How to Pick the Healthiest Candles:
Soy vs. Beeswax? Essential Oil fragrance? Lead-free wicks?
The holiday season is cozy, like the warmest side of the couch closest to the fireplace or a mug of perfectly tempered tea. It is also the time for red and green, for the inevitable arrival of boots and knitted accessories. The house becomes a bakery and festive candles illuminate every room.
Candles are bright and inviting, and they smell wonderful! Many of us enjoying the soft flicker of candlelight year round, but there is something special--and festive--about it in December. But knowing that you are choosing healthy versions will increase your enjoyment. It’s important to look for well-crafted and 100 percent naturally made candles that both look and smell great all winter long! While shopping for the perfect scented candles this winter, here are some facts to consider.
Soy wax burns more cleanly when compared to paraffin wax, which is a result of fossil fuels and can damage the environment. The benefits to soy include:
• No toxins
• Made from sustainable ingredients that benefit the environment
• They burn/last longer than traditional candles
• They hold scent better
• Renewable/derived from vegetables
• Low melting point
• Carbon Neutral
Yet, soy wax may include these negatives:
• Soy is commonly GMO
• Not as aesthetically pleasing (lesions/bumps while burning)
• Wax can go rancid without preservatives
• Wax is soft; often limited in style and color
• May contain additives and hardeners
See Essential Bazaar for more facts and benefits of using Soy wax!
Beeswax has many uses, and candle-making is an exceptionally wonderful one to add to that list. Commonly used in the production of soaps, lotions, lip balms and cosmetics; beeswax is great for moisturizing and enhancing the natural beauty of skin. As a candle, beeswax has other added benefits:
• It is non-hazardous
• It is solvent free, with no added solvents such as naphtha or naphthalene
• No known cancer-causing agents
• Higher melting point, which means they can be stored in warmer weather
• Beeswax burns longer
• Clean burning which purifies the air
With its many benefits, beeswax may have some specific downsides:
• Non-vegan, animal by-product
• Wax is considerably more expensive
• To lower manufacturing costs, it may be combined with other waxes. Look for “100 percent beeswax”
Tip: Look for beeswax candles that clearly state they are 100 percent natural and cruelty-free, or rather bee-friendly.
Hydrogenated coconut oil transforms into coconut wax for healthy candle-making by the same process used to make soy wax and it is eco-friendly and sustainable. Here are the benefits:
• Burns slowly and cleanly
• Throws off scent well
• Naturally processed
• High-melting point for longer burning
• No added solvents
• Mixes well with a variety of essential oils
Tip: Often mixed with other waxes, coconut wax distributors may label the product as purely coconut-oil based.
Here are a few other components in candles to consider before purchase. Think essential oils vs. fragrance oils and the lasting effect these scents have on air in your home while the candle is burning. Genuine essential oils are pure distillations of a flower, herb or root. Their oils are extracted from the plant and used purposefully, for medicinal and fragrance enhancements. In comparison to fragrance oils, they are naturally occurring in nature and non-synthetic.
Finally, the trick is in the pick of the wick. Look for lead-free wicks and earth-friendly alternatives, such as recycled cotton, hemp or recycled paper fiber.
Keep your home clean and fresh with candles that won’t put a damper on the festive holiday atmosphere this coming winter. Happy candle-hunting!