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beeswax wax

The Different Types of Candle Wax

Animal wax

For a long time, tallow, an extract of animal fat, was the basic “fuel” used for lighting. Thanks in part to the research of French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul, our current candles have replaced tallow candles. They give better light, produce less smoke, and fewer unpleasant odors.

beeswax wax
Beeswax Wax

Animal wax is generally beeswax

It gives good illumination and produces little smoke.

It has a slight, very pleasant honey scent when burning. Since its odor is not neutral, it is rarely used in scented candles, or only in very small quantities. There is a deodorized version of beeswax for scented candles, but it retains a slight honey smell that can alter the most subtle perfumes.

It is very hard. It can be used as an additive for scented candles but in small quantities. Indeed, the wax in scented candles must be “soft” to adhere perfectly to the glass. And thus avoid unpleasant surprises during transport.

It is more expensive than other waxes.

In China, two insects that produce a waxy substance are raised industrially. The majority of candles produced in China are made from the wax of these insects.

Mineral wax

This is the most widely used today. Discovered in the early 19th century, it is extracted from the solid residues of petroleum. It is preferred over other waxes for many reasons, not solely economic contrary to what one might think.

Mineral wax is easy to work with and allows good scent release: no need for much research to find a formulation that allows good scent release.

Mineral wax has a high melting point. This makes it easier to use in hot countries without risking the wax melting.

Mineral wax has a smoother appearance: the surface of scented candles made with mineral wax is very aesthetic.

Mineral wax is almost odorless: a discerning nose will be able to tell the difference between plant wax and mineral wax. Because the latter still retains a slight petroleum odor.

Mineral wax tolerates the addition of dyes better than other waxes. There are also hard microcrystalline waxes that allow pretty decorative effects (marbled, cracked, cottony) and unmold easily. Thus, for an unscented decorative candle, mineral wax is almost always preferred. However, for a scented candle, the addition of dyes can impair diffusion quality.

mineral wax
Mineral wax

The different mineral waxes

There are different grades of mineral wax. Low-cost candles are made from unrefined mineral wax. They contain residual impurities that reduce diffusion quality. And increase the tallow or harmful substances released during combustion. The paraffins used by high-end brands are known to be pure and non-hazardous because the refining process is more complete.

Plant wax

The type found in our scented candles is often soy, canola, palm or even rice wax.

Palm wax

This is a wax that works well with fragrance. But it has a bad reputation because the intensive and irresponsible cultivation of palm trees depletes soils, requires huge amounts of water and is at the heart of a major ecological and humanitarian debate. This is very unfortunate because the palm tree is a fantastic tree, whose unrefined oil has many unknown virtues…

soy wax
Soy wax

Soy wax

Soy wax is more difficult to work with. It bubbles, it’s temperamental, but when you find the right wax blend and the right manufacturing process, it’s a magnificent wax. We use it to make our candles. It is odorless, but in its raw form you can smell some subtle notes of whipped cream!

Conclusion

You can see that each wax has its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, the choice of a wax and candle type will depend mostly on your sensitivity, your budget and your priorities. For our part, we are sensitive to ecology, ethics in work, animal welfare and health.

Thus, for our scented candles, we preferred to take the time to develop a soy wax formulation that provides a diffusion quality equivalent to that of refined paraffin.

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