So what IS the deal with paraffin candles?

Scenario 1:

You're walking around the mall and that heavenly, heavy aroma pulls you near and you end up standing in an overwhelming room of pretty glass candles taking off the tops and sniffing each and every one, only to leave with a little bit of a headache and a wee-bit nauseated...

OR...'re walking around your favorite one-stop-shop store and you see a bag of 50 tealights for a small $5 price tag and you think "WOW! This a great deal!" And you are right...50 tealights for $5 would be a great deal - but only a great deal for your wallet - not so much for you or your home. 

Those big, pretty glass candles that look like they'd burn for the next 100 years and that bag of tealights that is sure to leave some extra money in your wallet, are made from paraffin (not all of them; but 99.9% of them are). And just as the name implies, paraffin candles are made from paraffin wax; a by-product of petroleum refining. The result? A highly toxic (and environmentally unfriendly) product that quite literally poisons the air you breathe.

Now, "poison" sounds like a strong word and you may be thinking "yeah, right", but let's take a closer look. Paraffin wax starts as the sludge at the bottom of the barrel of crude oil. Even asphalt is extracted before paraffin in the refining process! The black sludge, already filled with numerous toxins, undergoes bleaching and treatment by carcinogens benzene and/or toulene. And the chemicals don’t stop there. Chemists mix in concoctions of colors and fragrances to make the product more marketable and appealing - with the added touch of brightly colored imagery to the container. The final result is an innocent looking candle which releases seven documented toxins – two of which are carcinogenic – when it burns.

And toxins aren’t the only problem with burning paraffin candles. Over time, repeatedly burning paraffin candles leaves black soot stains on walls, ceilings, furniture, and drapery (yup, that's where those black/gray marks come from). The microscopic soot particles at fault for the cosmetic damage also can cause health problems. These tiny particles are easily inhaled and get trapped in the deepest part of the lungs, which may cause respiratory irritation.


That's where people like us at Flicker Box HQ come in - to help you make healthy candle choices for your home! There are many alternative options to paraffin candles - and even finding a blend of other materials is taking a step in the right direction. Candles can be found in soy wax, palm wax, and even beeswax! Now, we are the first one's to admit that these more organic materials just don't have the overwhelming fragrances that mall-candles will have - those candles are made to burn the nose-hairs right out of the nostrils! These other options smell better and in fact last longer than their mall-candle counterparts. Read our blog post here for why bigger is not always better.


Beeswax candles act as natural air purifiers, meaning they actually clean the air when they burn. Are we sure?'s how! (*warning* - this get's scientific)

Beeswax releases negative ions when it burns. Pollen, dust, dirt, pollutants, and any other junk in the air all carry a positive charge, and that is how they can be suspended into the air. The negative ions released from burning beeswax negate the positive charge of air contaminants, and the neutralized ions are sucked back into the burning candle or fall to the ground. Many air purifiers and water filters harness this effective negative ion technology. Voila - natural air purifiers. 

Beeswax candles can effectively reduce asthma and allergies by drawing pollutants out of the air. There are numerous miraculous stories of how switching to beeswax candles has changed people's quality of life. I'm sure you've heard it before "Beeswax is the only candle I burn" or "My husband can only stand beeswax candles!"


As we've stated before, making the switch from those "great-deal", mall-candles to soy wax, palm wax, or beeswax can often leave you with sticker shock. BUT it's a small price to pay if you're someone who loves candles and are concerned about what you're bringing into your home. Trust us: make the switch to a blended wax candle or even go full soy or beeswax and we guarantee you that your husband will be totally fine with you burning candles again and there's a good chance those natural fragrances won't bother him as much as the mall-candles once did!