or in cosmetics. You can even use it to make candles!

Where to find Candelilla Wax

The first place I’d check for candelilla wax is your local natural foods co-op. In case you don’t have a co-op near you, I found a few online resources for this vegan beeswax alternative:

  • Mountain Rose Herbs. They were out of stock at the time of this writing, but there’s a button where they can notify you when it’s back in stock.
  • Amazon. There’s one seller on Amazon right now that stocks bulk candelilla wax.
  • Aroma Heaven. These guys also stock bulk candelilla wax.

Need Another Vegan Beeswax Alternative?

Candelilla wax isn’t the only alternative to beeswax, but it does seem to share the most properties with the stuff along with its sustainability. Here are some other beeswax alternatives I found, along with their pros and cons.

  • Carnuba wax is another vegan beeswax alternative. It comes from palm trees, though, which can be dicey. Because of the environmental problems with palm oil, I’m wary of palm-derived products.
  • Soy wax is great for making candles, and some folks say you can even use soy wax in balms and butters. My only hesitation with soy is that if it’s not organic, chances are it’s genetically modified.
  • Bayberry wax also works for candles, but from what I’ve read it has a a strong aroma. If you’re cool with that, though, it’s another good plant-based wax to look at.

I’d love to hear from vegan candle-makers and vegan bath and body crafters out there! What’s your favorite vegan beeswax alternative?

{Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by _PaulS_}

35 thoughts on “Vegan Crafting Made Easy: A Vegan Beeswax Alternative”

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  3. I want to make a body butter and beeswax is one of the key ingredients. Thanks for listing the alternatives! Candelilla wax looks good and I checked that it’s okay for bodies as well as furniture. I read that “If substituting Candelilla Wax for Beeswax in an existing recipe, reduce the amount of wax by half since as Candelilla Wax has twice the stiffening power of Beeswax.” (Aussie Soap Supplies – not my company – randomly found on google search)

    Carnauba also looks pretty good, and I don’t think you have to worry because it doesn’t look like it is from the same palm trees or plantations associated with orangutan etc habitat destruction.

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  6. Kate Brassington

    Hi and thanks for writing about vegan alternatives to beeswax! I’ve been making bath and body products for awhile, and many of my recipes call for beeswax. In an attempt to be more ethical though, I’ve recently made the decision to move away from using ingredients that exploit animals (including our bee friends) wherever possible. Candelilla wax is what I plan on supplementing the beeswax with. Anyway, I just wanted to add another supplier to your list! Aroma Haven and Rustic Escentuals carry it here: (I’m not affiliated with them in any way, and I really can’t even fully recommend them, since I have not *yet* used their Candelilla Wax. But I thought I’d just pass on this link, as an FYI for anyone interested.) Thanks again for this article, and keep up the good work!

  7. Any ideas for a beeswax substitute that has the same sort of clingy/ sticky property ? I am infusing beeswax with cotton but want to find a vegan option. I have tried candelilla wax but it is too hard. Thanks so much

    1. Good question! I have read good things about carnauba wax, but it does come from palm trees, and palm production is not great for the environment. You might also try to find organic soy wax.

      1. Hey There, Please note that Soy Production is also a big problem!! I am from Argentina, and, as a country, we are a great producers of soy. And this generate big economical, and ecological problems!
        So every production made in big scale, monocrops, is a big issue…
        Is good to be conscious in your elections, but whatever you read in internet is good to question it a little.
        This is what i think about palm issue. I read about it, and thinking about the soya issue, that no one talk about it, i read also that Palm is being used to replace corn oil, and another oils for cooking and other industries. So perhaps all the big deal around PALM (i am not saying that is a lie, but perhaps there is more press about it, is because is beneficial for those other oil industries, like make bad press about palm…
        This are my thoughts, not saying that is a true… just me thinking. Thanks!
        Sorry for my english, i hope i could make myself clear.. πŸ™‚

      2. Genevieve Cote

        Just for your information, Carnauba wax comes from a palm tree in Brazil Copernicia prunifera and is not the same as the palm oil tree used for palm oil, that species is Elaeis guineensis, Elaeis oleifera and to a lessser extent Attalea maripa. As eleyhierbasEle mentions, there are economical and environmental issues with any mass produced oil. What I suggest instead of boycotting palm oil is to support productions that are done right, and buy RSPO (round table for sustainable palm oil) certified palm oil.

    2. Hi Yolanda. I am wondering how you went with this as I’m also trying to infuse cotton with a vegan friendly wax … Jessa

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  10. Thanks for this article! I’ve been looking for alternatives to beeswax and soy for natural candles. Can you tell me how you make a candle with candelilla wax? I’ve read that it needs to be mixed with paraffin but that defeats the purpose of an eco candle. Would love your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. That’s a good question! I’m better at research than at candle-making, unfortunately. Could you mix it with soy wax instead of paraffin? I know that candelilla wax is softer than beeswax at room temp, so I’m guessing the mixing is to help it firm up a bit?

      1. LOL…I guess it’s the blind leading the blind. I found a supplier of non-GMO soy wax and have ordered some candelilla wax so I’ll give it a try and let you know. First crack at candle-making. May as well blaze a trail for others. πŸ™‚

        1. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Definitely leave a comment here or send an email through our contact form. I’d love to share your experience with our readers, too, so we can encourage more vegan candle-making.

    2. Just to throw in my two cents–I’m going to say that you can burn candelilla wax, although it’s a pretty hard was, so it may be more difficult to ignite. I know that it’s generally combined with other waxes in order to harden them, so that may be where a lot of its association with paraffin comes from.

  11. Can I use the products that you mentioned as a substitute for paraffin. I am a cosmetology educator and I teach manicuring ( and I do use cruelty free polishes and polish remover by Zoya and Elf ). Paraffin is one of the services I teach my students so it would be nice to have a cruelty free product that has the same benefits.

    1. I can’t speak to that, but I think it’s worth a try! Could you give it a go at home to see how it works before using in your teaching? If it does work, you have the potential to really make a big change – teaching so many beauty professionals about petroleum alternatives! If you try it out, let us know how it goes!

  12. Looking to make my own grating wax after finding out it contains beeswax. I’ll try and let you know how it goes πŸ™‚

  13. Can i use this alternatives for waterproofing fabrics like cotton, just as you can do with bee wax? That would be amazing! im trying to find a way for my vegan backpacks and jacket collections!

  14. Anyone here have any luck with candelilla wax candles? I wanted a vegan soy-free option and have been diluting with coconut oil since it’s a hard wax. I am having a problem with cracking when they set. I have tried so many ratios and even warm the containers to slow the cooling but they still crack at some point, even when halfway burned. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

    1. I don’t know anything about making candles, I make cosmetics, but could you try castor wax to lessen your candelilla wax usage? I get mine through

  15. For waterproofing cotton has anyone thought of using rice bran wax? When I started making vegan cosmetics I bought a lot of different plant waxes and researched the heck out of each of them. According to my notes rice bran wax has really good water proofing properties.

    1. Hi there… what plant wax did you settle on for your vegan cosmetics please? I am stumped as to what to use instead of beeswax πŸ™


      Thanks i will try it I am trying to make a wax wrap normally made with beeswax. Any idea what you think Would work? That could still melt slight enough with just body heat? And food safe?

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