With the increasing demand for vegan and environmentally friendly cosmetic ingredients, formulators are looking for possible alternatives to animal derived products. In this article, we explore flower waxes as a prime example.
Environmental concerns such as climate change, plastic pollution, loss of biodiversity, and resource shortages are growing worldwide. Consumers are aware of the impact of their consumption choices and are making decisions based on their responsibility towards the environment.
The beauty industry is no exception – it is filled with conscious consumers who want businesses to change, and more and more brands are listening to these demands. One approach to developing sustainable beauty products is to use by-products created by upcycling materials that would otherwise be discarded. The basic concept is why use or exploit a new raw material when there are already large quantities of mined materials available? Although this concept is not new, this approach has manifested in the upcycling trend.
Three types of reprocessing
Recycling describes the transformation of waste products into similar or equivalent products. In other words, products are returned to the cycle from which they were already discarded. It is also used as a generic term for all types of reprocessing.
Downcycling describes the reuse of waste products into something that has less value than the original. In this process, products are often broken down into their basic components, mixed with new materials and reintroduced to the cycle in a completely new form. Downcycling often involves significant energy costs but is nevertheless important.
Upcycling describes the reuse of waste objects or materials to create products of higher quality or value than the original. The raw material often undergoes little change in the process.
This reuse of existing materials helps to conserve resources and reduce waste, leading to a reduction in energy consumption, air and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Upcycling is becoming increasingly important and reflects the growing interest in environmentally friendly products.
Upcycled flower waxes
Natural waxes are a classic example of upcycled by-products. Besides the commonly known beeswax, a side product of honey production, a variety of lesser-known plant waxes also fall into this category. A prime example are flower waxes, which are by-products of the perfume industry, obtained during the production of absolute (essential oil). Fresh blossoms are extracted in the first production step, yielding a semi-solid mass known as concrete. This contains a mixture of essential oils, waxes, resins and other plant remains. The concrete is extracted once more to obtain the absolute and crude wax. After further refining, the flower waxes are complete.
KahlWax’s flower waxes, available in South Africa from Savannah Fine Chemicals, have moderate melting ranges (around 60°(), which allow for low, energy-saving production temperatures. They also behave in a unique way in formulations and offer a variety of benefits. Each flower wax has a distinct fragrance characteristic of the flower from which it originated, making these waxes ideal for use as natural perfumes.