If you read my A Quick Guide to Olive Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios, you know Dale also sent almond wax along with the olive wax for me to play with. Whee! As usual I set out to make the acquaintance of almond wax with my standard ratio experiments so I could get a better idea of what it’s like and how it performs with liquid oil (olive oil in particular).
Like olive wax, almond wax is a vegan “pseudo-wax”, made solid and waxy with the inclusion of hydrogenated oils (almonds aren’t exactly known for being waxy!). In this way it’s similar to “pseudo-butters”—the “butters” you can buy that are plant oils blended with hydrogenated vegetable oil (examples include almond butter, coffee butter, aloe butter, and avocado butter). The almond wax I’ve got takes the form of thin, white flakes that snap into smaller bits fairly easily.
Unfortunately almond wax doesn’t seem to be very widely available. I found it at Gracefruit (UK), Akoma (UK), The Soap Kitchen (UK), and Soaposh (UK). So, if you’re in the UK—lucky you! And if you live anywhere else… boo. Please let me know in the comments if you find it in another country and I’ll update this list! Because of its limited availability I’m not sure I’ll be formulating with it much—it seems silly to release a recipe only a small portion of you would be able to make.
To learn about how almond wax behaves when combined with different amounts of olive oil, I melted together mixtures of it from 1:1–1:8. That is, 1 gram of almond wax with 1 gram of olive oil, and then 1 gram wax to 2 grams oil and so on and so forth, all the way up to 1 gram of almond 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 comparable to beeswax; perhaps a bit faster, though it’s hard to say too much as almond wax comes in quite thin flakes while the beeswax I work with is usually hacked into chunks by yours truly
- The solidifying time was comparable to beeswax
1:1 (50% almond wax)
This one’s got some white cloudy bits in it. When pressed it is very firm, but I can press a finger through it. I smeared a bit of the mixture on my hand and left it there for several minutes; it did not melt or noticeably soften. There’s a bit of waxy tack to it, and while it rubs into the skin fairly well (with some encouragement—there is definitely drag, even after rub-in), that waxy tack remains.
1:2 (33.33% almond wax)
Uniform in appearance. It feels dense and firm, but I can easily press my finger through it. The mixture is smooth and feels quite rich. It doesn’t melt readily, but can be spread across the skin easily (like soft butter on cold bread). There is some drag and definite tack that reminds me a bit of shea butter, though this mixture has more body to it than shea butter does on the skin. It has good, long-lasting movement when massaged between the fingers.
1:3 (25% almond wax)
Uniform in appearance with a slightly wrinkled surface. Quite soft when pressed; it dollops and squishes a lot like soft dairy butter. I smeared some on the top of my hand and left it—it held its shape and had not started to liquify after a few minutes. It spreads across the skin easily with a rich, creamy feel; it doesn’t ever seem to melt down to a liquid oil, it maintains that thick, rich, spreadable consistency. Slight tack and drag, and a nice occlusive feel.
1:4 (20% almond wax)
Noticeable wrinkled appearance to the surface. This one is quite soft (I can easily squish it around) and reminds me of an oil gel; it’ll dollop up nicely, but is too soft to hold any dollops and quickly melts/settles back. It’s not completely liquid, but is very soft. I placed a blob on the back of my hand and over the space of a few minutes it started to liquify around the edges and relax its shape. It glides across the skin very nicely with great “play” time and a lovely rich feel. After it sinks in there is a bit of a drag on the skin, but I wouldn’t call it tacky.
1:5 (16.66% almond wax)
Noticeable wrinkled appearance to the surface (this continues for the rest of them). At this point we’ve definitely crossed into viscous liquid territory as opposed to soft solids. I can easily stir this mixture with my finger; it’s smooth and liquidy. When dolloped onto the back of my hand it holds a surface-tension type shape fairly well (no peaks or texture, just a smooth blob) but is clearly liquifying the longer it sits. It has a lovely spread on the skin, with a surprisingly rich slip that feels quite luxurious. Nice occlusive feel, not too oily or greasy.
1:6 (14.29% almond wax)
Very similar to 1:5, but even more liquidy. When stirred with a finger, this one settles back to its original puddle form quite quickly. Lovely, rich slip, great play time, smooth and silky.
1:7 (12.5% almond wax)
Just like 1:6, but slightly less viscous—similar to that of room temperature castor oil, though only in viscosity.
1:8 (11.11% almond wax)
Fairly indistinguishable from 1:6 and 1:7 other than being even less viscous. This one was soft enough that simply tipping the dish caused it to run without stirring it first. Same rich slip and smooth consistency as the other low concentration blends.
- Almond wax is not a suitable 1:1 alternative to beeswax, but it could help replace the creaminess/tack of beeswax in combination with other ingredients
- Almond wax and olive wax are very similar; I wouldn’t recommend purchasing both. Given almond wax is much harder to find I suspect most people will end up with olive wax if they get either.
- Unlike many waxes it does not seem to negatively impact slip at all
- It’s sort of like a hybrid between stearic acid and beeswax
|1:1||Yes||Yes||Slow||A little tacky, but I don’t mind it.||OK|
|1:2||Not really||Yes||Average||A bit tacky, but also rich in a wax that balances out nicely.||Good|
|1:4||No||Barely||Average to fast||No||Great|
What do you think? Have I piqued your interest?