What candle wax is best?
There are so many different types of candles to choose from, so I thought it might be helpful to explain a bit about the different types.
Wax is basically an oil, which can be used as fuel for a candle. It is a solid at room temperature and then melts when it is heated. Some are better at burning cleanly and some are better at filling a room with scent. There are plenty of oils that candle makers can choose from – so let’s look at the different types.
The oldest form of wax used in candle making is beeswax which burns with a very bright flame. It is naturally scented with a mild, honey like scent. They burn very cleanly but don’t have a massive scent impact. We have a bee keeper in the family who makes the candles I sell at the Candle Gallery.
Soy wax is a popular choice and I have written a blog post about soy wax here. Soy wax is very slow burning but has less “throw”, throw is how we describe how much scent a candle emits. You will see a rough idea of burning time under each candle description on the website, although it is only an estimate as there are many things that can influence how long a candle burns. Factors like draughts, the room temperature, the wick and the container used also have an impact.
In terms of throw, paraffin wax is still regarded as giving off the strongest scent. Paraffin wax has been used in candle making for a long time, and many popular brands still use this wax. Newer waxes are being developed all the time will soon reign supreme for throw too.
Are candles bad for you?
I get asked this quite often and it is true that some waxes give off chemicals while burning. Paraffin wax releases volatile organic compounds into the air, it isn’t a big concern but if you wanted to avoid this – then there are other waxes to choose from.
Soy, coconut and beeswax are natural waxes and are the best choice for a cleaner burn, in fact there are some articles that suggest that bees wax can help clarify the air. I checked with my Bee Keeper in Residence and he tells me that the beeswax makes particles in the air bond together, and when they get heavy enough they fall out of the air and will be cleaned next time you vacuum.
When burning a candle for the first time, it is important to let the whole surface melt. Otherwise you may find a lot of wax remains around the container, and is a waste of wax and money. I recorded a video on what to do if that happens, you can view that here.