Candles have been a source of light and warmth for centuries, but they offer so much more than mere illumination. Today, the popularity of natural candles is on the rise, as people seek to create a soothing and healthy environment in their homes. Let's explore the various types of wax and discuss the importance of lead-free wicks in candles.
Types of Wax: Natural Vegetable Wax vs. Synthetic Wax
When it comes to choosing candles, the type of wax used is very important. While synthetic waxes can have their own advantages, such as lower cost and more "perfect" appearance, natural waxes often provide a more eco-friendly, healthier, and enjoyable candle-burning experience. Using natural candle wax, such as soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax, can offer several advantages over synthetic wax options. Here are some reasons why using natural candle wax is often considered better:
- Environmentally Friendly: Natural waxes are derived from renewable resources and are biodegradable, making them more environmentally friendly compared to synthetic waxes. They have a smaller carbon footprint and produce fewer toxins when burned.
- Non-Toxic: Natural waxes are generally non-toxic, as they don't release harmful chemicals or pollutants when burned. On the other hand, some synthetic waxes may contain petroleum-based ingredients or additives that can release potentially harmful substances into the air when the candle is lit.
- Cleaner Burn: Candles made from natural waxes tend to burn cleaner with minimal soot or smoke compared to synthetic waxes. This cleaner burn results in less indoor air pollution and a healthier environment for you and your loved ones.
- Longer Burn Time: Natural waxes often have a longer burn time than synthetic waxes. They can retain heat better and melt at a lower temperature, which means you can enjoy your natural wax candle for a more extended period before it burns out.
- Better Scent Throw: Natural waxes tend to hold fragrances better and provide a more robust scent throw when the candle is lit. The essential oils blend seamlessly with natural waxes, resulting in a more authentic and pleasant aroma in the surrounding area.
- Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing: Natural waxes like soy wax and beeswax can be sourced sustainably and ethically, supporting local farmers and beekeepers. These industries often promote responsible farming practices, help support biodiversity, and contribute to the overall wellbeing of the ecosystem.
Let's take a closer look at different types of candle waxes:
- Soy Wax (natural): Soy wax is a type of natural candle wax produced by hydrogenating soybean oil, transforming it into a solid wax form. As soybeans are widely cultivated, soy wax production promotes sustainable farming practices. It is biodegradable and has a lower carbon footprint compared to paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum. Soy wax candles burn cleaner with minimal soot, smoke, and toxins released into the air. They have a lower melting point, which means the wax melts evenly and lasts longer compared to other waxes. This results in a longer burn time.
- Coconut Wax (natural): Coconut wax is a natural and sustainable type of candle wax derived from the meat of coconuts. It has gained popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional waxes. Coconut wax is considered renewable as coconuts are widely available and harvested sustainably. It offers a clean and long-lasting burn, with minimal soot or smoke. Coconut wax has a low melting point, allowing it to melt evenly and provide a longer burn time compared to other waxes. It has excellent fragrance-holding properties, resulting in a strong and pleasant scent throw when the candle is lit.
- Soy & Coconut Blend Wax (natural): At LIZA VETA, it is our favourite type of wax. Soy-coconut blend wax is a type of candle wax that combines the properties of soy wax and coconut wax. This blend retains the natural and eco-friendly qualities of soy wax while incorporating the desirable features of coconut wax. It is known for its clean burn with minimal soot, smoke, and toxins released into the air. The blend has a lower melting point than pure soy wax, allowing for even and efficient melting. This results in a longer burn time, enabling you to enjoy the candle's fragrance and ambiance for longer periods. The combination of soy and coconut oils gives the wax excellent scent throw, filling the surrounding space with delightful aromas. The blend also enhances the candle's appearance, providing a smooth and glossy finish. All LIZA VETA aromatherapy candles are made using soy-coconut blend, only natural wicks and purest possible essential oils from all over the world to provide a real wellbeing boost.
- Beeswax (natural): Beeswax is a natural type of candle wax that is derived from the honeycomb of bees. It has been used for centuries and is highly regarded for its unique properties. Beeswax is known for its clean and slow-burning characteristics, producing minimal soot or smoke when lit. It has a naturally sweet and pleasant aroma, adding a delightful scent to the surrounding area. Beeswax candles emit negative ions when burned, which can help purify the air and improve indoor air quality. The high melting point of beeswax results in longer shelf life and better stability, as they are less prone to softening or melting in storage.
