The best substitute for beeswax depends on what you’re making.
While they can all be substituted for each other in a pinch, but some do better in different situations.
Some alternatives are better for hair products, while others are better for skin products (i.e. lotions and soaps), and some are better for lip balms, and some are best for chewing gum.
I’ll go through each of your options, and what each is best used for.
Note that all of these can be subbed in for beeswax in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for: Candles, lip balm and skin products
Soy wax comes from soybeans as expected, and typically used in vegan candles. It’s the cheapest alternative and easiest to find in most cases.
That being said, it’s the most versatile of any substitute on this page, and can be used in lip balms or lotions as well.
Pure soy wax is usually softer than beeswax, but it’s possible to find some with additives that make it a bit harder.
Best for: Lip balm and lotion bars
If you look at my guide to the best vegan lip balms, most of the best ones use candelilla wax.
It’s a fairly hard wax, making it good for bars, and even things like varnish. It’s often used in certain food products like chewing gum, but I suspect that’s not what you’re making.
Candelilla wax is derived from a plant from Mexico and the southern U.S.
Best for: Candles
Paraffin wax comes from petroleum or some other fossil fuel product. It’s a shade of bluish-white, and typically doesn’t have an odor (similar to vaseline in all these respects).
It’s typically not used for skin products, but more for lubrication and insulation. However, it’s a really good substitute for beeswax in candles.
Best for: Food and hair products.
You’ll find carnauba wax in a lot of foods. But, it can also be used in hair products instead of beeswax.
It comes from a specific type of palm tree, grown in Brazil. Now, palm products are controversial to many vegans, but most of the reasons why only apply to the palm trees in Southeast Asia.
There are some ethical concerns when it comes to treatment of workers in Brazil palm plantations, but that goes for many other farming industries as well. Most vegans would consider carnauba wax to be vegan, but if you want to avoid it, there are plenty of other alternatives on this page.
Best for: Skin and hair products.
Olive wax is quite a bit softer than beeswax, so it’s not a great substitute in candles.
However, it’s quite a good substitute for skin and hair products that benefit from being softer and easier to spread.
Rice Bran Wax and Sunflower Wax
Best for: Candles and food
Both of these are good alternatives to beeswax, but also harder to find than the other alternatives on this page.
You won’t find them in skin products much, but they are very commonly used in foods, and often included as part of a mix of waxes in candles.
Summary: Use These Beeswax Alternatives in These Situations
To sum things up…
If you’re making candles, try to go with one of these alternatives:
- Soy wax
- Paraffin wax
- Rice bran wax
- Sunflower wax
Alternatively, if you’re making lotion or soap, go with:
- Soy wax
- Olive wax
- Carnauba wax
Finally, if you’re making lip balm, the best waxes to use are: