How to Make Emulsifying Wax

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Make your own emulsifying wax for creating lotions and creams.
Make your own emulsifying wax for creating lotions and creams. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Lotions, soaps and creams are made from a mixture of water and oils, but water and oils separate when combined. To keep the water and oils together, you must add an emulsifying wax. At the molecular level, emulsifying wax attracts both water and oil at the same time, so it binds them together and keeps them from separating. You can buy emulsifying wax from craft and beauty supply stores, or you can make your own with beeswax, sodium borate and soy lecithin.

Things You'll Need

  • Beeswax
  • Sodium borate
  • Liquid soy lecithin
  • Water
  • 2 pots
  • 2 spoons
  • Hand mixer with beaters

Combine 8 parts beeswax with 1 part liquid soy lecithin in a pot on the stove. Turn the burner onto medium-low, and allow the wax to melt. As it melts, stir occasionally to mix the lecithin in with the beeswax.

Heat 6 parts water with 1 part sodium borate in a separate pot on the stove. Stir the water and sodium borate mixture with a different spoon than you were using to stir the beeswax/soy lecithin mixture. Keep the burner's temperature slightly below medium so the water mixture gets hot but doesn't boil. Continue heating and stirring until the sodium borate has completely dissolved in the water.

Turn off the burners, and remove both pots from the stove. Plug a hand mixer with clean beaters into an outlet near your work space. Begin whipping the water mixture with the hand mixer to aerate it.

Pour the beeswax and soy lecithin mixture into the water and sodium borate mixture as you beat it with the hand mixer. Don't pour the beeswax mixture in all at once; instead, add it in a small stream as you continue to beat it. It may be helpful to have a friend pour while you hold onto the hand mixer.

Continue to beat the mixture with the hand mixer for at least 5 minutes after the two mixtures are combined. As you continue to mix, the emulsifier should become opaque and thick. Write down your exact formula so you can experiment with different formulations in the future if you prefer a thicker or thinner emulsifying wax.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear an apron when working with these ingredients in the kitchen. Oils and melted wax can stain your clothes.
  • Don't place hot pots directly on the counter top. Place a pot holder or kitchen towel between the hot pots and the counter.

References

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