What is the best wax for candles?


Making candles is fun, but it can be hard to know what wax type to use, especially when you just start making candles. There are so many different types out there that it’s easy to get confused, and the chances are that you probably end up using the wrong wax and a too-high fragrance percentage than recommended.

Generally, beeswax, like 100% natural wax, is the most famous wax on the market. You can make any type of candle using beeswax. Palm wax is still considered the best choice for pillars, tarts, and votives. The kind of wax may also change if you wish to have a candle that burns longer or want to have a strong scent.

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Expert candle makers have tried various candle waxes throughout the years, from soy candles made with pure soybean oil, beeswax for a natural scent throw, and paraffin wax for a smooth texture and clean burn. And the one thing that they’ve learned is. The best wax for your candles depends on many factors.

Do you want to have a strong scent throw?

Or maybe you want to have a candle that burns for a long time? So as you can see, the answer is not that simple. Surprisingly, many candle makers go for beeswax as it’s %100 natural. But is this really the best solution?

What Is Candle Wax Made From?

Waxes are made from a variety of things. Some animal wax is composed of fatty acids and alcohols, which form esters that make up the final product. Plant-based wax can be unesterified hydrocarbons or mixtures thereof. However, these still have their unique properties depending on what they’re mixed with.

Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference. Wax, for example, is often overlooked as just an ingredient in candles. But you might be surprised to learn that wax is vaporized and combusted, producing heat and light when it melts and becomes liquid (above room temperature) – it does not only produce fragrance from scented oils. That means choosing your candle’s fuel will have more of an impact than simply adding some scent.

How to Know Which Type of Candle Wax to Choose?

Candle wax can come in several forms, each with its strengths and weaknesses, with fragrance being the most apparent distinction between them. For example, soy candles produce more smokeless flames than paraffin candles, but they also burn out faster because their wick is not as high quality.

In contrast, beeswax creates an excellent flame that burns slowly without making any excess soot or smell whatsoever. So you might think that homemade candles burn longer, but this might not always be the case.

Also knowing how much wax you need for the candles you wish to make plays a role. This is especially the case when we talk about the more expencive type of wax like beeswax for example.

We will discuss each type of wax below, their properties, and what they excel at. The more you learn about each wax type, the easier it will be to choose what wax you need for your candle.

Types of Wax + Pros and Cons

Soy Wax

One of the most loved waxes is soy, probably because it’s more eco-friendly. Soy way is perfect for making container candles, tealights, tins, votives, tarts, and jarred candles. This mid-range wax with slow-burn wax is made out of soybeans. Soy wax is of great value and easier on the environment, but there are concerns over deforestation.

This versatile, high-quality candle-making ingredient can be mixed with other vegetable oils like coconut, beeswax, or palm to create unique blends. If a combination features at least 51% soy, it will have to label itself on the package accordingly – “soy” and as a mixture with paraffin, for example.  

This type of wax, might need a little more time to cure before you burn it in comparison to other candles, but it’s one of the most used options currently on the market.

Pros:

  1. Soy wax is considered more eco-friendly in comparison to paraffin wax. 
  2. Soy is the perfect wax for mid-range wax with a slow burn. 
  3. It can easily be mixed with other vegetable oils to create unique blends. 
  4. Soy wax burns cleaner in comparison to other candle types. They produce soot in significantly fewer amounts, and unlike paraffin waxes which can be toxic, soy candles have a non-toxic formula.
  5. Soy candles are known to when blended together with essential oils; they can easily retain them. As a result, they release their soothing scent more gradually. 
  6. Surprisingly soy wax is also very budget-friendly. This is one of the biggest reasons why today, more and more candle makers use soy wax.

Cons:

  1. Even though soybeans sound very natural, there are growing concerns over deforestation due to their high demand. 
  2. Due to temperature changes, soy wax sometimes tends to contract or expand. This makes it for some new candle makers really hard to work with. Luckily you can avoid this by keeping your candles at a consistent temperature (above 60 degrees). If you fail to do so, you might end up with shrinkage.
  3. Even though you can easily blend soy wax with fragrance oils, unfortunately, it’s not as flexible as all types of fragrance oils. Also, nasty things might happen if you add too much fragrance in soy wax.
  4. If you struggle with frost marks on your candle, you are not the only one. Soy wax is known to create frost marks. You can, however, reduce this problem by using additives. 
  5. If you live in a humid area, you may struggle with soy wax that becomes fussy. 
  6. Even though the label says it’s soy wax, there is a big chance that it’s just a mixture. So you’d need to make sure that the label says 100% soy instead of soy wax. Even then, sometimes, it’s still not really 100%. It is, therefore, essential to buy from a reputable manufacturer. 
  1. A huge disadvantage of using soy wax is that many soy wax manufacturers are getting their soy from genetically modified soy. Since manufacturers do not require standardized labeling, it is nearly impossible to know that soybeans are not genetically modified. 

