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Since ancient times, beeswax has been a staple cosmetic ingredient. It has numerous skin uses, but can also be beneficial for your hair.
From moisturizing to keeping flyaways in place, the natural formula can work wonders for both head and facial hair. Strangely enough, it can also simultaneously encourage hair growth and help with hair removal.
Here’s everything you need to know about using beeswax on your hair and beard.
What is beeswax?
Beeswax is produced by worker bees who form a honeycomb to store honey for the colony.
Moisturizing vitamin A is found in beeswax along with small amounts of antibacterial agents.
This natural product has a long medicinal history. In ancient Egypt, it was used to treat burns, wounds, and joint pain. A famous Chinese medicine book even listed it as a top ingredient with supposed benefits for diet and skin aging.
Unlike some natural ingredients, beeswax has little chance of irritating or clogging the skin, making it a safe choice for most people.
How does it benefit your hair?
Beeswax can help hair in a number of ways.
One of the biggest benefits is moisture. The vitamin A content in beeswax helps to moisturize hair, while its overall formula locks in that moisture.
Smooth and straighten
People who find their hair difficult to manage also use beeswax to smooth flyaway strands, keep styles intact, and straighten their hair. It’s particularly useful for natural hair as well as twisted and braided styles.
Its ability to seal strands makes beeswax a good way to hide split ends — although the only way to permanently get rid of split ends is to cut them off.
Promote hair growth
Beeswax can also be used to promote hair growth. A 2016 study found that a hair wax containing beeswax significantly increased hair length after daily use for 30 days. However, the formula did include other ingredients, so it’s hard to say if beeswax was the cause.
Soothe scalp conditions
Beeswax can have a positive effect on the scalp, too. Research has shown it can soothe symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff.
Using beeswax for your hair
The best way to apply beeswax to your hair is with your hands. Applying when your hair is wet or damp also helps.
Here are a few other tips.
- Less is more. Use the smallest amount of beeswax that you can get away with, and build up slowly until you have your desired look.
- Rub into hands first. Before applying it to your hair, rub it in your hands to get the best possible effect.
- Try not to use it every day. This will quickly lead to a buildup of product that can be difficult to remove.
- Wear a silk or satin head scarf at night. Not only will this reduce how often you have to apply the beeswax, but it’ll also keep your hair looking smooth.
- Remove in the right way. Beeswax is tough to get rid of. One of the easiest ways to remove a large amount is with slightly warm olive oil. Apply the oil to your hair and let it soak for a few minutes, then wash your hair with dish soap to remove greasiness. Follow with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner combo. Other removal methodsinclude diluting apple cider vinegar in water or using baking soda.
You can buy pure beeswax or a hair product containing it. If you opt for the latter, look for a natural formula containing additional vitamins for maximum benefits.
Using beeswax for dreads
Beeswax is a helping hand for cresting dreadlocks. During the early stages, the stickystuff will hold the dreads in place —especially when your hair wants to do anything but that.
How to create dreadlocks using beeswax
- Before starting, make sure that your hair has been free of shampoo and conditioner for at least 24 hours.
- Separate your hair into sections that match the size of the dreads you want. Place a hair tie at the base of each to keep them in place.
- Next, coat the entirety of each individual section with the beeswax by rolling the hair between the palms of your hands. You may also want to backcomb your hair afterwards, coating each section with beeswax again.
- Keep twisting the sections in the same direction whenever you can. And don’t wash your hair for around a week to allow the dreads to become permanent.
Murray’s 100% Pure Australian Beeswax may not be pure beeswax, but it’s still recommended for this technique.
Beeswax for beards
Waxes, balms, and oils are vital for keeping beards soft and shiny. Waxes in particular are also used for styling beards into a desired shape.
Beeswax is a key ingredient in both waxes and balms. It helps moisturize hair and firmly hold it in place. Beeswax can even reportedly act as a sealant, repelling everyday dirt and grime.
You can create your own beard wax or balm, or buy a ready-made version.
DIY beard balm recipe
- Place one ounce of beeswax, two ounces of shea butter, and three ounces of a carrier oil into a cooking vat on very low heat.
- Stir every so often and make sure that the ingredients don’t boil. Once they have turned into liquids, take the vat off of the heat.
- Before the mixture begins to solidify, add a few drops of essential oil to leave the wax with a lovely scent. The carrier oil you added earlier is needed to dilute the second oil and avoid skin irritation.
- Stir the mixture well and pour into a metal storage tin. Cover the top and leave overnight.
DIY beard wax recipe
- Take one ounce of beeswax and place on the stove over a medium heat. As soon as it begins to melt, switch the heat to low until the melting process is complete.
- Add one ounce of unscented petroleum jelly to a vat. Dilute a few drops of essential oil with your chosen carrier oil, and add this to the vat too.
- Keep the mixture at the same heat as the beeswax. When everything looks right, you can add a little raw or powdered resin for a stiffer style —but this is completely optional.
- Finally, take the melted beeswax and add to the mixture, making sure the vat is left on low heat. Stir well before pouring into a metal tin and leaving overnight to cool.
To apply either of these, simply rub the product into your hands and evenly distribute across your beard. If using the wax, style hairs with your fingertips.
It’s essential to remove beeswax properly to avoid pore clogging. Invest in a high-quality beard shampoo like Professor Fuzzworthy’s all-natural formula or Viking Revolution’s Beard Wash.
Beeswax for hair removal
As well as encouraging hair growth, beeswax can also be used to remove it. It’s one of the most common ingredients in hair removal wax.
Commercial waxes often combine beeswax with resin and oil. You can also use pure beeswax for hair removal at home.
DIY hair removal with beeswax
- To make your own beeswax hair removal mixture, take a couple of teaspoons of beeswax and place in a double boiler or a bowl straddling a pot of boiling water. (You may need a little more if you’re planning to wax a significant amount of hair.)
- Let it fully melt before removing from the heat. Applying liquid wax to your skin could result in a nasty burn, so wait until the beeswax begins to solidify before doing so.
- Test a small amount on the inside of your wrist. If it still feels too hot, wait a little longer. When it’s reached the perfect temperature, lay it on thick to the desired area with a waxing stick.
- Apply in the direction of hair growth. Wait until it cools and hardens before grabbing a corner and pulling it off. Do this in the opposite direction to your hair growth.
- Afterwards, soothe skin by applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
If you don’t want to make your own, there are plenty of professional formulas around like Satin Smooth Honey Wax and GiGi All Purpose Honee Wax.
Downsides of beeswax
While beeswax comes with plenty of upsides, there are a few negatives to consider.
One of the biggest problems with beeswax is that it can easily build up in your hair. Plus, it can be incredibly stubborn to get rid of.
Beeswax doesn’t dissolve in water, so any attempts to remove it with a quick shower will fail. Instead, use the olive oil trick to loosen the wax.
The residue beeswax leaves behind can not only be a pain for hair, but for clothing and furniture too. Light-colored fabrics may easily stain, and removing them can be tough.
Here’s how to get rid of that sticky residue:
- Harden the beeswax by placing a bag filled with ice cubes on top of the stain, or placing clothes inside your freezer.
- Scrape off the hardened beeswax with a butter knife.
- Place the stain between two stacks of paper towels. Rub an iron that’s been left on medium heat over the paper towels to melt and absorb the wax.
- Keep applying the iron until the stain has vanished. Then apply a stain remover before washing as normal.
The biggest piece of beeswax advice? Less is more. Put on too much and you could spend a lot of time trying to get rid of it.
That said, this all-natural ingredient does have many uses. So if you’re looking for a product that styles and moisturizes and is free of chemicals, beeswax may be right for you.