Guest Author - Benito Lugo
Natural waxes such as soy, are derived from renewable organic sources such as: plants, insects or animals. They have become a very popular candle making alternative to the professional candle maker and hobbyist over the last 10 years.
Bayberry wax is made by boiling berries from bayberry bushes. It is naturally scented, and it has a natural shade of green. Bayberry wax is slightly more costly, it takes approximately 15 pounds of bayberries to make one pound of wax. It has a relatively low melting point of approximately 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beeswax is an easy and popular natural form of wax. It has a naturally sweet scent and is popular for that reason. Beeswax burns cleanly and slowly. The melting point of beeswax is approximately 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Being a natural product harvested from honeybees, beeswax can be more expensive and is very difficult to use in molded candles.
Palm wax is derived from the oil palm in Southeast Asia. It is commercialized crop that has been grown since the first part of the 1900’s. The oil palm fruit bunches are harvested and sent to the palm oil mills where the oils are processed into crude palm oil. The crude oil is then sent to palm oil refineries where it is processed into products such as cooking oil, shortening, cocoa butter substitutes, non-dairy creamers, soaps and palm wax.
Palm wax is highly resistant to melting in summer month temperatures and contracts well in molded candle making, easing removal from your molds. It mixes well with color, other types of wax and holds fragrances well. Palm wax does not require any additives other than color and fragrance.
Tallow as you know is a wax used centuries ago that is derived from animal fats such as cows, pigs and sheep. It lacks color, and has a poor scent and smokes when burned in a candle. It is a soft wax and has a low melting point, best suited for container candles.
Most candle making projects will require the use of wax additives. Certain additives change the temper, clarity, color, and scent of the wax. With this in mind, carefully choose wax and any necessary additives to give your finished candles the best overall burning quality and appearance.
When using wax additives with your natural wax, always take into consideration that any additive may effect the color, clarity, temperance and scent of your wax. Maybe that’s part of the attraction of using natural waxes. You never know what you’ll get until it’s done. If you have any doubt feel free to make a smaller test batch of your next candle making project.