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How to add Carnauba wax to a moustache wax recipe.

Carnauba Wax

How to Use Carnauba Wax in Moustache Wax and Beard Pomades

There has been a lot of interest in “A Solid Mustache wax recipe”, and I hope many of you have made your own Mustache wax tailored to your own needs. Over the past year there have been questions about adding Carnauba wax to Mustache wax recipes and beard pomades. Rather than redo “A Solid Mustache Wax Recipe and “An Easy 2 Part Mustache Wax Recipe”, I have decided to post a separate  “How to” page, so Carnauba wax can be properly added to past and future recipes, whether my own, or other recipes you might find online and want to adapt to your own needs.    This is it.

Carnauba Palm Copernicia Prunifera-Brazil
Carnauba Palm Copernicia Prunifera-Brazil
Carnauba Wax
Carnauba Wax

Carnauba Wax is a natural product that is found in the form of flakes on the fronds of the Carnauba Palm, Copernica Prunifera. For detailed information on the history and uses of Carnauba wax please refer to my post, Mustache Wax Recipe, Twist and Twirl” and

Carnauba wax is considered the hardest natural wax available.

It lends extra hold, and tenacity to a mustache wax. It can be added in proportions of up to 10%-15% of the volume of your grooming product.  More than that, I find, can make a mustache wax too hard to apply. I use 5% Carnauba with great success in my mustache wax blend.  20% is really pushing it unless you are using your wax in very hot and humid conditions with temperatures regularly above 35 degrees Celsius.

Keep in mind that Carnauba is brittle and can get powdery in larger proportions so it is not an ideal base for a moustache wax. I find beeswax has excellent physical properties for a base, and Carnauba is best in small quantities as a support in the formula.

Brittle, very thin hard shell of Carnauba wax from inside of glass jar
Brittle, very thin hard shell of Carnauba wax from inside of glass jar

Some very important points to keep in mind when using Carnauba wax in a mustache wax recipe.

Carnauba wax has a high melting point compared to other waxes, much higher than beeswax. For this reason:

1- ALWAYS use a water-bath, and heat up all your waxes and oils to the same temperature before mixing them. This is ESPECIALLY important when incorporating Carnauba wax in your recipe.

Water-Bath, Baine Marie, Double Boiler
Water-Bath, Baine Marie, Double Boiler with an extra jar for Carnauba wax, (on left).

Often, if the Carnauba wax is not at the same temperature of the wax mixture it is added to, it will form small lumps or grains. It does not matter how fine these grains are, if they are present it means your Carnauba wax is suspended in a matrix of softer waxes. This also means it has not “Married” your wax, that it is still separate, and the consistency of your wax has not been changed by the Carnauba, no matter how fine the Carnauba granules may seem. You have simply given the Carnauba wax something to float in. In this scenario, you are not only left with the same consistency in the wax you started with, but you have granulation that will likely not melt completely between your fingers and leave you with little granules in your mustache. Not very attractive. I don’t think a hair dryer will be of much help either at this point. SO,,

-ALWAYS use a water bath and heat your materials to the same temperature before mixing them!

-2- NEVER use a microwave to heat up your ingredients prior to mixing. Some oils and waxes will combust, burst into flame with no warning signs such as smoking. A microwave removes you from the process, does not give you enough control, and at its best, is only good for very carefully warming glass jars to remove residual waxes prior to cleaning. If possible I turn them upside down on a plate, often adding a layer of paper towel to absorb the liquid waxes, set the microwave on half power, and in short bursts take it up to the point of waxes melting. While the glass is still warm, (Not hot!), I will use olive oil, dish soap and warm water to bring them back to a clean and useable state. DO NOT use a microwave instead of a double boiler to make your products! Besides safety issues, it is very difficult to make a high quality product with a microwave.

Mustache Wax domes, cast in ice cube tray
Mustache Wax domes, cast in ice cube tray

SO that’s it I think……  Carnauba wax can easily add versatility and lend its unique characteristics to your grooming waxes. Remember, if for any reason you are not happy with your end product, don’t panic. You can always set it aside, and at a later date, after doing more research, meditating, or taking a deep breath, return it to the water bath and make adjustments to its texture, body or fragrance.

So, Have fun and  enjoy the gender you were given this time round.                                                                                            And ALWAYS remember to take notes! Your future self will thank you.

I am happy to answer questions, either here in the comments section, or by email at dnriegler@gmail.com.

