We've been taught our entire lives that bees are the key to all life, and we should work to protect them at all costs. (Even those of us who are traumatized by My Girl have found a way to work past it.) Somehow, every part of the bee's life can be considered the OG multiuse product—we get honey, honeycomb, bees, and their entire aesthetic (everyone looks good in yellow and black). We've found plenty of uses for bees and what they produce, and beeswax is no exception. Beeswax is the natural wax made by honeybees and is usually obtained from the honeycomb. There are plenty of items on the market that incorporate beeswax into their products—from candles to lip balm—and of course, haircare is a great way for beeswax to be used.
Beeswax has some antioxidant and antibacterial benefits, but its barrier properties are mostly why it is included in cosmetic products—for hair, you can find it predominantly used in wax form, as it is a naturally good holding product. Beeswax is great for smoothing flyaways, laying edges, and as a holding gel for braids and locs. Curious to learn more about how beeswax works for your hair? We spoke to San Francisco–based board-certified dermatologist Caren Campbell, MD, as well as trichologist Kerry E. Yates of Colour Collective to find out what all the buzz is about.
Beeswax for Hair
- Type of ingredient: Moisturizing, barrier-creating
- Main benefits: Moisturizes and seals the hair, smoothes flyaways, assists with hair growth.
- Who should use it: In general, beeswax is great for curly-, kinky-, and coily-textured hair, and should not be used on fine hair or on the scalp.
- How often can you use it: No more than two times a week so as to avoid buildup.
- Works well with: Carrier oils and butters
Benefits of Beeswax for Hair
Beeswax is precisely what the name says it is—it's the wax from the honeycomb created by worker bees to store honey for the bee colony. It has a deep history of use, due to having traces of vitamin A, making it an excellent moisturizer. According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, beeswax is also great at creating a protective barrier due to being unable to dissolve in water: “Beeswax is insoluble in water and resistant to many acids, but is soluble in most organic solvents such as ether, benzine, benzol, chloroform, and turpentine oil and after warming in alcohol and fatty oils.” It also has antibacterial agents and is non-comedogenic and non-irritating, making it a nearly universally safe option for all people to use.
Here are some of the best benefits beeswax has for hair:
- Smoothes strands: The waxy texture is great for smoothing flyaways.
- Brilliant style definer: When mixed with a carrier oil or butter, beeswax is an excellent edge tamer.
- Creates long-wearing hairstyles: One of the main uses for beeswax in hair is when starting locs, as it is essential for getting the hair to lock and stay in place.
- Barrier against frizz: Beeswax, due to its texture, is great for keeping hair straight.
- Purported to help with hair growth: While science is still waiting to confirm, a 2016 study found that a hair wax that contained beeswax significantly increased hair length over 30 days—however, this wasn't a placebo effect study, and there's no sign that beeswax was the reason for the growth.
- Locks in moisture: The formula and texture of beeswax make it a great choice as a sealant for anyone doing the L.O.C. method, or even for sealing split ends.
What Hair Types Work Best with Beeswax?
Beeswax is great for textured hair, whether it's kinky, coily, or curly. It's rather heavy, so fine hair should proceed with caution. Campbell points out that there's one place beeswax shouldn't go—your scalp: "Anything that comes into contact with the scalp where the wax goes could clog pores." She suggests sticking to styling balms and keeping beeswax far, far away from your scalp. Yates agrees, recommending that beeswax be used as a finishing agent. "I love it to help in defining specific hairpieces for short, choppy cuts," she shares.
How to Use Beeswax for Hair
The best and easiest way to incorporate beeswax into your haircare routine is through a styling balm. Yates recommends John Masters Hair Pomade ($19) and Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade ($13), while Campbell recommends Oribe's Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste ($39). The most famous beeswax product on the market is Murray's 100% Pure Beeswax ($5), which has been used for years to maintain locs, lay edges, and set beards in place. Of course, when using beeswax, you want to ensure you're using a good clarifying shampoo and using the smallest amount of wax whenever possible—buildup is not welcome here.
Another key to letting beeswax really shine is to mix it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil for a DIY pomade or edge control. Just remember to lay your hair with a silk or satin scarf so you don't have to constantly reapply. Either way, you're built to last, baby!