Beeswax

The most popular among all waxes is beeswax, currently used by most candle makers thanks to its versatility. You can make all types of candles with beeswax. The process of making beeswax candles is entirely natural and chemical-free. Beeswax can be yellow, with a rich texture and aesthetic appeal dating back to antiquity. It also releases a mild scent when lit by the flame inside. Be aware, though: these candles do not contain fixed ingredients, so ensure you get authentic ones from reputable retailers.

Many companies may label their wax as beeswax, while only a certain percentage would contain beeswax, while the rest would be paraffin wax. 

Pros:

  1. Thanks to its versatility, it is known as the most commonly used wax in the market today. You can make almost any kind of candle with beeswax. 
  2. Beeswax not only produces a soothing effect that helps you get rid of anxiety and stress, but its natural smell also creates an environment in which your worries seem far away. 
  3. Pure beeswax candles are 100% natural; you cannot have more natural wax than beeswax currently in the market. Not only are biodegradable beeswax products, but they are also non-hazardous.
  4. Beeswax candles are a great way to help not only the environment but your brain as well. As long as they’re lit and burning, beeswax releases negative ions that increase oxygen flow to the brain for increased mental energy.
  5. Like soy wax, beeswax also burns longer and has higher oil retention.
  6. Also similar to Soy wax, beeswax also burns much cleaner in comparison to other candles. 
  1. If you suffer from allergies, beeswax might be something to consider. They are known to offer medicinal properties that can help with your allergy symptoms, and they’re still just as fragrant.
  2. Beeswax can be burned all year round in any weather or humid environment, thanks to its high melting point. Their high melting point also increases their burning time. 
  3. Beeswax does need to have fragrance added. It has a natural honey scent. 
  4. For some candle makers, the brighter the flame, the better; this is why they choose to use beeswax, as it tends to have a much brighter flame instead of the yellow that you get with other waxes.
  5. Beeswax does not shrink in temperature change compared to soy wax. Therefore it can easily be used in many types of containers or jars without worry. 

Cons:

  1. Even though beeswax may be the best option out there today, it is also more expensive. 
  2. Over time your beeswax candles may have a white powder on the outside. This may make the candle less aesthetically pleasing. You can easily wipe the powder off, but it will only accumulate if forgotten. 
  3. Like soy wax, beeswax is mainly mixed up with other waxes to keep the costs down. So when you read the label, make sure it says 100% beeswax. 
  1. If you don’t want a sticky mess, you’d need to be careful using beeswax. If you spill, it tends to be really sticky! Which also makes them difficult to remove from containers. 
  2. If you wish to have beeswax in another color, you might need a very strong dye. This is especially the case when it’s unbleached. 
  3. Even though I would not consider this a big issue, beeswax requires almost double the size of a wick compared to other waxes. 
  4. If bleached, beeswax may no longer have that sweet scent of honey aroma. 
  1. There is a misconception that bees are killed in the process of getting beeswax. But this is entirely untrue; however, there is a chance that bees get harmed within that process. Also, bees store wax as food for later consumption to alleviate hunger or when honey is scarce. By removing their wax, their immune system gets weaker. 
  2. Even though it has a natural honey scent, this may interfere with the essential oil added to the wax. 

Coconut Wax

It’s no wonder that coconut wax is becoming one of the most popular types on the market. This environmentally friendly and sustainable product, harvested from coconuts, is an excellent choice for those who want to burn a candle without breathing in soot or toxic fumes.

Coconut wax is also a very good choice if you like heavily colored candles, as it’s easy to dye. It produces very little soot, holds fragrance and color well, and has a clean burn that tastes great. The only downside? It tends to be more expensive than other varieties, but it’s worth every penny.
And if you can’t find coconut wax, you can always opt for mixing coconut oil with wax which would not have the benefits maybe but at least it’ll smell the same way.

Pros:

  1. Thanks to the bright white color, coconut wax candles can be easily dyed to any color without any trouble.
  2. Compared to beeswax, coconut wax candles may, in fact, burn even cleaner, some say. And it also produces less soot, similar to beeswax. 
  3. One of the main reasons many candle makers use coconut wax is its superior scent throw; this means your candle will last longer and have a long-lasting scent throw. 
  4. Coconut wax is actually the most eco-friendly wax currently on the market; beeswax comes in second place and after that comes soy wax. 
  5. The slow and clean burn makes this wax a better choice than other waxes. It is said that it might burn even longer than beeswax. 
  6. Coconut wax retains far better essential oil per candle compared to other waxes, such as soy and paraffin. This helps tremendously with a long-lasting scent throw, as discussed earlier. 