Dan

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An easy 2 part Mustache Wax Recipe

An Easy, Natural 2 part Mustache Wax Recipe

(With instructions for creating a personal fragrance)

This is the ” Mustache Wax Recipe”  from the post “A Mustachio Twirl to save the world”.
The post, in essence, gives some history about Vaseline and our destructive relationship with petroleum products. It presents Lanolin, a natural oil drawn from sheep’s wool, as a “Green”, sustainable and renewable resource that is remarkably similar to our own natural skin oils. Vaseline is not the best product for our bodies, in many cases it is simply bad for us. It is a petroleum product, and as such, its production, use and disposal are not good things for the planet. Lanolin is by far a much healthier alternative for our skin, hair and the planet. We have a choice, and in 99% of instances in our everyday lives, we do not need to use Vaseline instead of Lanolin. A little choice, but who knows how much of a difference we could all make if we ceased to use petroleum products wherever we could.
This variation of a Mustache wax recipe, is based on an “Antique” recipe from the late 1800’s that uses Vaseline and Beeswax. It is reproduced abundantly online, and no one has bothered to change it or offer a healthier alternative till now. I have replaced the Vaseline with Lanolin. The results are wonderful, in its colour, texture and fragrance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lanolin predated Vaseline in an earlier , or original incarnation of the recipe. I believe if we all make small choices to use renewable resources instead of petroleum products, we can have a positive impact on the world. Seriously, I am pretty sure things are not going to improve on their own.

For more information on the subject, feel free to read the posts, “A mustachio twirl to save the world“, and “Upcycling an Antique grooming wax .”

Beeswax Lanolin Moustache Wax Recipe, cast in ice-cube trays
Beeswax Lanolin Moustache Wax Recipe, cast in ice cube trays

  Here is one small contribution.

A  simple, natural and easy, 2 part  Mustache Wax Recipe

  • 100 grams Beeswax
  • 100 grams Lanolin
  • Pot for double boiler
  • 2 Mason jars, 250 ml to 500 ml. capacity
  • Stir sticks, wooden or other type of spoon
  • Containers or moulds for mustache Wax

– Optional; Essential oils for fragrance, 2% of the volume of the finished product, maximum. (This means a total of 6 ml. For 300 ml mustache wax or 4 ml. essential oils For 200 ml mustache wax).

Shave or break Beeswax into a glass jar

  • Scoop Lanolin into a separate jar
  • Put both jars into a cold water bath or double boiler ( See Solid Mustache Wax Recipe). for instructions.
  • Bring water bath to a boil.
  • When both materials have  turned liquid and reached the same temperature, add 1/2 of the Lanolin to the Beeswax.
  • Stir well and do a cold plate test. ( Put a drop of hot wax on a plate, let it cool to room temperature. Test consistency. If it is too hard, add more Lanolin to the mustache wax till it reaches the pliability you desire.)  Repeat this test till you have exactly the consistency you need. Since everyone’s facial hair is different, you will have to adjust it to your own needs.
  • I have found that a ratio of 4 parts Beeswax to 3 parts Lanolin, works well for my mustache.
  •  DO NOT melt both materials in the same container! They will not combine properly.
  •  DO NOT use a Microwave for heating your materials! Items such as Beeswax will combust without warning or smoking if overheated. A microwave gives little control over the process and will not contribute to a high quality product.
DO NOT heat all Mustache wax recipe  ingredients in one vessel
DO NOT heat all Mustache wax recipe ingredients in one vessel 
Mustache wax recipe in double boiler.
Carnauba Mustache wax recipe in double boiler.

At this point, when you are happy with the consistency, you can either pour your hot, liquid mustache wax into jars, containers or moulds, (carefully), and clean up while your creation cools. Or, you can take your Mustache Wax a step further and create a personal fragrance, a scent that represents you,  pleases you, or one based on the therapeutic value of essential oils, and takes advantage of their position under your nose where you will be inhaling them. This can be as simple as adding one essential oil to your wax during the cool down period, ( Up to 2 %), or creating a more complex signature scent.

As I suggest in a  “Solid Mustache Wax Recipe”, this is a wonderful opportunity to explore our creativity and the fragrant gifts of nature. There are many essential oils that will work well with the scents of beeswax and Lanolin. It is a rich rewarding area of self-expression and creativity to explore.

How to create your own signature fragrance in a homemade Grooming Wax

(These instructions apply to most homemade male grooming products for beards and mustaches. Though they were written as part of “An easy 2 part Mustache Wax Recipe”, and are phrased thus, they are pretty much universal. It is safe to say, most of the basic ingredients in beard and mustache grooming recipes, are considered base to middle notes from a perfume perspective. Beeswax, Lanolin, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Kokum Butter, most of the fragrant  tree oleoresins we use, such as Myrrh, Frankincense etc., all share this common trait. This means one can use the instructions below, and the standard perfume “convention” of building a fragrance from a base accord or note, through to  a middle and top note, for most male grooming product recipes. So whether your recipe incorporates Lanolin or Cocoa Butter,  Frankincense resin, or a combination of them all, the following guidlines will work  just as well.)

