What Are Candles Made Of?

Last Updated on 05.12.2022

What Are Candles Made Of

Candles are a great way to set the mood for any occasion. They are decorative, calming, romantic, and smell great! What exactly is a candle made from?

This might surprise you. Most candles contain 10% wax (paraffin, soy) and 90% fragrance oil. They also contain wicks that provide the flame with fuel.

Paraffin Wax

This is a mixture of hydrocarbons obtained as a by-product in the refining process. Paraffin wax has been used for many years to create candles because it burns relatively cleanly and can be molded easily into any shape desired.

The composition of paraffin wax varies depending on its source, but typically it contains alkanes with between 16 and 24 carbon atoms per molecule (e.g., hexadecane, pentacosane, heptacosane, octacosanoic acid esters, and tetradecanoic acid esters).

It also includes some long-chain branched components such as tridecanol. However, these are not classified separately since they do not contribute to the melting point.

Paraffin wax is inexpensive and can hold both dyes and scents. Paraffin wax is not biodegradable and natural. It’s also made from non-renewable resources, so many people avoid using it for environmental reasons.

Heating paraffin wax causes the release of soot and 11 known toxic substances—two of them carcinogens—into the air. For these reasons, paraffin wax candles are losing popularity.


This is a natural wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. Bees produce wax from a specific gland in their stomach. A swarm of bees uses it to build their honeycomb hives.

The wax is also harvested at the same time as the honey. Beeswax has a sweet scent from honey. It is white, yellow, orange, or red. Beeswax is expensive because it takes a lot of work to make. It is hard to dye because it is naturally brown.

*Beeswax has been found to have remarkable antibacterial properties, and so its use would provide protection against bacterial contamination during storage or transportation. It also helps prevent other substances mixed with honeybee wax from burning too quickly.

Soy Wax

This is a natural and renewable alternative to animal-based wax, such as beeswax. Soybeans are grown without the use of harmful pesticides or GMOs, so it’s environmentally friendly too.

It has been used by candle makers for centuries because soy candles burn very cleanly, enhancing their fragrance and leaving less residue behind on the glass jar after burning than other types of candles.

Soybeans provide an inexpensive source of raw materials from which products can be made for many industries, including textiles, lubricants/cutting oils, plastics and elastomers (materials), inks & paint additives, foodstuffs (vegetable oil), and biofuels.

Soy wax is also biodegradable, unlike paraffin wax. The melting point for beeswax is lower than most of the other waxes on this list. This makes it easier to burn in cooler weather or during the wintertime.

Coconut Wax

This is also a type of plant-based wax that you might use on candles. It’s all-natural and doesn’t come from animals like other types of wax do. Coconut wax creates a slower burn. It also doesn’t release much soot, and it lasts a long time.

Gel Wax

This is not a type of wax. It’s made from mineral oil and resin. Gel wax is clear and can be used to make transparent jar candles. The wax holds both scent and dye well. Gel wax can be hot and make glass containers explode.

Palm Wax

This is a natural and sustainable wax that’s used in making candles. It comes from the same trees that produce palm oil. Palm wax produces an even burn with little to no ash residue left behind, which makes for easier cleanup.

And like soy wax, this type of wax burns cleanly without releasing toxins into your home environment while you’re burning it on your candle. However, many people still avoid using palm-based products due to deforestation concerns.


A candle’s wick is what lets it burn. It transfers the wax from the candle to the flame and then burns itself in the process. Candle wicks can be made of different materials, like cotton. Sometimes the wick also has metal in the middle to help it stand up straight.

Cotton fibers are the most common candle wicks. They are braided into a flat shape and then covered with wax to allow them to stand straight. Depending on the size of the candle, there may be one or more wicks.

Wax Colorant

Some candles are colored by adding a colorant to the wax. Candlemakers use some type of pigment or dye, like those that you might see in food coloring bottles. The most popular choices for candle dyes and pigments come from natural sources, such as berries or leaves.

Other options include iron oxides, titanium dioxide, carmine/cochineal extract (a red dye made from ground beetles), ultramarine blue powder (made with minerals), and copper mordants. Adding these substances helps make your candle’s flame change colors when it burns down into different parts of the jar!


Many candles are scented. This is because the scent helps give them a special aroma and feeling that can make people feel happier or relaxed, depending on what type of fragrance they choose to burn in their candle.

Fragrance oils come from many sources, such as fruit peelings (orange), herbs (rosemary), flowers (lilac), roots/root powders (eucalyptus root powder), and leaves/stems (lemon leaf oil).

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Yankee candles made of?

Yankee Candles are typically made from paraffin wax, fragrance oil (natural or synthetic), and a wick. The type of candle will determine the ingredients that go into it! For example, beeswax candles need to be scented with honey-based fragrances because they’re not able to melt off these types of oils like other types of candles can.

What are PartyLite candles made of?

PartyLite candles are made from food-grade paraffin wax, and they have no dangerous chemicals. Plus, each PartyLite candle has a pure cotton wick that emits white smoke instead of black because there is no lead in the wick.

What are white candles made of?

Most white candles are made out of a waxy petroleum compound called paraffin. It is naturally white.

What are colored candles made of?

Red, green, blue, and other candles are made of paraffin wax with a dye or pigment mixed in.


Candles are a great way to create ambiance, but what exactly is in them? As it turns out, there’s more than just wax and wick. There can be additives like dyes or fragrance oils that help make the candle smell better.

I hope this article has given you some new insights into the chemicals that are used to make candles. Did we miss anything? Leave your thoughts in the comment below!



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