Palm oil is common in candles. Even when advertising leads you to believe the candle is made from soy or coconut, it will also often contain palm oil, hydrogenated palm oil and/or paraffin. Here we explain how to find palm oil free candles.
When you purchase a candle that is clearly labeled 100% soy wax, 100% beeswax, 100% coconut wax, etc., you will know exactly what it’s made from. Candles usually contain a blend of ingredients to make up the actual candle.
Why? Companies want to save money. They use palm oil in candles because it’s inexpensive. Manufacturers also use paraffin wax which is petroleum-based and also inexpensive.
Don’t be swayed by descriptions such as:
- Soy candle
- Scented soy candle
- Plant-derived wax
- Plant-based wax
- Made from soy wax and vegetable wax
- Premium-grade wax
- Coconut oil and soy wax
- Beeswax blend
- Vegetable wax base
- Made with essential oils
- 100% natural
- Natural ingredients
- Made with coconut
In addition, when searching online for votives or tealights, search for “100% soy wax” or “100% canola.” Be sure to read the description so you know exactly what you are buying. Otherwise, you may mistakenly buy a wax blend which will likely include palm oil. Example: The package may say “100% Natural Canola Tealight Candles” but if it doesn’t say “100% canola wax,” then it’s a blend.
Read the ingredients
Be very concerned when the company does not spell out their ingredients on the candle. At the very least, the ingredients should be listed on their website.
Most people do not know that in the United States, candle manufacturers are not required to list their ingredients. Yankee Candle, a leading candle brand, does not list theirs. We could not find actual ingredients listed on the Yankee Candle website.
Yankee Candle describes their fragrances, but doesn’t list out the ingredients. As an example, their Spiced Pumpkin Original Large says this: Pumpkins baked in simmering spices of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, and sweetened with brown sugar.
But it doesn’t spell out the actual ingredients. There is no transparency with their ingredients.
Wax in candles
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According to the National Candle Association (NCA), in the United States, retail sales of candle products are $3+ billion a year.
In addition, each year, over one billion pounds of wax are used to make candles. The NCA also reports that blends of paraffin, palm wax, beeswax, soy wax, gels, and synthetic waxes are popular.
Again, unless you see 100% soy wax or 100% beeswax or 100% coconut wax on the label, know that it contains a blend which often includes palm oil.
Candle companies will spell out when they use 100% of an ingredient because it is higher quality candle and will likely cost more.
Also note that paraffin wax is a petroleum by-product created when crude oil is refined into gasoline. Some candle brands use it because like palm oil, it’s inexpensive. Many candle companies use a blend of paraffin and palm oil yet only describe they are “made with paraffin.”
This also happens frequently with “Soy Based” candles. If the candle company listed the ingredients, you would learn it’s actually soy and palm oil.
Read product descriptions thoroughly before buying votives, tealights and candles.
How to buy palm oil free candles
Find the ingredients
Look at the actual ingredients on the candle or on the company website before purchasing. If you can’t find them, don’t buy it.
Choose 100%-based wax that’s not palm oil
If the front of the candle doesn’t say 100% beeswax or 100% soy, etc., don’t buy it. It often will contain palm wax. While many companies recognize deforestation as a problem with palm wax, many use it.
Note, many homemade candles you find at farmers markets and street fairs contain 100% palm oil. Choose one that doesn’t. Also, if you learn how to make candles, choose a DIY candle-making recipe that uses sustainable soy, coconut, or beeswax.
Consider the price
Candle companies use palm oil because it’s inexpensive. This means, the cheaper the candle, the more likely it contains palm oil, paraffin wax, and chemicals.
Don’t be influenced by advertising
Many brands you may assume are earth-friendly and all natural and who advertise Plant-Based and Plant-Derived, still contain palm oil and chemicals. This is often true in cleaning products and laundry detergents as well as with brands of shampoo, lotion, etc.
