As a candle maker, it can be incredibly difficult to separate fact from fiction when doing research or seeking advice. Candle making is an ancient art and people have been doing it for literally thousands of years. While there are numerous approaches that can all work well, there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution for making a perfect candle. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on what is right and wrong when it comes to making candles.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with contradictory information, you’re not alone. There are tons of candle making myths out there, but we thought it would be helpful to address a few of the most prevalent – and controversial – ones in a blog post.
Myth 1: Candle Makers Should Pay Attention to Flash Points
Although this is not a universally-accepted truth, flash points really only matter for the purpose of shipping and transportation. They should not be considered as a factor when making candles. It’s understandable where the confusion comes from, but you will not ruin your fragrance oils or cause them to “burn off” by adding a fragrance to wax that is hotter than the fragrance oil’s flash point. We took a closer look into this topic in our flash point blog post if you want to understand why.
Myth 2: Paraffin Wax is Bad and Should be Avoided
Paraffin is a petroleum byproduct, so it tends to get a lot of bad press. However, reputable studies have shown that paraffin wax, soy wax, stearin wax, and palm wax candles all have a similar impact on indoor air quality – paraffin is no worse or better than other popular alternatives. Although paraffin is made from crude oil, it is highly refined to remove impurities to the point that it is considered food safe. In fact, the same grade of paraffin used in candles is also used to coat certain fruits and vegetables. Take a deep dive into this topic with our blog on paraffin wax.
Myth 3: All-Natural Fragrance Oils Exist
Fragrance oils are made from a blend of natural and synthetic compounds. Although some fragrances are branded as being clean, natural, or non-toxic, the fact of the matter is that fragrances are ultimately made from chemicals. Some fragrances are indeed safer than others, but the term "Natural" leaves a lot of room for interpretation. While it would be nice to have the option for a truly 100% natural fragrance oil, this simply isn’t possible. Read our article on All Natural Fragrance Oils for a better understanding of this topic.
Myth 4: You Shouldn’t Heat Wax Over 185 Degrees F
Each type of candle wax has a maximum temperature that you should heat it to. Going above this temperature can alter the chemistry and molecular structure of the wax. While some waxes (like soy) indeed should not be heated above 185 degrees F, this is not true for coconut wax blends and certain other wax types. In fact, failing to heat your wax to the proper temperature can lead to weak fragrance throw and improper fragrance binding.
Myth 5: Mica and Botanicals are Completely Fine to Use in Candles
In recent years, the trend of adding dried flowers to candles has become very popular. While this is pretty and it’s understandable why this has become a trend, it unfortunately isn’t always safe. Botanicals pose a serious fire hazard. Not only that, they can greatly affect how your candles burn. The same is true of mica powder and other powdered colorants. It’s very popular to color candles with mica or sprinkle it on top for a shimmering appearance. While not a fire hazard like botanicals, mica can easily clog your wick and cause your candles to burn incorrectly. Learn more in our blog about safe candle additives.