Earlier this year Dale got in touch to ask if I’d ever worked with olive wax, and when I replied I’d never worked with it and not found it for sale in Canada, he generously offered to mail me some olive wax and some almond wax. Several months later they arrived in a space-age-looking shiny silver bubble wrap packet—two carefully labeled plastic baggies of waxy pellets. As always, my first step in “getting to know you” is one of my quick guide ratio experiments. Given that olive wax is marketed as an easy one-to-one alternative to beeswax, I modelled the experiment after my beeswax experiment so we can see if that’s really the case.
Olive wax is made from olive oil, though if you’re at all familiar with olives I’m sure you can figure there’s a bit of lab work going on to create a wax from a fruit that does not produce wax. The INCI for olive wax is “Hydrogenated Olea europaea (Olive Oil)”, and the melting point is approximately 60°C (compared to beeswax at about 63°C, and candelilla wax at about 70°C). The little pellets are very wax-like, and remind me of processed beeswax or emulsifying waxes in appearance.
If you want to purchase some olive wax, I’ve found it at The Soap Kitchen (UK), Lotion Crafter (USA), and Ingredients to Die For (USA). I’m afraid that’s it—sorry, fellow Canadians!
To learn about how olive 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 olive 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 olive 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
- The solidifying time was also comparable to beeswax
1:1 (50% olive wax)
Quite firm, but I can press through it with my thumb. It comes up in almost dusty, crumbly bits that don’t melt on contact with the skin (I left some sitting on top of my hand while I typed this), but if I rub the mixture into my skin it spreads quite well and vanishes into the skin. Slightly tacky, but not overly so (similar to shea butter—nothing close to the tackiness of beeswax). Leaves a nice occlusive feel on the skin with some drag—there’s an obvious coating, but it’s not annoying, it just feels like it’d do a good job locking in moisture.
1:2 (33.33% olive wax)
Solid but relatively soft; I can easily press through it with my index finger. The mixture feels rich and creamy. I smeared a relatively thick coating on my inner arm and left it; it softened, but didn’t liquify. When spread around with a finger it is decadently creamy with a slight beeswaxy tack—it’s also lovely on the lips. Great creamy slip between the fingers.
1:3 (25% olive wax)
A soft, creamy solid; I can easily squish it around with my index finger. It’s thick and creamy and quite decadent, with a waxy-ish feel that’s hard to pinpoint. Perhaps a bit plasticky, but not quite. It has a creaminess similar to beeswax, but there’s also a rich feeling that’s more reminiscent of stearic acid. There’s definitely some tack, but it’s more the type of tack I associate with creaminess and adhesion than glue or syrup residue. At this point in time I also have quite a lot of this stuff on my hands and arms, so the tack is becoming more noticeable—time to wash up!
1:4 (20% olive wax)
Soft—just lightly dragging my finger across the surface picks up a bunch of product. Further mooshing about reveals there is a softer liquid core, likely a result of no stirring as the mixture cooled. I schmeared a dollop on the back of my hands and over the course of a minute or two it melted enough to become transparent, but didn’t liquify—it didn’t run all over the place like a melting ice cube would. It’s really neat in that it is melting, but still holding its shape. Lovely slip, somewhat reminiscent of petrolatum. It has an insanely long workable time, making me think it could be a really good base ingredient for a massage balm/salve/ointment. Once I spread it out over more skin it absorbs readily, leaving my skin soft and looking a bit oily, but not feeling oily.
1:5 (16.66% olive wax)
Very soft—we’re definitely into the viscous liquids category. The top had an interesting wavy/crinkly “skin” like topping, and the under bits were very soft and did not hold the shape of being dolloped. I wiggled the dish and the mixture sloshed around a bit. A dollop of the mixture on the back of my hand does melt and start to drool around a bit, but it’s not completely liquid. Beautiful rich, creamy feel and great slip. Massages into the skin really nicely with no skiddy part—it soaks in nicely with great slip, transitioning to a silky powdery feel.
1:6 (14.28% olive wax)
A soft, rich liquid. This one had a bit of a skin on the top, but once I stirred it around with my finger it had the loveliest consistency; silky, rich, viscous… maybe like a really nice hollandaise sauce? A dollop on the back of my hand melts and starts to bleed around the edges a bit, but it’s still got surprisingly good structure to it—I can hold my hand at a 90° angle and it doesn’t really move! On rub-in it still has fantastic play time—not at all characteristic of concoctions containing “true” waxes. Very cool!
1:7 (12.5% olive wax)
Definitely liquid. This one also has a bit of a skin, but quickly reveals itself to be a rich, silky liquid when it stirs. At this level it’ll actually drip off the end of my finger, and it doesn’t stay completely put if I hold my hand at a 90° angle (but still surprisingly good—it is not liquid enough to do that even after sitting on my skin for a few minutes). It smooths over the skin beautifully, and the play time is still great. Leaves skin soft and hydrated with a nice glow—it doesn’t look oily, though.