I typed “candle” in Amazon, and the first candle that came up was from a popular brand known for wholesome products, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day. They advertised this candle as: Scented Soy Candle | Lavender Scent
The great news is the Mrs. Meyers brand is transparent in listing their candles’ ingredients on their website. It included the full list of ingredients for the Scented Soy Candle.
While palm oil is second in the list, the company doesn’t describe it as a Scented Soy & Palm Oil Candle. They only call it a “soy candle.” This is very common with candle brands.
Here is the full list of ingredients in the candle: Hydrogenated Soybean Oil; Hydrogenated Palm Oil; [Fragrance: Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil; Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil; 3,7-dimethylocta-1,3,6-triene; linalool; linalyl acetate; geraniol; geranyl acetate; 1-(2,6,6-trimethyl-1,3-cyclohexadien-1-yl)-2-buten-1-one; coumarin; octan-2-one; eucalyptol; phenethyl alcohol; hexyl salicylate; benzyl benzoate; (1s-endo)-1,7,7-trimethylbicyclo(2.2.1)heptan-2-ol; camphor; pinene; ethyl 2-methylbutyrate; lavandula hybrida oil; terpenes and terpenoids, sweet orange-oil; isopropyl myristate; pinus palustris oil; limonene; citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil]
Look for the word “blend”
Research online if you don’t see 100% ____ on the candle itself. If you see that the candle is described as a blend, know that it likely contains palm oil and/or paraffin. Don’t buy candles when you see the word “blend” unless you can find all the ingredients in it.
Buy cruelty-free and palm oil free certified candles
Palm Oil Free certified products are different than Cruelty-Free certified products. However, both certifications consider animal welfare and are signs of environmentally-friendly practices.
Look for candles that have earned are Palm Oil Free certification from Orangutan Alliance or from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme.
Choose specialty brands
It’s best to buy candles from smaller specialty companies who may use higher quality ingredients as a way to distinguish themselves from the industry-leading manufacturers.
Many of the big candle brands use blends of palm oil and paraffin wax. Remember, palm oil and petroleum-based paraffin wax are inexpensive.
As an example, Bath & Body Works is another leading candy industry brand. It is exceptional they spell out the ingredients in their candles. They are very transparent. However, they use palm oil.
We randomly selected their Aromatherapy Eucalyptus Spearmint, 3-Wick Candle. The ingredients are:
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Paraffin, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Fragrance, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina, Cire microcristalline), Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Butyl Stearate, Linalool, Citronellol, Coumarin, Bis (Octyloxy-Tetramethyl-Piperidyl) Sebacate, C7-9 Esters of Benzotriazolyl-Dimethylethyl-p-Hydroxybenzenepropanoic Acid, Octadecyl Di-t-butyl-4-hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Geraniol, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxycitronellal, Citral, BHT
The wax of this candle is made from a blend of hydrogenated soybean oil, paraffin, hydrogenated palm oil, and microcrystalline wax which is made from petroleum-derived plastic. It also includes many chemicals and additional ingredients.
Choose candles with less ingredients
When you choose a candle that’s 100% soybean, 100% soy wax, 100% pure coconut, etc., it will have less ingredients overall. In addition to the candle wax, there may be natural fragrance but nothing else. Additional ingredients common in candles with palm oil:
- Emulsifiers and emulsifying agents
- Artificial, chemically-made parfums and fragrance
Palm oil free candles
Remember, palm oil is inexpensive and versatile. It works well in candles. Many candle brands use it. Here are candles without palm oil.
In the United States
Made in the USA in Tennessee, Candlove makes their jar candles and wax melts with 100% soy wax. In addition, their wicks are 100% cotton. They make these candles including 40+ additional varieties:
- Almond Biscotti
- Alpine Frost
- Autumn Harvest
- Birthday Cake
- Black Raspberry Vanilla
- Blueberry Cobbler
- Bouquet of Roses
- Cinnamon and Vanilla
- Citrus & Basil
- Coconut Butter
- Cucumber Melon
Wax melts: They have 40+ varieties of 100% soy wax melts as well.
