Are you selecting the right candle wax?
With the busy candle season rapidly approaching it is a good time to review if you are using the right wax for your application or if you are thinking about making candles for this holiday season or just starting to make candles this is an excellent article for you.
The good thing about information like this is for many people just learning to make candles it is a great resource which summarizes all of the various waxes. For those that have been doing it a little longer sometimes a new wax or featured wax is identified. In addition to this article we also have released our first video on guidance on how to select the right wax for your application.
In general we try to break the waxes into several categories:
Straight Wax for Candle Making
Straight waxes, also known as paraffin wax, do not have any additives and are what many blends start with. These are used in many other applications and in most instances the most cost-effective product. The type of candles you make will dictate the melt point of the wax you use.
For containers a melt point of 121-129°F is ideal for this application. You can make a very good container by using any waxes with these melt points and then adding a very small (no more then 1%) of Vybar 260. To enhance the wax you can even add 5% of Micro 180 to this wax.
For votives the ideal wax melt point would be 130-142°F. You can make a nice votive by adding some Vybar 103 (no more then 1%) and maybe something like 5% Stearic Acid.
For pillars it is best to use waxes 137-150°F. If you plan on putting a great deal of fragrance, adding something like vybar and Micro will make for an excellent formulation. The nice thing about using straight waxes is that you can constantly tweak your formula and find that special look. The other added advantage is that in most instances this will allow you to purchase at the most economical means.
Candle Wax Blends
If you are starting out and want to simplify your process then blends are the best way to go for your operation. Blends are a combination of the paraffin waxes and then various components such as Micro’s and Petrolatum’s are used. In most instances the manufacturer will not provide the formulation to the end user. Blends are an excellent option in that all you will need to do is add your color, fragrance and UV inhibitors.
The shortcomings of blends are that in most instances they have to be developed for a wide range of applications so if you are adding a little less fragrance then the manufacturer is recommending, you may not get the exact results you desire. Another flaw with blends is that if problems develop, it can be difficult to troubleshoot without knowing what the components of the particular blend.
The next category would be the Natural Waxes and we include in this selection Soy, Palm, Beeswax and Bayberry. Without doubt Soy wax is continuing to grow in popularity.
The first wax we will feature is soy. Soy wax is simply hydrogenated soybean oil and the best application for this wax is in containers. When using soy wax it is important to note that there is definitely performance and appearance differences between paraffin wax and wax and soy wax.
- First and foremost is the appearance of the candle. Soy wax in general produces candles that have a “flat” or pastel shade to the candle. This can play very well to the scents used; in the fall nothing is better than harvest colors and fragrances.
- Soy wax will always require more dye to get to the desired color.
- It is as close to one a pour wax as exists in the market. It will still require some topping off if poured too hot or if the container is too large.
- Another very positive feature of the soy wax is that the pouring temperatures have less impact on the finished candle than paraffin waxes.
- Depending on the scent load you are using, in most instances no special additives will be needed.
By now you have to be asking yourself if it is that good then why not just switch to this wax while I read this article? The main reason is that the scent throw that candle makers achieve with paraffin just cannot be at the same level when using soy wax. As these waxes get better at scent throw or fragrance companies improve the scent throw that can be achieved, the soy market will continue to grow.
If you want to see how easy making Soy candles can be check out the link below:
The other natural wax to consider would be the Palm wax. This wax is produced by hydrogenated Palm Oils. These waxes are great because of the unique textures which can be produced with these waxes. In most instances there is a crystallizing pattern which is available for both containers and freestanding candles. In addition there is a feathering pattern which is available for free standing candles.
One of the best natural waxes we offer is the CSP wax. This is an all natural blend of soy and palm wax which creates a very nice creamy finish. This wax is excellent for pillars, votives and tarts.
The other natural wax which is commonly used and has been for hundreds of year is beeswax. This product is used in all type of candles including tapers, pillar, votives and even containers. Beeswax is one of the best all around waxes on the market.
The final type of wax which is used more for crafting and easy candle making is the granulated wax. This wax is a 140 Melt point paraffin that is formed into little beads. These beads can easily be poured into containers and a wick inserted for an instant candle. This activity is great if you own a candle shop, if you teach classes or when you do shows it is an activity the kids would want to do while the parents shop your candle selection.
No matter which wax you are currently using it always helps to know what options are available if you are adding another line or looking to change things up. For another way to help chose the right wax for your container be sure to check out one of our most popular videos.
Am I able to mix some any of the natural waxes with the paraffin waxes?
Both Soy and Palm will work effectively with paraffin waxes. In fact many are probably aware our CBL-130 is a blend of paraffin wax, soy and other carefully selected components.
There are a number of reasons you may wish to consider this alternative. Soy is a very low shrinkage product and by adding Soy to paraffin you can reduce the amount of shrinkage in your container. The “natural” aspect of this wax is growing in customer awareness and with the right percentage you can market these candles as having natural wax as one of the ingredients.
If you have worked with soy and are not pleased with the scent throw, adding paraffin to the formulation can help with improve that. The final unfortunate reality is that paraffin wax continues to increase in price where soy has been relatively stable. Using soy as one of the components can help soften the price increases. (Note: the price of soy is not guaranteed to be stable forever either).
For all of the above reasons many candle makers are making Palm and Soy part of their formulation.