Carnauba wax is a substance derived from the leaves of the palm Copernicia cerifera, which is common in some states of Brazil. This substance has a wide industrial application, and is even registered as a food additive called E903.

Karnaubsky wax: advantage and harm, properties and scope of application

Description and Receipt

Carnauba wax - plant material in the form of yellow-brown flakes, odorless. It forms on the lower surface of palm leaves and creates a natural barrier to moisture loss. This allows the plant to survive in a hot climate. Seven months a year (from September to March) palm leaves are picked and dried. Then the wax is swept or scraped from the underside, washed in boiling water and transferred for further processing.

From one tree no more than 20 leaves are cut. There may be a different amount of wax on them, maximum - 7 g on one sheet. The annual yield from a single tree is 0.5-2 kg of vegetable wax.

It is noteworthy that this type of palm is found in several countries in Africa and in Ceylon. But in these regions, the wax on the leaves is not produced, because there are no regular rain seasons.

Carnauba wax has a rather complex composition. Approximately 40% of the mass of the substance is aliphatic esters, followed by diesters and various acids. In addition, the composition contains fatty alcohols (including heptocosanol, not found in other waxes), phytosterols and gums.

Due to the complex natural composition and special refractoriness (the wax melts when heated above 83 ° C), vegetable wax has a huge scope. It is worth noting that carnauba wax does not cause any harm to health, moreover, this raw material is considered hypoallergenic and softening.

Spheres of application

Palm wax (one of the synonyms of the name) is widely used in paints and varnishes and automotive polishes (waxes). It is used in the manufacture of creams and shoe polishes. Vegetable wax is the main ingredient in surfing waxes. Carnauba wax is present in the dental floss. Very widespread use of this raw material in decorative cosmetics and skin care products. The lack of toxicity allows this type of wax to be used in the food industry for the manufacture of glazes and sweets, as well as to increase the shelf life of vegetables and fruits, such as apples. The medicine uses carnauba wax as an ingredient of tablet wraps.


In this industry, carnauba palm wax is the most sought after. It does not cause allergic reactions, has a softening effect, is used as a thickener or a binder for the liquid and fatty phases. In addition, it stabilizes the composition and does not cause accumulation of sebum in the hair follicles (comedones).

If carnauba wax is used, the properties of color cosmetics are enhanced. It becomes more heat-resistant, remaining flexible and plastic.

The list of use of carnauba wax in cosmetology includes:

  • the production of lip gloss and lipstick;
  • liquid eyeliners and pencils to create arrows;
  • ink;
  • matte and shiny eye shadow;
  • makeup bases;
  • some types of deodorants;
  • creams for dry and sensitive skin;
  • skin care products;
  • sunscreen and tanning products.

Auto Industry

In this industry, the use of carnauba wax is also justified by high efficiency. Vegetable wax-based polishes are compatible with any paintwork. They provide reliable protection and preservation of parts of the inner and outer skin of the car.

Food industry

In Russia and in other post-Soviet countries, carnauba wax on hygienic standards is permissible for use in surface treatment. As well as in the confectionery.

Vegetables and fruits, on the surface of which carnauba wax is used as a gloss, look more presentable, are stored longer and are less susceptible to deterioration during transportation.

Processing palm wax coffee beans allows you to avoid the appearance of mold fungi, which can make the use of the product dangerous to health.

Carnauba wax is used to create the outer shells of cheese and the production of packaging materials (paper impregnation).

Daily rate for a person

Despite the fact that the safety of the described substance has been proven many times, disputes about its use have flared up so far. You should know that the food additive E903 is not toxic and does not cause allergies, but for a person the daily limit is set, which should not be exceeded. This limit is 7 mg per pound of weight. If the dosage is not regularly met, then problems with the gastrointestinal tract may begin. Daily use of carnaught wax in high doses leads to constipation.