Everspring is Target’s household brand. While many of their products contain palm oil, they make 100% soy wax candles.
You can find their 100% Soy Wax Candle at Target online and in stores.
- Black Pepper & Balsam
- Citrus & Basil
- Clove & Nutmeg
- Lavender & Bergamot
- Lemon & Mint
- Mandarin & Ginger
- Vanilla & Mulled Citrus
Flying Farm Candles
The Flying Farm, LLC makes 100% soy wax candles and 100% soy wax melts. They never use paraffin. We asked the owner, Rachel Mazzaferro, “Why do you use only soy wax in your candles and not palm oil?”
She replied, “We have actively chosen to not use any palm wax because of the mass deforestation of the rainforests which are the habitat of many critically endangered animals, such as orangutans. Even though palm oil suppliers are now working towards having sustainable practices, it currently is not a consistent process.
Our view is, why use questionable palm wax when soy wax is readily available? Soy is a sustainably produced, renewable crop, and American farmers are a major producer of the world’s soy crop. Rather than contribute to the destruction of foreign rainforests, we would like to support American farms!”
These are some of their 40+ soy wax candle varieties:
- Almond Biscotti
- Apple Orchard
- Artisan Baguette
- Autumn Leaves
- Balsam Garland
- Banana Pudding
- Blueberry Muffins
- Candied Plums
- Cider Barrel
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Coffee Shop
- Cranberry Spice
- Farmers Market
- Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Frosted Sugar Cookie
- Gingerbread House
- Honeysuckle Vines
- Lavender Vanilla
- Lemon Meringue
- Merry Mulberry
- Pumpkin Harvest
- Pumpkin Latte
- Sugared Evergreen
- Sweet Tea
- Wild Lilac
- White Pumpkin Brulee
They make 30+ varieties of soy wax melts. Some of them include:
- Apple Orchard
- Candied Plums
- Caramel Apple
- Chocolate Ganache Cake
- Cider Barrel
- Frosted Sugar Cookie
- Hickory Bonfire
- Lavender Vanilla
- Peppermint Cocoa
The Fanciful Fox
They offer 30+ palm oil free candle varieties on their website. Here are some of them. The Fanciful Fox makes palm oil free candles made with 100% soy wax in reusable glass containers. Their wicks are metal-free. Their candles are made with either a single cotton wick, single hemp wick, or double hemp wicks.
- Eucalyptus Lemongrass
- Key Lime Pie
- Lemon Parsley
- Lemon Sage Ginger
- Affirmation Candles
- Grounded: Patchouli
- Invigorated: Citrus and eucalyptus
- Joyful: Sweet basil, grapefruit, citrus
- Relaxed: Bulgarian lavender
- Uplifted: Lemon, fir and woods
- Peace and Quiet: Lavender, patchouli, bergamot
- Witchy Brew: Patchouli, frankincense, cinnamon
Unearth Malee makes their aromatherapy candles with 100% pure non-GMO soy wax. Their candles are packaged in an eco-friendly container. In addition, the paperboard is recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable. See their other items in our palm oil free products list.
- Chai Spiced Tea
- Citrus Woods
- Ginger Lemongrass
- Lavender Thai Lime
- Japanese Magnolia
They use a blend of coconut oil and beeswax instead of palm oil. Their candles are paraffin wax-free, palm wax-free, palm oil free, soy wax-free, and gluten free. Cocolux Australia candles have pure cotton wicks. In addition, they are cruelty-free with no animal testing. They are hand-poured in Australia. In the United States, you can purchase their palm oil free candles from Nordstrom.
- Bergamot, Lily & Moss
- Exotic Amber & Spice
- Island Fig, Cassis & Peach
- Palm Leaf & Bamboo
- Sweet Pomegranate & Acai
- Tonka Bean & Lime Zest
- Violet Tabac
- Wild Frangipani
- Wax Melts: Calm, Harmony, Joy, Peace
Dindi Naturals oil burner melts are certified Palm Oil Free by Orangutan Alliance. They are made from rice bran wax and sunflower wax. They are vegan friendly.