When you have removed your mustache wax from the water bath, while it is hot and in its jar, is the perfect time to add essential oils that will compliment the scents of the Beeswax and Lanolin.  If you have a little experience, or an idea of how you want your product to smell, you can premix essential oils before you set up the water bath, set them aside, and add them during the cool down phase. You can do any tweaking and adjusting of the scent before it cools and thickens.
Otherwise, add your choice of essential oils one at a time while it is cooling down. If it gets too thick before you have finished adding essential oils, put it back in the water bath till it is liquid again, then pull it out and continue creating the scent you desire.

Keep in mind that the hot wax will accelerate the evaporation of volatile  oils, and your mustache wax will smell substantially stronger while it is hot, than when it is cool and solid. Adjust the strength of the fragrance accordingly.

I always make sure to write down the names of the essential oils I intend to use, while leaving a corresponding blank space for the quantity. Immediately after dispensing each essential oil, I mark down the quantity I added, leaving enough room to accommodate further tweaking and adjusting.  This way I can keep accurate track of the formula and reproduce it in the future. Remember that you can always re-melt your mustache wax at a later date and continue your work on the consistency or fragrance of your grooming wax.

    There is a convention in perfume making, that one should start with the “Lower”, base notes first, and work ones way up to the more fleeting delicate notes when constructing a fragrance. This works well for us in this case because the Lanolin and the Beeswax are both base to middle notes, and provide a great foundation to build your scent on.

Natural perfumes maturing, 2011
Natural perfumes maturing, 2011

If you would like to flesh out your base “accord” a little more, a drop of Clove or some Labdanum will work well with the Lanolin and Beeswax.  If you are lucky enough to have some Oud essential oil, that rare, exotic oil, distilled from a fungus that transforms dying wood, I have a feeling it could work very well with the beeswax Lanolin mix.  Just an educated guess. Beware of its strength though! Use only a minute amount so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the scents. The same can be said of the Clove essential oil. It too is very powerful, start with only a drop. Test and see if it really needs more. You can always add a drop at the end if you think it does. Some  other Base notes you could use are-Vanilla,  all the Cedars, Myrrh, any type of Frankincense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Vetiver (light hand with both!),  Benzoin, Balsam Tolu,  Balsam Peru, etc..

(Note, you could add only one essential oil to your mustache wax, and that could be sufficient to create a unique and well-balanced personal fragrance! This need not be a complex endeavour. It can be the beginning of an exploration of fragrance, and getting to know one essential oil in depth, is a wonderful way to start!)

Middle notes would be next. Some common middle note essential oils are Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cypress, Nutmeg, Pine and  the Spruces, Neroli, Bay etc.
Some “Top” notes that might work well, are; Pettigrain, lemon, tangerine, Lime, hyssop, Cinnamon etc.
There is extensive information online, if you seek a more comprehensive list of essential oils, where to find them and how to use them to create fragrances. Using these oils, you can create your own signature fragrance. Just remember, to Always record every drop of essential oil you add. Keep clear notes.
At this point I would like to point out the obvious, that scent is a very powerful sense. Scent is deeply connected with our emotions and memories. People will remember you by your scent and associate you with a particular scent. The therapeutic effects of aromatherapy are well researched. We are affected physically, emotionally and mentally by fragrances and essential oils. Another reason to use only natural oils and not chemical aromas.
Scent is powerful and can be used intentionally.  Scent can move us, and move others. At the very least we should wear scents that we like, or scents that make us feel good. Essential oils can also be chosen for their therapeutic value as well as their esthetic impact on our senses.  Even a mustache wax could be intentionally crafted for its therapeutic properties, its physical, emotional and mental effect on us. There is much to learn and explore!

In the last batch of Lanolin/Beeswax mustache wax I made, I added Frankincense Rivae essential oil, and found it worked extremely well. A few drops of Pettigrain and Neroli lifted it, and gave it a “sparkle”, while a dash of Labdanum, Benzoin and Clove lent it a creamy smooth ,warm masculine base.

Explore, experiment, and most of all enjoy the process. Being a man is a special gift. Women have their natural gifts, and we have ours.  Celebrate the gender you were given this time around.

And remember, always take notes.
Your future self will thank you.

Dan

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