Rich Waxes and Butters An extract from the Neal's Yard Beauty Book

NYR bookThis exclusive extract from Neal’s Yard Beauty Book (£16.99, Dorling Kindersley) looks at waxes and butters, which add moisturising properties to cleansers and body and face creams. They have a much longer-lasting barrier effect on the skin than oils, making them particularly effective in hydrating formulations that protect dry, rough, or cracked skin. By acting as a barrier on the skin, they can prevent moisture loss and promote natural healing.

CANDELILLA (euphorbia cerifera)   
SUITABLE FOR VEGANS
Candelilla wax is made from a desert plant of the same name, making it vegetarian and vegan. It is often used to replace other non-vegan waxes, such as beeswax.
CONDITIONS AND SOOTHES SKIN
Candelilla is used to make barrier products, such as lip balms, because it is an emollient wax that prevents moisture loss from the skin. It has an anti-inflammatory action that helps calm itchy skin conditions and may help reduce the appearance of blemishes.
REPAIRS AND PROTECTS SKIN
Rich in nutrients and fatty acids, and not too heavy on the skin, candelilla wax is great for when the skin needs a little extra moisture and protection.

CARNAUBA (copernicia cerifera)
CONDITIONS AND SOOTHES SKIN 
A common ingredient in lipsticks and lip balms, carnauba wax creates a protective barrier that helps lips retain moisture and keeps them soft. An odourless hypoallergenic wax suitable for all skin types, it is especially good for sensitive skin.
ADDS TEXTURE AND SHINE TO COSMETICS
Carnauba wax is a common thickening agent in cosmetics. As it is the hardest of all the natural waxes, and has a high melting point, small quantities added to products like lipsticks and lip balms help products remain solid yet flexible.

COCOA BUTTER (theobroma cacao)
REPAIRS AND PROTECTS SKIN
Cocoa butter is a “dry” wax and a good emollient, which means it acts as a barrier to prevent water loss and helps keep skin soft. It supports collagen production, and thus can help prevent wrinkles and stretch marks and improve skin elasticity and tone.
SOOTHES SENSITIVE SKIN A mild wax that is suitable for most skin types. As it is an occlusive – capable of slowing down evaporation of water from the skin – it may not be suitable for facial use for those prone to acne and spots since it could clog pores.
CONDITIONS AND SOOTHES SKIN The butter is a natural emulsifier and softener for skin and hair. It has incredible moisturising and conditioning properties, which make it an ideal ingredient for skin and hair preparations.

SHEA NUT BUTTER (butyrospermum parkii)
CONDITIONS AND SOOTHES SKIN
Shea nut butter is a superb moisturising ingredient with excellent healing properties. It is rich in vitamin A, which helps improve skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, skin allergies, and blemishes. It is especially good for dry and damaged skin.
REPAIRS AND PROTECTS SKIN
A gentle and effective moisturiser, shea nut butter contains oleic acid, a saturated fatty acid that is highly compatible with the sebum naturally produced by our skin. It is readily absorbed and is said to help in the absorption of other active ingredients. Adding shea butter to shaving cream formulations can help you to get a smoother shave.
COMBATS SIGNS OF AGEING
An excellent addition to skin-care products, the butter contains 5–10 per cent phytosterols – plant hormones that help stimulate skin-cell growth. It also contains vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free-radical damage.

 

Click here for more articles on skincare