All candles and melts are made from one main component: wax. Almost any kind of oil can be turned into a wax, which makes for a lot of options for candle and melt making.
Island Blu Studio wants to give you the most natural, environmentally friendly, health-conscious products that we can. That’s why we firmly believe that coconut wax is the best option for our products, despite its higher cost per pound. We can’t give you the most eco-friendly and natural products by making our candles and wax melt products with anything else on the market.
Soy wax, beeswax, and paraffin wax have been some of the most-used waxes across the candle making industry. However, if you do some research, you’ll discover that there’s a much better choice for candles and wax melts: coconut wax -- here’s why.
What is wax?
Wax is a flammable, carbon-containing solid that becomes liquid when heated above room temperature; in short, it’s the fuel for the candle flame. As the flame gets hot, molten wax is vaporized and combusted, producing heat and light.
If the definition sounds broad, that’s because it is. There are a surprising number of waxes on the market. They can range from the familiar (paraffin, soy) to the obscure (rice bran wax). Wax can be developed from a myriad of things around us; the question is: what is the best one for candles and wax melts?
Paraffin wax may be very low cost and known for its wonderful burning and scent properties, but as a product of the oil industry, it is the very definition of unsustainable. It is derived from petroleum, coal, and oil shale… none of which I would want to burn in my home.
Furthermore, there is some discussion around whether there may be negative health effects associated with burning paraffin wax at home. With so many other wax choices on the market, we didn’t want to settle simply because of the low cost.
Soy wax doesn’t have ideal burn qualities; it burns slowly, but it has trouble throwing scent and can look unsightly. It is cheap though, due to the fact that soybean oil is a byproduct of the huge soybean industry led by agricultural giant Monsanto (now Bayer).
Environmentally-minded groups like the WWF have raised concerns about deforestation (mainly in South America) associated with increasing soy demand. And more fears surround the risk of monoculture farming and the unhealthy amount of pesticides and fertilizers used to grow soybeans en masse -- and the contamination of drinking waters that occur as a result.
Here in the United States, 94% of soy agriculture is genetically modified to require increasingly large, and increasingly unsustainable amounts of pesticides. It is almost impossible to source soy wax that is verifiably 100% non-GMO, despite what some candle labels claim.
Beeswax comes from the hives of honeybees. Beeswax, in many regards, is one of the more sustainable options. It has a characteristically honey-like scent, and a golden color. This makes it wonderful as a standalone wax, but challenging to incorporate into scented candles.
Bleached (white) beeswax is available, but presents issues with ‘scent tripping’ -- leading to sadly scented candles with very little scent throw. Some have also brought up the potential issue of colony collapse disorder, which can bring harm to the bee community that is already fighting battles of extinction. We thought it better to let the bees simply be bees.
Coconut wax is obtained through a natural process called hydrogenation in which coconut oil is transformed into wax. It’s more natural than soy because it’s organically made and more eco-friendly to harvest. The deforestation issues are not related to the coconut industry and plantations, which is important to us as a company.
This wax also burns cleaner and longer, meaning that your candle will last a lot longer than others without putting any airborne chemicals into the room. It also has a fantastic scent throw, meaning you don’t have to use a lot of product to get an amazing scent throughout your home.
Coconut wax is also a non-GMO product, meaning its ingredients aren’t grown through genetic modification like other waxes.
Coconut wax has been overlooked by the candle industry because it is more expensive per pound. But we don’t care! Island Blu Studio won’t buy environmentally harmful products simply because they are cheaper.
When we decided to add wax melts to our collection, we researched every wax on the market. Coconut wax won us over before we even poured our first melt. We wanted a product that used ingredients without leaving behind negative eco footprints. It was love at first coconut!