Buyer’s Guide: Clean-Burning Candles

Candles are a great way to create a mood or bring warmth to your home—but because they are made with a variety of different types of wax, it’s important to think about the environmental and health impacts of the candles you’re burning in your home.

At Pharmaca, we don’t sell petroleum-based candles because of their impact on the environment and the fact that they don’t burn cleanly, meaning they could have negative effects on health. Instead, we’ve sourced out a variety of alternatives to paraffin candles that use essential oils and more sustainable waxes. Here’s what you need to know about each option.

Type of Wax
How it’s made
Considerations Where you’ll find it
Soy Wax Soybeans are harvested, cleaned, de-hulled and rolled into flakes to make soy oil. The oil is hydrogenated to change the melting point and turn it into wax. Benefits
Burns cleanly and evenly
Soybeans are an easily renewable resource 

Drawbacks
Soy wax is soft, so candle shapes are limited
Soybean crops may have been genetically modified or been treated with pesticides, so it’s important to know the source of beans and how they are farmed

Way Out Wax Clear Head Tumbler Candle is made from non-GMO soy wax and pure essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary to refresh and help you focus.

Tru Melange SOL Tin Candle in Relax is made with non-GMO soy wax, lead-free wicks and essential oils of lavender and  blood orange. Light one of these when you need to wind down.

Beeswax Worker honeybees make wax from wax glands on their abdomens. Scraped off and chewed, the wax is formed into hexagon-shaped cells and caps to hold honey and build the structure of the hive. Benefits
Long burn times due to a high melting point
Holds its shape while burning
Pretty golden color
Clean-burning, leaves no soot and is virtually dripless 

Drawbacks
Can cost slightly more than other candles
Not vegan

Pharmaca Hand-Dipped Beeswax Taper Candles or Votive Candles are made with 100% unbleached beeswax that burns with a subtle honey scent.
Tru Melange Beeswax Tin Candle in Evening Peace features French and Bulgarian lavender essential oils to relax and calm you before bedtime.
Palm Oil Wax Palm oil is steam distilled from berries and leaves of the palm tree, chilled and hydrogenated to make a hard wax.

Benefits
Can hold high concentration of essential oils for long-lasting scents
When poured, layers are created for a pretty, feathered effect

Drawbacks
Palm oil, if not carefully sourced, can come from countries (especially Indonesia) where plantations are created by clearing and destroying tropical rainforests. Eco-conscious candle makers use palm wax and oil from certified sustainable, Fair Trade palm plantations.

Aloha Bay Chakra Candle Jar for Positive Energy is made with wax from sustainable palm plantations in Brazil, Columbia and Malaysia, and is scented with spirit-lifting Moroccan rose and chamomile essential oils.

Goodlight Lemongrass Cassia Tin Candle is long-burning (up to 15 hours!) and infused with essential oils of lemongrass and cassia that smell fresh—and serve as insect repellants.

Coconut Wax Coconut meat is cold-pressed to obtain the oil, which is hydrogenated to increase the melting point and turn it into wax.

Benefits
Burns cleanly
Holds fragrance well
Creamy, soft look
Coconuts are a sustainable crop that do not rely on clearing rainforests

Drawbacks
Coconut wax is soft so it’s poured into containers, not shapes
Can burn more quickly than other types of wax so the candle may not last as long

We are looking to expand our candle assortment with this new type of wax. Check back soon for more options!