Wax comes from many different sources. Wax properties change depending on the source, making each wax optimal for different applications. Check out three different wax sources:
1. Plant Waxes
Plant waxes are great for those wanting an environmentally friendly product since they come from a renewable and sustainable resource. Two common plant waxes are carnauba wax and soy wax. Carnauba wax comes from carnauba palm leaves. It is sometimes called palm wax. Carnauba wax is used in car, shoe and floor polishes because it has a glossy finish.
Soy wax comes from soybean oil. Soy wax is mostly used in candles, but some cosmetics have soy wax in them, too.
2. Petroleum Waxes
Two of the most commonly used petroleum waxes are paraffin and microcrystalline. Both of these waxes are derived from crude oil, but have different properties. Paraffin wax is white in color and has no odor. It is one of the most commonly used waxes. Paraffin wax is used in candles, paper coatings and crayons.
Microcrystalline waxes are darker in color compared to paraffin waxes. They also have a tackier texture. Microcrystalline waxes are used in rubber products, candles and cosmetics.
3. Animal Waxes
Animal waxes come from animals and insects. The most common type of animal wax is beeswax. Bees secrete this wax and use it to build their honeycombs. Beeswax is used in a variety of applications, including cosmetics and candles.
Tallow is another animal wax type. It is rendered from animal fat, including beef and pig fat. This wax is used in some fuels, soap and candles.
These are just a few sources of wax. Learn about more waxes in our wax terms glossary.