Cons: 

  1. Earlier, we said that beeswax was expensive, well compared to it coconut wax is much more costly. This is most likely why it is still not as popular as beeswax. 
  2. Like most natural waxes, coconut wax is mixed with other waxes but still labeled coconut wax. So you’d need to make sure that it says 100% coconut wax. 
  3. Because this type of wax is relatively new, it is also much harder to find in most stores. This means you might need to search for a while to find a purely 100% natural coconut wax. 
  4. Manufacturers are often unclear with their labeling and, like soy wax, do not require standardized labeling. This makes it hard to know whether the product is authentic. You probably are safer when buying from a reputable manufacturer. 
  5. Coconut wax is different from other candles because it has a much lower melting point, which can easily be ruined by summer heat. This makes them slightly trickier to ship during the warmer months. This is also why most coconut waxes are blended with other waxes to stabilize them and keep them from melting.
  6. Compared to other waxes, coconut wax is much softer, making it sometimes hard for some candle makers to work with. You can solve this problem by blending it with other waxes—preferably other natural waxes such as soy or beeswax. 
  7. One last con: The types of candles you can make with coconut wax are quite limited. Whether you’re looking to make a freestanding pillar candle, taper candle, or any other coconut wax-based project, the best course is not going with pure beeswax.

Gel Wax

Gel wax is a translucent, jelly-like substance that is made from mineral oil mixed with polymer resin. This combination gives the wax its slow melt rate and long burn time. There is only one company making gel wax, and that’s the Penreco Company, which holds a patent for gel wax. Similar to other waxes, it can keep color and scent. The transparent gel wax is often used to make gel candles that seem like water, beer, or wine. This new material allows for a whole world of novelty candle possibilities.

Pros:

  1. Gel wax could be an excellent choice if you plan to make pillar candles or votives. 
  2. Gel wax comes in 3 different densities. Each one has its pros and cons. If you go for low density, it might not hold fragrance very well, but it has a low melting point and can be easily poured. In comparison, high density is much more difficult to pour but holds scent much better. Medium density is the best option among the three. It’s right in the middle, making it not too hard to pour, and it holds its scent decently. 
  3. Gel wax candles can be easily personalized, which makes them the perfect gift for friends and families.  
  4. Gel candles have a rich glow and also burn much longer (almost double) compared to wax candles. 
  5. Once you color your gel wax, it doesn’t lose its translucent property, making this a unique type of candle. 

Cons:

  1. Gel candles have a rich glow and burn more than twice as long as wax candles. Similar to paraffin wax, gel candles are made from petroleum-based materials that release hazardous pollutants when burned.
  2. Gel candles are more challenging to work with, and they can take much longer than regular candles to get used to. If you use a double boiler, you might end up with a messy pot, and it can be very frustrating, but most people solve this problem with the multi-cooker method.
  3. Another drawback of using gel wax is that you can’t use any type of dye. In fact, there is only one type of dye that works well with gel wax: liquid dyes. Using any other type may cause your candle not to burn. 
  4. Screwing up with scent measurement might entirely ruin your candle; gel wax is especially fragile compared to other candles. 
  5. Even though this type of wax is not really expensive, working with gel wax might take a lot of practice to get it right. 
  6. Even though gel wax is becoming more and more popular, one problem many candle makers struggle with is air bubbles in their candles.
  7. Working with gel candles also requires fast work. This means for more novice candle makers, this might not be the best choice to start with. 

Palm Wax

Palm wax is a type of 100% all-natural candle. This wonderful little substance is made by hydrogenating palm oils. This wonderful little substance allows you to create some unique candles with their crystallizing pattern or feathering design that can form on the surface of your pillar and votive candles! One other thing about it?

Palm wax is also excellent for use when creating tarts because it has amazing consistency. The biggest drawback with palm wax is probably that it’s made from palm oil, which is also used in many other products. This leads to more and more deforestation to make room for palm trees.

Pros: 

  1. Like its predecessors, palm wax is also an all-natural plant-based wax, making it a popular choice. 
  2. Palm wax is similar to other all-natural waxes, soot-free, clean and smokeless burn. 
  3. In terms of versatility, palm wax is in second place after beeswax. Similarly to it, you can make almost any type of candle with it.  
  4. A natural byproduct of palm wax is actually a natural wonder; once made into pillars or votives, it has an incredible crystallizing finish when unmolded.
  5. Like other natural waxes, it also burns for much longer. 
  6. Thanks to its slightly yellow-brownish color, adding color to palm wax is pretty easy. 
  7. As I mentioned earlier, palm wax is versatile for making any type of candle, but it is especially a good choice for making pillars and votives.

