Most candles on the market today are not vegan, and many people have never considered whether or not candles are vegan. While it is easy to identify some non-vegan ingredients in candles, like beeswax, other additives, like stearic acid, are not obvious.
Vegan candles are made with plant-based ingredients, free from animal-derived ingredients and byproducts. This makes them a must-have for anyone trying to lead a more sustainable, compassionate lifestyle.
Making candles is easy. Making long-lasting candles that smell great is not so much. To help, some candle makers will add other ingredients like stearic acid to harden the candle, improve the burn time and increase the scent throw.
This does not mean vegan candles cannot smell fantastic, but if you're conscious of the environment and the harm towards animals in the production of candles, like us, don't fret! There are plenty of options out there that don't use these animal-derived ingredients.
At Olivia Michael Candle Co., we make candles from natural vegetable wax, a rapeseed and coconut wax blend. Not only are they vegan-friendly, but they also tend to have a longer burn time and cleaner scent.
If you're looking to switch to plant-based candles, make more eco-conscious purchases, or are just after some information on what makes a candle vegan, we've got you covered.
Vegan candle ingredients
Candle makers have many options today when buying ingredients for vegan candles, from waxes to wicks and fragrances. Here are some of the most common ingredients you'll find in vegan candles.
Vegan candle waxes
Most vegan candle waxes are derived from vegetable or plant-based sources, making them an eco-friendly and cruelty-free alternative to traditional waxes like beeswax.
Paraffin wax is technically vegan because it is not derived from animals. However, unlike plant-based waxes, which are the more eco-friendly and natural choice, paraffin wax is a byproduct of the petrochemical industry. Both mineral and plant-based waxes have pros and cons, but we chose to work with a plant-based wax because of our nature-focused brand.
Because paraffin wax is a byproduct of the petrochemical industry, it gets a bad reputation due to its damaging environmental impact. However, the paraffin market utilises the wastage from the manufacturing process, so while it is vegan, there might be better options than this if you're trying to lead a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
Soy is a vegetable wax that contains no artificial additives. It's non-toxic, resulting in a beautifully clean burn which is better for you and the environment. It is a renewable, natural alternative produced from pure soybean oil, which is biodegradable and vegan-friendly.
Soy wax has a lower melting point than paraffin wax, meaning soy wax candles burn slower for longer.
Rapeseed and Coconut Wax
At Olivia Michael Candle Co., we use rapeseed and coconut wax. A 100% plant-based blend free from paraffin, soy, palm, beeswax and synthetic additives.
We have purchased and burned paraffin wax candles in our house, and we soon realised I am sensitive to many things. My experience with paraffin candles has always left me with headaches. Even with our desire to work with plant-based waxes, we needed a wax that didn't affect me when working with and testing several candles a week.
We chose a rapeseed and coconut blend because we did not want to work with soy. Our rapeseed is sourced from Europe, whilst most of the coconut used in our waxes comes from smallholder farmers in the Philippines or Indonesia (approximately one-third of Filipino farmers and their families make their living from coconut production).
There is no forest removal to plant new coconut trees, and all farming contacts are closely monitored. Our supplier is pioneering a program to train farmers on sustainable coconut agricultural practices.
Plant wax has a lower melting point than paraffin wax, meaning plant-based candles burn slower and for longer. We find plant wax candles suit customers who like to burn their candles for more extended periods. In contrast, paraffin candles fit someone who prefers a short, swift burst of fragrance.
Paraffin wax can emit black smoke and soot, marking the surrounding surfaces. In contrast, plant-based wax burns cleanly (providing you've done your proper testing and the wick is maintained correctly!)
So at the end of the day, we went with what we're most comfortable with, and our target audience will feel the same. Plus, we're hoping that one day no fossil fuels will be needed in this world! But that's a whole other debate!
The two standard options for candle wicks are cotton wicks and wooden wicks. Some cotton wicks are coated in paraffin to help with the scent throw and to sustain the heat from paraffin wax candles.
Our candles come with an unbleached cotton wick interwoven with a linen thread.
Whether a candle contains essential or fragrance oils, it can be considered vegan. This is because essential oils are derived from plants and other natural substances. Fragrance oils are manmade from non-animal products.
The benefits of vegan candles
There are many benefits to vegan candles. The obvious one is that they are made from non-animal-derived ingredients. However, there are other benefits to vegan candles that you may not be aware of.
How can you tell if a candle is vegan?
Check the ingredients list. If the website or packaging doesn't contain ingredients, contact the maker. There is a good chance that the candle is still vegan, but the maker has yet to add the ingredients.
It is vegan-friendly if the candle is made from plant or vegetable wax. However, check the other ingredients to ensure that:
- There are no additives like stearic acid
- Nothing that would make them non-vegan, such as non-vegan inks or glues, has been used while manufacturing.
Some adhesives can contain animal-derived products such as casein. Many inks are also petroleum-based, containing glycerine from animal fat, bone chars and gelatine to help bind the ink.
It is always important to check that a candle company that claims to be vegan has verified that its suppliers use vegan-friendly products throughout their manufacturing processes.
What candle ingredients are not vegan?
Typical ingredients of a candle that are not vegan include:
- Stearic acid
- Some colouring added to dye the wax
- Some inks used in label printing
- Some glues in sticky labels and wicks
What makes Olivia Michael Candle Co. vegan-friendly?
We hope that you have found this blog eye-opening and you have taken away some information to help you identify vegan candles a little easier. At Olivia Michael Candle Co., we went to great lengths to ensure we could proudly call all of our products vegan.
Our vegan candles are paraben-free and cruelty-free. We use a pure blend of rapeseed and coconut wax containing no soy, beeswax, or additives. Each candle has a cotton wick secured to the vessel with vegan glue.
All candle glasses are widely recyclable. We use recyclable FSC-certified cards and inks for all packaging and labels. All packages are filled with biodegradable eco-packing peanuts that dissolve in water. These are to protect our candles in transit.
We have chosen to work with companies who share the same values as us and are eco-conscious. While we acknowledge that candles and fragrance are luxury products, we have done everything we can to ensure that when you buy from us, you can do so knowing that you have not only supported a small, independent business but you have supported one with its roots planted deeply in doing as much as we can to ensure we run as sustainably and eco-consciously as possible.
If you have any questions about our approach, suppliers or products, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for reading.