There’s something about a candle that makes you feel like you’re living your fanciest life. So when shopping for one, you probably gravitate towards the most decadent scent, gorgeous design, or even hefty price tag. But there’s something else worth considering that’s equally if not more important, and it could seriously make or break your candle experience.
Does candle wax matter?
It turns out, yes. While candles tend to look similar, they’re not all made of the same type of wax. According to candle experts, wax is the “fuel” of the candle, so the candle’s lifespan is highly dependent on the type of wax. The more natural the candle wax, the longer the candle is likely to last since it doesn’t require as much heat. It also determines how eco-friendly the candle will be. Let’s take a look at some popular candle wax types.
Beeswax is an incredibly eco-friendly wax option, since it’s derived from bees during the honey-making process and emits a subtly sweet aroma that purifies the air as it burns. It also happens to be one of the oldest forms of candle wax, so it’s your go-to if you want to feel like Egyptian royalty, even for just an evening (see above). It’s also likely to last longer than other candles, due to its slow burn. The downside of beeswax is that it tends to be very expensive, making it a steep investment if you’re a regular candle user. It’s also not vegan, which can be an issue for some. Lastly, this wax isn’t for you if you’re not a fan of the honey scent.
The most common wax on the market, paraffin wax is often used because of its ability to retain high amounts of fragrance and color. Although paraffin wax candles are some of the cheapest available, they have a low melting point and burn through quickly. Paraffin wax is also made from a byproduct of petroleum, so it’s no surprise that it doesn’t score high on the eco-friendly scale. When burned, it emits carcinogenic toxins like benzene and toluene, which are associated with asthma, lung conditions, and eye and skin irritations. These are all things to be aware of if you’re looking to candles as wellness and self-care tools.
Soy wax is a mid-range wax, which makes it a happy medium if you’re budgeting both price and value. All-natural and vegan, soy candles promote a clean burn and last longer than most waxes. Made from a renewable crop, soy wax is biodegradable and cleans up easily with just soap and water. However, soy wax doesn’t always hold fragrance as strongly as other waxes, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how heavy of a scent you prefer. If you’re on the hunt for an awesome soy wax candle, check out Japanese homemade fragrance brand APFR’s White Tea Fragrance Glass Candle, which also comes in this nifty travel size edition.
SHOP: APFR Travel Tin Candle
Coconut wax is a relatively new wax made from harvested coconut oil. Like soy wax, coconut wax is made from a sustainable, renewable crop. It also has a clean burn with very little soot. However, it tends to come with a hefty price tag, making it the occasional splurge-worthy treat rather than a daily essential for many.
Much like soy wax, palm wax is an all-natural, plant-based wax that promotes a clean burn. Its durability and hard texture also make it a popular choice in pillar, votive, and free-standing candles that do not have a container. Since palm wax holds fragrance and color well, it’s ideal for scented luxury candles. However, not all palm wax is sourced sustainability with eco-friendly standards. In certain parts of the world, land is deforested to grow palm trees, and these palm productions have been linked to the destruction of biodiversity and natural habitats. Due to the controversy that surrounds palm wax and its potential negative environmental impact, some candle makers avoid the use of palm wax in their products. The other major drawback of palm wax is that it can be expensive.
Many candles feature a blended wax that brings the best of two or more candle wax worlds. However, the most common blend is soy and paraffin wax, which is typically done to reduce manufacturing costs at the expense of candle quality. When choosing a blended wax, we recommend opting for a higher-quality blend, such as coconut and soy or coconut and beeswax.