Cons:

Why do my candles sink in the middl...
Why do my candles sink in the middle?
  1. A Lot of candle makers are using less palm wax due to growing concerns about environmental issues. In fact, to make more palm oil, palm trees are the number one reason for deforestation in Indonesia. If it continues at the same pace, by 2022, based on a report released in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), most of Indonesia’s forest might be destroyed.
  2. Like most natural waxes in the market, palm wax is also expensive, which makes it not a popular choice. 
  3. In order to achieve that beautiful crystalized finish, it needs to be cooled down slowly. If the cooling down was not slow enough, it might break the crystallization pattern, thus ruining the candle’s finish. Another reason for slower cooldown is shrinkage. Shrinkage may occur if the wax has been cooled down too fast.
  4. Palm wax is not really blend-friendly. The more waxes blended, the less crystallization pattern you can achieve.
  5. Due to its viscous nature, palm wax has one undesirable threat many candle makers struggle with. In some cases, the non-melted wax may leave a thin layer around the rim of the containers.

Granulated Wax

So, you’re looking to do some crafting with wax? Consider granulated wax! This grainy wax that looks like sand that doesn’t need heating or melting is perfect for making instant candles! You can simply dip it into a container of liquid or molding shapes around your wick; this form is so much easier than other types. And because there’s never any mess from spills in creating crafts at home – that icky stuff tends to make such an ugly stain on the carpet, too – just pour them straight out of their bag into whatever shape desired.

Pros:

  1. Even though this wax is mainly used to make instant candles, you can still melt it and pour to make votives, pillars, and even small containers.
  2. Granulated wax can be bought in several colors and scents, so you don’t need to add them later.
  3. The biggest advantage of using granulated wax is that it is the perfect parent/child project that does not require heating, which makes it very safe.


Cons:

  1. Compared to other wax, it may stain your cloth if you come into contact with granulated wax.
  2. Because they come in prepared form, granulated wax contains fragrance oils and colored dyes that can be hazardous if ingested.

Paraffin (Straight ) Wax

Straight (Paraffin) wax is an ingredient used to make almost any type of candle. It’s extracted from Petroleum, which makes it less popular. But it has many benefits, like not having any odor or color and being consistent when burning. It might be the most known wax currently on the market, but it comes with some drawbacks that cannot be ignored. The good news is there are some rumors that paraffin wax is coming on the market that is non-toxic and even food-grade. 

Pros:

  1. Probably the best thing about Paraffin wax is its price, making it the cheapest wax on the market. This also makes this wax currently one of the most used wax.
  2. Most big brands use paraffin wax thanks to its high fragrance retention and color. 
  3. Paraffin wax is available in various melt points, making it an ideal candidate for making many different types of candles.
  4. Coloring Paraffin wax can be an effortless task. 
  5. Surprisingly paraffin wax is one of the few that has excellent cold and hot throw.
  6. Since paraffin wax has existed for a long time, it is also a wax that can be easily bought in almost any store. 

Cons:

  1. The biggest problem with paraffin wax is that it’s a byproduct of the oil industry. It’s made of Petroleum which is a carcinogen. A carcinogen is a potential agent that may, in some cases, cause cancer. This is mostly happening when vapors are released in the process of making paraffin.
  2. Probably the second biggest drawback of using paraffin wax is that it’s not eco-friendly. 
  3. If you don’t properly take care of your paraffin candle, it may create smoke and soot. 
  4. Being the cheapest comes at a price; paraffin wax is known to burn very fast, which means your candles won’t last long. 
  5. Have you spilled some paraffin wax? Good luck cleaning it up! This type of wax is known to be one of the hardest to clean. 
  6. Ever heard of flashpoint? Well, paraffin wax has one (199°C)and if you get past that temperature for some reason, it might catch on fire.  
  7. A South Carolina State University study analyzed the fumes that may be linked to asthma and lung cancer when burning paraffin wax. However, they also stated that this might take years of constant exposure. 

 

Which Candle Wax Burns The Longest?

Among all waxes, soy and beeswax are the two longest-lasting wax types currently in the market. Beeswax has one drawback due to its extremely high melting point; it makes it hard to work with. However, it’s considered the best of the two. 

Which Candle Wax Gives The Best Scent Throw?

Paraffin is your best choice if you want a candle with the strongest scent throw. If you wish to have a clean-burning wax from renewable sources with great fragrance and a long burn time, soy wax would be the wax to go. 

 

Can You Mix Different Candle Waxes?

Blended wax is a widespread practice; it’s much harder to find 100% pure natural wax these days. The reason? Cheaper for manufacturers, but also, some mixes make a far better and more stable candle. Unfortunately, most waxes are blended with paraffin wax, while the manufacturer would label it as 100% natural.

Blended candles are currently the most popular type on the market because they can offer a perfect blend between 100% plant-based waxes and paraffin. This is an excellent compromise for those looking to experience both their best melt pool in earlier burns and have a better scent throw, but with surface aesthetics that any other kind of material can’t match.

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