Lightly citrusy scented, petitgrain wax thickens formulas, as well as giving a nice, malleable texture to products.
The bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium amara) is an evergreen member of the Rutaceae plant family. It can grow up to 20 feet in the wild, but will only grow to half this height in cultivation. They are the hardiest of all the citrus plants and are often used when grafting other citrus trees to make them suitable for harsher conditions. The tree produces a distinctive 'double leaf', which has a small bulge at the base of the main leaf.
Petitgrain wax is produced during the making of petitgrain absolute. The leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree are put through a solvent extraction that creates a waxy substance called concrete, which is then washed out with alcohol to obtain two materials: the absolute and the subtly scented wax.
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