Our sense of smell is quiet possibly the most under-appreciated of our 5 senses. A certain smell can trigger long forgotten memories or a small whiff of a pleasant, comforting scent, can quickly put us into a better mood. It’s no wonder that more and more people are drawn to candles. They’re easily accessible and come in all sorts of variants for any lifestyle and budget.
Broadly speaking wax is a flammable, carbon-containing solid that becomes liquid when heated above room temperature. Basically, it’s the candle’s fuel. When the scented candle is lit, the wax melts, is vaporized and combusted, which in turn produces the heat trigger the scent in the candle. Really any kind of oil can be turned into a wax making but it is important to choose the right was to achieve your goals!
There are many different types of wax that can be used to create your favorite scented candles. Beeswax has been used in the production of candles for thousands of years, whereas waxes made from coconut and petroleum are modern inventions. Each type of candle wax has different properties, making some better at holding and transmitting fragrance while others excel in burning slowly and producing a smoke-free flame.
Paraffin wax, also known as straight wax, is wax that doesn’t have any additives in it. The most commonly used and least-expensive candle wax, paraffin can be used to make just about any type of candles, including pillars, containers, votive, tea lights, tapers and wax melts. Currently Paraffin waxes are considered the best for achieving a strong fragrance – this is why many high street brands still use paraffin wax in their candles. Green-minded people often label paraffin wax as bad because it’s made from the leftovers of the crude oil refinement process. However, this doesn’t make it toxic or bad for the environment, and there’s always the upside that the parts of the oil that would otherwise be discarded are getting used.
Soy wax is a 100% all-natural wax made from hydrogenated soybean oil that is available in several forms. It is ideal for use in making container candles, and small candles like votive and tea lights. Soy wax is softer and will not hold for pillar candles and can sometime leave a greasy feel to the wax and does not produce a strong smelling Wax melt. Soy wax candles generally have a subtler scent throw as soy wax doesn’t hold as much fragrance. However, many people prefer a softer scent, but it comes down to what you like! Environmentally speaking, while it’s a better choice compared to paraffin wax, it still has a few eco issues. Soybean oil is a byproduct of the massive soybean industry and there are concerns over deforestation and the use of pesticides and fertilizers used to grow soy beans.
Coconut wax is a newer candle wax but you are seeing more and more candle makers choosing it as an option. It’s definitely more expensive to use, but because of its great scent throw and even burn many think it’s worth the price tag. Coconut Wax is a soft creamy white color and is the eco-friendly choice. Harvesting the oil is an organic process with coconuts themselves being a sustainable high yield crop. With Coconut wax candles are slow burning and luxurious, the hot and cold scent throw of Coconut Candles is better than soy wax but still not as good as paraffin but Coconut wax is more eco-friendly. Since it is a softer wax it is better used in container candles.
Another type of 100% all-natural wax, palm wax is produced by hydrogenating palm oils. Palm waxes allow you to create candles with unique textures, since, in most cases, there is a crystallizing pattern or feathering pattern that forms on the candle’s surface so without additives you do not get a smooth finish. Palm wax is excellent for use with pillars, votive and wax melts.
Beeswax is another 100% all-natural wax. Beeswax can be used to make all types of candles, including pillars, tapers, votive and containers. Beeswax is the oldest known type of candle wax. However, it isn’t often used for scented candles as the wax has its own beautiful honey aroma that doesn’t easily mix with other scents. While it is eco-friendly, it does takes about 33 million flower visits to create a pound of beeswax, so there is a premium price point to the material.