Below we break down the most common candle waxes used today and lift the curtain on how they are made, environmental factors, which performs best, which is the best value for money & also why we chose to use soy wax in Maison Blanche candles.
PARAFFIN WAX: Paraffin wax is made from leftover residue from the crude oil refining process. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource.
SOY WAX: As the name suggests, soy wax is plant-based, coming from soybeans. Soy wax is made from a renewable resource. Soy wax is bio-degradable. Most of the crops used for soy wax production are grown in the USA.
BEESWAX: Beeswax is a naturally occurring wax secreted by honeybees in their hives The wax is recovered as a by-product when honey is harvested & refined. It biodegradable & renewable, but is not vegan.
PALM WAX: Palm wax is made from palm oil, which is harvested from oil palm trees. It is made from a renewable resource & is bio-degradable. Most palm oil is harvested in Indonesia.
COCONUT WAX: Coconut wax is made of cold-pressed meat of coconuts & is always combined with soy, paraffin or palm wax for added firmness. Pure coconut wax is made from a renewable resource & is bio-degradable, but once paraffin is added to it, it is no longer either. Most coconut wax is made from coconuts harvested in the Philippines.
Although all the above waxes are safe for human use, Paraffin wax has been found to release volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere when lit, with some studies drawing similarities to the air pollution of a truck exhaust.
Each wax has its own environmental cost, as with any agricultural or manufactured product.
PARAFFIN WAX: Crude oil, being the origin of paraffin wax, is considered highly unsustainable, being a non-renewable resource. It has also been the cause of many environmental calamities, in oil spills, damage of natural habitats and a leading cause of climate change.
SOY WAX: There is concerns over the soybean industries part in deforestation, widespread GMO crops & the use of pesticides & fertilisers.
BEESWAX: The rapidly declining population of bee’s globally, raises major concerns about the sustainability of honey harvesting, as well as the unethical & cruel practises of beekeepers.
PALM WAX: Farming of oil palm trees is extremely bad for the planet. Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for over 8% of the world's deforestation & is the direct contributor to animals becoming endangered & extinct, locals being exploited and extreme air pollution leading to climate change. Some farms have gained certification of being a sustainable producer, but farms only need to prove that a small portion of their palm oil was farmed sustainably and only 4% of farms with these certifications have even done this.
COCONUT WAX: Coconut wax is new to the candle industry and there isn’t much information available on it’s source. There is suggestions that as it made from a similar crop & region as palm wax, the coconut wax industry will soon start to encounter the environmental issues plaguing the palm industry. It is also worth noting that coconut wax is almost always blended with paraffin wax in order to be used in a scented candle.
Currently Paraffin wax is considered the best for achieving strong fragrance – this is why many high street brands still use paraffin wax in their candles regardless of environmental factors.
Soy wax is generally considered to have the longest burn time.
Paraffin wax is the cheapest for manufactures to use and in most cases sold at a cheaper price to the consumer as it is the least desirable wax on the market for the informed & environmentally conscious shopper of 2021. With this in mind, Paraffin wax has had a name change to the more organic & natural sounding 'mineral wax’, yet is still the same wax made from leftover residue from refining crude oil. ‘Mineral wax’ is found in many high-end luxury candles & sold at a huge mark up from paraffin.
Although paraffin is usually cheaper for consumers to buy, it doesn’t mean its the best value. Soy candles burn for longer than paraffin candle and over time, there is not a large cost difference between soy & paraffin candles.
When choosing which wax to use for Maison Blanche’s candles, we weighed up all the factors. It was important to us that our product was cruelty-free & vegan, was bio-degradable and made from a renewable source, as well as performing well without creating soot or toxins in homes. Once we found a GMO-free soy wax, the choice was easy as it ticked all of our boxes & we were thrilled to offer our customers a clean & sustainable choice for their home fragrance.
Shop our soy wax candles here