An assortment of homemade beeswax candles.Baloncici/iStock/Getty Images
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in a honeycomb by bees to store honey. This rich, protective product makes the perfect additive to lotions, creams, soaps and candles. It burns well, protects the skin and lasts almost forever when stored properly.
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Uses for Beeswax
From cosmetics to arts and crafts, beeswax has many uses. This wax is a main ingredient in many lotions, creams, lip balms, hair styling aids and body butters. It helps to thicken while also providing a protective layer. The wax is also used in soap and body bars. Beeswax is commonly utilized as a wood finish on food-grade wood bowls, plates and other cookware – it seeps into the wood and blocks the pores to prevent water absorption. Beeswax is an integral part of the art world, too. It is used in lost mold making, encaustic art and to coat bookbinding and sewing thread.
Beeswax is easy to store at room temperature in a dark, out-of-the-way spot. Wrap or place blocks in plastic to keep dust from sticking to the wax. Consider melting down large blocks and pouring them into smaller molds – this makes it easier to store and add to recipes later. Candles, soaps and other hard cosmetics may be wrapped in paper to protect it. Commercial products should already be in tightly sealed containers, so just store them in a closet or drawer, unopened, until ready to use.
This amazing product has a nearly infinite lifespan. Beeswax has even been found still useable in the tombs of ancient pharaohs. Crafters don't have to worry about pure beeswax going bad in storage. Beeswax contains propolis, which is a natural, powerful preservative. However, it is possible for homemade products with other ingredients to go bad.
Lifespan of Beeswax Products
Commercial and homemade products that combine beeswax with other oils and fats can go bad. Commercial products contain added preservatives that help them last for months without refrigeration. Homemade lotions and creams stored in the refrigerator can last between three to six months, and those stored at room temperature can last between four to six weeks. After that time, it is best to throw them away. Beeswax candles can still burn after years, but may melt slightly and deform from just being in the sun. Scented candles may lose their scent and colors can fade from sun exposure.