From citrus to fruity, there is a large array of scented candles that you can choose from! These candles can be shaped and structured differently, possess unique scents, have different colors, and even have different candle wax types which comprise them. If you look closely, you will inevitably notice that some candles are made better than others - even if they look a lot like each other. Like the endless choices you have with candle scents, there are a variety of different candle wax types that candles can be made and built from.
Candle wax provides a candle with its structure. It has a varying thickness, height, and type which can influence the structural integrity of a candle. The ways it's shaped influences the type of candle you have; from votive candles to pillars and tapers, the way a candle wax is shaped completely changes the way a candle is used. However, beyond this structural purpose, waxes are also used as the fuel of the candle. The candle wax gives the candle its ability to light up a flame as the melted wax gets absorbed by the wick and gets fed into the flame. The type of wax plays a massive role in the way a candle burns, and this article would talk about some of the most common types of wax used in candles.
How Does Wax Influence a Candle’s Performance?
Candles are powered by combustion. There's actually a lot of science that goes behind this, but to spare you the complicated stuff, when you light up a candle, the flame will melt the surrounding wax. This melted wax gets in contact with the candlewick which, through a series of capillary actions, gets drawn up the wick and into the flame. The heat of the flame will then break the wax down into its simplest form of gas molecules. These molecules then react with oxygen in the air to create heat, light, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. This concept explains the entire process of lighting something up in flames, which happens in candles as well. This applies to all candles, but the type of wax used can affect the candle’s performance.
All different candle wax types are made up of some form of hydrogen and carbon compounds. This is true for most products on Earth. However, different waxes have different additives in them and these additives can impact the way a candle performs. These additives will then get released into the air which will affect your candle experience and how your candle performs.
Different Candle Wax Types
Paraffin wax is one of the most widely used materials in candles. This is due to a lot of reasons, but mainly because paraffin is an inexpensive choice of wax that can hold a high amount of fragrance and color. Furthermore, certain paraffin waxes have different melting points so it is versatile in its application; it can be suitable to use in container candles as well as pillars depending on the type of paraffin used. Well, what does paraffin wax do?
With all that mentioned, paraffin wax candles don't have the best reputation because they're not the most environmentally friendly wax option. This is because paraffin is a product of the oil industry, which is known to have a massive impact on the Earth. Moreover, mineral waxes (like paraffin wax) may have certain additives which may release soot and some other substances into the air. Furthermore, some of these additives are toxins and two of them are known carcinogens, meaning, they have the potential to cause cancer. This is why paraffin waxes tend to have an unpleasant burn as opposed to other waxes.
Paraffin wax has its uses, especially since it is so inexpensive compared to other types of waxes. However, we think that paraffin wax candles are not the best ones to use if you are planning to have a display candle that you plan to light a lot of times. The smoke it releases may expose you to harm because of the potential carcinogens, so if you have the extra money to spend, perhaps skip the candles that are made up of this type of wax.
Beeswax is a natural wax product produced by honey bees. This type of wax is perhaps one of the oldest types of wax in the market! You can say that beeswax is one of the “tried and true” types of wax used in candle-making, and we think it deserves all the hype it gets. Let's tackle the question of "what are beeswax candles?"
Beeswax is made by bees when they are making honey. Bees have glands that produce beeswax which then gets discarded in the beehive so that the bees can use it to store honey. Because of this, beeswax has a subtle naturally sweet smell that fills the air as it burns. It is one of the most natural and versatile candlewax you can find and it is used in a lot of candle types like pillars, containers, tea lights, and tapers. Once melted, the flame that is fueled by beeswax is bright, clean, and has a longevity that surpasses that of the paraffin wax candles.
Beeswax is transparent immediately after being made but becomes opaque and yellow/caramel-colored after getting contact with pollens from the bees. Furthermore, beeswax is harder than paraffin wax which is why it burns longer as it melts. The downside of this candle, however, is that it is much more expensive than other types of waxes, not just paraffin. This is because it takes a huge amount of time and a huge amount of bees to produce a small amount of beeswax. Furthermore, beeswax is a product of animals, and as such, it is not vegan friendly.
There is such a thing as coconut wax candle making! Coconut wax is a vegan and natural wax option for candle makers out there. It is made up of hydrogenated and refined coconut oil. You would think that with coconut wax candle making, since it is made up of coconut oil, it would have the scent of coconuts, right? However, the refining process removes the coconut scent.
