If you are a connoisseur of candles, then no doubt, you have heard the great debate on paraffin candle wax vs. all natural candle wax. While some candle makers choose to offer two separate candle lines, most crafters choose to focus their efforts on one type of wax or the other. Although each wax offers its own benefits and drawbacks, one wax is not necessarily better than the other is.
It is up to you to decide which wax appeals to you and which you would prefer to work with. If you plan to sell your candles, you may also wish to keep in mind the types of shoppers you will be selling to when making your wax decision.
Paraffin Candle Wax
This wax has been around for centuries, and is most likely the wax that the majority of candle purchasers are familiar with. Paraffin wax is a petroleum by-product, and therefore it indirectly supports the petroleum industry. In today’s marketplace, this fact alone has caused some long time candle makers to abandon their previous affinity for paraffin wax. As petroleum is a major component of paraffin candle wax, it also tends to emit more smoke and potentially hazardous toxins than its natural wax counterparts.
While there may be drawbacks to using paraffin, there are also many benefits. Overall, paraffin tends to hold fragrance better, longer and easier than natural waxes. Typically, the scent throw, or strength of the scent emitted, from paraffin candles is stronger and can fill larger spaces more effectively. It is also typically easier for a candle maker to get fragrance to hold in the wax, avoiding fragrance ‘seeping’ issues. Overall, paraffin waxes tend to be less finicky than natural waxes, and require fewer additives and adjustments.
All Natural Candle Waxes
As an alternative to paraffin, natural waxes, such as soy, beeswax and palm wax, have become readily available to candle makers, and many are gravitating to these waxes for their natural and beneficial properties. While natural waxes may be slightly more expensive than paraffin, they are still an affordable option.
Because the scent throw of natural waxes is typically softer than paraffin, sometimes attaining a strong scent throw, or getting heavier amounts of fragrance oil to blend well with the wax, can be a challenge. Esthetic concerns are also usually more of an issue with natural waxes. Soy wax, for example, is prone to ‘frosting’, a white residue that can form on the tops and sides of the candle. Natural waxes may also have a tendency to form bubbles, which make the candles less attractive to the eye.
On the flip side, there are many benefits to natural waxes. Overall, they do burn cleaner with less soot than paraffin candles, avoiding sooty build-up on walls. They also clean up with just soap and water in the event of a spill. Finally, they tend to appeal to many people because of their agricultural origins. Rather than support the petroleum industry as paraffin does, natural wax candles support agriculture.
Consider whom you are selling your candles to, and what your own personal preferences are, when selecting the best wax for you. Regardless of which you choose, either type of wax is capable of producing excellent candles that you and your customers will enjoy.