- Rapeseed wax (natural): Rapeseed wax, also known as canola wax, is a natural and sustainable type of candle wax made from the oil of the rapeseed plant. It has a clean and even burn, producing minimal soot or smoke. It has a low melting point, allowing it to melt easily and evenly. Rapeseed wax has excellent fragrance-holding capabilities, ensuring a strong and consistent hot scent throw.
- Palm wax (natural): Palm wax is a type of natural candle wax derived from the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). It is obtained from the fruit of the palm tree and is considered an eco-friendly option. Palm wax has a high melting point, which helps candles retain their shape in warmer environments. It also provides strong and long-lasting hot scent throw. Palm wax has a smooth and glossy appearance, making it visually appealing and suitable for creating beautiful and decorative candles. However, the sustainability of palm wax depends on responsible sourcing practices. To ensure the environmental and social impact, try to look for palm wax certified by organisations like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
- Gel wax (synthetic): Gel wax is a unique type of candle wax that has a gel-like consistency. It is not considered a natural wax and it's made from a combination of mineral oil and a polymer resin. Gel wax is known for its transparency, which allows for creative and decorative possibilities in candle-making. It can hold embedments such as decorative objects or coloured dyes, creating visually appealing and customisable candles. Gel wax has a high melting point, resulting in a longer burn time compared to other waxes. It also has a tendency to burn slower and produce less soot or smoke. The texture and appearance of gel wax give it a distinct and modern aesthetic, making it a popular choice for decorative and gift candles.
- Paraffin wax (synthetic): Paraffin wax is not a natural wax and it is derived from petroleum. Petroleum, also known as crude oil, is a naturally occurring fossil fuel that is formed from the remains of ancient marine organisms such as algae and plankton. It is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, which are organic compounds composed primarily of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Petroleum is found deep beneath the Earth's surface and is extracted through drilling wells in oil-rich regions.
Paraffin wax is known for its affordability, accessibility, and ease of use in candle-making. Paraffin wax is created through a refining process of crude oil, resulting in a wax that is solid at room temperature and melts when heated. It has a high melting point and is known for its ability to hold dyes and fragrance oils well, resulting in vibrant and strongly scented candles. However, it's important to note that paraffin wax is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and is not considered a renewable or eco-friendly option. When burned, paraffin wax may release small amounts of soot and potentially harmful chemicals into the air. As a result, many individuals seeking more sustainable and natural alternatives often opt for other types of waxes, such as soy wax or beeswax.
Types of Wicks and the Importance of Lead-Free Wicks
The choice of wick also impact the quality of the candle burn and potential air pollution. Wicks play a crucial role in maintaining a consistent and controlled flame in a candle. They are typically made of braided cotton or cotton-core material, which acts as a fuel delivery system, drawing the melted wax up to the flame. The size and composition of the wick determine factors such as the rate of wax consumption, burn time, and the amount of heat and soot generated.
Lead-free wicks have become the standard in the candle industry, as it has been well-established that burning candles with lead-core wicks can release harmful lead particles into the air. Lead exposure has been linked to various health risks, including developmental issues, nervous system damage, and other adverse effects.
Natural wicks, made from cotton or other plant-based fibres, offer several advantages over synthetic or metal-cored wicks. They are free from harmful substances and have been proven to produce cleaner burns with reduced soot and emissions. Natural wicks are typically composed of pure cotton or cotton-paper interwoven with thin filaments of natural fibres.
Tests on air pollution have shown that candles with natural wicks tend to emit fewer toxins and produce lower levels of particulate matter compared to candles with synthetic wicks. Synthetic wicks, especially those with metal cores, have the potential to release trace amounts of heavy metals when burned, which can contribute to indoor air pollution.
The use of natural wicks in candles ensures a safer and cleaner burning experience. These wicks have been designed and tested to provide optimal combustion, resulting in minimal soot, smoke, and other potentially harmful emissions. By choosing candles with natural wicks, you can minimise the impact on indoor air quality and reduce your exposure to pollutants.
When purchasing candles, look for labels or certifications that indicate the use of lead-free wicks made from natural fibres. This helps ensure that the candles you bring into your home contribute to a healthier and safer environment. Additionally, proper candle care and maintenance, such as trimming the wick to an appropriate length (we recommend to leave around 5mm - 7mm) and avoiding drafts, can further enhance the quality of the burn and reduce emissions.
At LIZA VETA, we use only wicks that are coreless, made from pure cotton and brown paper threads, with a special paper filament woven around them.
Find a quiet, peaceful space and let go of all thoughts and worries. Take deep breaths and focus on the present moment. Use our all-natural aromatherapy scented candles to enhance your experience.
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