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 candle 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.
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Candles were 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 candles. If you have a love affair with the candle 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 Rare and 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.
Beeswax candles cost more and are less common than candles made from other waxes. Only honey bees make beeswax and there is a limited supply available.
There is a great demand for wax in the cosmetic and health 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?
The main reason for the increased cost is the energy required by bees to produce wax. Honey bees produce wax from glands on their bodies.
Worker bees must consume a lot of food (nectar/honey) to make wax. For every 1-2 pounds of wax produced, the bees lose production of around 6 pounds of honey.
Paraffin Candles vs Beeswax Candles
There is a reason those tealight candles are so cheap at the discount stores. There are several major differences between candles made from paraffin vs beeswax.
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 when the candles are 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 ?
Paraffin candles have shorter burn times than those made of beeswax. They won’t last as long.
You will pay less for paraffin candles 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
Candles made from pure beeswax are a renewable resource. And they 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 from a natural beeswax candle. 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 candles 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.
What are the 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.
Beeswax candles are also known for being hypo-allergenic. People with asthma or allergies report fewer problems with beeswax candles.
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 candle 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 candle burning unattended!!) They report better sleep after cleaning the air with the beeswax!
If better sleep is a benefit of beeswax candles, I need to have even more in my home. Maybe the negative ions emitted by the beeswax candle is the secret.
Or perhaps the heavenly, bright light and honey scent is soothing? Either way, there is something extra special about beeswax candles.
Shopping for Beeswax Candles
If they are less common, how do you shop for beeswax candles? You can find these candles-you just may have to do a little research before you purchase.
If you find very inexpensive beeswax candles, I would be extra cautious. Chances are that this candle will not be pure beeswax or it will be imported from China.
Read the Candle 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 are shopping for pure beeswax candles.
You may also find beeswax candles at local craft fairs. Ask if the seller makes them him/herself. The candle should have a light honey fragrance.
Choose Suitable Candle Accessories
If you enjoy votive candles, I prefer to use a metal candle holder due to the heat produced by burning beeswax candles.
If using glass candle 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 candles. That’s okay. Just be sure that you know what you are buying.
And , remember my comment about the beeswax candle label. I wish the advertisers would make that information clearer.
If you prefer to mix beeswax with another oil, such as, coconut, you can. While these mixtures do not qualify as pure beeswax, there are situations where the beeswax blend would be a good choice.
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.
Buying Beeswax for Candles
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 candles 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 candles. When shopping for candles, I would suggest that you only purchase beeswax candles (or raw wax) 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!