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Candles – A Buyers Guide

Candles – A Buyers Guide

A long time ago in a supermarket  far away…..

So the story goes, there was a time when I would buy a candle at £1.99 not knowing its ingredients or where it was made. If the candles origins were ethical or not.

I thought i’d make you a quick ‘Candles – A Buyers Guide’ to de-myth some of the commonly asked questions.

Types of Candle

  • Pillar – Stand alone candle generally made with a harder setting wax so it doesn’t collapse when the weather is warm. Usually made in a metal or silicone mold.
  • Votive – Small candle generally 2 inchs x 1 inch. These are also called prayer candles.
  • Container – Most commonly used and can accommodate most types of wax, the container can be anything from tea cups to glass and tin. Just make sure it’s heatproof and placed on a heat protective surface.
  • Dipped/taper – Long and thin, can be hand dipped or by machine. Sometimes the core is white and the final layer is coloured. These are generally not scented. Watch the video below its fascinating. It’s not my factory….yet (my son loves this word and frequently reminds me to use it) These are the type of candle made in Bangladesh at the orphanage I donate to through the candle making workshops.
  • Tealight– Small light which can burn as long as 8 hours if you get a long burning one from Prices candles.


Types of wax

  • Palm- Made from a vegetable oil, however sustainability is an issue with deforestation in its production. Read this article from the The Ecomomist – The other oil spill
  • Soy – This is the creamy wax that i use here at Candle Towers. 100% soy, nothing added. I like it as its sustainable, burns virtually soot free and you can wash off with soap and water. Burns longer too as it burns cooler.
  • Bayberry – Vegetable wax from the fruit of the Myrica Faya shrub.
  • Paraffin – Greyish almost translucent wax. By product of the crude oil industry. Derived also from coal or shale.
  • Gel – Form of mineral wax, but looks great with added decoration like shells.
  • Beeswax – Produced by the Honey Bee to create the foundation of the cells in the hive. It is secreted from their glands.
  • Carnauba – Wax from the leaves of the Carnauba Palm, dried then beaten off the leaves, it is then refined and bleached.
  • Candelilla Wax –  From the leaves of a Mexican shrub. Wax is extracted by boiling with sulphuric acid.

Types of wick

  • wire core – Used in the middle of the wick to keep it upright. Lead, copper or zinc can be used. Does radiate heat down into the candle.
  • cotton/linen – Braided, usually needs a good trim before the next light.
  • wood – Burns with a crackle, gives a lovely glow. Light along the entire wick. You can’t ‘wick dip’ this wick to extinguish it, so you are left with a smokey room after extinguishing it.

Watch this candle making process, its quite mesmerising.

Candle Making




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Hey candle lovers! 

Thinking of starting your own candle business get my 10 ways to build a profitable candle business.

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