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Candles, in some form, have existed since the earliest civilizations. 

Inexplicable Things Apothecary now offers a variety of different candles in a variety of different wax types. Since we released our beeswax candles at the first of the year, we have been flooded with questions about the differences between the wax types.

So I would like to introduce you to each wax type. I am talking mostly about the big 3 – Paraffin, Soy and Beeswax – as these are currently the most common.  Palm, Coconut and Tallow are also used, as well as a whole slew of hybrid wax blends – but I will really only be touching on the big 3. We will take a closer look at them, along with some pros and cons, and ultimately a comparison of burn times to give you a better overall picture of the choices to help you decide which candle type may be best for you.    

We will start with the most common type of candle used in today’s metaphysical world, paraffin.

Paraffin, as a by-product of refined crude oil, is easily available and quite inexpensive. This makes it a go-to for many mass-production candle-making facilities, as well as home candle makers, alike.  This wax often carries an extremely high fragrance load, making the candles smell amazing. This is because the fragrance molecules are released into the air as the candle burns. This wax also burns and cools at a higher temperature, meaning there is usually wax left over, so this makes them perfect for wax readings. Paraffin was introduced to the masses in the mid 1850’s, and was quickly an easily affordable commodity to the masses.  It comes in different melt points, which makes it appropriate for a lot of different applications, from votives and tealights, to pillars and some containers. Most commercially available candles that you buy in stores today are made from paraffin. 

However, paraffin wax also has some serious negatives, as well. It is not universally embraced these days.  As the number of environmentally conscious collectives grows, folks start to realize that paraffin is pretty far from the green process that most seek today.  As a petroleum-based product, it has to undergo a chemical process in order to be usable in a form semi-suitable for candles.  These chemicals can cause the candle to emit toxins when burned, and release soot and allergens into the air. These toxins usually are not too noticeable at first, but over time, many folks develop serious sensitivities to these candles when they are being burned in their home. These reactions can include nausea, headaches and many allergy-like symptoms. Though there are health and environmental risks known for using paraffin, these candles still dominate candle production around the globe as one of the most versatile waxes on the market today.

Another downside to paraffin wax is the fact that there is a lot of wax residue that remains after the candle is done. This wax must be disposed of, creating a whole set of issues. In the metaphysical world, for years, we were taught to leave wax offerings at the crossroads, or to toss it into water ways like lakes, rivers or even the ocean. But that petroleum-based wax will be around for centuries before it finally breaks down. Winding up in piles in the landfill – this wax must be heated to at least 154 degrees F to begin melting. So, can you imagine how long that little pile of wax will be around on the planet? 

If you are any part environmentally conscious, this makes paraffin bottom of the list. Do the pros outweigh the cons?

In Part II, we will look at Soy Wax.