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.
What s Beeswax?
Beeswax is made by worker honey bees and is the natural wax which makes up the structure of the honeycomb. Due to its unique properties, beeswax is used in hair products and cosmetics .
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. We spoke to dermatologist Caren Campbell, MD, as well as trichologist Kerry E. Yates to find out what all the buzz is about.
Meet the Expert
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?
Beeswax for Hair
- Type of ingredient: Moisturizing, barrier-creating and antibacterial properties.
- Main benefits: Moisturizes and seals the hair, smoothes flyaways and assists with hair growth.
- Who should use it: In general, beeswax is great for curly, kinky, and coily-textured hair. Beeswax is not recommended for 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. Beeswax is also great at creating a protective barrier due to being unable to dissolve in water. It also has antibacterial agents and is non-comedogenic and non-irritating, making it a nearly universally safe option for all people to use.
Because it does not dissolve in water, it is important to use very sparingly to avoid buildup. Here are some of the best benefits beeswax has for hair:
- Smooths strands: The texture of beeswax makes it a great product for smoothing flyaways and frizz. It works best near the ends of the hair, as applying it too close to your scalp could make your hair look greasy.
- Creates long-wearing hairstyles: One of the main uses for beeswax in hair is when starting dreadlocks or locs, as it is essential for getting the hair to lock and stay in place. When mixed with a carrier oil or butter, beeswax is an excellent styling product, helping to keep your style in place, especially for short hair.
- Barrier against frizz: Beeswax, due to its texture, is great for keeping hair straight. The fact that it us not able to dissolve in water means it prevents high humidity from causing your hair to frizz.
- 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 sole reason for the growth.
- Locks in moisture: The formula and texture of beeswax make it a great choice for sealing split ends. The traces of vitamin A in beeswax make it ideal for moisturizing hair.
- Helps ease certain dermatologic conditions: Beeswax can also be helpful in easing some dermatologic conditions. Research showed that a mixture of honey, beeswax and olive oil helped treat psoriasis, eczema and dandruff.
Hair Types Considerations
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 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. The key is to use a small amount at first (you can always apply more later) and only use it near your ends. Those with fine hair or hair that tends to get greasy or oily, should avoid beeswax or only use a very small amount.
How to Use Beeswax for Hair
The best and easiest way to incorporate beeswax into your haircare routine is through a styling balm. 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. In fact, don't use pure beeswax every day for that exact reason. You should also consider using a clarifying hair treatment once a week when using beeswax to remove buildup. Depending on the needs of your hair, there are several ways to use beeswax.
- Make your own pomade: A 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. This pomade would also be great for styling beards. Try out this homemade pomade recipe from DIY Natural. Remember, a little goes a long way.
- 2 tablespoons beeswax (they recommend beeswax pastilles or pellets)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons bentonite clay (gives the pomade the gritty texture)
- 10 drops of sandalwood essential oil
- Melt the beeswax pellets in a double boiler.
- Add the coconut oil and stir until combined.
- Remove from heat and add the bentonite clay.
- Continue to stir until it is mixed well.
- Add in the essential oil and stir until combined.
- Pour into a small container and let cool.
- Use pure beeswax to maintain locs: Some people like to use pure beeswax to lock dreadlocks (also called locs) into place or to keep them from building up frizz. Make sure you use this very sparingly and not every day to prevent build up. The most famous beeswax product on the market is Murray's 100% Pure Beeswax ($20), which has been used for years to maintain locs, lay edges and set beards in place.
- Create a finishing agent for shine and frizz control: This DIY recipe from Naturally Curly combines shea butter and jojoba oil with beeswax for an all-natural and moisturizing finishing agent that is great for increasing shine, taming frizz and getting rid of flyaways. You only need a small amount of this product.
- 4 tablespoons beeswax pastilles
- 4 tablespoons shea butter
- 4 tablespoons jojoba oil
- 2 vitamin E liquid capsules
- Combine the beeswax and shea butter and use a double boiler to melt them together.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and add the jojoba oil.
- Puncture the vitamin E capsules and squeeze contents into mixture and combine. If you want to add in a few drops of essential oil, you can do that at this stage.
- Use a hand mixer to mix thoroughly until it is a pudding consistency.
- Spoon the product into a small tin. Let it cool before using.
The Best Products With Beeswax
Because pure beeswax has a tendency to build up on hair, using products that contain beeswax may be the best way to get the benefits of this product, without worrying as much about it weighing down your hair.
Yates recommends John Masters Hair Pomade ($19) as this organic product is perfect for defining curls, adding texture to hair and smoothing flyaways. Along with beeswax, this bestselling pomade has moisturizing mango butter and sunflower seed oil.
Yates also recommends Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade ($12) . This product is touted as an “all-in-one miracle” for its ability to moisturize, smooth edges and control frizz. As a bonus, it is full of natural ingredients like beeswax and shea butter, and free of parabens, petroleum and mineral oil.
Campbell recommends Oribe's Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste ($39), as this beeswax pomade creates definition and smooths frizz, while also providing shine and softness.
Murray’s Beeswax Natural Loc Molding Paste ($6) is a good alternative to pure beeswax for your dreadlocks as it contains other ingredients to prevent flaking, while still providing hold and shine.
Bumble and bumble’s Sumotech Flexible Cream ($31) contains the perfect combination of beeswax and polymers for moisture, hold and flexibility. It can be used as a wax, paste or cream.
How do you remove beeswax from hair?
Because beeswax doesn’t dissolve in water, it can easily cause a buildup on your hair that normal washing won’t remove. To remove beeswax, work olive oil through your hair to dissolve the beeswax. Next, wash your hair with dish soap to remove the grease, followed by a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
If I am allergic to bees, can I use beeswax?
If you are allergic to bee pollen or venom, it is recommended to steer clear of bee products as there may be an allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor to find out what is right for you.
What is black beeswax used for?
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