Until recent decades, the dominant raw material for candle making was paraffin wax. Today, however, more and more environmentally friendly alternatives are commercially available, one of the most exciting of which is coconut wax. As the demand for naturally sourced raw materials continues to grow, coconut wax is becoming increasingly popular with professional and hobby candle makers alike. But is coconut wax good for candles?
To find the answer to our question, we first need to know what exactly coconut wax is and how it is made!
If you've used coconut oil before, you know that on a hot summer's day, the oil melts and gives off a faint coconut scent. So how do you make solid wax from this substance?
Most coconut wax manufacturers refine coconut oil at high temperatures to remove the characteristic coconut smell. However, this does not solve the problem of low melting point. For coconut wax to be a viable candle-making base, it needs some kind of additive. This is most often soy wax, which is itself an environmentally friendly material.
So most coconut wax candles are actually made from a mixture of soy and coconut wax. The proportion of the two ingredients in this mixture can vary depending on the manufacturer.
Now that we know how coconut wax is made, let's find out why it's great for candle making!
As mentioned above, coconut wax is environmentally friendly and renewable. It has even less environmental impact than soy wax, as the carbon footprint of coconut cultivation is much lower than that of soy.
It burns slower and more evenly than other waxes.
It is a good base for different fragrances and essential oils.
Candles made from coconut wax produce less smoke and soot even after prolonged burning, so you don't have to worry about the well known black soot that paraffin wax produces.
Coconut wax is GMO-free, and the hard shell of the coconut protects it from pests, so there is no need to use pesticides (it should be noted here that while coconut is GMO-free, the soy used to make coconut wax not always is, so make sure to check the farm of origin of the soy used).
Candles made from coconut wax are naturally white or light cream in colour, so they look good on their own without additional colouring.
The low melting point means you can use almost any type of wick. But, like all natural waxes, coconut wax solidifies very slowly.
Although coconut wax is an excellent environmentally friendly alternative, it is still relatively new on the market, so there are only a few places to buy candles made from it. There is also the problem that some manufacturers are not transparent enough with their manufacturing process, so candles may be advertised as being made from coconut wax, when in reality most of the wax is actually made from soy. But if you are careful, coconut wax can be an excellent ingredient for making candles.