Candles have been used throughout history. The earliest uses of candles have been traced back to primitive Egypt. The primitive Egyptians used a candle made from wax extracted from the pulp of reeds that was soaked in melted animal fats. From this point in history the candle began to evolve. Other ancient civilizations made candles from a combination of plants, insects and papyrus soaked in bees wax or tallow. The ancient Chinese developed a bee wax candle while the Japanese experimented with candles from the wax of tree nuts. India discovered a process to create a candle from the wax extracted from boiled cinnamon. All of these candles were used for the practical purpose of casting light but also were heavily used for religious rituals and ceremonies across all cultures.
Today candle making has evolved into the creation of candles for practical, ceremonial and decorative purposes. The types of candles available on the market have also evolved. Today there are many factors such as the wax type and other materials that go into the making of a candle that a consumer must consider in making the best selection for their purposes. It is important to choose candles that will not only meet your needs but also are healthy and safe for your family and your home.
What type of candle wax?
An important factor to consider in choosing candles is the type of wax used. There are 5 primary wax types on the market today.
Palm Wax – Palm wax is widely considered the best quality candle wax on the market today. Palm wax burns cleanest with almost no smoke residue making it a non- toxic candle type. This wax type has the longest burn time of all the waxes and produces a very bright flame. Palm wax is good for large, long lasting candles and does a great job at retaining the fragrance with means the fragrance will last all the way to the end of the candle burn. Palm wax is derived the oil in palm trees. It is 100% vegetable- based and therefore vegan. The Palm tree also has a spiritual significance making this candle type a popular choice for ceremonial and religious purposes. Palm wax candles can be difficult to find, which can make them a more expensive choice compared to other candles.
Aloha Bay Candle produces and top of the line selection of Palm Wax Candles. The company also carries a variety of blessed candles for specific intentions that come with instructions for use in specific ceremonies and manifestation rituals including Physical Healing, Chakra Healing, Positive Energy, Abundance, Happiness, Protection, Love, and Money. Unscented Taper Candles and Tea Light Candles are also available in many different colors.
Soy Wax – Soy wax candles are made from soybeans, often those that are grown by local farmers allowing the consumer to support their local economy. Soy candles are slow, clean burning candles that produce very little soot. Soy candles are non-toxic. In general a soy candle will last 30% to 50% longer than paraffin candle.
While many do not care for the scent of soy itself in an unscented candle, soy wax candles do seem to hold the scent of essential oils very well releasing it slowly and steadily due to the slower candle burn. This candle type also holds the dye color well making for a more attractive candle. This type of wax is biodegradable and water soluble making wax spills much easier to clean up. Soy wax is great for larger candles.
When considering purchasing a soy candle sure the candle is “100% pure soy” to avoid purchasing a lower quality candle that may actually be a blend of soy wax and another lower quality wax. A blended candle will not offer the full benefits of a 100% soy candle. Also confirm the soy candle is organic as 90% of soy is GMO soy in today’s market.
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Soy Candles are a manufacturer of high quality soy candles in several scents including Basil, Lemon, Cranberry, Lavender and Geranium.
Beeswax – Beeswax is another clean burning, long lasting candle type. It is all natural, virtually drip free and has own pleasing scent although the honey sent does not always blend well with other fragrances. Caution should be exercised to look for “100% Organic” beeswax in order to obtain pure, non-gmo, raw, unrefined and screen filtered beeswax. Beeswax is often used in luxury holiday candles and hand sculpted candles.
Some believe strongly in healing effects of beeswax candles, particularly as an effective treatment for allergies although the research to support this is inconclusive. Beeswax when burned releases negative ions into the air. Higher concentrations of negative ions clear the air of mold spores, pollen, pet dander, odors, cigarette smoke, bacteria, viruses, dust and other hazardous airborne particles. When the negative ions attach to positive ions causing the germs and other allergens to become too heavy to stay in the air the quality of the air is improved and the effects of excess positive ions are removed. This improves the overall feeling of wellbeing and enhances health benefits.
Bluecorn Naturals is rated one of the top producers of beeswax candles for 2017. Other products are also created from beeswax including everything from deodorant to lip balm from organic companies such as Nourish Organic.
Blended Paraffin – Blended paraffin is the most widely used candle wax. More than 95% of candles are made from blended paraffin primarily because it is an inexpensive, easily attainable material. Paraffin is the leftover by product from petroleum refining process. When a paraffin candle is burned it releases same harmful carcinogens as when gasoline is burned. The soot from burning paraffin wax collects on the jar, blackens walls and leaves a soot film on furnishings. The black soot emission is loaded with toxins that may trigger allergies and even asthma reactions for some.
Despite the documented harmful effects of blended paraffin candles, they are easy to find, inexpensive to purchase and burn very quickly. Most retail and discount stores carry this type of candle in a variety of colors and scents.
Mineral Oil, Mineral Oil Based Gel and Resin Compound Wax –Mineral based waxes produce a generally clean, steady burning. When molded this wax type creates a clear and bubble free candle. Mineral based waxes have a higher melting point which results in less soot being created from the burn. However these types of candles must be in heat resistant containers due to the higher melting temperature or the containers may explode and cause injury. This wax type is most often used for container and gel candles that are intended to be decorative accents or collectible candles, not for frequent use.
This candle type is most often available from private crafters or home décor retailers.
Within each wax type there is a quality range base on quality and purity of the raw material; extraction processes used, etc., the better the quality of the wax the better the quality of the overall candle.
What other factors should you consider?
In addition to considering wax type in your purchasing decision it is important to also consider the quality of the other materials that go into the candle. These materials include:
Type Of Wick -Make sure wicks are cotton with a paper core, no lead which can be toxic.
Container Type – Can it be recycled or multi use? Is it heat resistant?
Dyes & Fragrances – Look for plant based dyes and essential oils.
Additives – Chemicals such as Vybar, Stearin, Petrolatum. Avoid chemical additives.
Decorative Items– Shells, glitter, plastics, stones, etc. Best for candles that are purely decorative and will not be burned.
Why choose carefully?
The environment in our home and office has an impact on our health and wellbeing. Creating a serene and peaceful environment evokes those same feelings within our bodies. What we take in through our senses including visual stimulate and scents can influence our mood. Carefully considering the types of candles to burn in our environment can create an uplifting vibe and add to your décor however we also want to make sure our choices are healthy, non-toxic and environmentally conscious.
How do I choose?
Ensure that your environment is healthy and safe by using the healthiest, nontoxic candles you can find.
Use palm wax, beeswax or 100% soy candles
Use candles with cotton wicks with a paper core
Use candles with plant based dyes and essential oils
Avoid candles with chemical additives
Take standard safety precautions when burning candles.
Never leave burning candles unattended
Keep burning candles out of reach of children and pets
Keep the flame low but trimming the wick
Make sure the candle holder is steady and secure
Keep candles clear of other combustible materials
Choose to purchase pure, safe candles that reduce the toxins in your environment and improve the feeling of wellbeing in your home or office. The Online Organic Health Store has a broad selection of candles to choose from as well as other great products. Come and check out our website at www.onlineorganichealthstore.com!