There are thousands of mustache wax recipes out there. Mustache wax has been made for hundreds of years, and recipes vary depending on the periods and cultures the waxes were made in. Today, we have access to all the various ingredients different cultures used to make waxes, allowing us to make distinct and complex mustache waxes.
Homemade Mustache Wax – a DIY Recipe
There are three hardnesses for mustache waxes–those made with carrier oils, those made with petroleum jelly, (hard) and those made with resins (hardest)–but all of them include beeswax as the primary waxy base. Before I get to the mustache wax recipes, let me briefly explain how each ingredient works so you can decide how hard you want your wax to be.
Mustache Wax Ingredients
Carrier Oils – For a Softer, Medium-hold Mustache Wax
Carrier oils are used in a range of beard grooming products, including beard oil, beard balm, and beard wax. Carrier oils are used to give mustache wax a unique texture, and to help your essential oils (which give your wax scent) spread evenly through the whole mixture.
There are dozens of carrier oils, which I list in detail on my beard oil recipe page. The two most common carrier oils found in mustache wax are coconut oil and sweet almond oil. Both are “fatty” plant-derived oils that are good for skin. Coconut oil, in particular, is a favorite ingredient by beardsmen.
Petroleum Jelly – For a Harder, Medium-hard-hold Mustache Wax
Petroleum jelly is perhaps the most popular ingredient for mustache wax. It’s easy to work with, melts at a low temperature, and is readily available. It has a distinct texture that is easy to spread into your mustache, and it mixes well with beeswax. Make sure you find an unscented petroleum jelly–get just the pure stuff. Personally, I prefer waxes without petroleum jelly, as I find the jelly to be a tad greasy for my liking. But many men love it.
Resins – For a Hard, Stiff-hold Mustache Wax
Resins come from trees and other bushy plants. They start as saps and harden to form crystals. Gum arabic, which comes from acacia trees, has been used for generations in mustache wax to make it more sticky.
To use resins in mustache wax, you need to melt them. If you place them directly in the pan or pot, you risk burning the resin and ruining your pot. Instead, place resins in another solution, such as carrier oils, or melted shea butter or petroleum jelly. Resins can be tricky to work with. Many mustache wax recipes omit resins for this reason. You can make a simple mustache wax with just beeswax and petroleum jelly, so consider this an advanced ingredient. Use resin if you want a specific consistency, a very hard mustache wax, or a strong hold for wiry mustaches. Your customer may need to use a hot air hair dryer to melt the wax before applying, and a mustache wax remover to remove it when done.
Resins come in both raw and powdered form. Raw resins often come with bark and other plant bits in them, which need to be sifted out when melted. While often used by painters to mix their own paints, powdered resins can also be used in mustache wax in place of the raw resin. The benefit to using powdered resins is that you can make precise measurements, and you don’t have to worry about removing bark and plant bits.
Each resin has its own unique scent. Resins are frequently used as burnable incense, because they typically have a strong aroma. When crafting your mustache wax, make sure to use a resin that has the scent you want, and that will mix well with whatever essential oils you add.
Beeswax is the primary ingredient of mustache wax. It gives mustache wax it’s characteristic holding power. By itself, beeswax is too hard to use as mustache wax without melting it first before applying with a hot air hair dryer. All other ingredients are designed to give mustache wax scent, texture, and its ability to spread on hair.
Beeswax comes as pellets or in bars. I find that pellets are better for making small batches of mustache wax–one or two tins. Bars are better when you’re making a big vat of wax.
Beeswax comes as yellow or white. Typically, beeswax looks clear when applied to a mustache. Men with very white beards complain of a waxy, yellow-sih look in their mustache when using a yellow wax. When crafting a wax for older men with gray hair, use white beeswax.
Alternatively, men with very dark hair (black or dark brown) complain that the mustache wax is visible in their mustaches, in white or yellow tints. For them, you can change the color of your wax by adding a dark essential oil like licorice, or by adding dark food coloring (black or brown).
For a very stiff mustache wax, use resin and more wax. For a medium-hold mustache wax, use less beeswax and more shea butter, petroleum jelly, or carrier oils.
Beeswax Pellets – Bulk – Yellow
Essential oils are the oils that give your mustache wax its scent. Use essential oils sparingly, as some essential oils, like tea tree oil, can irritate your skin if used too much. That said, essential oils give your wax its defining character. A masculine smelling mustache wax will have sandalwood, cedar, or pine essential oils, for example. Oils like tea tree have amazing medical benefits, like helping with dandruff.
I have an exhaustive index of all known carrier oils and essential oils on my beard oil recipe page, with links where you can find them, either in bulk or as stand-alone bottles.
Grow a Beard NOW Essential Oil Scent Chart
- Balsamic (soft, warm smell): Benzoin, Frankincense, Labdanum, Myrrh, Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Vanilla
- Citrus: Bergamot, Lemon, Litsea Cubeba, Orange, Tangerine
- Earthy: Patchouli, Spikenard, Vetiver
- Floral: Carnation, Neroli, Ylang Ylang
- Spicy: Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg
- Woody: Cedarwood, Cypress, Fir, Pine, Sandalwood, Spruce
Some recipes call for butters, like shea butter and cacao butter. Butters are used to make mustache wax more spreadable. Unlike with beard balm, you should use only a little butter in your mustache wax–just enough to give it the consistency you want.
In addition to the measurement and transfer tools I list on my beard oil recipe page (I include important things like funnels, transfer pipettes, and eyedroppers), crafting mustache wax requires its own special tools. Here is what you’ll need.
You probably already have one of these in your kitchen, but if not, snag one for weighing your ingredients. This will become important when you start making large batches for sale.
