Coconut soy wax wood wick mason jar candles from The Wild Haired Child scented in Granny’s house, a blend of pear, redwood, apple, lemon, and sweet tobacco. 6.5 ounce size.

The Pros and Cons of Popular Candle Waxes

The Problem

With so many new candle waxes popping up, it can be hard to keep track of the benefits, and possible drawbacks, of each one. We believe everyone should know what they’re burning in their home, so we gathered a few details of each wax type to share with you so you can make the best decisions for your household.

Here are some quick pros and cons of the most popular candle waxes!

Paraffin Wax

One of the most popular waxes used in commercial candle making, paraffin wax is a natural, non-toxic petroleum by-product. This makes it the least environmentally-friendly wax, but also the most common and affordable. Paraffin wax is used for many things in our everyday lives, including in lubricants, coatings, polishes, and wax paper! It’s also used in many popular skin care treatments for dry skin.

One of the biggest pros of paraffin candles is that they’re more affordable than candles made with most other waxes. They can also come in beautiful bright colors, and shaped and pillar candles made with paraffin will have a smooth shiny finish! Paraffin wax produces strongly scented candles, which is what makes it so popular, besides being so affordable and versatile.

The biggest problem with paraffin wax is that it is a by-product of an unsustainable, non-renewable resource. It also produces the most soot out of all the candle waxes, which can leave black residue on the jar and possibly the walls of your home. Paraffin candles have amazing scent to start with, but can lose their intensity after multiple burns and typically burn faster than vegetable wax candles. 

*Note* Although paraffin wax has been found to contain certain carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), multiple studies have shown that the very minuscule amounts released into the air when the wax burns is unlikely to cause serious health problems. If you notice you have a sensitivity to paraffin wax, such as a scratchy throat or headache, simply stop use immediately and switch to a candle that uses a different wax. 

Soy Wax

Soy wax is the most popular and affordable natural wax used for commercial candle making. It’s processed from soy beans, making it a sustainable and renewable resource. Soy wax has a lower melt point than paraffin wax, meaning it burns cooler and slower, and produces much less soot. A slow burn means that it can take longer for the scent to fill a room compared to some other waxes, but the cooler temperature of the burn means the scent will remain strong through multiple burns, all the way to the end of your candle.

Although soy wax has a cleaner burn than paraffin, it can still produce a fair amount of soot compared to other natural waxes. It can also be hard to work with, as 100% soy wax is known for a lot of frosting, sinkholes, and not sticking to candle jars right. That’s why you will often find it blended with other, more stable waxes. There are also concerns that the demand for soy wax has caused deforestation in certain parts of the world. Always double-check that your candles are being made with eco-friendly soy wax from an ethical supplier.

Coconut Wax

Coconut wax is quickly becoming one of the most popular waxes for mid-level and luxury candles. Made from cold-pressing the meat of the coconut, it is a sustainable and renewable product, and the coconut farming industry hasn’t had the major moral and ethical problems that soy and palm farming have. It’s great for container candles as it’s slow-burning and makes smooth tops, creating candles that melt evenly and have excellent scent throw. The natural creamy white color is so beautiful that many coconut candles are not dyed. 

Coconut wax produces less soot than soy and paraffin waxes, but because it is so soft it often has to be blended with another wax to create the perfect consistency candle. Coconut wax is also more expensive than soy, so mixing it with another wax helps keep the price affordable, making it possible for more people to enjoy the luxury of coconut wax!


Thanks to a very popular company, everyone knows about the use of beeswax in cosmetics. But did you know beeswax also makes incredible candles? You won’t find them in most department stores, because pure beeswax can be expensive, but they are very popular in the hand-made small business world. Beeswax is extremely environmentally friendly (though not vegan) due to the fact that it’s something bees produce naturally when building their honeycomb. It has a naturally sweet aroma which means no fragrance is necessary, though it can be added. Beeswax candles burn hot, producing a natural warm glow and little soot.

There are few drawbacks to burning beeswax, although because it has such a high melting point it can sometimes burn unevenly if the candle is made improperly. It’s also very important to make sure the beeswax in your candle is coming from a responsibly sourced supplier, because bees are living creatures and they deserve to be treated well. Many makers of legitimate 100% beeswax candles use locally sourced beeswax.

Beeswax comes in two forms, yellow and white. Though the natural color of beeswax is yellow, both white and yellow beeswax has to be processed to remove debris and impurities. Different filtration processes is what creates the two different colors, but both are still natural and beneficial.

Palm Wax

Derived from the oil of the palm fruit, palm wax is very unique in candle making. It’s a harder wax that is perfect for pillar and shaped candles. Palm wax can also create beautiful natural patterns in candles, sometimes called crystallized or feathered palm candles.. These patterns make special color effects that are unattainable with other waxes. Palm wax burns hotter than softer waxes, but produces almost no soot!

Although palm wax is a natural and renewable resource, there have been very serious problems in the past with palm growers mistreating their employees, and also destroying native forests to grow more palm. However, there is much greater oversight on palm farming now, and most palm candles use wax from ethical and eco-friendly farms. If you have any doubts, your candle maker should be able to give you more information on the specific wax they use.

Apricot Wax 

This is a relatively unknown wax but it is quickly gaining popularity. Apricot wax is made from cold-pressing apricot kernels making it a renewable, sustainable, and vegan wax. It is capable of holding more scent than other vegetable waxes, and creates unbelievably creamy, smooth candles that burn perfectly.

It is very expensive and typically only found in high-end luxury candles. However, coco-apricot wax (which is a blend of coconut, apricot, and sometime other waxes) is becoming more popular as a way to make apricot wax candles available to more people while keeping its luxury qualities.

Wax Blends

Although all of these waxes have some great properties on their own, sometimes they’re even better together! Like adding a little bit of soft coconut wax to a hard beeswax candle to help it burn evenly. Most candle makers these days are using a blend, so be sure to pay extra attention to labels and ingredient lists to know exactly what you are getting, as there are not many laws governing disclosure of wax blends. For example if a candle is 51% coconut wax, 30% soy wax, 15% paraffin, and 4% beeswax, it can simply be labeled “coconut wax blend” and you would never know what other waxes you’re burning. So always be aware when purchasing new candles.

So which candle wax is the best?

All candle waxes have their pros and cons, depending on exactly what your looking for. Beeswax candles are popular and all-natural, but they wouldn’t be right for a vegan. And paraffin candles come in fun colors and amazing scents, but someone following an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle probably wouldn’t want one.

All of the waxes we’ve mentioned today are non-toxic and safe to burn in candles, as long as they’re made properly. Many large corporations will not disclose all the ingredients in their candles, and often times their candles are not tested well and will not burn correctly all the way down, as we all know. If you want to be sure that your candles are safe and all-natural, find a local candle maker near you that can tell you all about their ingredients and testing methods!

About the Waxes at The Wild Haired Child

We use wax in several of our products! Check out our 6.5 ounce candles made with a coconut-soy wax blend, which gives them the amazing scent throw and beautiful look of coconut wax while the soy wax makes the candles a little harder and slower-burning. We also make 100% soy wax melts, which are highly scented and long-lasting. Our very popular lip balms also contain yellow beeswax! So if you’re looking for your new favorite, natural-wax products, come take a look through our shop!

All of our products are paraffin free, in our ongoing effort to be eco-friendly!

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