Natural Alternatives to Beeswax (Because Bees Need Their Wax to Build Hives)

Finding natural alternatives to beeswax and other bee products is critical to supporting bee populations. Here’s why beeswax should be just for bees, plus what to use instead.

We’ve all heard about honey bee colony collapse disorder and how it would negatively affect the planet if bees went extinct. For starters, humans wouldn’t be able to eat, and neither would a lot of animals.

This obviously isn’t a future we want for ourselves, much less our children. Fortunately, people are starting to take action. In the U.S. for example, the Senate declared a week in June to be National Pollinators Week.

There’s been some speculation that honeybee populations are on the rise, but that doesn’t mean they no longer need to be safeguarded. They very much do.

Bees work hard to make beeswax, honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly for the wellbeing of the colony. These things aren’t made with human consumption in mind.

Along with growing bee-friendly gardens, avoiding pesticides and buying locally grown fresh produce, another way we can help is to stop supporting the bee industry. That includes using alternatives to beeswax. Here’s why.

How do bees make beeswax?

The production of beeswax falls to newly adult worker bees. Using special wax-secreting glands, they’re able to produce liquified wax at a fairly rapid rate. But when you consider that it takes about 1,000 wax scales to make a single gram of beeswax, it’s not that much.

Fortunately, bees are wicked smart. Honeycomb geometry isn’t for aesthetics, it’s been specifically designed so the bees can eke out the most storage space for the least amount of wax. Clever, right?

Looking at it from that point of view, you can really appreciate why it’s so important to seek out natural alternatives to beeswax. It’s all these little guys can do to keep up with their colony’s demands. We can’t expect them to produce wax for our candles, as well.

What products contain beeswax?

Natural Alternatives to Beeswax

Beeswax is in many products besides candles. You’ll find it in lip balm, body butter, musher paw wax, wood polish, oil pastels and lipstick, to mention just a few.

Just because it’s used in all those things, doesn’t mean it’s a necessary component of them. There are beeswax alternatives that work in almost all of these applications.

What natural beeswax alternatives are there?

I’m glad you asked. There are actually plenty of beeswax alternatives available nowadays. A lot of brands have also gone the cruelty-free route, making it even easier to find products that don’t contain beeswax.

If you’re looking for alternatives in a DIY beauty recipe that calls for beeswax, you have lots of options. Candelilla wax, carnauba wax and soy wax are three of the most popular beeswax substitutes on the market. But that’s only the tip of the vegan wax iceberg. You also get rice bran wax, sunflower wax and myrica fruit wax.

If you’re into DIY, there are plenty of beeswax-free recipes available online to help you formulate your own beauty and wellness cache, such as no beeswax lip balm, lotion bars and diaper balm.

Finding Bee-Free Cosmetics

Of course, not everyone has the time (or the inclination) to make their own cosmetics. Luckily, there are plenty of brands who’ve opted for the beeswax-free route.  If you’re looking for some brand recommendations, the Ethical Elephant put together this list of 10 cruelty-free lipsticks. Helpfully, they also compiled this list of vegan lip balms.

It’s important to note, however, that there’s a difference between cruelty-free and vegan. A lot of cruelty-free brands still use animal-derived ingredients, such as beeswax and honey. So make sure you do your due diligence before buying something.

As we know, the label on the front of a product only tells a small part of the story.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Tripti Joshi
Tripti Joshiabout a month ago

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago


hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago


Renata B
Renata B6 months ago

Very well said: it is disgraceful that we go to steal from such a tiny creature: so vile of us. And it's the same for the honey and other bee-products that they produce to feed their young.

Vincent T
Past Member 8 months ago


Leo C
Leo C8 months ago

thank you for sharing!

Danii P
Past Member 8 months ago

Thank you.

Danii P
Past Member 8 months ago

Thank you.

Olga N
Olga Nycz-Shirely8 months ago

TY Interesting