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Upcycling an antique grooming wax

Silly Shorn Sheep don't care what we think

When searching online for Mens Grooming Wax and Mustache Wax Recipes,

one will repeatedly come across a simple, two-part grooming wax recipe for men, calling for Beeswax and Vaseline. I assume it is from an old formulary or recipe book published at the beginning of the last century when newly discovered petroleum products were hailed as “princes of progress” and cures for all mankind’s ills. You may disagree, but, I think it is time to re-examine and reformulate that recipe.

 

 

  1. There were many misconceptions about petroleum Jelly or “Vaseline” when it was first “invented” and marketed to the public.  It was promoted as a ‘heal-all” , a “wonder” product and wonder drug. Many of those claims were unsubstantiated, while some were simply not true.
  2. We are now facing the toxic and destructive consequences of our love affair with fossil fuels and petroleum products. In the light of the negative impact our choices have had on the global environment, it would behoove us to stop for a moment, and see what we could possibly do differently. If it is not too late already.  Even with the small, everyday choices we make as individuals, I believe we can collectively make a difference.
  3. There are many traditional, naturally sourced, less processed and healthier alternatives to Petroleum Jelly. Such as Lanolin. Products that are better for us and for the environment. So let’s get that antique and misleading mens grooming wax recipe offline, replace it with one that is a little more enlightened, responsible and certainly better smelling!
English: Petroleum products made from a typica...
English: Petroleum products made from a typical barrel of US oil. Dark grey represents fuels, light grey is other products. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A brief history of Vaseline. Back in the late 1850’s, a black waxy substance was found building up on the American oil rig drills, it was causing drilling malfunctions. A chemist, who had been working on creating fuel from sperm whale blubber, ( which was “rendered” obsolete by the discovery of fossil fuels), was called to examine the phenomenon. He experimented with it , distilled and purified it, named it “Vaseline”, and called it a heal-all. He marketed the product, built a factory to produce it, and the rest is history. That was a condensed version of the Wikipedia description and history of Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_jelly.

 

 

This image is from Vaseline company archives o...
This image is from Vaseline company archives of various published materials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For over a hundred years, Vaseline has been used in every department of life, all over the world. From healing babies butts and Mothers sore nipples, to waterproofing and sealing boats, baseball gloves and furniture. It was used as a hair dressing, a treatment for piles and hemorrhoids, nosebleed, toenail fungus and genital rashes. It was and is used as a seal in laboratory distillations, an axle and gear grease, waterproofer and rustproofer, and yes, in cosmetics and mens grooming wax. :-(.

 The Honeymoon is over

 

  • Now that we have rolled out of bed and hit our collective head on the harsh reality of our petroleum dependency.
  • Now that the honeymoon with petroleum is over, and we have come face to face with the backlashes our relationship with fossil fuels has brought upon us .
  • Now that we are looking at the environmental, economical, social, political and health related problems we have created on a global scale for ourselves, we are finally slowing down a bit in our headlong and blind rush to take advantage of the planet’s non-renewable, natural resources, and some of us are having a look around. Second thoughts. The sight is, at the very least, sobering.

Historically, since the beginning of the fossil fuel “revolution”, Vaseline or “petroleum jelly” replaced some of the traditional natural products that we had used and valued for thousands of years.  Products of agriculture and animal husbandry, (now there’s a word that explains in a nutshell what’s wrong with our factory production of “table meats”, there ain’t no husbandly consideration left in our relationship with the animals we eat! Our animals are on the production line with our TVs and iPads.)

Vaseline quickly replaced natural products that had a much greater affinity and similarity to our own skin structure. Natural oils that healed us through “affinity” One of these is Lanolin. With no harm done to the sheep, it is extracted from the wool before or after the sheep are sheared. Vaseline owes its only healing qualities, to its ability to create an artificial and impenetrable barrier on our skin. Which short term, keeps foreign substances and water out, and keeps moisture in, but longer term, it suffocates our greatest breathing organ, (Our  skin), maintains artificially moist conditions for bacteria and unhealthy organisms to grow, and does not allow the natural defenses of the skin to perform properly. It is, literally, a band-aid, not a solution or a cure. It is one step away from “Saran Wrap”, certainly not a “cure-all” as it was hailed, and marketed to us.

Not only is there a natural affinity between lanolin and the oils that our human body secretes, but the sebaceous secretions of sheep are very closely related to our own sebum, or natural skin oils in their chemical structure.  This is, a very important piece of  information that we have been slow to take advantage of, and quick to forget when the novelty of a brand new product was placed in front of us 150 or so years ago.

