Are Candles Vegan?

Are Candles Vegan?

It’s not long into your vegan journey before you notice that it affects way more than just the food you eat. It’s a lifestyle that starts to impact everything you use and everything you buy. You become very aware of the fact that you live in a non vegan world and animal derived ingredients seem to start cropping up in everything. Some things are a bit more obvious, like fur in fashion or leather in furniture. Other discoveries are a bit more surprising - like animal testing in makeup or beeswax in candles.

So wait, are candles vegan?

 Some are, some aren’t - like most things it varies depending on what ingredients and materials are used during production. Annoyingly candles aren’t labelled like food so it’s not as simple as flipping over the box and reading an ingredient list.

There are a few components that go into making a candle - first you have the wax which can be made using fats, oils and other waxy substances. Additionally fragrance or oils can be added to this wax to customise it. It’s this waxy substance that is often not vegan. Sometimes animal derived ingredients are used - like tallow (fat from sheep or cows) or beeswax - to make the wax. Sometimes the colours or fragrances used aren’t vegan.

On the bright side - pun intended - candle wicks are most often made with braided cotton which is vegan-friendly.

 The easiest way to find vegan candles? Shop from a vegan candle brand. Not only will their candles be vegan, but they will have thought about veganism and animal welfare in every step of the process.

What’s wrong with beeswax?

It’s easy to get confused as to whether beeswax is suitable for vegans. It’s not like milk or eggs which comes directly from the body of an animal. However, beeswax does come from bee labour.

Beeswax is not considered to be a vegan ingredient. As always, whenever animals are used in the production of an ingredient, there’s reason to be concerned. It’s in these situations that they’re most likely to be treated as a commodity rather than as a living being - when product yield, efficiency and profit is placed over their wellbeing.

What sort of mistreatment can result from beekeeping?

It’s not unusual for the queen bee’s wings to be clipped to prevent her from leaving the colony.
Bees collect honey for themselves to survive winter, but some farmers replace this honey with a cheaper sugar substitute which lacks the nutrients, fats and vitamins in honey. This in turn impacts bee health for the worse.
Collecting honey can cause bees to overwork themselves to replace the missing honey.
Finally, bees can die through stinging when they feel under threat during harvest.

There’s already great concern over the decline of bees and it’s practices like these which are contributing to that. Whether or not you think it’s cruel to use beeswax, it is undeniably damaging to be producing honey and beeswax at our current rate. One small thing you can do to help the bees? Ditch beeswax candles.

Is soy wax vegan?

 Yes! Soy wax is derived from soybeans and thus vegan-friendly. The benefits don’t stop there - soy wax is also natural, biodegradable and burns cleaner than paraffin wax too. It’s an all round great choice for those wanting to be kinder to both animals and the environment.

Unfortunately the use of soy wax alone doesn’t guarantee that a candle is vegan. Soy wax candles could have non-vegan ingredients added to them - perhaps for texture, colour or fragrance. So it’s still important to check for vegan labelling on soy wax candles.

Is coconut wax vegan?

 It’s recommended that vegans take some extra care when choosing candles made using coconut wax. Whilst coconuts are vegan-friendly, some companies use monkey labour to harvest coconuts. In 2019 a PETA Asia investigation revealed young monkeys in Thailand were being kept chained and forced to climb trees for coconuts used to make coconut milk, oil, flour and other products.

If you’ve found a company that uses coconut wax but cannot confirm that monkey labour was not used in any part of the process, it’s best to steer clear.

Vegan Candles + Vegan Ethics

Candle companies, like Vegan Bunny, that are set up with vegan ethics at their core are always the best choice. These companies will be looking at every part of the candle making process and ensuring that ethics like animal welfare and sustainability are at the forefront of their decision making.

Personally, I love to light the Rose Blossom candle for that fresh-bouquet smell and the Cinnamon Swirl candle on cosy Sunday mornings. 

Article by:  Nicole Whittle 

Instagram: @Veganbeautygirl