I was at a health food store with a friend the other day, cruising the aisles when he asked: “Hey Sarah, why do beeswax candles cost so much more than regular candles?” Well, I had to admit that he had me stumped there. I had heard that beeswax candles were better to burn than their paraffin counterparts, but I didn’t know why exactly. Oohhh so exciting – I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom of this one! With a little research I found some truly shocking information that was certainly blog-worthy…
Before I explain why beeswax candles are so superior, first let me give you the low-down on the downsides of the alternatives.
Most candles we buy are made from paraffin wax. Paraffin is a petroleum by-product, left over after producing many of the other common petroleum products such as gas, oils, pavement, etc. This material is then bleached with 100% strength bleach creating toxic dioxins, before being refined into ‘solid’ paraffin using various carcinogenic, solidifying chemicals.
Candle companies purchase paraffin wax and then add various other texturizing chemicals, artificial dyes for colour, and synthetic fragrances.
When synthetic fragrances are burned, they produce toxic fluoro-carbons and other polluting by-products. Inhaling these fluoro-carbons damages the receptors in our nasal passages that detect scent, and over an extending period of time diminishes the overall abilities of your olfactory senses by ‘wearing them out’. This is one of the reasons many people seem to require increasingly stronger-smelling candles (or synthetic air fresheners), etc., to experience any enjoyable aromas at all!
Last, but certainly not least, is the indirect cost of burning a fuel like paraffin in your home, which emits black soot that coats your walls, household furnishings and curtains, and least desirably, your lungs and skin. It is a proven fact that paraffin, with its associated synthetic scents and other additives, causes headaches, allergic reactions and difficulties with sinuses and lungs. Anyone with respiratory problems should not burn paraffin candles, nor should those that want to prevent said problems.
I hope this sheds some light (ha!) on the perils of paraffin to your health, home and environment. Now let me introduce you to beeswax and the incredible properties it has to offer.
Burning beeswax candles is better for you and the environment for so many reasons. First, burning beeswax produces negative ions, which benefit us and the air we breathe by attracting pollutants, in much the same way that a magnet attracts iron fillings. Negative ions attach to positively charged ions that hold onto dust, dander, molds and other air borne contaminants. Once attached, the positive ions are weighed down and this drops both the ions and the contaminants to the ground to be swept up or vacuumed away. Bottom line: burning beeswax will actually clean your air.
Beeswax candles are the best choice for the environment since the material used is 100% renewable, and in its native, raw state does not require bleaching or hydrogenation. The production of paraffin (a non-renewable resource), and even soy and palm waxes, involves chemical intervention to modify the raw material into a wax form and then into a candle. This means that beeswax is a better choice for the environment, since its processing is minimal, does not require chemicals, and the end product is completely biodegradable.
You can burn beeswax in an unventilated room without fear of pollution. In fact, many people report that burning a candle in the bedroom for 30 minutes or so before falling asleep produces a more restful sleep. Beeswax is hypo-allergenic, benefits those with environmental allergies, sensitivities, and even asthma. To keep your air as clean as possible, just remember to trim your wicks before each use, and extinguish the candle by submerging the wick in its own wax pool instead of blowing it out, as both these measures prevent smoke.
Lastly, the quality of the golden light given off by beeswax candles is unsurpassed by its paraffin counterparts. Because of the high melting point of the wax, beeswax burns stronger and brighter than paraffin, in addition to emitting the same spectrum of light as the sun — how amazing is that!
The Overall Cost
So to answer my friend’s question: while the initial cost may seem higher than paraffin candles, beeswax burns for much longer – two to five times the burn time of other candles. Beeswax has a much higher melting point than paraffin – in fact, the highest melting point of any wax, so it burns far more slowly. Costing only pennies an hour to burn, beeswax is much more economical than paraffin over time.
You can purchase beeswax candles at farmers markets, health food stores and of course online. The candles in this post are from The Beeswax Co., an American company committed to tradition and quality, they ship internationally, and I highly recommend them.