Wax melts are like candles but without wicks. You put the melts in a warmer or melter.
Mojo Candle Co.
Mojo Candle Co. upcycles wine bottles from wineries and restaurants of the Southern Highlands of NSW Australia.
They source beer bottles from the breweries and restaurants in Sydney’s Inner West and the Southern Highlands of NSW and Canberra, Australia. Mojo Candle upcycles them into candles.
All of their candles are hand poured and made from 100% soy wax. The bottles are all cut, sanded and polished by hand. They use sustainably-sourced cork tops and 100% lead-free cotton.
Candles in reclaimed wine bottles:
- Cedar & Saffron
- Coconut & Lime
- French Pear
- Moroccan Spice
- Oakmoss & Sage
- Rose, Pepper & Blackmint
- Shanghai Blossom
- Sweet Tangerine & Island Fruits
- Violet & Frosted Berries
- Watermelon Lemonade
- Wild Basil & Cucumber
Candles in reclaimed beer bottles:
- Barber Shop
- Himalayan Bamboo
- Leather and Wood
- Wasabi Mint
The Donegal Natural Soap Company
- Beeswax Dinner Candles
- Small Votive Candle
- Natural (Unscented)
- Wild Heather
- Ylang Ylang Bay Rose
- Made with coconut wax and beeswax
This company has earned Palm Oil Free certification by the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme (POFCAP). They also make natural soaps, balms, and more.
In the UK
Bloomtown earned Palm Oil Free certification from Orangutan Alliance. They make scent-infused botanical candles made from natural coconut and soy wax. In addition to being palm oil free, the candles are free from from phthalates and parabens.
Their candles have lead-free wicks for a clean, even burn. Bloomtown pours their candles in small batches ensuring the best quality and scent throw.
They are also certified Cruelty-Free and Vegan. They earned the Ethical Award from The Ethical Company Organisation as well as the Good Shopping Guide Ethical Beauty seal. In addition, they donate 10% of their profits to environmental and social causes. The company encourages consumers to reuse the glass jars.
Bloomtown makes Scented Botanical Wax Candles in the following:
- The Cafe
- The Meadow
- Rose Garden
- The Woods
Learn how to make candles
Learning how to make soy candles or beeswax candles can become a fun hobby. There are many resources online and in library books. Many craft stores sell supplies. When you make your own candles, you can choose which ingredients to use to ensure they are palm oil free.
Coconut wax candles
Note, pure coconut wax candles without additives are hard to find. There are many advantages to choosing candles made from 100% coconut wax. Coconut is:
- Can be non-GMO
- Highly renewable, sustainable high yield crop
- Extended burn time
- Superior scent throw
Because there aren’t labeling laws for candles, manufacturers aren’t required to state the exact composition. If the candle contains mostly coconut, they can call it coconut wax. This is why it’s important to look for 100% coconut wax on the label.
Coconut wax is soft; it’s difficult to find candles that contain only coconut wax and are not blended.
While candle companies may note this in their product descriptions, the National Candle Association states that lead wicks are officially banned in the United States. This means that all wicks in the United States should be lead-free. Wicks in eco-friendly candles are made from wood, hemp, or cotton.
Buying candles without palm oil
When you get in the habit of reading ingredients, you can avoid palm oil. While there are hundreds of names for palm oil derivatives, in candles, you will see it spelled out as “palm oil” or “hydrogenated palm oil.”
Only purchase candles that spell out they use 100% soy wax, etc. If it says, “100% Natural Soy Candle,” this is not the same as 100% soy wax. They are saying it’s 100% natural. “Natural” can mean many things.
If the candle company isn’t transparent with the ingredients, do not purchase it. At the very least, they should be listed on the website.
Don’t be swayed by advertising. Many candles contain palm oil. Read labels. Reach out to companies to ask the source of their ingredients. Buy candles that say 100% beeswax, 100% soy wax, or 100% coconut wax on their packaging.