There are a number of candle waxes and blends on the market. Each one has its own list of advantages and disadvantages.
Coconut wax is one of the more recent wax alternatives to emerge on the scene. It’s a plant-based wax that’s good for the environment. Let’s explore its many benefits.
Benefits of Using Coconut Wax in Candles
It’s estimated that more than 60 million metric tons of coconuts are harvested annually. Coconuts are a versatile resource used in multiple industries. Cosmetics, food, energy, and health industries are most notable.
And a growing number of home fragrance brands have increasingly been using coconut wax in their candles.
Whether you’re making coconut wax candles yourself or purchasing them, here are some reasons why it’s becoming a popular choice.
1. It’s a Versatile Ingredient
Coconut wax is odorless and can be as white as a fresh snowfall. This makes it an ideal blank slate for candle making.
Unlike beeswax, another natural and environmentally-friendly wax option, coconut wax doesn’t have a lingering scent. Beeswax smells lovely, but if you want to add fragrance to it, you’ll have to choose a scent that would complement its natural honey fragrance.
Not so with coconut wax. You won’t smell the husk or meat of the coconut when it’s in wax form. So you can add even the lightest scents, like an essential oil, and the coconut wax will take on that fragrance.
Its color also makes coconut wax a versatile option if you prefer to add colorants to your candles. Coconut wax produces vibrant colors. It won’t dull your colorant like soy waxes are known to do.
2. Coconut Wax is Minimally & Responsibly Processed
This is likely the primary reason why consumers gravitate towards coconut wax candles. Due to the harvesting and manufacturing process coconuts undergo, coconut wax is known to be an environmentally friendly alternative.
Coconuts are harvested by hand in lieu of machinery. The coconut oil used to produce wax is gently cold-pressed from the meat of the coconut. The oil is transformed into wax during a process called hydrogenation.
Hydrogenation increases the coconut oil’s melting point so that it can remain solid at room temperature. A refining process removes the coconut aroma.
3. Coconut Trees are a Renewable Resource
A high-yield crop, individual coconut trees can produce at least 200 coconuts a year. They’re in season year-long, and a harvest cycle can range between 45 to 90 days. Numbers vary by country and region.
Regardless of region, though, the coconut tree is an abundant and renewable resource.
Although slow to mature, taking eight to ten years, a coconut tree can live and produce coconuts for 80 years or more. Due to the longevity of coconut trees, they’re often called “three-generation trees” because they can sustain a farmer, his or her children, and grandchildren.
That helps solidify its role as a renewable resource. Everything from its bark to its fruit is used as a natural resource.
Coconut meat and water are edible sources. Additionally, the meat is pressed to produce oil, and of course wax in some cases. Coconut shells become bowls and culinary tools. Husks are used to make rugs, doormats, and absorption materials. Furniture can be produced from coconut lumber, and I am certain that I have left some things out, but you get the idea.
4. Coconut Wax Blends Well with Other Waxes
Coconut wax is really soft. Because of this, it’s often mixed with natural waxes like soy or palm wax to give it form and increase its melting point.
Another benefit of blending it with soy wax is that this can bring the cost down since soy wax is usually less expensive.
Also, if you typically burn soy candles, a coconut and soy wax blend leads to a stronger scent throw.
5. Produces a Slow Burn
Coconut wax can prolong the use of your candles because it burns more slowly. This increases the potential burn time, which adds value to your candle purchase. Long burn time also makes for a good selling point if you’re making candles.
6. Strong Scent Throw
Unlike soy wax, coconut wax can contain the throw fragrances well. So whether they’re hot or cold, you will enjoy their scent.
This is especially helpful if you intend to solely fragrance your candles with essential oils. Also if you prefer to burn aromatherapy candles, a strong throw from a natural wax is beneficial.
Essential oils typically don’t have as strong a fragrance throw as fragrance oils. Therefore it can help to combine essential oils with coconut wax if you want to burn, make, or sell highly fragrant but natural candles.
7. Holds a High Fragrance Load
Melted coconut wax can carry upwards of 12% fragrance, which contributes to its strong fragrance throw.
But what this also means is that the fragrance itself is more precise. Sometimes a candle’s cold throw smells wonderful but that initial impression fades once the candle is lit.
Coconut wax candles have a consistent hot and cold scent throw.
8. Coconut Wax Candles Have Polished Look
Pure to creamy, off-white hues are typical of coconut wax candles. They look exquisite in any container. Their beautiful color attracts people who prefer to support natural product lines.