What this means is that lanolin is one of the best natural products for our skin and for our hair. That it is one of the best products to supplement the lack of natural oils, when our skin and hair have suffered damage,  a “natural” product that works with them and with our natural healing processes.

 

Grooming wax with Lanolin-creates Silly shorn Sheep
Silly shorn Sheep really don’t care what we think. A rich renewable resource.

With Lanolin, admittedly, the sheep look really silly after shearing, but despite appearances, they are in no way harmed, and carry on quite happily with their lives after we remove the wool and lanolin from them. No toxic byproducts, no global warming.  A renewable resource that will ALWAYS be available to us as long as there are sheep in the world. Wool for clothing, Meat for omnivores, milk for cheese lovers, and lanolin. Not Vaseline.

So, Why don’t we have another look at our use of petroleum jelly and other petroleum products in our recipes? Take a breath, relax and consider what we would choose to do differently, if we had the option. Which we Do. If you no longer considered petroleum our best friend, what would you choose?.   Besides the obvious issues of  “toxifying” the world with our use of a non renewable resource, I, personally, do not like the smell nor the feel of petroleum jelly on my skin or on my hair. Especially not under my nose as a grooming wax.

I’ve used Lanolin instead of petroleum jelly in mustache wax, in beard grooming waxes and formulas with great success. Not only does it feel better on my facial hair, it smells better.

It’s time someone changed things up a bit. We can’t erase that online fossil of a recipe, recommending the use of vaseline in yer mustache wax, but we can post something better and let the old one fade down Google’s pages by offering everyone a better option.
Fight the negative with positive. I like that approach.

I still love my tree saps and smooth Cocoa butter, but, sometimes simple is an excellent place to start. So, here is a simple 2 part recipe, updated and ready to go. One that you can use “as is”, or as a basic recipe to build on.  You can easily add essential oils to it as in the “Solid Mustache Wax Recipe“, or you can invent, elaborate, explore, and experiment, to your hearts desire.

As I mentioned in an earlier post on the subject, Lanolin has a lovely musky sweet smell, slightly “Animalic” even after processing and purifying which lends itself beautifully to many essential oils and oleo resins such as Labdanum.  However you choose to proceed with your mustache wax or beard wax formula, please remember to always take notes. Your future self will thank you!

 

–Also–-I must mention here, that I have noticed there are Moustache Wax recipes online, that call for heating the ingredients in the microwave! I STRONGLY advise against it! A bit of patience doesn’t hurt, especially when one remembers that if you make a mistake inputting the power or time setting on a microwave oven, beeswax will not warn you in any way, it won’t even give off a bit of pre-combustion smoke or smell, but will just burst into flames! It may not harm you directly, but it will certainly cause damage and not get you any closer to your goal.

Microwaving is fine for simple things, like heating food, and even for melting your finished and cooled mustache wax at a later date so you can pour it into containers.  If you ever do decide to use a microwave oven to heat or melt Mustache wax, make sure to use only glass containers, (not plastic or metal of course), and do it only in small, controlled increments, at medium power. (30-40 seconds at a time depending on the volume of material). Let sit for a few minutes after each microwave session for the localized “hotspots” to spread through your material, then give it another short, medium strength burst of microwaves. Eventually you will melt the volume of wax evenly, and thoroughly. A microwave is not an proper tool to use instead of a double boiler. Do NOT use it as a replacement for a double boiler!!  A lot can go wrong in the laboratory, especially when one can’t see clearly.

So please take the time, make the effort to set up a double boiler for your project with one jar of lanolin and one jar of beeswax, clip a separate empty jar to the side of your double-boiler, for mixing your product in.  If you like, add a jar for Carnauba wax, now that I have written about its benefits in a mustache wax. Or add extra jars for other ingredients you would like to experiment with. But take the time and do it right. Make yourself a high quality product. Do not take chances.

Remember, if it is worth doing, then it is certainly worth doing well.

