“Aren’t all candles vegans?” I was sitting poolside with my friends discussing some new eco-friendly products and the questions caught me off guard. “You know, I never really thought about it before. I just assumed all candles were except for beeswax candles”. As we sat under the gazebo with the birds chirping a summery song, I started taking a deep dive into the mysterious world of vegan candles. Are vegan candles just a marketing ploy? Are there other benefits to buying vegan candles? What should I look for when purchasing vegan candles? Let’s explore these questions and more.
Are Vegan Candles Just A Marketing Ploy?
The short answer: No!
Most candles really aren’t vegan.
Here’s a little science behind the art of candle-making.
Since 1830, most candles have been made of paraffin wax, a very soft, colourless, and odorless wax made from petroleum that is solid at room temperature. On its own, paraffin wax has a low melting point so, in order to provide more sturdiness, candlemakers began adding stearic acid, a hard waxy substance, similar to tallow, that allows tall candles (such as pillars) to remain upright and solid. Stearic Acid also increases the burning time and allows the candle to retain more fragrance. It can even be added to create a more opaque colour.
So What’s the deal with Stearic Acid?
It’s this addition to paraffin wax candles that makes many candles non-vegan. Stearic acid is often derived from animal fat such as pig, cow, and sheep stomachs. While it can be derived from plant fats as well (coconuts for example), the process yields much less stearic acid compared to the animal byproducts so it tends to be more cost prohibitive for companies who place profits over sustainability.
Beeswax: What Is It?
Stearic acid isn’t the only ingredient to watch out for when looking for vegan candles. Beeswax candles are very popular as natural alternatives to paraffin, however they are not vegan. Beeswax is produced by the apis genus honey bees. The wax is then used by the worker bees to construct the honeycomb. Many vegans consider beeswax and honey to be off-limits due to the collection process. In order to harvest the honeycombs, the bees are smoked to become more docile, and bees can be harmed in the process of scraping the honeycomb. This is particularly true when it comes to large scale operations, not so much with small apiaries as many beekeepers do care a great deal about their colonies.
Are There Benefits to Buying Vegan Candles?
The short answer: Yes!
There are actually many benefits to switching to vegan candles beyond limiting the use of animal byproducts. Did you know that paraffin candles can emit carcinogenic compounds? Because it’s derived from petroleum, paraffin wax candles aren’t the healthiest thing to inhale.
Vegan alternatives like soy candles, however, burn much cleaner (your air filter will thank you!) and also support local farmers and small businesses. Here are some other benefits of vegan candles:
- Soy is a renewable resource and non-toxic.
- Vegan candles also tend to burn longer and the leftover wax is biodegradable.
- Soy wax can be easily cleaned with soap and water.
- Vegan candles are often also more sustainable from a production standpoint, meaning fair-trade and locally sourced ingredients.
- Vegan candles release fragrance better so your home will smell amazing for longer.
The Top 9 Vegan Candles for 2020
Now that you understand the hype behind vegan candles, here’s a list of the best vegan candles to get you started on your new shopping addiction!
For Your Wellness Routine: Morgan Jost Hand Poured Soy Wax Candle
These organic, small batch and hand poured vegan soy candles are a dream. Not only does this candle come in three amazing scents, Eden, Namaste, and Botany, it’s also zero waste. The wick is organic cotton, the jar comes with a reusable aluminium lid, and the label is even biodegradable. To top it all off, Morgan Jost will give 50% of their profits to Mind, a UK-based charity which helps to support people with mental health issues.
For Lovers of Scent Without The Fire: Dare to Dream
Wax melts are a great alternative to burning candles, especially if you have children or pets. It’s safe, easy to clean, and offers the same great scent and longevity as traditional soy candles. These wax melts will transport your space to a bright Sunday brunch with notes of citrus, coconut, and amber. Hand poured in small batches in Ghana, Flickerwick focuses on eco-friendly, cruelty-free non-toxic and plant-based raw materials.
For Aromatherapy: Plastic Freedom – Pine + Rosemary
These limited edition vegan soy candles are perfect for aromatherapy and relaxation. Made with therapeutic grade essential oils and hand poured in small batches in London, UK, these scents will last you around 60 hours. Packaged in a beautiful reusable glass jar with a wooden lid, for every candle purchased, three trees will be planted.
For Strong Scents and Personalities: Oakwood & Tobacco Candle
If you’re missing nights out on the town like I am, there’s nothing like the heady scents of oakwood and tobacco to make you feel like you’re in a speakeasy with jazz playing and cocktails pouring freely. Made from 100% soy wax, wooden wicks, and essential oils, the vegan and cruelty-free hand poured candles are a crowd pleaser.
Available in 120g 180g and 500g (3 wick) jars.
£8.50 – £20.00
For Fine Art Connoisseurs: Scented David or Venus Bust Candle
If you’re looking for a real conversation starter, something to add to your decor, look no further than these beautifully crafted bust candles from INTERLUDE. Hand poured with soy wax in London, UK, these statuesque vegan candles can be scented to your preference and even coloured. Coveting the hard-to-get 5-star review, these candles are perfect for lovers of art or the human form.
Starting from just £17.26
For Birthdays or Witches: Zodiac Soy Wax Candles by WitchWood Candles
Whether you’re into astrology or have a friend who’s difficult to shop for, these vegan handmade soy candles are for you! Made in Brighton with recyclable or biodegradable materials, as well as garden fresh herbs and flowers, each candle comes with a special unique touch in the form of a crystal or specially chosen botanicals. No two candles are alike and each one is made with love. Boasting scents like geranium, ylang ylang, cinnamon, and other citrus blends, there’s a scent profile for everyone.
For Instagram Addicts: Pastel Skull Candle
These pastel skull candles are sure to raise some brows. Coming in a gorgeous neon pastel pallet, these little 8x10x10 candles will bring mystery and fun to any room. Perfect for med students, neurologists, or just people interested in bones, these bright vegan candles come in over 30 incredible scents ranging from bubblegum to pumpkin spice to seaweed and juniper and everything in between. Handmade in Glasgow with vegan materials, the shop’s policy is “Morbid & cute. Macabre & kind.” If you’re looking for something a little more subtle, they also come in grey or more natural colours. Halloween party decor anyone?Starting from £11.51
For The Country Classic Kitchen: Citrus Grove Soy Candles
There’s nothing like a perfectly balanced citrus candle to brighten your day. These gorgeous little vegan soy candles come in coveted Weck Jars for a sustainable perk. Containing notes of grapefruit, lemon, orange and bergamot, this classic citrus blend will boost your mood and take you straight into a citrus grove. Most importantly, at The Botanical Candle Company, people are put before profit so you can trust that your purchase is going to an ethical business that believes in quality, fairness and transparency.
Starting from £14.00
For A Special Occasion: Pink Gin Candle
Handmade using vegan eco-soy wax and essential oils, this special edition Pink Gin candle is sure to please. Packaged in an amber bottle, this candle is as beautiful to give as it is to receive. Vegan Bunny strives to be not just animal-friendly, but also plastic free and carbon neutral. All ingredients are listed on the label and are free from toxicity and pesticides. Pure ingredients, zero waste, and a wide range of fragrances makes Vegan Bunny a great shop for your candle needs.
Starting from £15.00
And there you have it! Have fun shopping for your next favourite candle and leave a comment to let us know what you think!