The Wax Butter Technology

Discover the benefits of the wax butter technology, created and patented by Gattefossé more than 20 years ago.

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:

pro and cons waxes

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 in presence of 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 texture ingredients.

How does it work?

Natural waxes contain fatty acids, fatty alcohols and esters with reactive groups. Adding polyglycerol enables the creation of new sensorial esters though a succession of transesterifications.

Let's take an example with polyglycerol-3, jojoba wax, and a solid wax:

1) Transesterification between polyglycerol-3 and ester of solid wax:

2) Transesterification between polyglycerol-3 monoester and jojoba wax ester:

3) Transesterification between fatty alcohol of solid wax and polyglycerol-3 diester:

4) Transesterification between polyglycerol-3 monoester and fatty alcohol of jojoba wax:

Summary of all the reactions:

global reaction wax butter technology

These transesterifications create new jojoba esters that combine the rigidity of the saturated carbon chain with the flexibility of the unsaturated one.

What is the interest?

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.

Jean-David Rodier

It has been 20 years since we have developed the wax butter technology with the aim of taking benefits of the natural waxes properties, structuration, while avoiding  disadvantages, i.e. instability due to strong crystallization. This is traduced by products with unique sensorial properties, and good compatibility in cosmetic formulation. Even if we filed 3 patents1,2,3 protecting 6 commercial products we continue to explore these amazing materials.

Jean-David Rodier R&D Director Oleochemistry

Focus on the water absorption capacity

wax butter water absorption

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.

Emulium® Dermolea MB

  • Ingredient

Emulium® Dermolea MB is a multifunctional plant-based O/W emulsifier particularly…

  • O/W emulsifier
Thumbnail Image Emulium Dermolea MB

Emulium® Dolcea MB

  • Ingredient

Emulium® Dolcea MB is a robust natural origin O/W emulsifier which provides an…

  • O/W emulsifier
Thumbnail Image Emulium Dolcea MB


  • Ingredient

Definicire® is an active texturizing agent that recreates the hair protective lipid…

  • Texturizing agent
Photo Definicire small format, a woman holding her hair

Emulium® Mellifera MB

  • Ingredient

Emulium® Mellifera MB is the first ever O/W emulsifier that auto-adapts to skin…

  • O/W emulsifier
Thumbnail Emullium Melifera MB

Acticire® MB

  • Ingredient

Acticire® MB is a 100% natural origin texturizing agent based on a complex of 3…

  • Texturizing agent
Thumbnail Acticire MB

Emulium® Kappa MB

  • Ingredient

O/W emulsions based on Emulium® Kappa MB are very glossy and have a rich and…

  • O/W emulsifier
Thumbnail Emulium Kappa MB

1 Patent EP1933806, GATTEFOSSÉ SAS, Support comprising a wax derivative for making topical cosmetic formulations.

2 Patent application EP3787752, GATTEFOSSÉ SAS, Haircare composition comprising modified vegetable waxes.

3 Patent application EP4245288, GATTEFOSSÉ SAS, Use of a composition comprising stearoyl glutamate as emulsifying base in a cosmetic or pharmaceutical formulation.