1:8 (11.11% olive wax)
This one has a viscosity comparable to castor oil; it’s definitely liquid, but has more body than most liquid oils. The bit I dolloped on the back of my hand is definitely running around, but not as much as a plain liquid oil would—amazingly enough, the olive wax is still giving it some body, even sitting straight on my skin. Rubs into the skin beautifully. Rich, creamy, and silky.
- Olive 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
- 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, but not irritatingly so||OK|
|1:2||Yes||Yes||Average||Not sticky, but a bit tacky in a creamy way||Good|
|1:4||No||Barely||Average to fast||No||Great|
What do you think? Have I piqued your interest? Watch for recipes featuring olive wax in the near future!
Yay! I’m so excited! I have olive wax from Ingredients to Die For. (I’m fortunate to live in their city. They are soooo nice!) I can’t wait to see what you make with it!! I’ve been wanting an uncolored eyebrow grooming and conditioning wax. (Hint-hint)
Ooooh, I like this idea! Thanks 🙂 Happy olive waxing!
Thank you for breaking this down for us. I just sent you a request and I am not sure it went through. It didn’t say sent or anything. It was taking a while to send then it just went right back to the empty fields so I am not sure it went through.
Can you please let me know, Thank you
It went through 🙂
Hi, I am wondering if you ‘played’ with the almond wax and what your thoughts were if so. Also, where can we purchase almond wax? Thank you.
I haven’t yet, and aside from the same source as the Olive Wax I’m afraid I don’t know 🙂
I’m getting the impression you like this? It sounds incredible and I have easy access to Lotion Crafter 🙂
Thanks for the experiment!
It’s pretty fun so far! I wouldn’t buy a huge amount of the stuff but if you can get an ounce or so to play with, it’s pretty neat 🙂
“Hydrogenated Olea europaea (Olive Oil)” ?
spread that stuff on some bread, Marie. it is olive oil margarine.
Ha! I have my doubts about the taste department, lol 😛
I bought some from Lotioncrafter last month and have been waiting for time to play around with it. Super timely information, thanks Marie! Can’t wait to start tweaking hair care products. (so few places to say that safely!)
Woo! Have fun making 😀
Hi Marie. What would you say is a good substitute for Oliwax? Thank you in advance
I have a very strong love hate relationship with your blog Marie.
I now need Olive Wax. But I am moving very soon! LOL!
I adore these posts! They make my day!
Sorrrrrrrrrrry lol 😛
Do you think this product is similar to olive oil-squalane at Saffire Blue? I’m having trouble finding olive wax in Canada. Thank you.
I know for certain they have absolutely nothing in common beyond their olive-y roots. I really wouldn’t bother with olive wax, though—it was very underwhelming.
Thank you, I just saw this 🙂
I’ve worked with the olive wax mostly in a hair pomade for my curly hair and quite liked it. Word of advice don’t ever put beeswax in hair care products 🙁 The olive wax seemed to have a silky sort of gelled quality and I didn’t have any issues washing it out of my hair.
I am going to try it in a lotion to see if it adds that extra layer I need for my old dry skin.
Thanks for sharing! I know beeswax pomades are very popular with men, but I think they tend to have less hair than I suspect you do, and the pomades usually have quite a lot of emulsifiers/rinse-out aids in them as well.
I’ve read great things about pairing olive wax with Olivem 1000 in lotions 😀
Another brilliant post – thank you.
I’m working on making a vegan lip balm with a similar thick, creamy, good stay as beeswax.
I’m looking at a candelilla wax + stearic acid combo or this olive wax.
What would you say creates the nicest / most similar feel and stay as beeswax?
If I use olive wax, what ratio to other oils and butters would you recommend?
Thank you so much in advance xxx
I’m afraid you’re going to have to do your own experiments on this one 🙂 Another reader has been sharing her vegan lip balm experiments in the comments on this post, though—check it out! It sounds like she has created something great 🙂
Would you put Oliwax in a body butter for a stabilizer?
Check this out 🙂 (keeping in mind that almond and olive waxes function almost identically).
Hi Marie. What would you say is a good substitute for Oliwax? Thank you in advance⁹
I just came across your post when I was researching why my lip balm recipe failed using what I thought was olive wax but now turns out to be a different product. I used OliWax from LotionCrafter.com [INCI: Hydrogenated Olive Oil (and) Olive Oil (Olea Europaea) (and) Olive Oil Unsaponifiables] and my lip balm which is normally great using beeswax was more like a powdery gel, if that makes sense. Kinda the consistency of a slightly thicker aloe vera gel.
I have just placed an order for the REAL olive wax from IngredientsToDieFor.com [INCI: Hydrogenated Olea europaea (Olive Oil)]. Wanted to mention this for anyone else that might be wondering what went wrong with their formula.
Pensavo che con la cera di olive si potessero fare le candele