Ingredient Breakdown: What Candle Manufacturers Aren't Telling You

fragrance bottle on pedestal

In recent years, consumers have been moving in masses to make the switch to non-toxic household items, including everything from cleaners and floor varnishes to toiletries and beauty products. The demand to know what exactly we're using in, on, and around our bodies has grown exponentially, and rightfully so. Because, as it turns out, some companies *really* don't want you to know. Why? Well, it's actually pretty simple.

The production and distribution of household products aren't currently well regulated, leaving corporations with the ability to profit off of a lack of transparency and throw whatever ingredients they want into their products, often prioritizing cost over quality.

But at L+F, that's not really our jam.

We believe in full transparency, and would way rather overshare than leave our customers in the dark. So, we wanted to give you a thorough breakdown of every ingredient that goes into your L+F candles so that you know exactly what you're getting when purchasing one of our products.

We're certainly not here to tell you what to buy, but we fully believe in your right to make informed decisions when it comes to the products you put in your home. While large companies aren't always willing to disclose information about what's in their products, small businesses thrive on transparency and fostering trust with our customers, and we are always open to answering your questions.

The Wax

Our candles begin with sustainably-sourced soy wax flakes, made from soybeans grown in the USA. When it comes to candle waxes, there are loads of options out there: paraffin, coconut, apricot, palm, beeswax, gel, and more. The wax a manufacturer chooses to use will vary depending on what kind of candles they want to produce, how much they're looking to spend, and the quality of product they wish to provide to consumers. 

We chose soy wax because it checks off all of our boxes in what we want from a wax. Made from hydrogenated soybean oil, soy wax is 100% natural, sustainable, and non-toxic. It is also long-lasting and clean-burning, which makes it ideal for jar candles as it ensures a slow and even burn. To us, soy wax is simply perfect as it's good for the planet, good for you, and good for the craft of candlemaking. 

When purchasing candles, we always suggest that you know what kind of wax they're made from. Because, if you can't find it anywhere on the jar, it's probably made from some pretty crappy stuff that the manufacturer doesn't want you to know about.

Most large-scale manufacturers opt for paraffin wax, as it's incredibly inexpensive to produce and use. But unlike plant-based waxes like soy and coconut, paraffin is derived from petroleum and has to undergo chemical bleaching before being made into wax. While it's unclear if breathing in the chemicals released from paraffin wax is bad for your health, we prefer to err on the side of caution and stick with plant-based waxes. 

Tip: beware of candles marketed as "soy blends." This means the candle is made from a blend of soy and paraffin wax, but often not in an even ratio. Soy blends can be made from 90% paraffin wax, but mixing with 10% of soy wax allows the brand to market the wax as a soy blend.

The Fragrance

Up next, let's dive into the fragrance used to create our pop-culture inspired scents. Our candles are scented with phthalate-free fragrance oils. A question we're frequently asked is if fragrance oils and essential oils are the same thing. In short: no. But let's dive into why that is, and why we prefer using synthetic fragrance for our candles.

Essential oils are aromatic oils extracted from plants. Though a completely natural source of fragrance, essential oils are more difficult to produce and far less sustainably sourced than synthetic oils because of the amount of water needed to produce them. Additionally, essential oils often don't have as strong as a scent throw when bound with wax to make candles. They can also be a bit limiting when it comes to crafting scented products, as unfortunately, there's no plant out there called "new car smell" or "ocean breeze." To create the authentic scent experiences we're going for, we need the help of lab-made fragrances.

Both essential and synthetic fragrance oils are nothing more than chemical compounds. Though made in a lab, the synthetic oils we use are completely safe and never contain carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins, organ toxins, or acute toxins. These are the kinds of ingredients that are often found in mass-produced candles and are the reason people often experience headaches or allergic reactions while burning them. Our premium-quality fragrance oils ensure a clean, safe burn for you and your home.

The Wick

A perfect wick makes all the difference when it comes to candlemaking. Wicks work very differently depending on the wax, jar, and fragrance load. Wicks come in different sizes and are made from a variety of different materials, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Finding the perfect wick means undergoing a lot of experimentation and trial-and-error.

We use two kinds of wicks in our candles: cotton and wood. Our cotton wicks are made of braided cotton and paper filaments, making them 100% natural and non-toxic. Many cotton wicks are often made with zinc or lead to provide rigidity or assist with burning, but we found that natural cotton wicks both burn great and give us the peace of mind of knowing there are no added metals in them.

Our wood wicks are also all-natural and provide a multi-sensory experience while burning. As they burn, they crackle like wood in a fireplace and create a cozy, comforting atmosphere that is relaxing to the eyes, ears, and nose. 

Both our cotton and wood wicks are held in place with steel tabs that are necked to prevent the wick from burning too low and creating a fire hazard, which are then adhered to the bottom of the jar with stickers.

The Color

We color our candles with highly concentrated oil-based candle dyes. These dyes are made from chemical compounds known as anilines, and are so pigmented that we can color a whole batch of candles with as few as 10 drops. While these dyes are not known to be harmful, we know some of our customers would prefer their candles dye-free, and thus we are working on removing dyes from our candles by the end of 2021.

 

And...that's it! We certainly include different additives to help with color, scent, and appearance...but we like to keep things simple. Maybe that means your candle will have some crystallization on the sides or a bumpy top after burning, but that just means the wax is all natural, baby! So, go forth and burn smart, friends.

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