Waxes are a class of chemical compounds that are plastic (malleable) near ambient temperatures. They are also a type of lipid. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C (113 °F) to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents. All waxes are organic compounds, both synthetic and naturally occurring.

Waxes are organic compounds that characteristically consist of long alkyl chains. Natural waxes may contain esters of carboxylic acids and long chain alcohols or mixtures of substituted hydrocarbons, such as long chain fatty acids and primary alcohols. Synthetic waxes are long-chain hydrocarbons lacking functional groups.