Photo Courtesy of Profumany
There are plenty of treasures for our hair right in our own backyard and one such treasure is candelilla wax. Candelilla is an upright, leafless growing succulent about two feet tall that spreads slowly by suckering from the base to form large clumps. A true desert plant, it grows in bunches and prefers hot, dry conditions and well-drained calciferous soils. It is most common in northern Mexico and extends into southern Texas. 

Candelilla wax is extracted from the candelilla plant and it means “little candle.” It is a natural, multifunctional, vegetable wax comprising a complex of natural wax esters. It is extracted by boiling the plant to separate the wax from it. It is a non-gelling thickener, viscosity enhancer, and film former with protecting properties. It is a cosmetic astringent, emulsifier, stabilizer, and skin-conditioning ingredient that is odorless. To remove this wax from the hair and prevent build up, it is important to know that it is soluble in alcohol but insoluble in water.

Benefits of candelilla wax for hair

This vegetable wax is often used as a viable substitution for beeswax, which is great for vegan lifestyles. Candelilla wax is rich in nutrients and easily absorbed into the scalp and hair while creating an instant barrier to prevent moisture loss in the scalp and hair. It adds gloss and lubricity to hair. It is also a natural thickener and emulsifier that adds texture to a formula and prevents oils and liquids from separating, which is great for lip balms and body balms. The creamy consistency of candelilla wax makes for smooth applications in depilatories and can be found in several hair products from hair conditioners to scalp treatments. Here are a few products that contain candelilla wax.

DIY hair pomade (sculpting wax)

  • 1 oz. candelilla wax
  • 1 1/2 oz. shea butter
  • 2 oz. jojoba oil
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp. essential oil
Melt wax in double boiler over low heat. When melted add in shea butter  and allow to melt before adding jojoba oil and stir to mix. Pour mixture into a  container and allow to cool slightly before adding essential oil.