What type of candles could be harmful to you?

Paraffin wax, natural wax, cotton wicks & wood wicks: What's the difference? 

Paraffin wax has gained a pretty bad reputation in the candle industry with more people becoming conscious of what they put into their bodies. In 2009, a South Carolina State University study revealed that burning paraffin wax candles releases toxic fumes (toluene and benzene) into the air. Such substances are shown to be linked to asthma and lung cancer. Worse still, if such fumes are released into unventilated spaces, severe side effects such as skin irritation and respiratory issues could arise. 

Despite some uncertainty surrounding these controversial findings, it remains clear that paraffin wax is derived from crude oil and is thus leaving a huge carbon footprint behind. Crude oil is a non-renewable resource which has been proven to be the cause of many environmental calamities (oil spills, climate change, etc.) Further, burning low-quality paraffin wax over extended periods have been discovered by Maastricht University to be linked to dangerously-high levels of carcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons in the air.

Given paraffin’s close relationship with non-renewable fossil fuels amidst the trend of companies increasingly turning to sustainable alternatives, more customers have taken a step in the right direction to make a more conscious choice. Hence, Soul Good’s natural plant-based wax candles have garnered much support from the environmentally-conscious. Our 100% vegan-friendly candles are made from coconut and rapeseed waxes, free from paraffin and palm waxes and any synthetic additives. Such natural options have lesser impact on the environment due to their renewable nature, coupled with the lack of toxic carcinogens released. Furthermore, plant-based candles have a naturally low melting point. As such, they are longer-lasting. (almost 50% longer than paraffin candles), allowing for a larger pool of liquid wax to form around the wick and more efficient diffusion of the candle fragrance.

On the other side of the table, we have wicks. The most popular wicks in the candle industry are wood and cotton. Unknown to most however, lies major differences. While cotton wicks are the more traditional and popular choice due to their ease of use especially when it comes to relighting, they do have their own drawbacks as well. Cotton wicks may be dipped in paraffin or even metals such as zinc, for purposes ranging from self-trimming properties to easier lighting. This means that chemicals are being released into the air each time you light them. This is where wood wicks come in as the better alternative. Wood wicks have been gaining popularity amongst candle lovers due to several reasons. Firstly, they actually work better, stronger and faster at spreading the candle's fragrance as they diffuse heat more rapidly into the wax. They also produce a distinct crackling sound when burning, which is therapeutic. On top of the relaxing ASMR, wood wicks also give your candles a modern feel and who could resist a modern aesthetic candle! Finally, wooden wicks are also eco-friendly and toxin/phthalate free, meaning that just by choosing wood wicks over cotton wicks, you are playing a part in helping our environment. 

Soul Good Project’s clean-burning candles are made with wood wicks, which helps you to not only achieve a more even burn over extended periods, but also a cleaner burn. Here at Soul Good, we prioritise your enjoyment of scented candles without worrying about any toxic fumes released or your potential detrimental impact on the environment.

Ultimately, which type of wax and wick you go for is a matter of personal choice. Both will eventually release fragrant scents in your surroundings and light up your night. But there is so much to consider in trying to determine which option is best for you. Why not indulge in the best quality candles while doing your part for Mother Nature at the same time? We’re sure it’ll turn out to be the best choice for you.