 

 

Here is a recipe, modern, green, environmentally conscious, yet also one of the simplest recipes for a mustache wax.
Whether it is your first attempt at making your own mustache wax, or just your latest version, this recipe is worth trying and experimenting with. Gauging by how long it has been around, it is worth at least checking out. After trying this recipe, I found I like a higher proportion of beeswax.  That being said, try it out and see what works for you.
You can use it as a base and add whatever you like to it. ( Cocoa Butter for smoothness and reduce hair pulling, Carnauba wax for strength and endurance, Spruce sap for training whiskers, etc.), expand it with some of the ingredients I mentioned in “A solid Mustache Wax Recipe” or use it as it is with your own blend of essential oils. –
So good luck.
Remember to always take notes. Your future self will thank you.
Dan

 

 

A SIMPLE NATURAL MOUSTACHE  GROOMING WAX RECIPE

 

 (2 parts, no Vaseline)

 

 

  • 100 grams Beeswax.
  • 100 Grams Lanolin. You could use any amount of both as long as it was the same amount of each, and in different containers in the water-bath or double-boiler.
  • Make a double boiler. See A Solid Mustache Wax Recipe
  • Wait till your ingredients have heated up to the same temperature,
  • Pour 3/4 of each melted wax into a third, empty jar that is also warmed in the water bath.
  • Blend them thoroughly.
  • Test a couple of drops of your hot mixed wax on a cold plate. when it has reached room temperature, you will know whether you need to add more beeswax, (to make it harder). Or if you need to add more Lanolin, (To make it softer).
  • This is the reason you reserved 1/4 of each wax.
  • If your 2 part Moustache wax is exactly as you like it with equal amounts of both ingredients, you can add the last quarter of each wax. You should have exactly the same amount of Beeswax and Lanolin left in their jars.
  • You can now remove your liquid mustache wax from the double boiler.
  • If you have prepared any essential oils for fragrance, now is the time to mix them thoroughly in. (Refer to the “Solid Mustache Wax Recipe” for instructions on adding natural fragrances.
  • Pour the Mustache wax into moulds or containers.
  • Wash and clean up while they cool down undisturbed.
  • And have fun.
  • Did you take notes?? :-D!

Dan

 

 

 

 

 

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A Mustachio twirl to save the world

 

A Mustachio Twirl

A mustacio twirl-Silicone Mustache Wax Trays from the Dollar store
A mustachio twirl-Silicone Mustache Wax Trays from the Dollar store

Casting Mustache Wax in Silicone trays.

In my posts, I keep referring to “silicone trays” from the Dollar store”, as perfect moulds for casting home-made mustache wax. I have meant to post pictures for a few months now. So I will get this off the job list. They really are perfect! Though bright Neon, they shape the wax well, and release it easily.

One dome of mustache wax = one months worth of twirling for a modest mustachio.

I usually store them in a nice glass apothecary jar. I put a new dome in one of the stainless steel tins, as soon as I start scraping the last sticky shreds out of it. The tins are a great help keeping the dust and dirt from mixing in to the wax and finding their way to my mustache, which can lead to embarrassing situations.

Mustache Wax "Domes" cast in silicone tray
Mustache Wax “Domes” cast in silicone tray

Dollar store Silicone Trays for Mustache Wax
Silicone Mustache Wax Trays from the Dollar store

I haven’t tried the rectangular shapes yet, butthey look promising.

OK that’s it for silicone. On to petroleum. A Mustachio Twirl to save the world.

I am making a new version of a “classic” 2 part mustache wax that has been online forever. A “classic” because anyone who has ever looked for a mustache wax recipe online must have seen it posted in numerous places. I’m pretty sure it is reproduced from an old, turn of the century, formulary or recipe book. It calls for Beeswax and, (Ugh), Vaseline.

At the time it was published, Vaseline was being touted, (by its inventor), as a cure-all and miracle product. A miracle drug!. Really.

At the time, the petroleum industry was just taking flight, and the future looked bright for Fossil Fuels. And for us!…. Oops

Now that we have a hole in the Ozone layer, greenhouse gasses galore, have polluted ourselves with carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from the fossil fuels we are burning, not to mention the rest of the problems we face globally due to our passionate pursuit of petroleum products and our accelerated “Fracking” of Fossil Fuels”. We really should be looking at alternatives.

I know it’s “only” Vaseline”, and it’s already in millions of households, but if we use it without a thought, how will things ever change? The Big things? Couldn’t we at least stop for a second, and give things a consideration? Even if it’s just a little one. It wouldn’t hurt, Right? It’s got to be better than racing ahead to global oblivion, and sucking the planet dry , while we make a toxic mess on the planet’s surface. I’m sure the Planet must have some need of the petroleum or She wouldn’t have so much of it in her belly. Right?

Maybe it keeps her gears lubricated? Has a purpose?? I don’t know. Does anyone though?Maybe she is going to start heating up from internal friction now that her oil level is down. Hmmm.?!? Global warming?!

