You may have noticed that some candles are way more expensive than others.
So you probably find yourself asking, “What’s in this candle that makes it cost more?”
Well, the truth is the quality of the products used, their additives or other ingredients, and other materials are huge factors in candle cost.
The most common type of candle wax used in candles is paraffin wax. So many of the candles you run across in stores are made from paraffin.
Paraffin candles are preferred by a lot of people simply because they're easily available and come in a wide range of scents. They also happen to be one of the cheapest forms of candle wax on the market.
On the other hand, there are also natural alternative waxes. Soy wax, beeswax, and palm wax are the most commonly used natural waxes, some of which have been used in the oldest candle making dated centuries ago.
These waxes are both more environment-friendly and better in quality. However, they aren't as easy to get your hands on, and they undergo a pretty meticulous process just to get a small amount of wax.
And this, my friends, is one of the main reasons why candles made of natural wax are way more expensive.
You may be thinking by now, "Why should I buy natural candles priced two or three times the price of paraffin wax candles?”
I've got you covered. Let's get to know these waxes just a little better so you can see for yourself why natural candles have a higher value and, oftentimes, a larger price tag.
Getting to Know the Wax
So let me help you to understand the different types of wax used in candle making.
This wax is a by-product of refined crude oil. A chemical process produces this oil-based petroleum by-product that is easily available and very cheap. Though there are health and environmental risks known for using paraffin wax, paraffin candles dominate candle production around the world.
The oldest known ingredient in candle making history, beeswax is naturally produced by bees. It's a by-product of honey. According to an article (Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse. Wicwas Press. 1984-06-01), it takes six to eight pounds of honey just to produce a pound of wax. No wonder why beeswax is the most expensive candle wax used today!
And, since beeswax is a by-product of honey, it has a natural sweet fragrance, but did you know that it has been reported that a beeswax candle was found in one of the pyramids of Egypt? This just goes to show how ancient this wax is.
Soy wax, as the name suggests, is made from soy beans. Since beeswax is very expensive, candle manufacturers looked for a cheaper natural alternative to beeswax. It was then, that in 1992 Michael Richards invented soy wax as a natural alternative to paraffin and a cheaper substitute to beeswax. The biggest advantage of soy is that it is a completely renewable resource.
Similar to soy wax, palm is a natural wax made from palm oil which is widely used in different industries, including soap, agricultural products and food. Palm wax is very hard. Usually, candle manufacturers blend palm wax with soy wax to make the soy wax harder. Though palm is available worldwide, harvesting the wax is more complex compared to soy wax, making it more expensive than soy wax.
Battle of Candles: Natural Versus Artificial
The market for scented candles is undeniably huge. Candles can be classified as natural or artificial. Natural meaning the ingredients are from natural resources and more environment friendly like soy wax, beeswax, palm wax, etc. The artificial candles, on the other hand, are made from chemically processed ingredients like paraffin wax.
Whichever way you look at it, the ingredients used in candles greatly affect the quality of the candle.
So now your question question may be which candle is better – the natural candle or artificial wax candle? To answer this, let’s take a look at the qualities of each. Consider the burn quality, the burn time, quality of scent, and of course the price.
Natural candles burn cleaner compared to paraffin candles, giving off less soot. Paraffin candles usually create soot which over time leaves stain on your walls and appliances. Beeswax and soy wax aren't completely soot free, but the amount is very minimal compared to paraffin.
Beeswax also burns brighter.
Natural candles have exceptional burn time, especially beeswax candles. Beeswax candles have the highest melting point of all the waxes resulting to a very long burn time. So, even if it is the most expensive candle, beeswax candles lasts longer which offsets the cost. Soy wax candles also burns longer compared to paraffin candles.
In terms of scent quality, natural candles still wins. Though paraffin candles have more fragrance variants available, natural candle is still better when it comes to scent distribution. This is because natural waxes have higher melting point. The high melting point results in a larger size liquid wax pool produced as the candle burns. With a larger liquid wax pool, fragrance oils easily evaporate into the atmosphere filling the room with pleasant scent. Beeswax, particularly, has lighter and more natural scents, mostly sweet like honey and flower scents.
When it comes to price,paraffin wax is cheapest. The most expensive candle you can buy is made of beeswax. Beeswax candles can cost up to 10 times the price of a regular paraffin candle. You can buy a year’s worth of paraffin candles with the same price as one beeswax candle.
However, cheap is not always considered better. Ofcourse, paraffin wax candles are lower in price, but if you consider other qualities that make a quality candle, you will easily conclude that natural candles are better.
If you don’t want to break the bank when buying natural candles, soy wax candles make a good alternative. They are cheaper but burn almost the same like beeswax candle.
Safety and maintenance
No doubt that natural candles are safer to use, not only to the environment but also to you. Paraffin candles are said to emit toxic and carcinogenic substances which are harmful to you and your surroundings. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paraffin candles pollute indoor air with atleast 11 toxic compounds. Meanwhile, natural candles are more environment friendly, with a very small percentage, if none at all, of artificial ingredients used.
Natural candles are also easier to clean. We know how you hate the wax spills after burning the candles but with natural candles, wax spills are reduced. If there are any oil spills, it is easy to clean. You just need soap and hot water to clean it unlike with paraffin candle spills which have more complex wax clean instructions
The Bottom Line
Which is better? Natural candles are arguably better in so many ways. You’ll have a better candle burning experience when you use natural candles. You might find these candles expensive but the benefits make them worth every penny you spend. With that more expensive price tag you experience better scent quality that can easily fill a room, a candle that lasts longer compared to paraffin candles, plus, a safer alternative that is better for you and the environment. So, the next time you go out to shop for a new candle, don't just look at the price, look at the quality of the candle where you get your money’s worth.
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