Waxing Poetic: The Secrets of True Grace’s Candle Wax
From little luxuries, to religious symbols, to essential illuminators, candles have a rich and important history across the world. Likewise, candle wax has its own complex past, with ingredients and blends changing across centuries, countries, cultures.
Some waxes have proved popular for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. First used by the Ancient Romans, tallow (a rendered form of animal fat) pops up throughout history as a base for candles, although its acrid smell and low levels of light make it a less-than-optimal choice. A more reliable alternative, beeswax burns cleanly with a delicate scent, making it popular with wealthier families in Medieval Western Europe – and ensuring it is still used by candlemakers to this day.
Other ancient wax blends are a little more unusual. Early Chinese candles were created from wax made from an indigenous insect combined with seeds, while Indian candle wax was made by combining boiled cinnamon and yak butter, a blend still used to create many temple candles.
Aided by modern technology and global supply chains, today’s candlemakers (or ‘chandlers’) have access to a much wider range of ingredients and manufacturing techniques. At True Grace, we like to blend the best of old and new, tweaking our wax mixes constantly to create the highest-quality, sustainable products while being inspired by the age-old candle making methods employed by our predecessors.
'We like to blend the best of old and new to create high-quality, sustainable products.”
Blending the ideal scented candle
There are a number of factors that we consider when creating the wax blend for our signature scented candle. Firstly, the wax has to burn cleanly, at the right speed and temperature. High quality candles should burn five grams of wax per hour; if a candle is burning more quickly, it might indicate that it’s not properly combusting (a clue is if it’s flickering excessively or giving off lots of smoke).
Secondly, it has to give off an enticing fragrance, even when not lit. And finally, it needs to be water soluble so that every container is reusable and recyclable.
With these concerns in mind, we have worked hard over the years to find sustainably-sourced ingredients that fit the bill and can be combined to create the perfect wax blend.
Top of the list? Rapeseed wax
Rapeseed is responsible for the vibrant yellow fields that brighten England’s countryside in the summer months. Rapeseed wax is versatile, with a smooth finish and a neutral smell, making it perfect as a base for scented candles. It softens the other waxes in the blend, allowing for a lower burning temperature. We source our rapeseed from a renewable, sustainable, GMO-free farm in Sweden.
With the rapeseed oil as a base, we add a combination of ingredients such as coconut wax (made from cold-pressed coconut oil) to increase the burn time, beeswax to remove impurities and balance the consistency of the wax, and carnauba wax to help with the surface finish, as well as a secret ingredient (we’ll never tell!).
Once the blend is complete, we’re ready to add fragrance, ensuring it’s properly combined so that the perfume is consistent throughout the candle’s lifespan. The True Grace wax blend burns at a higher temperature than other natural waxes, so that each candle releases its scent more effectively, creating a uniquely transportive experience.
The final touch
No matter how good the wax blend, a candle is nothing without the right wick.
Throughout history, candle makers have made use of everything from reeds to rolled rice paper to create effective wicks. At True Grace, we’ve opted for something a little more modern! Created by a supplier that specialises in natural wax candles, our wicks are made from braided fibres that have strong absorbent properties. These are then coated using a traditional method to help the wick burn effectively and stay upright even when extinguished, rather than crumbling away like a match.
Our candle makers add each wick to our glass jars by hand, to create a candle that’s elegant, effective and evocative.
To experience the craft of candle making in the comfort of your home, immerse yourself in a True Grace Home candle making workshop.