The Cooking Vat
I highly recommend you buy a special pot or vat used solely for cooking mustache wax. Mustache wax is sticky and waxy and can be a pain to clean, especially if you leave the vat out unwashed all night. Besides, you don’t want your dinner tasting like mustache wax. Since you will be pouring your melted mixture into your desired container, find a pot that is easy to pour. This is the one I use:
If you are making smaller portions, use a smaller 2lb pitcher like this:
The container you choose gives your mustache wax character. Most mustache waxes come in round tins. This is useful because it suits the natural way people get wax out of the tin–by moving their fingers along the rim in a circle. Rectangular tins also exist. These are often used for lip balms. Since few mustache waxes come in rectangular tins, it may make your wax stand out.
You need to figure out how much mustache wax you want in each tin, as tins come in different sizes, ranging from .25 oz to 8 oz. Here is a collection of tins in various sizes:
Many makers of fine mustache wax deliver their waxes in small burlap or cotton muslin sacks. This adds a nice touch that your customer will greatly appreciate. Muslin sacks are very cheap. You can get a stack of 100 small sacks for $21, making each sack $.21.
How to Make Mustache Wax
Measure out all your ingredients before placing anything on your stove, according to your recipe. Also, set out your desired tins with the caps off, ready to accept your completed wax mixture. Once the ingredients are melted, you will have to mix them together quickly to avoid burning them, which leaves you with no time to do any measuring.
Place your beeswax in your candle making pitcher, and put it on your stove on a medium heat. You don’t want to burn your beeswax, so once fully melted, turn the heat down to low. As every range is different, the low heat may cause some of the wax to solidify. If it does, turn the knob up slightly until all the wax is melted and stays melted. If you are worried about burning your wax, and if you are only making small portions, consider using a candle warmer instead of your range.
In a separate container, place your carrier oils and, depending on your recipe, shea butters or petroleum jelly. Heat them on your stove on a medium heat until melted, then turn the knob down to low.
Note: If you use resins, you’ll need to increase the temperature of both your wax and your melted oils. Both mixtures need to be at the same temperature to combine them later. Place either the raw resins or the measured powdered resins into your carrier oils and shea butter on a high heat. Heat on high until the resins are completely melted into the solution. If using raw resin, sift out the bark and plant detritus that floats to the top. It may be helpful to pour the melted solution through a metal mesh coffee filter. Be careful, as the mixture will be very hot.
Once all the ingredients are melted, add your essential oils to your carrier oil/butter/resin mixture.
Immediately pour your oil, butter, and resin mixture into your candle making vat with the beeswax. Stir the ingredients together well, keeping the mixture at the right temperature to keep everything liquid, but not hot enough to burn the ingredients. If your mixture is at a rolling boil, then you have it too hot.
Immediately pour your melted mustache wax into your desired tin. Some people choose to use glass mason jars as their container, instead of a tin. If you do, make sure that you warm the mason jars in hot water before pouring your wax mixture, or else the glass could shatter. You don’t need to worry about this if you use tins.
Set your tins aside to harden overnight. In the morning, you will have a handsome batch of custom made mustache wax. Congratulations, O bearded fellow! You can now add your brand labels to the tins, and sell them or hand out to friends.
Mustache Wax Recipes
Now for the mustache wax recipes! The following are a collection of mustache wax recipes from around the web. Not all of them call for every ingredient listed above. You should experiment with different units of measurement if you don’t like the consistency you get from each recipe. Also, be prepared to do a bit of math if you need to when making larger batches from small recipes, or smaller batches from large recipes.
The following chart comes from Super Formulas Arts & Crafts by Elaine C. White.
Measuring Beeswax - Beeswax Conversion Chart
Unlike most ingredients, the liquid volume of beeswax is exactly the same as its dry weight. This makes for easy conversion. Thus, if you melt down one ounce (by dry weight) of beeswax, it will equal one fluid ounce of melted beeswax.
Bonus Recipe: Hungarian Mustache Pomade from 1867
If you’re looking for a traditional mustache wax that was used by mustachioed men for generations, take a look at the Hungarian Mustache Pomade recipe, found in the Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes, from 1867. This recipe remained unchanged for decades, and was used by men for generations. Here are the directions verbatim:
Hungarian Pomade for the Moustache. Melt by a gentle heat 1/2 pound gum-arabic, and 1/2 pound of oil soap, in 1 pint rose water, then add 1 pound white wax, constantly stirring; when of a uniform consistency, add 1 ounce attar of bergamot, and 1 drachm attar of thyme, for perfume. If required to be brown, color it with tube-burnt umber ; or for black, use tube ivory-black.
Translated into modern-day units of measure, it looks like this:
- .5 lb (8 oz) of gum arabic
- .5 lb (8 oz) of shea butter (to replace the oil soap, if desired)
- 1 pint (16 oz) of rose water
- 1 lb (16 oz) of white beeswax
- 1 oz bergamot (essential oil)
- 1.7 g (or 1/8 oz) of thyme (essential oil)
- Brown food dye (optional)
- Black food dye (optional)
Makes about 49 oz.
I hope you enjoy the recipes! If you try making the wax, let us know how you did in the comments below.
Featured image by potzukomo on Flickr. Creative Commons license.
Build Your Shop
Now that you have your product, it’s time to build your online shop. Shopify is a great place to build your online shop. They have a drag-and-drop interface that anyone can use, and they handle all the payment processing for you. There’s no easier way to craft an online shop for your beard product empire than to use Shopify.
If you are looking for a more high-touch service, I build websites and do marketing consulting. Send me a line on my consulting website with details of your project and I’ll give you a quote.