So, the thing about floral waxes is that they are waxes and they smell like the flowers they’re derived from, yes? Well, contrary to their name, floral waxes are not actually waxes.
Are we pulling your leg here? Unfortunately, no.
You see, floral waxes are pseudo-waxes. That means they’re not genuine waxes. They’re faux waxes even though their INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, “systematic names internationally recognized to identify cosmetic ingredients” ) name contains ‘cera’ or ‘wax’.
Some INCI names of waxes, whether pseudo-wax or actual wax:
- Beeswax – Cera Alba / Cera Flava
- Palm Wax – Cera Elaeis Guineensis
- Rice Bran Wax – Oryza Sativa Cera / Oryza Sativa Bran Wax
- Rose Flower Wax – Rosa Damascene Flower Cera
- Ylang Ylang Flower Wax – Canaga Odorata Flower Cera
No worries if you’re confused because those were our initial sentiments as well. Hence, the birth of this post to help others understand what makes flower waxes pseudo-waxes and real waxes real waxes!
Real Waxes, What Are They?
Natural waxes are organic compounds. They are a complex blend of alcohols, fatty acids and esters. They are derived from plants, produced by animals and occur in petroleum. Therefore, such waxes are are true waxes.
*Note: Waxes are typically available in different grades. They have varying colours, melting point ranges, physical forms, and even different purities. An example of this would be the beeswax we sell in our store, ranging from beexwax sheets to natural beeswax bars, organic beeswax pellets, refined beeswax pellets from USA and refined beeswax pellets from China.
To paint a clearer picture, we’ll be using vegan waxes as a point of reference:
According to Formula Botanica, vegan waxes are derived from leaves, peels and fruits of different plants, or are separated from plant oils by de-waxing. The process involves physical separation and afterwards, they are normally purified and deodorized. The entirety of this process are physical procedures with no chemical reactions involved. However, the bleaching of these waxes may involve a chemical reaction. 
Pseudo-Waxes, What Are They?
To know what pseudo-waxes are, particularly how floral wax is actually a pseudo wax, we must first know what an absolute is.
Absolutes are similar to essential oils. They are concentrated, highly aromatic oils that are extracted from plants. The difference between them and essential oils is the production process. While essential oils are produced via distillation, boiling or pressing, absolutes are produced through solvent extraction or enfleurage. 
After extracting the absolute, the remaining waxy mass of plant matter is still mildly fragrant. This remaining, mildly fragrant waxy mass is floral wax. In other words, floral waxes are waste products from floral absolute production.
Delving into how exactly different floral waxes and natural waxes are would require a lot more knowledge of chemistry but generally, the method of production natural waxes and floral waxes are different. As a comparison, both vegan waxes and floral waxes come from plants. However, vegan waxes are organic compounds while floral waxes are complexes of vegetable fats (triglycerides) and partial extracts of flowers. Therefore, floral waxes are pseudo-waxes.
Thank you all for reading!
We hope this post helps clear up some things, even just a little ❤
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- “INCI – Personal Care Products Council”, Personal Care Products Council <https://www.personalcarecouncil.org/resources/inci/ > [Accessed 3 April 2019].
- “6 Vegan Waxes For Organic Cosmetic Formulations”, Formula Botanica <https://formulabotanica.com/6-vegan-waxes/ > [Accessed 3 April 2019].
- Kirk, Raymond Eller, Donald Frederick Othmer, and Arza Seidel, Kirk-Othmer Chemical Technology Of Cosmetics (Hoboken (N.J.): Wiley, 2013).
- “Cosmetics Ingredients Database | Online Raw Materials Search”, Cosmetics.Specialchem.Com <https://cosmetics.specialchem.com/ > [Accessed 3 April 2019].