Because of the mild scent a coconut has, it lends itself pretty well to other fragrances because it is a good blank canvas for other scents. Furthermore, because natural coconut wax is white, you can add various colorants and the coconut wax will hold onto it pretty well, so you can make a blend of a candle with this wax and be reassured that it will reliably do its job.
Coconut wax melts down fast which can both be a good and a bad thing. Since it melts rather quickly, you can make your candles very fast as well. However, due to this same reason of a low melting point, candles made from coconut wax tend to run out quickly as well. This is why coconut wax is most commonly used in container candles where the wax will be maximized because it is guarded by the container and will not spill all over.
Coconut wax is a really good wax option, however, there is a huge caveat that comes with it: coconut wax tends to be one of the most expensive wax you can use for candles. This is why a lot of the candles made from this type of wax usually come from luxury brands and are sold at high price points.
If you've ever wondered what is palm wax, we have the answer for you! Palm wax, also known as carnauba wax, is a natural wax made from palm oils. It is made by extracting the oil from palm leaves that are commonly found in tropical climates like Southeast Asia and Brazil. The extracted oil then gets sterilized, clarified, purified, and then hydrogenated to create a yellowish wax block that lends itself well to candle-making.
Palm wax has a rather high melting point of 180 to 187 degrees Fahrenheit which helps with the product’s longevity since you will not melt through the entire thing in one seating. Palm waxes do not melt on hot summer days and it holds fragrances and color easily. Palm wax is 100% plant-based, which means this product is 100% vegan as well.
With all the great things that have been said about palm wax, however, it must be noted that creating this wax comes with a massive red flag. Palm wax manufacturing usually comes with heavy environmental repercussions since land and forests are usually cleared out to grow palm trees. This abrupt and harsh deforestation negatively impacts biodiversity and also contributes a lot of carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, even if the product itself is 100% vegan, the way it is made is arguably against the principles vegans usually stand for. For this reason, we do not recommend that you do not support candle-makers who use palm wax for their candles.
Jelly wax, also known as gel wax, is actually not wax at all. This translucent material is used very often in candle-making because it is so versatile and can be customized easily. This is made up of mineral oil processed with polymer resin to give it its unique texture. Because of their translucency, these see-through candles also usually have objects embedded in themselves. This gel material holds wicks, colors, and fragrances very well much like the standard paraffin wax.
Due to the jelly consistency of the product, this type of material can only be used in container candles to hold its shape. Furthermore, because it is made up of mineral oil, it can produce soot as a paraffin wax would. Finally, you have to keep in mind the things you embed in this material if you are making candles because those materials will not have the same melting point as the gel does so it may interfere with the performance of your candle.
Rapeseed wax, also known as canola wax, is a natural vegan wax used in candle making. It is derived from the oil that is extracted from the plant of the same name. The oil then gets hardened into a white or beige wax, so rapeseed wax is hardened vegetable oil.
Rapeseed wax provides great fragrant and color retention, scent throw, and an extended burn time. Furthermore, its texture is firm and it melts at a temperature of 109 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a good alternative to the other waxes. However, it is important to note that there are people who are allergic to rapeseed so it can irritate those individuals who get exposed to this type of material. It also tends to be on the more expensive side because rapeseed plants tend to be smaller and you would need a lot of it to get a good amount of wax.
Soy wax is our favorite type of wax! Soy wax is a 100% all-natural and vegan wax frequently used by candle-makers when making their candles. It is made up of hydrogenated soybean oil and is considered to be an environmentally friendly way of making candles compared to traditional paraffin wax. Soy wax is also cheaper than other wax options like beeswax, so it is a good bet for those who are looking for vegan wax options that are eco-conscious and will not burn through their savings.
Soy wax also holds fragrances well because of its natural and forest-like scent, which provides a good background for essential oils and other fragrance additives. Moreover, soy wax candles have a clean and slow burn compared to most candles, so it is usually a good option to try. Our secret message candles here at Hidden Candle are made up of 100% soy wax because of these benefits! Our candles have hidden messages inside of them, so it's a candle with an experience. Shop our soy wax candles here!
Conclusion of Different Candle Wax Types
There are a plethora of choices for you to choose from in terms of the types of waxes your candle can have. There's just so many different candle wax types! However, you must consider various factors when choosing your candles because even the small details like the type of wax used can change the way your candle performs.
Here at Hidden Candle, we promise to give you a pleasant candle experience with our soy wax candles blended with unique scents. Our signature secret message candles have a clean burn, are a bang for your buck, and are sure to fill your room with a pleasant fragrance as you light it up. We hope you get the chance to check it out. When you do, be sure to tag us on Instagram @HiddenCandleCo so we can share your excitement with you!