There are various kinds of candle wax such soy, paraffin, palm, beeswax, and many more. The different candle waxes all behave differently. Some burn extra long, while others will provide a stronger scent. If you are a candle maker, consider the purpose of the candles to help choose a candle wax that will benefit you the most.
Beeswax is the longest-burning candle wax, with a total burn time of over thirty hours for every four ounces. Not all candles have as long a burning time or are as high-quality as this natural wax. Depending on the purpose of the candle, the best candle wax to use can differ.
What are the different types of candle wax?
Soy, gel, paraffin, palm, and beeswax are the most common candle waxes used for candle making. Their popularity is due to their low cost, versatility, and accessibility. In addition to these candle waxes, there are several others. However, these are less commonly used for candle making because they may not absorb color, scent, or other additives as waxes mentioned above.
The candle wax you use impacts the properties of the resulting candles. Synthetic waxes like paraffin, gel, and palm wax are great at absorbing color and are strong enough to make shapes with, but they are not as environmentally friendly.
On the other hand, natural candle waxes such as beeswax absorb fragrance fairly well and make a positive impact on the environment. However, they cannot be colored as vibrantly as the synthetic waxes.
Although soy wax, coconut wax, gel wax, paraffin wax, palm wax, and beeswax are the most commonly used, you can also experiment with alternative types of wax.
In addition, many candle makers are beginning to blend together their candle waxes to capture better color, scent throw, and more. Blended waxes are becoming more popular as people discover which waxes are compatible together, like beeswax and soy.
Let’s go over the different types of candle wax one by one in more detail!
We are all familiar with good old beeswax. Beeswax candles have left a clear mark on history.
The beeswax is made by bees in their hive to make honey or incubate their larvae.
Beeswax candles normally have a faintly sweet smell to them, since normally a small amount of honey is mixed in with the wax. Although, the exact fragrance depends on the flowers and plants that the bees have access to. But if you don’t like the natural smell, you can always use candle fragrance oils.
You can normally find beeswax in the store as blocks, slabs or pastilles that can be melted into candles. Sometimes you can also find sheets of beeswax that can be rolled into a candle without any heating.
Beeswax is pretty soft and has a higher melting point than other candle waxes. Overall, beeswax is great for making candles, but it is also a bit more expensive than other types of candle wax.
2. Paraffin wax
Most candles you can find in the store are made with paraffin wax, because this type of wax is easy to work with and mass produce.
Paraffin is relatively hard, has no color or odor and burns pretty consistent. All these factors together make paraffin an ideal wax for candle making.
At home you can use paraffin wax to make candles such as pillars, containers, and votives. However, paraffin wax can differ a lot from brand to brand, so always make sure to check the melting point.
Paraffin wax is made out of the by-products found in the oil refining process. This is what makes paraffin wax so cheap compared to other types of wax. However, this is exactly why some people avoid paraffin because they aren’t comfortable supporting the petroleum industry.
3. Soy wax
Although soy wax is relatively new, it has stolen the hearts of many candle makers. Normally it is made from the oil of soybean and processed to make it solid at room temperature.
Sometimes other vegetable oils or waxes are mixed in as well such as vegetable oil or palm wax. As long as at least 51% is soy, it can be classified as soy wax.
The melting point of soy candle wax depends on the exact processing method and the combination of oils. Normally the temperature is indicated somewhere on the package.
Candles made from soy wax are a good alternative to the paraffin wax derived from petroleum. Especially for people that prefer natural candles but can’t afford the more expensive beeswax. It’s no surprise that soy wax is a popular choice for making homemade candles.
Compared to paraffin wax, soy wax is pretty soft and less transparent. Moreover, soy wax candles last a lot longer since they burn slowly.
4. Palm wax
Palm wax is similar to soy wax in that they are both made out of natural oils. Although most of the worldwide production of palm oil is used in the food industry, a small amount is used as candle wax as well.
The palm wax is relatively brittle and burns very bright compared to other types of candle wax. A candle made from 100% palm wax displays a characteristic crystalline or feathered pattern. However, sometimes a small amount of soy wax can be mixed in to make the palm wax stronger and more sturdy.
Which type of wax is best for making candles?
Many hobbyists like to work with soy wax and beeswax for making candles because they are natural, affordability, and versatility. However, the best wax for making candles may vary depending on your candle-making purposes. If you are looking for bright colors, strong scent, or a cool shape, paraffin wax might be the better choice.
Many people like to use paraffin wax because of its versatility. Paraffin wax is great for making colorful, unscented candles like birthday candles, tea lights, pillar candles, and decorative candles. Paraffin wax is readily available, affordable, and easy to work with. However, paraffin candles have a short burn time compared to other candles.
Waxes like soy wax, palm wax, and beeswax are high-quality candle waxes with relatively high melting points. However, these candle waxes are normally more expensive than paraffin or gel candle wax. Moreover, it’s difficult to achieve the same vibrant colors that you can make with paraffin wax.
Which candle wax lasts the longest?
A candle made from beeswax is the longest-lasting type of candle. A four ounce Beeswax candle can burn for roughly thirty hours. This is considerably longer than the other types of candle wax.
As a comparison, natural soy wax candles can burn for roughly eighteen hours per four-ounce candle.
The reason why beeswax candles can burn so long is because beeswax has a high melting point of roughly 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
The burn time of candle wax varies based on the additives in your candle formula. These additives include ingredients, such as different scents, colors, dried fruits or flowers, and much more. If too many additives are in your candle mixture, it may raise or lower the melting point of your candle, and consequently alter the burn time of your candle significantly.