The term “waxes” commonly refers to the mixtures of long-chain apolar compounds found on the surface of plants and animals. By a strict chemical denition, a wax is the ester of a long-chain acid and a long-chain alcohol. However, this academic denition is much too narrow both for the wax chemist and for the requirements of the industry. The following description from the German Society for Fat Technology [1] better ts the reality:

Wax is the collective term for a series of natural or synthetically produced substances that normally possess the following properties: kneadable at 20°C, brittle to solid, coarse to nely crystalline, translucent to opaque, relatively low viscosity even slightly above the melting point, not tending to stinginess, consistency and solubility depending on the temperature and capable of being polished by slight pressure.