Are Candles Vegan-friendly? The Best Vegan Candles and Waxes
Following a vegan lifestyle, or looking to cut down on your use of animal products? We discuss which candle waxes are vegan-friendly, the best brands creating vegan candles, and the benefits of choosing candles free from animal products.
Which candle waxes are vegan-friendly?
Luckily for vegans who love candles, there are lots of candle waxes that are suitable for vegans. Here's a list of some of the most common vegan-friendly candle waxes...
What is stearic acid and is it vegan?
While the previous waxes are all suitable for vegans, the addition of stearic acid can render otherwise vegan candles into candles that are not suitable for vegans. Stearic acid is often added to candles to harden the wax and make them more opaque. While this ingredient can be sourced from vegetable oils, like coconut, it is most commonly sourced from animal fats. If you see stearic acid in the ingredients list on a candle, be sure to contact the company to find out where it was sourced from.
Is beeswax suitable for vegans?
Beeswax is becoming an increasingly popular choice among candle makers, thanks to its clean-burning and air-purifying properties - not to mention its naturally desirable scent and colouring. However, because beeswax is produced by bees, it is technically an animal product and is therefore not suitable for vegans.
If you don't follow a strict vegan lifestyle, and you're interested in using beeswax candles, opt for ones that use ethically sourced beeswax. Lots of beeswax is sourced unethically and unsustainably, so it's important to make sure you know where your candle's wax has come from, to ensure no bees or ecosystems were harmed during the harvesting process.
However, some vegans would argue that beeswax can never be ethical, because the involvement of animals immediately prevents the products from being 100 per cent cruelty-free. Alternatives are starting to emerge though: in labs, synthetic beeswax is being produced using fatty acids, alcohols, hydrocarbons, and esters. While this is a less 'natural' option, this could be the answer to a vegan-friendly beeswax!
Is paraffin wax vegan?
Paraffin wax is 100 per cent vegan-friendly. Paraffin is derived from crude oil, which is free from animal products (if we ignore the fact there might be fossilised animal remains).
However, even though these candles are suitable for those following a vegan lifestyle, paraffin wax is not the most eco-friendly choice. This is because the process of distilling crude oil releases huge amounts of fossil fuels. What's more, when paraffin wax candles are burnt, they release toxins and carcinogens into the air. They also produce a large amount of soot. Click here to find out more about why paraffin wax is bad for you and the environment.
Are vegan candles better for you?
While avoiding animal products is often better for the environment (and for the animals!), there is no evidence to suggest that vegan candles are better for you. For example, if we compare paraffin wax with beeswax, vegan-friendly paraffin wax releases harmful toxins and chemicals, which are bad for your health and the environment. In contrast, non-vegan-friendly beeswax is clean-burning, and actually purifies the air by removing toxins and allergens. This shows that vegan-friendly does not always equal "better."
If you are following a vegan lifestyle, but you want a candle that's good for your health and the environment, avoid paraffin wax and opt for a natural, renewable, plant-based wax like soy, rapeseed or coconut wax.
5 vegan candle brands to try
Looking for some small independent businesses that create vegan candles? Read on to discover 5 of our favourite candle makers, who are all dedicated to creating candles that are free from animal products...
If you're looking for cute candle tins, check out the candles from Vegan Bunny (from £8). Each candle is handcrafted using artisan techniques, a signature vegetable wax blend, and pure essential oils. We love the minimal, plastic-free packaging!
We love the collection of eco-friendly vegan candles from Bask Candles (£17.95). The brand is devoted to creating fun and vibrant candles that represent the modern and beautiful homes of today. The white glass jars and wooden lids pair to create a minimalistic and stylish look, which would be the perfect addition to any home.
These beautiful candles from Witchwood Candles (£8.50) are all handpoured in Brighton, UK. This eco-friendly company only uses the highest quality, ethically sourced and vegan-friendly ingredients, including soy wax and paraben-free essential oils. Each candle is then topped with botanicals and crystals.
Made in the UK with sustainable ingredients, the natural candles from Aery Living (from £26) are suitable for vegans and eco-friendly. Each candle features 100% plant-based wax and carrier oils that are free from paraffin and palm. We love this brand's eco credentials: all packaging is plastic-free and recyclable, they use renewable energy, and deliveries are made using a carbon neutral carrier. Plus, the company plants one tree for every candle sold!
The range of candles from Made by Coopers (£22) are 100 per cent vegan-friendly. The company is registered with the Vegan Trademark by the Vegan Society. Plus, all ingredients are natural and approved by Ecocert, including the renewable coconut and rapeseed wax blend. This company takes animal welfare super-seriously: they only purchase from suppliers that are able to prove that they are also cruelty-free!