Wax. The single most important ingredient to any candle. Whether you are an aspiring candle maker or just an aficionado of the craft, knowing what kind of wax to buy is crucial to both candle makers and candle buyers alike. Here I will discuss the various types of candle wax popular today, and show you why soy wax is inarguably the superior choice (but I might be biased about that last point!)
- Paraffin: if you buy a candle from a big box store, chances are it’s made with paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is very versatile and can be used to make a variety of different candles, including votive, pillar, and container candles. However paraffin wax is a crude oil by-product, and even though there is no conclusive evidence that it is unhealthy, it is still related to petroleum so it is not an ideal choice for those looking for something more environmentally friendly. In addition to this, paraffin candles produce a lot more smoke than its counterparts. This smoke is potentially toxic, can pollute the air and even stain your furniture and walls.
- Beeswax: one of the oldest types of candle wax out there. Beeswax, as the name suggests, is produced by bees to insulate the combs of the beehive. After being harvested, the beeswax is melted and processed. Because beeswax is soaked in honey, beeswax typically has a slightly sweet smell to it that can vary depending on what types of plants the bees are feeding on. Beeswax can be used to used to create a variety of different types of candles and is clean burning, which means no nasty soot!
- Gel: gel wax is a very unique type of base for candles. It actually isn’t a wax at all, but a mix of resin and mineral oil. Gel wax works a lot like other types of wax, but what makes it unique is that it is transparent so it has a “liquid” look to it. Gel wax is typically used for novelty candles. Because gel wax is very soft compared to other waxes, it can only be used to make votive or container candles.
- Soy: ah, soy. The gold standard of candle wax. Soy is the new kid on the block but it is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. Soy wax was created as a healthier and more environmentally-friendly paraffin alternative. It is made from soybean oil and can be used to make votive, pillar, or container candles. Soy is a fantastic choice for several reasons. Soy candles burn clean so they doesn’t release toxic smoke like its paraffin cousin. This is healthier for you and the environment. Soy candles hold fragrance oils very well so they smell amazing. A standard sized candle will fill up an entire room with a beautiful scent that lasts hours after the candle is put out. And finally, my favourite benefit of them all: soy candles are very slow burning. They last twice as long as beeswax candles and three times as long as paraffin candles. One 10 oz soy candle will even burn for up to 80 hours! That’s more than three days! If all that won’t convince you on the benefits of soy, then I don’t know what will!