Candelilla Wax

About Candelilla Wax

This hard and brittle wax is extracted from the candelilla shrub (Euphorbia cerifera) that is found in abundance in and around Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, and was traditionally harvested to make candles, giving candelilla its name ‘little candle’. Mass production of the wax started in Mexico in the 20th century and demand increased during the first world war as it was used for waterproofing tents and equipment.

Today, production of the wax is around a tenth of what it was in the 1940’s, when it was at its peak. Now, each harvester (or candelillero) must obtain a permit to be able to harvest the plant. The land is monitored in order to ensure that the cultivation of candelilla is not detrimental to the local ecosystem and can be done sustainably.


How It Works

Candelilla wax is rich in nutrients and easily absorbed into the skin, allowing it to act as a barrier and help prevent moisture loss. It also works to bind ingredients together, whilst creating a workable texture. This means that it can be used to stiffen the texture of products without making them hard (i.e. lip balms, eye shadow, stick foundations) or it can be used as an emulsifier to prevent oil and water components from separating in products with a creamy consistency (i.e. moisturizers).


Common Concerns

There are no known concerns with this ingredient; it is considered safe, non-toxic and a non-irritant.


Quick Facts

Binomial Name: Euphorbia cerifera
Common Name: Candelilla wax
Source: Leaves of the candelilla shrub
EWG Score: 1


Proven and Possible Benefits


Strengthen appearance of wrinkles Reduce the appearance of brown spots


Scaly skin Reduce the appearance of stretch marks





Information contained in this website is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for diagnosis. The Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada have not evaluated this information. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For health problems, please refer to a qualified health practitioner.


  • Candelilla Wax plant