Does Wax Type Really Matter? Yes. For Your Health and the Environment.
De-stressing, mood-boosting, and ritual-setting, your favorite scented candle is the everyday luxury that does wonders for your space—visually and mentally.
Indulging and discovering a new scent is always thrilling, but a key thing to consider is wax type. Wax type makes a huge difference to the scent throw, burning time, and how it affects your pets, children, and your own health.
Are soy candles better? Is paraffin really dangerous? What is wax made of?
After all, if you’re going to burn something in your house for hours, it’s worth finding the safest option!
So, if you’ve ever wondered which candle wax type is best for you, here’s a quick guide on the pros and cons of popular waxes.
Paraffin is the most common wax used for candle making today. Introduced in the 1850s, paraffin’s opacity, lack of color, odor, and consistent burn choice make it a popular choice among candle makers.
Paraffin is a by-product of the crude oil refinement process and is petroleum-based. This has led to paraffin being labeled as toxic, but this isn’t necessarily true. While the health debate between paraffin wax vs soy wax is ongoing, candle makers must pass federal regulations to prove that their wax isn’t harmful.
So if you’ve fallen in love with a paraffin candle, don’t worry! It’s very likely to be safe.
Is paraffin wax vegan? Yes, thankfully it’s 100% free from animal-derived ingredients.
Out of all the waxes, paraffin wax holds the most fragrance and has a strong scent throw, meaning that scents travel further and can easily fill up larger areas.
While it is the best candle wax for scent throw and is enjoyed by many candle lovers, some people are sensitive to strong scents. If you’ve ever had a headache from a strong-smelling candle, it was probably paraffin.
Soy wax is a vegetable wax derived from 100% soybean oil. The beans are dehulled, cracked, rolled into flake form, and the oil is then extracted and hydrogenated. Afterward, you end up with a natural wax that’s ready to be made into candles.
Are soy candles safe? Yes! Better yet, soy wax is biodegradable, more sustainable, and non-toxic.
Compared to paraffin, soy wax doesn’t have as strong of a scent throw. But that doesn’t mean soy candles have a weak scent! Far from it. While soy wax may be more subtle in comparison, soy candle scents can absolutely fill a room. If you’re sensitive to strong scents, soy wax is an excellent option.
Soy wax also burns slowly and can last up to 50% longer than a paraffin candle. Soy wax’s melting point and burn temperature are lower than paraffin wax, so it’s not uncommon to find soy candles that last 80 hours or more, like our Maelyn series.
Like soy wax, palm wax is a plant-based organic candle wax processed from palm leaves. What’s unique about this wax is that it naturally creates feathering and crystal-like patterns on candles. This unique feathering appears more in colored candles. It’s one of the newer, more expensive candle wax types and burns slowly for a longer-lasting candle.
Out of all the different types of wax, beeswax is the oldest. Beeswax was used by the Ancient Egyptians and has illuminated our spaces for 5000 years.
Beeswax is excreted by bees (it’s what honeycombs are made of) and is harvested, melted, and filtered into sheets, blocks, and pastilles. But don’t think there’s only one color of beeswax! There are many varieties and in varying shades (even white) which are bleached or dyed.
Since beeswax is sourced from honeycombs, it's infused with honey and has a sweet scent. Depending on the bees’ diet and the various flowers they take pollen from, the scent will change. If you’ve ever seen wildflower or lavender honey, it’s the same concept.
When it comes to burn time, it’s a competition between beeswax vs soy wax, but there isn’t an ultimate “winner” every time. Beeswax does have a high melting point, but bear in mind a candle’s burn time is affected by the amount of fragrance, container, and wick, so it all comes down to the specific candle you have.
The pros and cons of beeswax candles depend on your own taste—if you love the natural golden hue and honey scent, it’s a fantastic choice. Beeswax is more expensive than soy or paraffin wax and doesn’t hold other scents as well compared to other different types of candle wax.
Coconut flour, flakes, water, milk, oil, and…wax? Yes, for coconut lovers you can take your obsession to your candle scents too. Coconuts are a sustainable crop, and like palm wax and soy wax, coconuts must be processed and hydrogenated into wax before they can be made into candles. The end result is a soft and creamy wax, like coconut oil.
The pros and cons of coconut wax candles? Well, they’re eco-friendly, vegan, plant-based, have a good scent throw, and a slow burn, so there’s a lot to love about coconut wax.
However, it is the most expensive wax out there. In its pure state the wax is very soft compared to soy wax and has a low melting point, so transporting it is challenging during warm months.
And The Best Wax Is...
So, which is the best wax to use for candles? Whether you’re a candle lover or maker, it really does come down to personal preference.
Remember waxes can also be blended, so you can have the best of both worlds.
A soy and paraffin wax blend is often used by manufacturers, but at La Jolie Muse we love to make our candles from palm and soy wax because we love natural candles.
Just starting your candle adventure? We’ve got scents for floral fans, fruit fanatics, and even whiskey lovers. As always, our scents and waxes are vegan, cruelty-free, and safe around children and pets.