How To Make Palm Wax Candles: Benefits & Toxic Additives

Who, would've thought; yet another DIY project from us here at CCF. You know that's what we love to do and today we will be talking about a type of wax we have never mentioned before. What I am referring to is palm wax and it has many names. Some you may hear include Carnauba or Brazil wax. This wax is made from leaves of the palm plant Copernicia prunifera, which is a plant native to Brazil and other countries nearby, hence where it gets its other name from. This will be a DIY project that is different than most, as I won't really be getting into the project itself much, but rather if you should use this wax or not.

Although it is a wax made from a natural material, it actually has been starting to lose its popularity in recent years. A large reason for this is that many big candle companies have started to discontinue their sale and production of candles made from this wax. Large wax companies, such as Candle Science, have released statements about why they will discontinue candles with this wax and the wax altogether. There are a couple reasons for this, but I'll get into those reasons later. For now, here is everything you need to know about palm wax, to decide if you want to make it or not.

What Is Palm Wax?

Palm wax is a natural wax that has been used in making candles for decades. Its properties include it being one of the hardest waxes available, as well as having a very high melting point. It is a wax that doesn't have really any other specific characteristics that would make it able to tell it apart from other candles to most people. 

Problems With Palm Wax

I briefly mentioned that some major candle makers and retailers have started to distance themselves from these palm wax candles. I've talked extensively on this blog about the negative effects of paraffin candles, but none of these companies would even think about banning those candles, as it is what they use a majority of the time. Therefore, these palm wax candles must be a lot more dangerous than paraffin candles right. Well, yes and no. To give you a brief summary of paraffin, this wax is harmful in the way that it affects the air around you. As it is a by-product from petroleum, it is harmful to the environment when it is burned and it is not healthy for people to inhale. 

So while paraffin harms the environment directly, but not much when compared to cars and other everyday things, palm wax harms it indirectly. Specifically, where this wax is taken from. I mentioned in the article that it grows naturally in only a select few parts of the world, as it is a somewhat rare tropical plant that needs just the right conditions to grow. Due to this, and with a demand, many of these forests where it grows naturally have been ravaged to the point of decimation.

Since these plants have been used up so much in these sections of Asia and South America primarily another problem has arisen. Many times large portions of the rainforest have been cut to down to grow the plants necessary. This not only takes away a natural beauty like the forest but it also negatively affects many endangered species, as it is essentially killing their habitat.

It is such an important issue that a large article on the subject was written by The Economist, titled "The Other Oil Spill".  The picture above perfectly illustrates these claims, as you can really tell the difference these deforestation tactics have on just how the landscape looks. Before, that land was completely covered with tree similar the ones still surviving. Before long, those trees will be removed too for the planting of these plants.

Making the Candle

I have written several articles on how to make candles already, and the process is generally the exact same, no matter what type of wax you use. This one is no different, as you will need to know how to melt the wax and from there on follow the rest of the normal steps. For these step, check out our article here on how to make candles with several techniques. Just follow these exact same steps, the only difference being you will use palm wax. 

I didn't want to spend a lot of time on how to make the candle as we don't think it is the best wax to use; contrary, it is actually probably the worst. We talk about the negative effects of paraffin all the time, but in reality, it is actually safer and clean. It's also much cheaper and more readily available. I wanted to spend most of the writing informing people about the wax, especially the harmful and toxic effects that most people aren't aware of. If you still choose to use this wax, just make sure you have all the info. As we always do here, I would first recommend using soy wax, as it is the healthiest and best bargain out there. However, if for whatever reason you do want to use palm wax, I do have some good news about it in the next section.

Why Do People Use Palm Wax?

So I have spent a majority of this article saying the negative effects of this wax and why you shouldn't use it, but there must be some benefits to it, right? If not, nobody would use it. I still believe it is an inferior wax, but there definitely are some good sides to it as well. 

One is that it is a natural product. Although the consequences of getting it lead to unwanted consequences, it is a wax that is much healthier for you than traditional waxes you'll find in stores. It burns for longer than paraffin, is biodegradable, and renewable. So, despite the other environmental hazards, it poses that I discussed earlier, it is a fairly clean wax.

That being said, we still aren't huge supporters of this wax, as the unintended results of manufacturing it are just too great. In fact, a majority of the use now for palm wax isn't related to candles at all. It is more commonly used in biofuel, detergents, cosmetics and food products. Due to the risks it poses, and with no other benefits compared with the likes of soy or beeswax, it's easy to see why its use in candles is slowly starting to become a thing of the past.

Summary

We here at Chicago Candle Factory pride ourselves in being a company of sustainability. We try to do everything we can to promote recycling materials as well as only using those that aren't harmful to the environment. That is why with all of our candles we only use soy wax, as it is one of the best. Beeswax is actually even better, but too expensive and hard to find for most. That is why we provide soy wax, in our mind, the perfect balance.

Frankly for us, palm wax is just not a sustainable material that should be used when it comes to wax production. There are far superior waxes out there if you are looking for quality, like beeswax. Paraffin isn't great for the environment, but the footprint is leaves is much less than palm wax. If you do decide to make one of these candles, just know the risks involved. I urge you to try to find a wax that is labeled "certified sustainable", although this is hard to find. This label means that the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) approves this wax, as they are doing everything they can to tackle the issue of the production of this wax leading to deforestation and danger to already endangered species.

Since we have never used palm wax, we really don't know much about how the quality of the candles are themselves. If you have ever had one of these candles, let us know down below in the comments how it was, and if you would recommend it, purely based on its quality. 




Dustin Holta
Dustin Holta

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