Today we’re doing another “Quick Guide” experiment, this time featuring soy wax. We’ll be looking at how this vegetable-derived wax behaves when combined with olive oil in different ratios. I’ve often read that it can be a good vegan 1:1 alternative/swap for beeswax, so I was definitely keen to get acquainted. How much does soy wax thicken the liquid oil, if at all? How do the mixtures feel on the skin? How quickly do they melt? Once you’ve got answers to these questions you’re well on your way to being able to work with soy wax, so let’s dive in!
Soy wax is one ingredient I’ve had a weirdly hard time adding to my collection. Most of the soy wax sold in Canada is for making candles, not skin care, and when I have found skin care grade soy wax for sale it’s been in impossibly large quantities. So I waited. And thanks to Mystic Moments, I finally have some! The soy wax I have is flat, opaque, white flakes.
I structured this experiment similarly to the other “Quick Guide” ratio experiments I’ve done with waxes and hardeners for easy comparing to other waxes. I melted together mixtures of soy wax and olive from 3:1–1:8. The first number is the soy wax, the second one is the olive oil. So 3:1 would be 3 grams soy wax to 1 gram olive oil, and then 2:1 would be 2 grams soy wax to 1 gram oil and so on and so forth, all the way up to 1:8, 1 gram of soy wax and 8 grams of olive oil. After melting the contents of each wee dish together I removed them from the water bath, swirled to combine, and left them to cool overnight before making my observations.
The first thing I did was poke the set mixture to get an idea for how firm it was. Rock hard? Easily dented? Did my finger go straight through to the bottom of the dish? From there I’d check to see how the mixture felt on my skin; did it melt readily? Was it skinny or silky? Soft, hard, sticky, oily? Creamy or greasy?
Some initial observations from all the different dishes:
- The melting speed was a bit faster than beeswax
- The solidifying time was comparable to beeswax
- They all had a much more “powdery” feel than beeswax
3:1 (75% soy wax)
Appears solid, there are some fine lines/cracks across the surface. The mixture is very firm/solid—I cannot press my thumb through it at all—zero give. I can work up some fairly fine shavings with the back of a finger nail, but not much. The mixture smears across the skin but does not melt readily, remaining as a white streak on my arm. If I deliberately rub it in it does work into the skin, leaving it feeling quite tacky (if I press my palm to the arm and lift it I can hear a noise similar to pressing a sweaty hand to leather and lifting it up). There is an interesting powdery/waxy/creamy feel to it.
2:1 (66.66% soy wax)
Appears solid, there are some fine lines/cracks across the surface. Very solid—I can’t press my finger through the mixture. I can fairly easily scrape some up with the back of a finger nail; it has an interesting creamy/pasty feel with a bit of tack to it. Has a relatively rich, occlusive skin feel. Melts eventually when massaged into the skin, and remains on the skin with a waxy/rich feel.
1:1 (50% soy wax)
Much softer than I expected; I can easily press into it with my finger. It has an interesting powdery/creamy feel. Melts into the skin nicely leaving a dry, non-greasy finish.
1:2 (33.33% soy wax)
Has a bit of a wrinkled appearance on the surface. I can press through it with almost no effort and my finger pulls up little peaks in the mixture. A dollop on my arm starts to melt fairly quickly. It massages into the skin easily with good slip for a while before absorbing and leaving a fairly powdery finish with a bit of a tug.
1:3 (25% soy wax)
Same wrinkled appearance, and very soft—a few pokes with a finger have the entire mixture all mixed up. It is almost liquid. Melts quickly, massages into the skin nicely before absorbing with a non-greasy finish.
1:4 (20% soy wax)
This one is definitely a liquid—I easily stirred it up with my finger and it slowly oozes back into place. Lovely satiny finish on the skin with creamy notes.
1:5 (16% soy wax)
So soft/liquid it moves when I tip the dish before I’ve even touched it. It has a thickness comparable to castor oil
1:6 (14% soy wax)
Full on liquid—you almost can’t tell there’s any wax in there.
1:7 (12.5% soy wax)
Feels like a rich oil; you wouldn’t guess it had been thickened. The rich/powdery feeling of the soy wax is much less noticeable.
Barely distinguishable from the previous two.
- Soy wax is not a suitable 1:1 alternative to beeswax (it is too soft), but it does have better creaminess than the c-waxes
- It has an interesting and unique powdery, rich skin feel
|3:1||Yes||Yes||Extremely slow||Yes, definitely tacky||Poor|
|2:1||Yes||Yes||Very slow||A little, but not irritatingly so||OK|
|1:1||Yes||Soft solid||Slow to average||Not sticky, but a bit tacky in a creamy way||OK|
|1:2||Yes||Barely||Average to fast||Not sticky, but a bit tacky in a creamy way||OK|
What do you think? Have I piqued your interest? Watch for recipes featuring soy wax in the near future!
The soy wax was gifted by Mystic Moments.
Thanks Marie, very interesting! Wondering what the difference between skin care grade and candle grade soy wax is and what the implications of using candle grade soy wax for skin care purposes might be? Thanks so much!
I’d suspect the two biggest differences would be purity (something designed for skin application will be held to a higher standard than something designed to be burned), and purpose (candle waxes will be designed for different melt points/burn times/other candle-y considerations that don’t factor into skin care). I’m definitely not a candle maker, though, so I’m not certain, but those two things make a lot of sense and pop up in other similar-but-different-grade situations 🙂 Happy making!
These guides are extremely useful. Thank You for publishing them 🙂
I’m so glad you find them useful! Happy making 🙂
I LOVE soy wax in lip balm. It gives a nice glide.
OOoh, thanks for sharing—I’ll have to try it!
Thank you so much Marie, I am Vegan and this will help quite a lot since I need a lotion for dry skin! Thank you for always freely sharing your recipes and information…I would like to contribute but DH is going to retire now earlier than planned so we have to buckle down financially in every way. Hopefully when things are more stable I can thank you through donations. Is this your full-time job? Just curious on how you manage it all!
It took a while, but came up empty, all I found was this little blurb on Marie’s Patreon: “I’m always working on new content for Humblebee & Me, be it a series of new recipes for the holiday season, baking soda free deodorant, cleansing conditioners, or liquid lipstick. Humblebee & Me is my full time job, so as a patron not only do you help me buy ingredients, hosting, and equipment, but you also help cover my living expenses so I don’t need to get a job that would mean I’d publish a whole lot less. Thank you!“. Marie also accepts one time payments via PayPal. Humblebee&Me is Marie’s full time job! She’s posted a few videos about how she does everything, and how she schedules her day activities. Like you, I am waiting till I’m a wee bit more stable here in Ireland before I can set anything up as a way to say thank you!
Another amazing guide!
Thanks for your amazing work.
What is the INCI of this wax?
The INCI of soy wax is: Hydrogenated Soybean Oil.
Found your soy wax post! Yea! Now that you’ve done all the hard work I can play with abandon! Thanks Marie:)Jen
I don`t expect anyone to notice this comment, but I just wanted to pop in and say that I use this wax (the exact same you tested here) in my soaps!
It is a great alternative if someone want to venture in to vegan soaps, mixed with other oils. It is slow to trace, I have eons of time to work with it. You would not think that since it is a wax!
Depending on what oils I have and what type of soap I make, I use this wax between 5-50%. I use 5% or 10% when I need to up the palmitic and stearic content of my soap, making it more durable when I use more soft oils. 50% is for shave soap I make for hubby, and although I make it hot process (which is ONLY because of the essential oils I add in there) there is no problem doing CP with this. I love this wax to bits! (heh..)
Thank you so much for sharing, Mo! ❤️