The wax butter technology

The solution for natural and sensorial formulations

We all know that naturalness is no longer just a trend, it is a prerequisite for any new cosmetic product launch. Indeed, it is one of the main consumer expectations, not only in Europe but also throughout the world.


Formulation of natural cosmetics is not so easy


Formulating a natural cosmetic product is not that simple, for various reasons:

  • The naturality of the cosmetic ingredients is not always clearly indicated, and the calculation methods used vary from one supplier to another (ISO 16128, COSMOS…)
  • The formula stability is an essential point to check before launching a new product
  • The formula must be perfectly tolerated by all skin types
  • Textures must be always more innovative to attract consumers’ attention
  • Sensoriality is a key factor that drives purchase intention

Formulating a natural cosmetic product therefore takes longer, whereas development times decrease year after year.


The wax butter technology is the solution


This technology leads to the creation of 100% natural origin emulsifiers and texture ingredients which bring moisturizing benefits due to the vegetable waxes and true sensory identities.

It maximizes the advantages of vegetable waxes while overcoming their disadvantages:


  • A patented technology

For over 30 years, Gattefossé has developed a strong expertise in the transformation and functionalization of natural waxes according to the rules of green chemistry. This environment-friendly chemistry enables the creation of new texture ingredients with particularly interesting properties. Gattefossé holds a number of patents on this technology, the most recent of which describe the reaction of solid and liquid waxes with vegetable polyglycerol1. The subject of several scientific papers, communications and recognized as an innovation in textures, this chemistry has been used to create a wide range of ingredients.


  • How does it work?

The wax butter technology creates wax derivatives from natural waxes and polyglycerol, by esterification and interesterification. The selected natural waxes are mixed with polyglycerol-3 of vegetable origin under nitrogen, in a single-step balanced reaction: reactions of esterification and interesterification occur in the same time.


Figure 1: Principle of the wax butter technology


  • Esterification

Polyglycerol-3 reacts with fatty acids of selected vegetable waxes:



In the presence of a basic catalyst (NaOH), fatty acids react with the alcohol functions of polyglycerol and new amphiphilic polyglyceryl wax esters are formed.


  • Interesterification

At the same time, wax esters react to each other to form mixed esters.



Interesterification between a liquid wax (jojoba wax) and a solid wax (sunflower seed wax, mimosa wax, beeswax…) creates new esters that combine the rigidity of the saturated carbon chain with the flexibility of the unsaturated one.

These mixed esters show intermediate physico-chemical properties between solid and liquid waxes. Transforming the waxes improves their behavior and functionality. These new properties include a better solubilization in the lipid phase, amphiphilic behavior, good moisturizing properties and enhanced sensory attributes.


  • Water absorption capacity

The reactions described above create a homogeneous soft wax butter. It has the ability to absorb up to 4 times its weight in water and is central to the moisturizing properties of the ingredients created with this technology.



Our products range based on the wax butter technology


By varying the types of waxes used, Gattefossé has developed a wide range of emulsifiers and texturizing ingredients with very distinct functional and sensory properties.



1 EP1933806, GATTEFOSSÉ SAS, Support comprising a wax derivative for making topical cosmetic formulations, filed on 10 September 2006