5 things to look for in a natural, eco-friendly candle
Fresh, revitalising scents of citrus fill your freshly tidied home on a sunny spring Saturday.
Sweet, more-ish coconut and vanilla delight your senses and fuel nostalgia on a lazy Sunday evening.
Notes of lavender and rose help you relax deeper as you sink into your warm bath after a long day at work.
If any of this sounds familiar, I can confidently say you are a candle lover, just like us! While burning your favourite candle may seem like it provides nothing but positive vibes, it may actually be harming your health and the environment!
Choosing a candle is more than just finding the right scent to ignite your senses. It’s also about making sure that the candle you choose has a non-toxic wick, is paraffin free and is made and sourced sustainably.
If all of this sounds a little bit daunting, do not worry! Below, we’ve compiled a guide on why you should make the switch to a natural, eco-friendly candle and tips on what to look out for when purchasing.
Why make the switch to a natural, eco-friendly candle?
The earliest forms of candles were actually made from animal fat and later, beeswax. Today, most ‘mainstream’ candles are made from a byproduct of petroleum, called paraffin. Paraffin is widely used as it is very cheap to manufacture, however, while easy on your wallet, this comes at the cost of your health and the environment.
Paraffin candles are not biodegradable and have been found to release toxic pollutants into the air when burned.
A 2009 study1 examining the health risks of paraffin candles found that:
- Paraffin candles release unwanted chemicals into the air
- Frequent inhalation of these dangerous pollutants released by paraffin candles can cause cancer, allergies and contact eczema and asthma among other health risks.
The same study found that vegetable-based candles did not produce toxic chemicals when burned under the same conditions as the paraffin candles.
Most mainstream candles also contain synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances have been shown to lead to hormone disruption, skin irritation and allergic reactions as well as irritation of the lungs and airways. We would never use synthetic fragrances in our skincare products, and feel just as strongly about synthetic fragrances in candles and perfumes!
Mass produced candles imported from outside of the US and Australia may also contain a lead wick. When burnt, lead wicks release five times more lead than is considered safe for children and environmental pollution targets.
Thankfully the USA and Australia have banned the use of lead wicks, however you can never be too sure when it comes to imported products. To test whether your candle has a lead wick, turn the candle upside down and ‘draw’ on paper using the wick. If it leaves a pencil-like mark on the paper it is a lead core wick. Alternatively, you can peel back part of the cotton surrounding the wick. If there is metal inside, we recommend keeping this candle as an ornament rather than burning it!
5 things to look for in a natural, eco-friendly candle
Use of natural, sustainable soy wax
Soy wax candles are made by hydrogenating the oil of the soybean vegetable. Many high-quality natural candles we see today are made using soy wax as it produces a longer, cleanser burn. Being plant-derived, soy wax is also renewable and a much more eco-friendly option as it is farmed and can be replaced faster than its rate of consumption, with no damage to the eco-system.
Soy wax is clean burning, which means that unlike paraffin candles it does not produce soot when burnt, therefore protecting your walls, ceilings and surface from staining and soot related damage.
Another advantage of soy wax is that is natural, non-toxic and biodegradable!
If this isn’t enough reason to switch to a soy wax candle, we should also note that they have been shown to burn for up to 50% longer than paraffin wax and produce a stronger scent!
Using soy wax over bees wax also means our candles are vegan and animal-friendly.
Use of natural essential oils and phthalate-free fragrances
We know that synthetic fragrances can be detrimental to our health. When looking for a natural candle, opt for one that uses 100 percent essential oils, or fragrances without phthalates. We use Blue Lotus, Lavender, Pink Grapefruit, Sweet Orange and Lime Essential Oils along with nature identical, phthalate-free Vanilla and Coconut fragrances to scent our candles.
Wicks made from cotton or paper
Fortunately, Australian and US made candles are required to use cotton or paper wicks. If you are purchasing imported candles, however, be sure to double check that the wick is not made from lead before purchasing.
Housed in re-usable glass
Reusable glass makes upcycling easy and reduces waste! We love reusing our candle jars as tumblers or to store our melts and tealight candles. After using your candles, just wash the glass with soap and water and it is ready to be reused.
Hand-poured candles are typically more eco-friendly as they don’t require machinery to be made! Plus, more often than not, hand-poured candles are made by smaller businesses – we always love supporting small and supporting local!
Edible Beauty’s 100% Natural, Soy Wax Candles
Our new range of candles are made with 100% soy wax using natural fragrances and are hand poured in Australia to ensure a pure and conscious candle indulgence.
With three delightful scents to choose from you can be sure that your candle-lit bubble bath, romantic dinner and humble abode are fragranced safely and sustainably. Each candle has a burn time of up to 40 hours.
Shop Edible Beauty Candles here.
References1. Emission products of petroleum-based candles, Ruhullah Massoudi and Amid Hamidi, South Carolina State University, presentation before American Chemical Society, 19 August 2009, Washington DC.
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