An American woman uses 12 beauty products a day on her face alone. Chemicals are all around us; it's no wonder why, when shopping for candles, we want a non-toxic alternative. And don't worry, there are scented candles that are safe to burn for our family and four-legged friends.
Today's post discusses what makes the best non-toxic candles, specifically, the three things to look for when shopping for candles and what makes conventional candles bad for your health.
3 Things You Need For A Non-Toxic Candle:
When looking for the best non-toxic candles, it's essential to consider a few things: wax, fragrance oils, and the candle company's integrity.
- All-natural wax from a sustainable source. Look for soy wax candles, coconut wax candles, and beeswax candles.
- Candles made with toxin-free scented oils. Mainly free from phthalates and nitro musks.
- Does the company do what they say they do when no one is looking?
Why Didn't You Mention Lead-Free Wick?
According to the consumer product safety commission (CPSC), the United States banned all production and sales of candles with lead wicks in 2003. And if you are a candle addict and have a stash that dates back into the early 2000s, you still don't have to worry because the National Candle Association stopped using lead wicks in the 70s.
Even our candle company mentions that our cotton wicks are lead-free because there is still a belief that there could be lead in candle wicks; however that is false. You will find some candles on the market with a metal core, and those have zinc in them, not lead.
Step No. 1: Natural Candle Wax
You have a few options: soy wax, coconut wax, and beeswax. Plant-based waxes are from sustainable resources. They are environmentally friendly, burn slower so you can enjoy your candle longer, and burn cleaner, releasing less soot, making your air quality purer.
Sustainable Resourced Waxes:
Soy wax is made from soybeans, and it's a renewable resource, and it burns slower than paraffin wax, making your candle last 30-50% longer. Soy candles also produce very little soot compared to other types of waxes, making them much healthier for you and your family.
Soy wax is an ideal candle wax option because it has a high melting point giving your candle a longer burn time. It also blends well with all fragrant oils, so you don't have to add any chemical amplifiers to achieve a strong hot throw.
Coconut wax is made from the meat of the coconut. It's a renewable resource, and it burns cleaner than soy wax, releasing less soot into the air. Coconut wax also has a higher melting point than soy wax, so your candles will last longer in hot weather.
Bees make beeswax from the pollen of flowers. It's a renewable resource, and it's the only naturally fragrant wax.
Non-Sustainable Resourced Waxes:
There are a few other types of waxes on the market that are not plant-based. These include paraffin wax or blended waxes like soy-wax blends.
Paraffin wax is made from petroleum, and it's not a renewable resource. It's the most commonly used type of wax for candles, but it's also the most toxic. Paraffin candles release carcinogens into the air when burned, harming your health.
Soy-Wax Blend or Any Blend:
A wax blend is a natural wax blended with paraffin wax. This is a cheaper alternative for a candle company, but it also leaves you with a less suitable option when looking for a non-toxic candle to burn in your home.
Why Is It Important To Have Non-toxic Candles?
When you burn a candle, it releases chemicals into the air. Some of these chemicals can be harmful to your health, and that's why it's vital to choose candles made with non-toxic materials from sustainable resources.
Do Candles Release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Yes. Burning all types of candles releases VOCs into your air. The type of candle wax and oils used to scent the wax determines the amount and type of VOCs.
What are VOCs?
Tiny particulate droplets can enter your lungs, and there's concern that extended exposure to particulate matter can lead to heart and lung problems. We are exposed to VOCs or carbon compounds regularly in our daily lives, like air pollution.
VOCs naturally occurs in flowers; that is the sweet smell we pick up when we sniff, but other components in low-quality candles are phthalates and nitro-musks; both are potentially cancer-causing.
Natural Waxes Produces Lower VOCs
Choose a hand-poured candle with plant-based wax like soy wax candles when shopping for candles. This type of wax produces low VOCs. On the other hand, paraffin wax candles have the highest VOC levels.
Are All Scented Candles Toxic?
No. Some scented candles are made with lower-quality scented oils, and these oils can contain harmful chemicals like phthalates and nitro musks. When these candles are burned, chemicals are released into the air, making them toxic.
So, what's the best way to avoid toxic candles? Look for candle companies that site in their description that their oils are phthalate and nitro musk free.
