Shining the light on sustainable candles

Think all candles are made equal? Like me, you thought wrong. Candles come in various forms with varying sustainable qualities, keep reading for the sustainable candle guide.

Candles have been used for millennia, going all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Typically candles were used for light, rather than scent and relaxation that we currently associate them with now. Often made from animal fat, they certainly didn’t have a pleasant odour.

Today there are many different types of candle on the market, with paraffin, palm, beeswax and soy being the most common.

Palm oil

The. Worst . Type.  The palm oil industry is incredibly destructive to the environment (read my full post on palm oil here). A vegetable oil candle which are generally cheap to buy. They burn with a bright flame and usually have a long burn time.

Paraffin or paraffin mineral oil

These are made of excess waste produce from petroleum production. These are very cheap to produce being a by-product from another process. They often contain cheap artificial oils and fragrance to scent them and they emit a dark toxin filled soot, some of which can have carcinogenic properties. A lot of inexpensive candles are made from this. I was quite disappointed to find out one of my favourite candle brands have a paraffin base considering the price tag. (an example of cost doesn’t always equal quality.) Paraffin wax is not biodegradable.


A clean burning wax made from the natural honey bee. Not a vegan wax but a very natural substance that has a little but a pleasant scent. These are often made as a by-product from honey production, so made in small batches.


Soy candles are toxin free and burn slowly with little soot production. They are clean candles which means you don’t get the black marking around the tops of the jar or glass. It is also easy to clean any spillages! Often Soy candles are ‘blended’ so mixed with any type of wax. Soy wax is 100% biodegradable.

It can be hard to find all natural candles. Look out for the word ‘blend’. It generally means that different types of wax are mixed together, bringing the quality and clean burn down. Fear not though, there are plenty of high quality eco friendly candles out there, below are a few of my favourites.

Wax and Wick

This is a London based company that make 100% soy candles. Even better, they re-purpose glass bottles and jars from the local area. Ingredients are ethically sourced and contain no artificial scent or nasties. If you are feeling creative you can also attend one of their practical workshops.

wax and wick candle


Highly scented with organic oils, definitely a luxury candle. Several ranges including sleep, de-stress and energy to suit all tastes and moods. A British company that also have a great range of gifts, skincare and oils.

Neom Candle

Askew Candles

From my home town, Askew Candles is a family business run by 3 brothers in their home workshop. Made using 100% beeswax and organic cotton they burn clean with a slightly sweet scent.

Askew candle

I am always on the lookout for new candles. Can you recommend any? Please comment below, I would love to hear your suggestions.

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