For those who are making candles at home, this is also a single pour wax. You won’t have to top off the wax once it’s cooled. You can expect a smooth, even surface.
9. Receives Colorants Well
It’s naturally bright hue won’t dull your candle should you choose to add colorants. Nice base for adding color to create vibrant hues if you’re making candles.
10. Naturally Organic Option
Similar to crude palm and palm kernel oil, researchers have not found the presence of pesticides in coconut oil.
Fertilizers nor herbicides enter into the equation, either. Therefore, they are organically grown even if they aren’t labeled as a certified organic product. Additionally, you aren’t inhaling toxins from pesticides or fertilizers as your candle burns.
At this point, coconuts aren’t genetically modified, either. This makes them more desirable than soy because more and more soy crops are grown with GMO seeds.
The only things coconut trees need to flourish is tropical weather and a consistent water source. This is why they’re often grown near a natural water source.
11. Low Melting Point
Beneficial when making candles but not when shipping them, coconut wax has a low melting point.
If you’re making candles, this means that the flakes or a portion of the wax block will melt pretty quickly, speeding up your production process.
Refer to the shipping section below for precautions.
12. Settles Well in the Container
There’s no need to warm your jars before pouring in the fragranced wax, either. Coconut wax offers exceptional jar adhesion.
When using clear glass jars, coconut wax won’t produce the wet spots often formed by soy wax and beeswax.
13. Safe for the Skin
Coconut wax is often used as an ingredient in lotion candles. Applying some types of melted candle wax to the skin can be soothing and moisturizing. Massaging melted coconut wax into the skin can relieve tired muscles and provide aromatherapy if it’s made using essential oils.
Some Drawbacks to Coconut Wax
So far we’ve learned that coconut wax is a clean, eco-friendly alternative to many of the other waxes on the market.
It burns slowly and has an exceptional scent throw. And although it’s likely one of the most sustainable candle wax options out there, as with anything, there are a few drawbacks to using this wax.
Coconut wax is more expensive per pound than paraffin and soy wax.
A byproduct of crude oil, paraffin wax is more accessible and likely the least expensive wax option on the market.
One reason that soy wax is less expensive than coconut wax is because many soybean crops are grown with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These crops are easier to produce in higher volumes, making them more accessible, and therefore, less expensive.
Since coconut wax has such a low boiling point, it melts easily. If you purchase multiple candles made with coconut wax, you’d have to be very mindful about where you store them when they’re not in use.
They won’t hold up to extreme heat, so they would have to be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
If you plan to sell coconut wax candles, you’d have to have a process set in place when shipping to warm climates.
These candles would need to be well protected from heat as they ship. And you’d have to consider how the candles would hold up if the shipment is sitting on someone’s porch during summer months. Otherwise, some brands elect not to ship their coconut wax candles at all during the summer.
As a customer, this is also something to keep in mind if you want your candles to remain in tact during shipment. It might help to communicate with the company to ensure that the candles will be packaged appropriately if you live in a hot climate.
You have to pay attention to the labels when purchasing coconut wax blends. If it’s truly plant-based, you will only find soy, palm, apricot, or beeswax added to the blend.
There are times when paraffin wax and additives are blended in with coconut wax as well. This can get tricky because wax blends are labeled according to their dominant ingredient. If there’s 52% coconut wax and 48% paraffin wax in a blend, those wax chips will be labeled, Coconut Wax Blend.
Depending on the kind of candle you want to burn or make, some ingredients might be a turn-off.
Limited to Containers
Because coconut wax is so soft, it can only be used to make container candles if it isn’t blended with harder waxes.
If you want to burn or make pillar candles, you’d either have to blend the coconut wax with palm or paraffin wax, or eliminate coconut wax altogether.
It’s Likely a Blend
While there might be few exceptions, coconut wax candles are almost always a blend.
At the very least, you’ll find that soy wax has been added to the mix. This isn’t the worst news, but if you’re looking to make or burn a completely sustainable candle, that may not be an option yet.
In terms of plant-based sustainable candles, coconut wax candles are quite likely your best option. Coconut wax is naturally organic and coconut crops are non-GMO and a highly renewable resource.
As far as candle waxes go, coconut wax is on par with beeswax as the most environmentally-friendly, all natural wax options. There are more benefits than losses when using coconut wax candles, but even the disadvantages have work arounds.