Step No. 2: Non-Toxic Scented Oils
We know that a non-toxic candle has a sustainable natural wax source like soy wax; now, let's get to the nitty-gritty details of scented oils—specifically, phthalate-free oils and nitro musk free and we will discuss essential oils.
Should I Only Burn Candles Made With Essential Oils?
Essential oils certainly have incredible holistic benefits ranging from stress relief to easing stomach pain. And most high-end fragrance oils, like ours, are infused with essential oils.
However, essential oils are very volatile and do not withstand the high temperatures of burning a candle. When you are burning a candle with essential oils, the hot throw (how well the scent fills the room) will be weaker. This is because the oil is burning off faster than it can fill the space.
On the flip side, if you only want a candle to sit as a home decor piece, natural candles scented with natural essential oils have an incredible cold throw (how well a candle fills the room with scent when it's unlit). Diffusers are also a great way to disperse essential oils and enjoy the health benefits.
Do Soy Candles Made With Essential Oils Make My Candle All Natural?
Maybe. And I say this with a HUGE maybe. Pure essential oils are costly, and sometimes without a candle maker doing research, they could be getting oils with synthetic additives.
A way to ensure you are getting an all-natural soy candle made with pure essential oils is to ask the maker for documentation that tells you the grade of oils and other pertinent information. For any reputable brand, they have a problem supplying this to you.
Not All Essential Oils Are Natural
Many essential oils are synthetic such as cardamon, lemon, lavender, patchouli, and cinnamon. And synthetic doesn't mean bad, and it opens up our ability to make more scent varieties.
Are Synthetic Fragrances Bad For My Health?
All oils are made in a laboratory. Many of the same companies that make fragrance oils also make essential oils. The thing to look for is the quality of the fragrance oil.
How Can I Tell The Fragrance Oil Quality?
If the oil is free from chemicals mentioned above, phthalate-free, and nitro musk free, these are harmful toxins that you do not want to be released indoors.
Why Are Phthalates Bad For Our Body?
Phthalates are known to weaken the endocrine system. Scientists have discovered that phthalates mimic or block essential male and female hormones, stunt male sexual development, and wreak havoc on sperm health. Pregnant women should also know that phthalates cross the placenta.
What Do Nitro-Musks Do To My Body?
Alone, nitro-musks seem to be harmless. However, nitro musks increase the genotoxicity of other chemicals. In laboratory studies, nitro musks reacted with other toxins that increased tumor formation in mice.
High-End Fragrance Oils Are Infused With Essential Oils
Another important note is that many refined fragrance oils are infused with essential oils, which means you get the best of both worlds. The health benefits of essential oils are a powerful smelling candle from the fragrant oils.
The next time you're shopping for the best non-toxic candles, look at the ingredients list and make sure they are free from these two chemicals.
Step No 3: Candle Brands And How To Spot Integrity
When buying candles, you have to put trust in the maker. You need to believe that the brand does what they say and doesn't take any shortcuts on the back end to make more profits.
Questions To Ask Candle Brands When Shopping For Clean Candles
- Is your wax 100 percent natural, or is it a blend?
- Are the oils that you use phthalate-free and nitro musk free?
- If they use essential oils, ask to see a certificate showing the purity grade to prove that they are pure essential oils.
- This isn't a question, but you can look at the website or do a quick Google search for reviews. It's very telling when a brand has raving fans who repeatedly return to purchase. If the brand is cutting corners and lacks integrity, you will see horrible reviews, no reviews, or other sketchy red flags.
When You Buy Your Non-toxic Soy Candle From Us
If you buy a candle from us, you get a beautifully hand-crafted candle using American grown soy wax, the most refined oils free from phthalates and nitro musks, oils infused with pure essential oils, and an unbleached cotton wick or crackling wood wicks.
Now You Know How To Shop For The Best Non-Toxic Candles
You are set! We want to commend you on looking out for you and your household and keeping harmful chemicals out of your home. Following these three suggestions, you can burn clean candles and keep your indoor air pollution low.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
If you enjoy laughing, tips on practicing self-care while managing your busy life, and candles, we invite you to join our Candle Family. We host monthly challenges game nights and regularly post our private Facebook group Bella Vida Family. Join our family today and be surrounded by supportive, positive people in 2022!
*Source: National Candle Association