Beeswax is one of the coolest substances, in my eyes. It’s completely natural, being that it is actually formed by the worker bees (all females) which secret it through 8 wax-producing mirror glands on the inner sides of their abdomen. These mirror glands are the reason for the honeycomb shape.
Interestingly enough, the comb actually begins colorless but as more and more pollen is brought to the comb, it changes to a yellow and sometimes brown color which is what we are more familiar with.
Honeybees use these combs to raise their young in where they fill it with honey and pollen to feed the young. Then these combs are capped for storage.
Another cool fact about beeswax: bees that create wax need to consume 8 times more honey than their counter parts (the drones — or males).
Apart from the bees using beeswax to build the foundations to their hives, people have used beeswax for many, many years. The oldest dated record of beeswax candles goes back to the 6th/7th century AD from the Alamannic graveyard of Oberflacht, Germany. Crazy right?
The yellow beeswax is the most pure of beeswax as it has likely not been bleached or processed in any way. The white beeswax has been bleached and there is even a beeswax called “beeswax absolute,” which basically means the beeswax has been combined with alcohol.
I definitely recommend using the yellow beeswax. If you can find filtered, that is best because it eliminates an additional step before you can use it. I also encourage folks to find a local source where you can obtain beeswax — as supporting local bee keepers is the most sustainable and beneficial practice. Beeswax can be found in solid bar form or pellets. Pellets can be a bit easier to work with if you need smaller quantities.
If you cannot source beeswax from a local company, I recommend this brand of beeswax.
Benefits of Beeswax
Beeswax has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic, and germicidal antioxidant properties which makes it absolutely wonderful for wound feeling. Beeswax is also known for locking in moisture, protecting skin from environmental factors and fostering skin cells. Because of it’s moisture locking properties, it is naturally nourishing and effectively softens skin. It is even speculated that honeycomb has traces of Vitamin A which help restore and replenish skin.
It is no wonder that beeswax is used in numerous beauty and personal care products, along with other really neat things.
Below you’ll find 17 cool and unusual uses for beeswax.
17 Cool and Unusual Uses for Beeswax
1. Make Candles: Beeswax candles burn brighter, remove toxins from the air and give off a sweet, warming honey aroma when lit. Making them is pretty simple, too. You can learn how to make them in silicone molds HERE or you can learn to make them in containers, HERE.
2. Beauty & Personal Care Products: It’s true, beeswax plays a huge role when making your own beauty and personal care products! Things like lip balm, moisturizer, lotion bars and even homemade mascara all have beeswax in them to help protect and moisturize your skin. You can even use it in homemade hair products like pompay and when caring for dread locks.
If you prefer to buy all natural beauty care products that work, I recommend Scratch Mommy’s skincare line. If you are more of a DIY’er and would like to learn how to make your own beauty care products, I highly recommend the ebook DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.
3. As a Replacement to Plastic Wrap: How fun is this? You can actually make a much more sustainable alternative to plastic wrap by using beeswax and cotton. When the beeswax is applied to the cotton, the cotton is no longer breathable which is why it makes such a great replacement for plastic wrap. You can find a tutorial on how to make them here.
4. As a Lubricant in the Home: Do you have a sliding glass door, window sill or drawer that does not move freely? Just rub some beeswax on the area and the ease of opening should change drastically. You can also rub beeswax on nails or screws to help them move easier, on zippers if they are stuck,
5. Wood Treatment: You can combine a food grade mineral oil with melted beeswax to condition wood bowls and butcher blocks. Use about 40% beeswax to about 60% food grade mineral oil. If the consistency of the paste is not right for your application, you can reheat the mixture and add more mineral oil.
6. Sealing an Envelope: How cool, right? You can actually make a beeswax seal and apply it to an envelope that you are sending out. This would make a great idea for an event invitation like a wedding or baby shower. Tutorial here.
7. Non-toxic Crayons: Yes, you can make non-toxic crayons (what an awesome gift!) out of beeswax! A cool tutorial can be found HERE.
8. Waterproofing: You can rub beeswax over leather shoes and other leather products to help protect against all types of weathering including water. You can even put beeswax on matches to help keep them dry if you are out fishing, boating or skiing.
9. Prevent Rusting: Coat things like hand tools, cast iron pieces and shovels to prevent them from rusting out. You can even rub beeswax on the wooden handle of your shovel to help protect against wear and tear.
10. Furniture Polish: You can polish your furniture when you mix equal parts beeswax to linseed oil and mineral spirits.
11. Cooking: You can use it as a thickener or bonding agent. When making candy like Jelly Belly’s or Gummy Bears, beeswax is used.
12. Anti-Itch Solution: You can create a salve at home using beeswax to help get relief from the itchy’s. You can find a homemade recipe here (note: the recipe also helps with pain associated from bug bites, bee stings and rashes).
14. Black Powder Shooting: Beeswax is added to tallow and used to lubricate lead bullets in black powder shooting. Cast wadcutter bullets have a band of wax to prevent leading the barrel of the gun.
15. Natural Gum Alternative: Just take some beeswax, put it in your mouth, and chew on it until it dissolves. A great way for trying to quit smoking or if you want to find a healthier alternative to most toxic gums on the market.
16. Sewing Thread: You can actually run your thread along a block of beeswax a couple times and it will help prevent it from tangling and it allows the thread to run through fabric easier.
17. Clean Your Iron: If your iron is beginning to get gummy or scorched, try making a homemade iron cleaner with beeswax. It’s chemical-free, economical and sustainable! Here’s a tutorial I found on how to make and use your iron cleaner.