Beard balm tames facial hair, making it less stiff and unruly. It also moisturizes facial skin, both under the beard and after shaving, reducing itching, flaky skin, and redness from razor burn. Bayberry adds a masculine scent that reminds one of forests and the sea side, while also contributing to the moisturizing, skin softening, and therapeutic benefits of this facial salve.
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You can find bayberry wax on Amazon and from a number of online cosmetic ingredient suppliers. You can even grow your own or forage the berries in the wild. The bayberry wax comes from the berries. They ripen in mid-autumn.
Bayberry is an easy to grow shrub that is hardy in zones 3 to 9, nitrogen fixing, and vigorous. You can start new plants from seeds or get plant starts from a wild plant or from a nursery. (Richter’s Herbs in Ontario sells plants with a phytosanitary certificate to the USA and Canada, as well as seeds for Bayberry.)The plants are native to Eastern North America. The plants are dioecious, so you’ll need both male and female bushes to get berries.
Bayberry wax is extracted from the berries by simmering the berries in water. The wax rises to the surface of the water and can be skimmed off, once the water cools to room temperature. If you’d like to grow your own bayberry shrubs and harvest the berries to make wax, see my complete instructions here. (coming soon)
How to use bayberry wax in cosmetics
Bayberry wax is compatible with a wide range of natural products. It has a high antioxidant value and reduces rancidity and extends the shelf life of cosmetics. It can replace shea butter or cocoa butter in cosmetics and salve formulas. It offers increased moisturizing, emollient, and thickening properties to your DiY cosmetic and salve recipes. In vegan cosmetic recipes it is sometimes used as a substitute for beeswax, although it is more brittle than beeswax.
Bayberry wax contains esters of palmitic, myristic and lauric acid, as well as tannins and essential oils. It is antimicrobial, moisturizing, and soothing. Be sure to experiment in small batches before committing to a larger recipe when making substitutions using bayberry wax in cosmetic formulas.
Bayberry wax also has herbal therapeutic value in salves and skin care products. It is a known remedy for itchy skin, dandruff, sores, and hair loss. It would be a good addition to shampoo bars, foot balms, and skin salves, replacing shea butter or coconut butter in the formulation. When making salves or lip balms use a 1:4 ratio of wax to liquid oils, as a starting place. Bayberry can be used as the sole wax fraction or as ½ of the wax fraction, with beeswax adding the remainder of the wax. When used alone bayberry is brittle, crumbly, aromatic, and has a lower melting point than beeswax.
Bayberry Beard Balm
Bayberry in this formula soothes razor burn, relieves itchy, flaking skin, and moisturizes. Hempseed oil is used in this recipe because it is quickly absorbed by the skin, with its own skin healing properties. Calendula and yarrow are added to soothe, relieve inflammation, stop bleeding from nicks, and soothe skin. Pine is astringent and tightens pores while nourishing skin and hair. Cedarwood and rosemary essential oils are antimicrobial, and encourage healthy hair growth.
Yield: 3 – 2 ounce tins
6 tbsp. hempseed oil
2 tbsp. calendula flowers, dried
1 tbsp. pine needles, dried
1 tbsp. yarrow flowers, dried
1 tbsp. beeswax
1 tbsp. bayberry wax
7 drops cedarwood atlas essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
7 drops frankincense essential oil
Make a double boiler using a glass measuring cup and a sauce pan. Place a canning jar ring in the saucepan to support the glass cup. Put water in the saucepan so it reaches half way up the side of the glass cup.
Place hempseed oil in the glass measuring cup with the herbs. Simmer the water in the saucepan over low heat so that the water barely bubbles. Heat the oil with the herbs for one hour. Turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for one hour. Strain the oil to remove the herbs. Discard the herbs. Retain the infused oil.
Return the oil to the measure cup and the measuring cup to the saucepan. Add the beeswax and bayberry wax to the cup. Simmer just until the waxes melt. Stir to fully mix. Remove the measuring cup from the heat.
Stir in essential oils. Pour the mixture into three 2 ounce salve tins. Label and date. The mixture should last a year without loss of quality.
Apply to face after shaving to reduce redness, itching, and razor burn. Massage into beard hair and facial skin to tame and soften the beard, and reduce flaky skin and itching.
Learn how to grow Bayberries
Make DiY Bayberry Votive Candles
Make DiY Bayberry Tealight Candles
Using Bayberry for herbal remedies
For more ideas for beeswax crafts see my new book:
The Beeswax Workshop: How to Make Your Own Natural Candles, Cosmetics, Cleaners, Soaps, Healing Balms and More (Ulysses Press, 2016)