And, doesn’t “non renewable resource” mean we can’t replace it? Personally, I always, like to at least try, to replace whatever I use or borrow. I know I like it when others do the same for me. I think that is important. Individually, Universally.

I don’t know about you all, but I think, if there ever was, a moment that deserved our deepest thought and consideration, a true Mustachio twirling moment, this is it. Could there be a better cause? So, Men, at your leisure,,, it’s the thought that counts, I expect to hear a gentle hummmm vibrating around the world. Put your wrists into it, and give it a spin for Beautiful Mother Nature, the Goddess, and the Planet. Now is the time to think deep of how fix this mess we have made. We are more than just a handsome mustache, right? (Girls you are all included too. Don’t think I haven’t noticed all the women who stroke their chins when thinking).

OK, I know, it’s just a bit of Vaseline in a recipe online. Not a big deal. But,, I was just thinking,, if every one of us does something small that only they can do, then things could really change, quickly, and globally. Right? If every person corrected what only they could see, or do, or correct, in the world, on an individual basis, we could go a long way in a short time. Globally. I like it.

So I am going to post an alternative to an outdated recipe. It’s not a big thing, but, it’s something. Give everyone a choice to not use Vaseline, but something “greener” and better, something good that Vaseline has replaced and displaced in the world. An equally simple, 2 ingredient recipe for a mustache wax, one that suits our lives and times. Perhaps our ethics too. That’s something I can do right now.
. You will have to wait, (not too long), to find out what that is. :-).

So stayed tuned.
Dan.

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Mustache Wax Recipe, Twist and Twirl

Natural Mustache wax Recipe, Twist and Twirl. Part 2 of “A solid Mustache Wax recipe.

There has been a tremendous amount of interest in the “Solid Mustache Wax Recipe”. Which makes me very happy. so many people are trying it out and making their own personalized versions of a grooming wax, not only for themselves, but for the men in their lives. Men and women are trying out the recipe! How cool is that!

As mentioned, the recipe I posted in December is a medium weight mustache wax for medium weight mustaches. Considering the variety of mustache types is as diverse as the millions of men who have mustaches, it was created to be a middle of the road recipe, accessible and suited to the greatest number of mustache types. My intention with the Solid Mustache Wax Recipe was to keep it as simple as I could, so anyone could successfully combine the ingredients and have the satisfaction of a useable product. However , since the response to the recipe has been so good, I would like to add a little more versatility to the original recipe. Take it up a notch so it might offer even more usefulness to the greater mustachioed population. Something for those who would like to do more with a Mustache wax. Here is a twist to the recipe, one I find extremely useful and effective while being relatively easy to incorporate into the original recipe. Take it for a spin, or a twirl and I hope you all take a shine to it. Our secret new ingredient is,

CARNAUBA WAX

Mustache wax recipe with natural Carnauba palm wax.

Many of us are familiar with the name as an ingredient in high sheen, protective and durable car waxes. Yes, it is a great material for adding a shine or polish, or to protect surfaces, (Furniture too). Carnauba wax is a natural vegetable sourced wax that is collected from the leaves of the Carnauba Palm. It comes in light flakes that melt at a slightly higher temperature than beeswax. When melted and cooled, Carnauba wax is brittle and hard, almost like a hard plastic.

Mustache wax recipe. Paper thin Carnauba wax after melting, brittle as glass
Paper thin Carnauba wax after melting, brittle as glass

A thin sheet of it will “tinkle” when tapped. before it shatters. That being said, Carnauba wax blended in small amounts to our “Solid Mustache Recipe”, will enhance its ability to create and hold a very tight and well defined twirl. Or a straight horizontal twist, or really, any other mustachrobatics that you can think of! I took some shots of the tight tame twirls it gave my mustache, but the closeups made me feel a little too self conscious! You will have to try it for yourselves. I need a good facial before I can be persuaded to do a close-up photo-op.

 Mustache wax recipe. Carnauba wax raw flakes Put some dash in your stache
Carnauba wax raw flakes. Put some dash in your “Stache”

I don’t know how other men feel about twirls in a mustache, They can be rather sinister, marks of the evil genius, world dominator, local petty dictator. Of artistic eccentricity, maniacal egocentricity, and other dastardly depictions, that us men can be slotted into. However, a tight twirl can also be very distinguished. It can be the perfect innuendo to an untamed bush, lend subtle curves and nuances to an otherwise solid chunk of facial hair. It can create precise definition, a sense of control, direction, and flair that trimming or softer waxes can’t quite pull off. You could pull the length of your whiskers straight out, wrap them behind your ears, or create a decreasing spiral to use up the length you would rather not trim. You could give a 90 degree upward turn with corners as sharp as Stilton cheese, or do some fancy braiding in your beard. (especially if you have some Labdanum!?). If one does not have a lot of upper lip real estate, or the natural materials for a powerful handlebar, the subtle control of a well placed twist or twirl, can make a striking statement without a lot of effort. A case where less can be as powerful as more. That being said, the ability to get and hold a good angle in a handlebar mustache only increases the effect of a heavier mustache, lending more possibilities to explore and more room for play and variety.