Wherever you choose to purchase your candles, beware of imitations! Look for 100% pure cappings beeswax, which is the wax that comes from the seal around each cell in the honeycomb. Some companies will cut their beeswax with paraffin, palm or soy waxes and still call them “beeswax” candles, so read the labels. Also, make sure the wick is made of a natural fiber (like cotton or hemp) and that it doesn’t contain a metal wire (which can sometimes contain lead), and that there aren’t any artificial scents or chemical colours added. Pure beeswax should smell like honey, and have a natural, golden hue.
Burn, baby. Burn!
31 thoughts on “Burn the Best: Beeswax Candles”
Please do some more research around the negative ions. This is getting repeated all over the internet, but if you read the original study the difference is insignificant. All combustion produces negative ions and soot. All candles are bad for air quality and should be occasional use. And that’s coming from a beekeeper who make candles!
Great article! Thank you so much for sharing this. We firmly believe that Bees Wax makes the best candles with the cleanest burn. It is important to point out that the more natural, pure and organic the bee’s wax is, the better. This reduces the number of toxins released into the air while burning. Awesome post!
Interesting Piece of work. Thanks!
I agree! Beeswax burns beautifully and is a wonderful option for natural, non toxic, homemade candles. I’ve also got a great tutorial on how to make homemade soy candles, which is a wonderful budget friendly alternative if you cannot get good quality beeswax at a reasonable price.
What an absolutely fantastic post! I have try to make Burn the best beeswax candles and it was too good
Thanks for posting this. I’ll be sharing it!
Thanks for posting this. I’ll be sharing it!
Worth Appreciating. Great work.
When beeswax candles burn, they clean the air like a great, natural, air purifier. Just like lightening, beeswax produces negative ions when burned. These negative ions attach to positive ions (like dust, pollen, mold, odor, toxins) floating in the air and in this process cleans the air. Mental Health Blog
Hi Sarah. Thank you for this informative post. I’ve referenced it many times and after reading, I tried a beeswax candle from a local beekeeper and honey maker. Now I love beeswax candles.What do you think of coconut wax for candles (when the coconut wax isn’t blended with soy)?
Hi Emily! So happy you found the post useful. I avoid all other wax-based candles as none truly compare to the benefits of a local and conscious beeswax candle! Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy and get cozy 🙂
The u.s. origin, natual beeswax candles with non-GMO natural Hemp wicks at Kinilly are amazing. Super clean burning, which helped me see the benefits right off the start.
Extremely Amazing work!!
Do you provide a reference page to site your sources used in this post? I found your post extremely informational and I would like to dive in a bit more.
Hi Kelly! Start here for more 🙂 https://beeswaxco.com/
Unfortunately, to provide enough beeswax to make these candles, farmers are factory-farming bees with some very cruel and unnatural procedures routinely taking place.
Hi Ginene, like any agricultural product there are people who resort to large-scale processes that are indeed very unnatural. Be careful about your sourcing and find a local beekeeper who makes candles if you can!
Unfortunately, there is no way to kindly farm beeswax the same way there’s no way to kindly farm cattle. The bees need their beeswax more than we need candles.
I use solar lights instead of taking from the bees.
It really is evident by this article that advancements in medical technology are extremely essential if we want to save far more human lives. Thanks for giving this kind of up to day information.
I didn’t know that regular candles could be so toxic! And I am a sincere candle burner…I love lighting up scented candles each evening. Will check my store for beeswax next time.
Although I believe soy is a healthier alternative to paraffin because it burns cleaner, buy pruchasing soy candles you are supporting the American soy industry, which farms mostly genetically modified soy and uses pesticides. It’s up to you! I know how hard it is to find “the perfect solution” in this world. 🙂
All the best,
Sarah, what about soy candles?
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Awesome. Think of all the deadly dinner parties over the years. Clean out the house!!!
Sarah, again your blog has made me a believer. Paraffin will be hereby banned form my home! Long live beeswax!