Microcrystalline Wax is a specific type of wax produced by de-oiling petroleum as part of the petroleum refining process. Typical microcrystalline wax crystal structure is small and thin, making them more flexible than paraffin wax. It is also more elastic than other waxes and has a higher melting point. It is used in cosmetics and beauty products as a viscosity agent, binder and emollient. It is considered safe for use in these products.
There are many types of waxes used in many types of products including lipsticks, baby products, eye and facial makeup, as well as nail care, skin care, suntan, sunscreen, fragrance, and non-coloring hair preparations. Ozokerite, Ceresin and Montan Wax are mineral waxes, derived from coal and shale. Paraffin and Microcrystalline Wax are derived from petroleum. Emulsifying Wax, Synthetic Wax and Synthetic Beeswax are manufactured waxes.
Waxes thicken portion of cosmetics and personal care products and help keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components. These waxes lessen the brittleness of stick products and add strength and stability to lipsticks. These waxes also hold together the ingredients of a compressed cake.
Industries that utilize petrolatum, such as the personal care, cosmetic, and candle industries, have pushed for more materials that are considered "green" and based on renewable resources. As an alternative, hybrid petrolatum can be used. Hybrid petrolatum utilizes a complex mixture of vegetable oils and waxes and combines them with petroleum, micro wax based technologies. This allows the manufacturer to incorporate higher percentages of renewable resources while maintaining the beneficial properties of the petrolatum.