Does it really matter what type of candle you burn? Well, you may find the benefits of beeswax candles rather compelling. And, you just might rethink your shopping tendencies. Beeswax candles are very special and have been valued for hundreds of years. Let’s explore what makes these natural candles so popular.
Why Beeswax Candles are Better
The use of beeswax as a light source goes back thousands of years. In Early American colonial times, it was a special treat to have these in your home.
A light source was once a necessary part of every homestead. Giving light inside the home after the sun had set, evening chores were possible with candles.
Today, people still love them. If you have a love affair with the open flame, beeswax has a lot to offer. They are one of the most sought after types of candles worldwide and the most popular way to use beeswax.
Beeswax Candles are More Expensive
You won’t find a lot (or any) pure beeswax candles on the shelf at the local discount store and there is a good reason for that.
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They cost more and are less common than those made from other waxes. Only honey bees make beeswax and there is a limited supply available.
Also, there is a great demand for beeswax in the cosmetic and beauty industry. There just does not seem to be enough good beeswax to go around and this develops a scarcity.
Why do Beeswax Candles Cost More?
Honey bees produce wax from glands on their bodies. This requires a lot of energy. As the colony works to produce more wax, they produce less honey.
For every 1-2 pounds of wax produced, the bees lose production of around 6 pounds of honey. The beekeeper makes less honey but is able to sell beeswax to make up for the loss.
Paraffin Candles vs Beeswax Candles
There is a reason those small tealights are so cheap at the discount stores. They are made with less expensive wax.
Depending on your use, there are times this may not matter – perhaps candles burning at an outside event. However, for inside use – you should consider the clean burning (or not) aspect of the products you choose.
There are several major differences:
Paraffin Candle Properties
- cheap and easily available
- burns well in most situations
- contain artificial dyes and other toxic substances
- use synthetic wicks
- shorter burn time
- produce soot
Paraffin is easily available and thus – cheap. It is actually an oil-based petroleum by-product.
Paraffin candles contain artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances and other toxic chemicals. Many of these chemicals are added to this toxic crude oil sludge to make it look and smell attractive.
Some of these toxic chemicals are released into the air burned. (Now I know why that apple pie candle I used to have made my throat itch ).
Also, these many cheap candles may have synthetic wicks or those that are zinc-cored. Who knows what kinds of chemicals may be released when that wick burns ?
Can you save money with them? They have shorter burn times than those made of beeswax. They won’t last as long.
You will pay less for paraffin at first but may not experience savings in the end. They are drippy and often produce a lot of soot.
Benefits of Beeswax Candles
- all natural
- no added colors or fragrances necessary
- dripless in a draft free area
- clean burning – no soot
- may clean air and/or improve mood
- made from beeswax – renewable resource
Pure beeswax is a renewable resource. Beeswax candles produce a bright, white light (in the same spectrum as sunlight). They are also drip-less and clean burning.
A natural clean light honey fragrance will be present. They do not need added fragrance that may damage your lungs or irritate sensitive sinuses.
Let’s see, paraffin candles are petroleum by-products and pure beeswax candles are all natural. Hmmmm, seems to be several benefits of beeswax candles over paraffin.
Candle Bloom– You Must Be Kidding Right ?
Any candle made from pure beeswax will develop a white coating known as “bloom”. This powdery patina coating is a natural occurrence.
The “bloom” is more pronounced when they are stored in an area with great changes in temperature. All 100% pure beeswax candles will bloom over time.
The white bloom is a highly desirable effect but can be easily polished away with a soft cloth if you wish.
Health Benefits of Beeswax Candles
We can easily see that cleaner burning is one of the major health benefits of beeswax candles. By not producing toxic smoke or soot, you should be breathing cleaner air.
They are also known for being hypo-allergenic. People with asthma or allergies report fewer problems with beeswax.
Do Beeswax Candles Clean the Air?
Researchers disagree on the air cleaning ability of burning beeswax. But, some feel that a beeswax candle is a natural ionizer – it emits negative ions.
The stuff floating in the air that we don’t want to breath in (dust, dander etc.) – carries a positive charge. So, the negative ions produced by your beeswax candles helps to neutralize pollutants.
If using beeswax candles does reduce indoor air pollution, perhaps that is why asthma and allergy sufferers breathe easier.
At the very least, we can all agree that by not contributing to air pollution beeswax is a good choice.
Can Beeswax Candles Improve Your Mood?
No scientific studies have proven without a doubt that beeswax candles improve your mood. But, many people swear that they do!
Some people choose to burn a beeswax candle in the bedroom a couple of hours before going to bed. (Never leave a one burning unattended!!) They report better sleep after cleaning the air with the beeswax!
How to Buy Pure Beeswax Candles
If they are less common, how do you shop for beeswax candles? You can find them – you just may have to do a little research.
If you find very inexpensive ones, I would be extra cautious. Chances are that it will not be pure beeswax or it will be imported from China.
Read the Label Carefully
When you are shopping for beeswax candles, be vigilant. In the United States, current labeling laws only require a candle to be 51% beeswax to carry the beeswax label.
Seriously? That’s nuts. Read labels carefully if you want pure beeswax. You may also find beeswax candles at local craft fairs. Ask if the seller makes them him/herself.
Suitable Beeswax Candle Accessories
If you enjoy votives, I prefer to use a metal candle holder due to the heat produced by burning beeswax candles.
If using glass holders, be sure it is thick and approved for use with the heat produced by beeswax.
The light-weight inexpensive glass holders may break when exposed to burning beeswax. This causes a fire hazard and danger of cuts or burns.
Why Mix Beeswax with Coconut Oil?
Some folks want a “designer candle” that still allows them to enjoy some of the qualities of beeswax. That’s okay. Just be sure that you know what you are buying.
If you prefer to mix beeswax with another oil, such as, coconut, you can. Some candle makers like to use a blend when making candles in glass jars (like this jar candle.) Beeswax burns hot and mixing it with other waxes or oils produces a cooler burning candle.
Make Your Own Beeswax Candles
Making your own beeswax candles can be a lot of fun and a great family project. Candle making materials are fairly easy to find. You need wax and wick.
You may choose to buy raw beeswax from a local beekeeper but keep in mind that you will need to clean the beeswax properly or your candle will not burn well.
Easy Beeswax Candle Projects
With a little preparation and knowledge, you can create some great items for your home or gift giving. Beeswax seashell tealights are really cute and they make great wedding favors too!
For a natural shaped candle, you can create egg shaped beeswax candles using empty egg shells.
Why You Should Consider Using Beeswax Candles
Beeswax candles have a lot to offer to those who appreciate quality. When shopping for candles, I would suggest that you only purchase those made in the USA.
This will give you the best chance of enjoying all the benefits of beeswax candles burning brightly in your home. And for elegant ambient lighting consider making some beeswax luminaires too!