Professional Candle Making Supplies Since 1972
April 01, 2002
Wax 101 Part 3: Natural Wax
The candle market always seems to have new and exciting products in the forefront of the gift market. It is exciting to be associated with this type of industry, which always seems to be expanding in the marketplace. As we discussed in past issues of the En-light-ner, candles in many instances have expanded well beyond their traditional marketplaces. It is not unusual to now find candles in hardware stores, tobacco shops and beauty salons. These are venues that 5 and 10 years ago had very limited offerings or none at all.
There are many different forces driving this, including paraffin wax candles in new designs with new fragrances, gel candles and now "Natural" wax candles.
101 part 3: Natural Wax
Over the last number of years there has been a rebirth in the popularity of "Natural Candles." In the past, companies made candles using natural products such as beeswax, bayberry and palm. These natural products were generally available. While they cost more, the benefits were easily measured by the consumer and the manufacturer, although little was done in the way of marketing or branding these products.
With the introduction of vegetable based products, the definition of "natural" has become much more difficult to define. At the present time there is no recognized authority that has clearly defined what is a true natural wax. However, for the moment and this article, a general working definition for a natural wax is as follows:
Paraffin wax, it is argued, is also a natural wax because it comes from the ground and is renewable. However, because it does not meet our working definition it is not considered a natural wax.
One of the most popular natural waxes is beeswax. Beeswax comes from the honeycomb and is available in yellow or white. The beeswax candle has always been desirable due to the very pleasant aroma, the hardness of the product and its burning characteristics. The other advantage this product offers is that it performs very closely to paraffin wax with very little if any additives. The drawback to this product has always been the cost, which ranges from $2.50 to $4.50 per pound.
With the new natural waxes comes new terms such as vegetable based, soy based and palm based. In general companies take raw materials readily available in nature and process them in a manner that makes them suitable for use in candles. Of these new products, the most viable one to challenge paraffin is vegetable based wax containing soy. Soy based vegetable wax is processed by hydrogenating soybeans, making them suitable for a candle formulations.
Soy based vegetable waxes offer the candle maker many exciting opportunities for making candles with a different appearance, design and marketing approach. Because soy based vegetable waxes are relatively new and unique it is important to note that the pouring characteristics and performance characteristics are different than those of paraffin waxes. Performance differences include but are not limited to some of the following: scent retention, scent throw, impact on performance of the wick and rigidity of the product. Pouring differences include temperatures, coloration and setting times.
Candlewic has a complete program of vegetable based soy products. They are all 100% vegetable waxes and meet our working definition of "Natural." For container fills Candlewic offers Soy 120 and S1*. Both are excellent container fill waxes and are considered true one pours. They have very little if any shrinkage. For pillars Candlewic has PS, which is a votive/pillar blend. The finished candle exhibits a rich glossy opaque finish. For fancy pillar designs Candlewic has four products that offer outstanding finished candles. They are G wax*, F wax*, PQ wax, and Q wax. G wax has a unique marble or granite finish while F wax has a feather crystal design. PQ finishes with a surface pattern and Q has a quartz look.
In summary, the new "Natural" vegetable waxes offer a realistic alternative in both design and appeal to paraffin waxes. Although higher priced than paraffin, the difference is not as great as with beeswax. Competitive pricing for vegetable based waxes could allow companies to offer Natural candles in addition to their paraffin candles.
will tell if Natural waxes will have an impact on the finished
candle market. Candlewic believes it will. We are fully
stocked should you decide to produce candles using Natural
waxes. Candlewic is here to help and advise you in
any way possible including choosing the correct natural
wick for your natural candle.
* These waxes will be available soon.