Myrica fruit wax offers hair care benefits

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Natural waxes are synthesised biochemically by numerous plants and animals. Plants secrete waxes into and on the surface of their cuticles as a way to control evaporation, wettability and hydration. As a result of climatic conditions, many plants in tropical regions also store waxes in membrane layers in the cuticula as an additional protection against evaporation of water.

 In many cases, waxes exude outward and form wax coatings, which can be up to several millimeters thick. The epicuticular waxes of plants are mixtures of substituted long-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, containing alkyl esters, fatty acids, and primary and secondary alcohols. 

Traditionally waxes are used as consistency modifiers, co-emulsifiers, and stabilisers particularly in W/O emulsions. It is also common to thicken and harden oleogels with them, which is a typical practice in the formulation of anhydrous systems such as stick preparations, balms, and butters. 

Formulations with common waxes like beeswax are often perceived as heavy, dull, sometimes sticky, and too occlusive. Therefore, in skin care, waxes were primarily used in cold and barrier creams and other rich W/O emulsions. But there are other waxes that do have totally different sensorial and functional properties. Besides providing stability, enhancing viscosity and consistency, they form flexible, protective layers and many of them have a superb, light, soft, and buttery skin feel.

Myrica fruit wax

As a perfect example of the new class of functional waxes, KahlWax’s Myrica Fruit Wax (Kahlwax 6279L) comes to us from lofty heights: the small tree, Myrica pubescens, grows at an altitude of over 1,800 metres in the Colombian Andes. Myrica fruit wax is a peel wax and covers the small, greyish berries to protect them against moisture loss and environmental stress. The berries are sustainably harvested, carried out by hundreds of farmers and monitored by the UEBT (Union for Ethical Bio Trade). The UEBT promotes sustainable use of biodiversity in Colombia, fair and equitable sharing of benefits, regulatory compliance and social and environmental responsibility.

No chemicals are used to gather and purify myrica fruit wax. It is unique because it has no double bonds; it is a naturally ‘hydrogenated’ oil, but solid. Due to its chemical structure (iodine value <2) it is very stable against oxidation and therefore has no risk of becoming rancid. Myrica fruit wax combines a low melting point of 40˚C-50˚C with a high hardness value. This combination of properties gives Myrica cerifera fruit wax very good spreadability in cosmetic formulations. Myrica fruit wax reduces stickiness of emulsions and cream gels, gives hair styling products excellent holding properties, and when used in hair conditioners eases combing.

Myrica fruit wax has been tested at a use level of 3% in a rinse-off hair conditioner. The influence on combing force was measured using a tensile test device and the results were compared with a placebo. In a tensile test a comb is pulled through defined swatches of hair, the combing resistance and the friction forces during the combing procedure can be measured providing detailed information about the surface of the treated hair. Two evaluations are possible: from root to end or total change of combing force. The hair used was of Caucasian origin, 25 cm long, bleached and not detangled before measuring. Prior to each test, swatches are washed three times with a 10% solution of ether sulfate for 1 minute. 

Myrica fruit wax was able to significantly reduce the necessary combing force compared to the result of the placebo conditioner. Used frequently, the ingredient can help to protect hair against damage.

 

Conclusion

Kahlwax 6279L is a functional ingredient for cosmetic formulations. Used in O/W emulsions it optimises sensorial feel and supports formulation stability. A simple body lotion gets silky, rich haptics just by the additional of 2%-3% myrica fruit wax. Applied in hair products Kahlwax 6279L gives remoldable hold in styling formulations and boosts performance of conditioners. 

In combinations with clays, effect pigments, and dyes myrica fruit wax tends to crystallise which leads to a blooming effect on lipstick or hot melt surfaces. Therefore it is not recommended to use Kahlwax 6279L in colour cosmetic preparations. 

All natural waxes are completely biodegradable and therefore an environmental friendly raw material for natural or conventional cosmetic formulations. Kahlwax 6279L is a perfect multifunctional choice for the formulation of innovative formulations supporting fair trade and sustainability concepts.