14 Aug Candle Science | The Wax
When it comes down to all-things candle related, there is so much to learn and understand about your favourite candles.
Even though they look beautiful, there is a lot of science that goes into making the perfect candle.
So let’s jump right into it, starting with ‘the wax’.
The different waxes used to create a candle
Candles can be made from many different types of waxes… some of which are more eco-friendly and better for our health than others.
There are different types of natural, vegetable-based wax such as rapeseed, coconut, or soy.
Soy is becoming increasingly popular among candle makers and is the type we feature most prominently in our subscription box.
Soy Wax is made from the full hydrogenation of soybean oil and therefore both renewable and biodegradable, which is of huge importance to us. We want our subscribers to be able to enjoy their candles knowing they are minimising the impact on the environment.
To get an optimum burn, it does not need to be mixed with any harmful toxins, so it gives the cleanest flame, with no black soot marks, no stained walls and no harmful chemicals! Just be sure to trim your wick when it starts to ‘Mushroom’.
It also has a lower melting point and is typically quite soft… which gives it a great and longer burn time whilst maintaining a strong scent throw!
This is also a natural wax and has been used for centuries as it is a very useful wax for making pillar candles used in churches. However this wax is not vegan friendly and as it melts at a far higher temperature, Bees Wax is difficult to blend with essential oils, as they can evaporate before the wax has had a chance to cool. It also has its own natural fragrance which can be at odds for scented candle makers trying to craft that perfect scent!
Paraffin Wax or mineral wax, as it can also be called, is a very commonly used wax and is a petroleum by-product. It is created from the sludge waste when crude oil is refined into gasoline. It often comes with a few complications…
Candles have been made with Paraffin since the mid-1800s, and are much less expensive to manufacture (making them very appealing to some manufacturers) but to create a good burn, they are also filled full of nasty chemicals…
Microcrystalline – This improves the overall texture of the wax, and creates a smoother finish
Polyethylenes – This is what allows the candles to have a ‘glossy’ appearance when you look at them
Vybar – This creates a higher melting point for the candle. It also allows the wax to create a smoother blend with the oils and dyes mixed into the wax
Mineral oil – This is what gives the candle that ‘marbled’ effect so it looks prettier on the eye
Polysorbate 80 – This makes sure that the scent throw from the candle is strong and even, whilst it is burning
When burnt these toxins are given off and create a lot of black soot, which can mark your walls and even more importantly damage your health. Inhaling the toxins that a paraffin candle emits could leave you with some serious health implications for example asthma, common allergies, some cancers and even kidney issues.
What type of wax is the healthiest for me to burn?
You will only ever find natural vegetable-based wax candles inside your Iggy Boxes and more often than not, they are made with soy.
Burning a soy wax candle holds many benefits over burning a paraffin wax candle…
Non Toxic – it is clean burning and doesn’t release toxins, pollutants or carcinogens into the air
Burns Cleanly – it doesn’t release petrol carbon soot when burning, so you won’t get black marks on your walls or vessels
Burns Longer – it has a lower melting point, so your candle will burn slower and for longer, meaning for even more cosy candle time.
Stronger Scent – due to the lower melting point, a larger ‘wax pool’ forms around the wick, allowing more scent to be vaporised into the air
Environmentally Friendly – it is biodegradable, renewable and also carbon neutral
Easy to Clean – it melts easily, so you can wash out your candle jar after use and repurpose your jar!
Is there anything else I should look out for?
When purchasing your candles, make sure that the oils that are used are not full of chemicals or toxins. All the candles we feature are phthalate-free.
Sometimes, makers will use sustainable and healthier wax, but then use oils which can still be as harmful as burning a paraffin candle!
At Iggy Box, we make sure that all of the candles we feature not only use natural waxes but that the oils are free of any harmful toxins also.
If you want to know more, then check back next month for our blog all about oils used in candle making…