What do you know about Candelilla Wax?

Candelilla Wax is one of the ingredients used by Frank Wrap to make the vegan version of the food wrap. Candelilla, known as Euphorbia cerifera botanical, replaces the use of the beeswax in the formulation prepared by Frank Wrap. Candelilla wax binds oils and waxes, and gives body to a formulation. It is also used as a film former. It is obtained from candelilla plants and is similar to carnauba wax. In Europe, Candelilla Wax is authorised for use on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.  



What is Candelilla Plant?

The Candelilla plant is found nearly exclusively in a semi-desert region of Mexico, situated in the geographic zone known as “The Chihuahuan Desert”.  Candelilla Wax – pronounced can-deh-LEE-ya – is a “vegetable” wax that is obtained from the Euphorbia cerifera botanical, better known as the small, wild Candelilla shrub. The common name of the “Candelilla” plant appears to have derived from the particular shape of the plant stalks – long, straight, erect and wax-covered – giving the appearance of little candles. Other sources indicate that the Candelilla plant was burned directly for illumination, serving the purpose of a candle.

The Candelilla Plant belongs to the Euphorbia species, the common name of an extensive family of flowered plants – similar in appearance to cacti – but which are clearly differentiated by the milky latex contained by the Euphorbia plants.

During the rainy season the Candelilla plant becomes covered with small pink-colored flowers. Candelilla formations are most abundant at elevations of around 800 m (2600 ft) and are commonly associated with growths of such plants as lechuguilla or prickly lettuce, sotol palm, Chinese grass, ocotillo and diverse cactus plants. The Candelilla plant is very resistant to plagues and diseases and is only limitedly consumed by some species of wildlife that exist in the region.


Where to find Candelilla?

The Chihuahuan Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in the Western Hemisphere and ecoregion designation covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States and one of the most diverse in the world, the desert is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. The largest desert area in North America, extends over more than 450,000 km2 with approximate dimensions of 1,280 km by 400 km.

The Chihuahuan Desert is one of the richest desert areas in the world in terms of biological diversity. Its particular humidity, soil composition and temperature conditions favor the growth of nearly a quarter of the 1,500 known species of cactus, as well as diverse floral species that can only flourish in this particular part of the world. Such is the case of the Candelilla plant.

According to the Candelilla Institute, the gathering of the Candelilla plant for the production of natural wax has been one of the most important economic activities of the Chihuahuan Desert in five Mexican states. It is estimated that there are currently 3,500 small producers of Candelilla wax on 230 farms in 33 municipalities in the rural northeastern part of Mexico.



And about sustainability?

According to WWF this magnificent desert landscape is threatened by population growth, poor water management, agricultural expansion, invasive species, illegal wildlife trade, and a lack of understanding about the desert's ecological importance. The region's watersheds are suffering from overuse, construction of dams, groundwater extraction, pollution, and the drying impacts of climate change.

As part of its upland restoration program, WWF works with the Tarahumara people on a range of projects that bridge natural resource conservation and socioeconomic considerations. This includes reducing soil erosion and enhancing water availability, installing low-tech water treatment facilities, and replanting vegetation uplands. WWF is helping to change the legal framework in Mexico to minimize environmental impacts of water concessions and create a system of economic incentives for sustainable management of grasslands.


Why to use Candelilla Wax?

Manufacture of cosmetics, rubber substitutes, furniture and leather polishes, candles, sealing wax, phonograph records; for waterproofing boxes and fabrics; electric insulations; lithographic, printing, stamping and writing inks; molding compositions; sizing paper; hardening other waxes; protective coating for citrus fruits; formerly in chewing gum.

Candelilla Wax functions as a(n):

  • Substitute for Beeswax
  • Plasticizer
  • Hardening Agent
  • Thickening Agent
  • Skin Protectant
  • Fast-Absorbing Moisturizer
  • Nourishing Conditioner
  • Viscosity Modifier
  • Stabilizer
  • Emulsifier
  • Lubricant

 It helps to: 

  • Provide smoothness and hardness to products that require a high melting point and a stiff consistency
  • Add texture and structure
  • Give solid and stick products their structures by enhancing the viscosity of their oil parts
  • Contribute a faint sweet scent that is reminiscent of Beeswax
  • Contribute shine/gloss, especially to lip products
  • Complement other waxes, such as Beeswax
  • Contribute a level of firmness to particular textures, such as that of eyeshadows, without causing them to harden
  • Emulsify immiscible liquids in to prevent them from separating in formulations with creamy consistencies
  • Provide excellent glide/slip to cosmetics formulations for easy spreadability as well as easy removability
  • Enhance rate of absorption into skin
  • Form a protective film on the skin’s surface to help repel water
  • Create barrier products, such as balms
  • Blend natural powder/mineral colorants into a formula

CAS: 8006-44-8

Synonyms: Candelilla wax refined in flakes; E 902; FR 100; MD 21; MK 2 (wax); NC 1630; Noda Wax NC 1630; SP 75

Interested in buying Candelilla Wax?

Thank you for going plastic free!
Frank Talk by Adriana Frank