If religious restrictions do not allow you to shave or cut your facial hair, this is an excellent opportunity for self-expression and creating a little masculine mojo for yourself. Carnauba wax works very well for these uses and due to its higher melting point, keeps its hold for a good length of time. However, there are two things to remember when incorporating Carnauba wax in your Solid Mustache Wax Recipe.

  1. Make sure all your materials, especially your Carnauba wax are the same temperature before mixing. If it means waiting an extra 10-15 minutes to be sure the different volumes of materials in your water bath are heated to the same temperature, then wait.
  2. The second thing to keep in mind when using Carnauba wax in this recipe is, use a light hand!! You have to create a balance in your mustache wax, where your wax is pliable enough to apply to your mustache, and stiff enough to hold a sharp twirl for the day. Too much will give you a rock hard product more suited to polishing your car. So use the “cold drop” method often, as you slowly add, and thoroughly mix , small increments of melted Carnauba wax to your recipe. Wait for it to properly cool before you test it. Yes, you can always correct it if you overdo the Carnauba, but it is easier to do it right the first time and efficient to keep precise notes the first time through, so you can duplicate your amazing mustache wax when you need to make more or make some for a friend.

    Mustache Wax cast in silicone ice cube tray
    Mustache Wax cast in silicone ice cube tray

The proportion I used to give the ideal twirly hold in my experimental batch was approximately 5% Carnauba to the volume,or weight, of the finished product. This means if you are ending up with 500 Mililiters or grams of finished mustache wax, you want to use approximately 25 mililiters or 25 grams of Carnauba wax. As always this is not an exact science, if you have more Shea or Cocoa Butters, more saps or oils, tougher facial hair, you will have to make some adjustments and use a little more. So add your melted Carnauba wax at the end, to a product that works well already, a product you already like. I suggest you melt twice the amount that is called for. I always like to be prepared. Add it slowly, as described above. It is always best to have some left over than not quite enough. In the original recipe 500 grams of beeswax is called for. The ratio of Carnauba wax I would add to the double boiler is 50 grams.

This can be done in 2 stages if you like. Create a wax you love using the original Solid Mustache Recipe, then when you have it exactly as you like it, take half of it back to the water bath, set it, and a container with the Carnauba wax up, and create your supercharged edition. If you love it just as much as you hoped, then you can always process the rest of your original batch into the “Super twirl” version”. And if something goes wrong, (Which does on occasion happen in life), you are covered, and still have the satisfaction of having a great original and useable batch of solid mustache wax. Using this method, you will only have 2 containers to deal with in the water bath which will be easier to work with. When both containers are at the same temperature start mixing in the Carnauba wax and testing it till you have the consistency you desire. Using half your finished product, is, in my opinion, the wiser choice, in case something goes wrong and you are not happy with your extra twirly compound. If you have a little experience with these processes, and are comfortable with a water-bath full of containers and ingredients, by all means, feel free to create the product in one shot.

One further thought on keeping it simple is, you could try to do it all in one go, with all the original “Solid Mustache Wax” ingredients in your water bath, and simply switch out your tree saps for Carnauba wax. I HAVE NOT tried this! Personally I am very attached to using saps in my Mustache wax. But since nothing is written in stone, you could try using Carnauba instead of pine or Spruce sap. If anyone does try this, I would be very interested to hear how it turned out for them.

That’s it folks! If you want to have a great mustache wax, and take it up a notch. Use Carnauba wax in your formula. The Carnauba has little to no fragrance, So when you get your mustache wax smelling exactly the way you want it, the Carnauba will add its magic in the texture, hold and endurance department.

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

Stainless Steel tins for Mustache Wax-1oz. & 2 oz. $2.00 each
Stainless Steel tins for Mustache Wax-1oz. & 2 oz.

Dan

Tins for Mustache Wax 2&4 Oz.
Tins for Mustache Wax 2&4 Oz.

 

 

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