Difference Between Wax and Oil

Wax vs Oil

Wax, oil, fats etc. are lipids that are molecules made up of hydrocarbons. These molecules are not water soluble and play a very important role in the structure and functioning of cells of living beings. Both wax and oil are sticky products. However, despite both being viscous and water insoluble chemicals, there are differences between wax and oil that will be highlighted in this article.


Wax is a semisolid substance at room temperature that melts to become a low viscosity liquid at around 45 degrees Celsius. It is a greasy substance that most of us see and use in the form of shoe polish or ear wax. Waxes are also available in the form of hair styling products. Honeybees convert honey into wax when they store it in honeycombs. While beeswax is a natural product, most of the wax available in the market is produced in the laboratories. As a chemical compound, waxes are insoluble in water though they are soluble in many other solvents. Whether natural or made synthetically, waxes are organic in nature.


Oil is a substance that is produced naturally by plants, animals, and other organisms. It is found in the form of fossil fuel that has remained buried under the surface of the earth and ocean floors. Such fossil fuel is produced from plants and dead remains of organisms under conditions of high pressure and temperature. All oils are lipids that convert into an ester and a long chain of fatty acids when their hydrolysis is done. Oils are water insoluble though they dissolve in alcohols. Oil is a generic term for liquids that are viscous and not miscible with water. Oils are used as a medium of cooking though they themselves are not food products. There are many types of cooking oils such as canola oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and so on. Most of the oils are low on saturated fats while they contain lots of polyunsaturated fats. Virgin oils that come from plant sources are free from cholesterol.

What is the difference between Wax and Oil?

• Both oils and waxes are lipids, but waxes are thicker than oils.

• Waxes are semisolid at room temperature whereas oils are thick liquids at room temperature.

• Beeswax is a natural product though most waxes are produced synthetically.

• Oils are produced naturally by plants and other organisms.

• Waxes are not esters of glycerol like oils.

• There is single ester group in a wax chain as against three ester groups in cases of oils.

• Oils are used for fuel as well as cooking purposes.