I was sitting there in the middle of the candle shop, surrounded by thousands of scents and smells. There were all the candles one could imagine! Candles for weddings, for baptisms, candles for birthday cakes, for aroma therapy, candles to be used in churches, at home or to decorate a fancy café. There were traditional-shaped candles and candles whose shape I could not figure out! There were beeswax candles, paraffin wax candles, soy candles and many others. I felt dizzy and not because of the fume of the burning candles in the shop. When I entered the small shop I knew exactly what I wanted: a beautiful, big, decorative candle for my sister’s living room. But there I was, starring at the shelves not knowing what to pick.
I chose an enormous, round, red candle decorated with little silvery moons. It smelt like strawberry. Too sweet for me, but it was not for my living room. I cheeked the label: natural paraffin wax. Until then I had no idea that paraffin was something natural. From my chemistry classes I knew that paraffin is the common name for alkaline hydrocarbons, having the complicated formula of CnH2n+2. The simplest paraffin molecule is that of methane, which at the room temperature is in fact a gas. I also knew that paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum refining, while paraffin wax is a mixture of alkenes that falls between the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range. Looking at that label, I was wondering how can a paraffin wax candle be 100% natural?
I looked around and saw a beautiful candle arrangement on a small table. There were candles having the shape of a cell comb, all around the table and in the middle of them, there was a cream-colored candle having the shape of a hut. There was a honeybee made of wax on the roof of the hut. I took the candle and I was stricken right away by the sweet, delicate honey smell. Then I took the cell comb shaped candles- they smelled of honey too. I checked the label: made of pure, natural beeswax.
Natural, qualitative beeswax, unmixed with paraffin or other substances has a dark-yellow color and a sweet, pleasant scent which gives a sensation of comfort and relaxation. Beeswax is easier to mold and therefore it is used for candles with complicated shapes. Moreover, beeswax candles are more qualitative than paraffin wax candles.
I was facing a dilemma: should I buy the big, red, paraffin wax candle or the small, cream, beeswax candle? Paraffin is more used in candle production because it is cheaper. The beeswax candle cost twice as much than the red candle even though it was three times smaller. The paraffin candle was red while the other one was creamy. One had a powerful strawberry smell, the other a sweet but almost undetectable honey scent. Paraffin wax is preferred by many candle producers because it is colorless and can be used in order to create numerous color combination. It is odorless and therefore the essential oils used in making the candle, seem more natural.
Taking into consideration all these, I reached my hand for the big, red candle that would have looked amazing in my sister’s living-room. However, just before putting it into my cart I remembered that paraffin wax eliminates while burning, styrene, naphthalene, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and allergic substances. Several paraffin candles lighted up in a closed space, like a room, can aggravate asthma, cause allergic reactions and irritation of the respiratory tract. On the other hand beeswax candles and soy candles are safe.
I decided that health was more important than my pride of buying an expensive looking gift and chose the beeswax candle instead of the paraffin wax candle.
Nowadays is fashionable to take about Bio and Eco products. However, each person is entitled to an opinion and has the right to use whichever candle he/she thinks is more appropriate. I prefer the beeswax ones to paraffin wax candles.