My series of wax to oil ratio experiments continues today with bayberry wax and olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada). Bayberry wax is a plant-based wax made from the fruit of the Myrica faya shrub. The resulting wax is dry, crumbly, and green, and smells wonderfully of the forest. Candelilla and carnauba waxes are both popular vegan alternatives to beeswax, but they’re incredibly smooth and glossy, meaning balms and salves made with them tend to lack the staying power of beeswax balms. Bayberry wax has more in common with beeswax in terms of being a softer, tackier wax, making it a fantastic addition to any vegan wax collection.
Unlike beeswax, bayberry wax cuts easily with a chef’s knife, and quickly falls to small, crumbly bits and dust. It melts at a rather low 45°C (making it a poor sole choice for thickening or solidifying concoctions in hot climates), compared to beeswax’s 63°C melting point.
I’ve used it in lip balm and some other vegan products before, but I decided it was time bayberry wax and I got to know each other a bit better. Because I knew it to be softer than beeswax I decided to start with a 3:1 ratio and work up to a 1:6 (the first number being the wax, the second being the olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)).
I worked in one gram increments, melting my little mixtures together in small dishes placed in a water bath, swirling to thoroughly combine before leaving them to set up for 3 weeks (because I got distracted, not because bayberry wax needs three weeks to harden up) before making my observations. Here’s what I learned.
3:1—Firm but not rock hard. Surprisingly lumpy and uneven. I can pick up a small amount of product by massaging the surface with my finger, and it’s reasonably smooth, but has a not-quite-sticky type staying power similar to that of beeswax. Can be scraped up with a fingernail—the resulting shavings are malleable and almost putty/gum like, and can be massaged into the skin. Relatively faint but noticeable bayberry scent.
2:1–Did not set up evenly, the white areas are quite a lot softer than the greener parts. The whiter part is quite soft and gummy, with a unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) like tackiness, but it’s not sticky. The firmer green part can be scraped up with a fingernail and acts like the 3:1 mixture. The bayberry scent is still noticeable.
1:1—Relatively easily squishable/mashable with a finger. A similar texture to unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)—smooth, creamy, and a bit tacky, but not sticky. You can definitely tell it has some wax in it, and this mixture makes quite a nice lip butter. Smells of bayberry.
1:2—Noticeably less firm to the touch—light finger contact begins to melt the surface and bring up some of the mixture. It’s easy to press a finger through to the bottom of the dish. The mixture is soft and smooth, but does not liquify quickly on contact with skin unless spread quite thin. Absorbs quite quickly, doesn’t feel waxy or sticky, but it’s still a bit tacky.
1:3—This is the first blend that actually looks homogenous without any white/greenish streaking. Quite soft, easy to dent with a finger. Melts down to a creamy paste-like mixture with any kind of handling and starts to liquify quickly on the skin. Absorbs quite quickly. Smooth and no longer tacky.
1:4—Super soft, melts quickly, smooth and faintly bayberry scented.
1:5—Very soft, begins to liquify immediately when touched lightly. Pudding-like consistency. Smooth, melts easily, faint bayberry scent.
1:6—This one looks soft before touching it, I can see light creasing on the surface. I can’t even run a finger across the top without denting it, and it begins to liquify as soon as it is touched—I don’t think I’d call this a solid. Smooth, melts very easily, barely noticeable bayberry scent.
A few observations:
- Bayberry wax is tacky like beeswax, but not nearly as sticky at similar concentrations
- Bayberry wax is weaker than beeswax, candelilla wax, and carnauba wax
- The gummy/moldable texture could be very useful
- If you’re looking for a vegan wax alternative, I’d recommend buying bayberry wax and one of the “C” waxes
Great article, thank you
I have a question about Bayberry Wax. I have been unable to locate a supplier in Australia and have found that it is very expensive. Do you have another recommendation for a vegan wax that is as soft as beeswax?
Sorry—out of all the waxes I’ve worked with, bayberry is the only one that’s remotely close to beeswax, and even then it’s actually quite a bit softer than beeswax.
I was excited to find this post! I have been looking for a vegan wax that would offer the same benefits as bees wax. Thank you!
Though, I am having trouble locating a supplier that offers an organic Bayberry wax ?Do you have any suggestions for where to purchase? Or at least something comparable?
The Bayberry wax block you have in your photos is stunning!
I appreciate any help you can offer(:
Hi Robin! The only place I’ve ever found Bayberry wax of any kind is Saffire Blue (link above the comments in the big box). It’s a very unique vegan wax, have fun playing with it 🙂
I ordered benzoin and got a rock! Do I smash it with a brick or how do I measure and melt it? I’m dying to try a recipe that calls for 2 Benzoin blobs but I want it to turn out and not waste my ingredients. Thanks & I love, love, love your site!
Hmm. My benzoin is liquid, so it sounds like I have the soft resin and you have a very hard resin. I have powdered benzoin as well, which I imagine is that hard rock ground into a powder, but I’m afraid I haven’t experimented with it yet. I’ve been doing some research, but I haven’t been able to find much about the solubility of the solid. I’d recommend grinding some of it up into a powder and adding a wee bit to each water, alcohol, and oil and seeing if it dissolves. If it does, you can make yourself an infusion/tincture with it and use that in your DIYs 🙂
Thanks for this info! I’m thinking about using bayberry wax to make a beard balm for my husband, who grew up with bayberry candles in Boston and loves the scent.
That sounds beautiful! Check out my Manitoba Forest Balm for some inspiration 🙂
Hi Marie, love your tutorials and have been using them with great success to make my own stuff! One question — do you have any idea of what the comedogenic rating of bayberry wax is? I’m having trouble finding results on the web. Thanks!
I’m afraid I have no clue if the internet has no clue, sorry! I’d probably guess it’s close to that of beeswax.
I really like using bayberry wax for skin formulas. I used it recently on an eye serum I made.
3g cera bellina
5g bayberry wax
5g refined mango butter
5g argan oil
6g pumpkin oil
3g evening primrose oil
15g jojoba oil
2g | cetyl alcohol
3.5g | kaolin clay
1 bag | organic green tea bag
Cypress oil: 4
Wild chamomile: 4
Ylang ylang: 1
I so adore how it smells! It’s so divine. You’ve got a lovely blend of oils in your serum—stunning!
I would recommend looking into upgrading to a proper cosmetic grade green tea extract—food versions oxidize in a matter of hours and provide no benefit after that. It looks like there isn’t any water in here, so oxidization isn’t a problem, but it may be that many of the compounds you want are not oil soluble 🙂
Is bayberry wax the same as Myrica Pubescens (Laurel) Fruit Wax ?