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3 min read / 2 April 2024 / yasmin sharp

Is Paraffin Wax Vegan?

Discover whether paraffin wax and its candle derivatives align with vegan principles, alongside exploring alternative vegan-friendly candles.

People who do not eat products that include animal ingredients often extend this into other areas of their life, including the candles they use at home.

Whilst paraffin wax candles are the most popular type of candles, the question remains, is paraffin wax vegan?

Trying to find a vegan-friendly candle can be something of a minefield, as animals may be involved in the manufacturing process at some stage.

We examine the vegan-friendly attributes of paraffin and investigate whether there are any other vegan candle alternatives you can try.

What does vegan friendly mean?

When something is labelled vegan-friendly, it means there are no animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients included in the product.

It should also mean that no animals or animal products were used to create it.

However, some certifications that state a product is ‘vegan-friendly’ can still involve some form of animal testing because the ingredients are vegan.

When a product carries a ‘Vegan Trademark’ it means it has been approved by the Vegan Society for certification.

Products that are not registered with Vegan Trademark may be called ‘vegan-friendly’ by the Vegan Society instead of vegan.

Is paraffin wax vegan friendly?

In its own right, paraffin wax can be considered vegan-friendly because it is derived from paraffin and crude oil (although crude oil may contain fossilised animal remains).

However, if the wax is made into a candle it usually requires the addition of stearic acid, which is derived from animal fat.

This is used to harden the wax so it can remain in a stable form at room temperature.

So, with the inclusion of animal fat, paraffin wax candles are not considered to be vegan-friendly.

Is paraffin wax environmentally friendly?

Another issue associated with paraffin wax candles that concerns some people is that they are not considered to be environmentally friendly.

This is because paraffin is derived from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource mined from the earth.

Not only is it non-renewable, but paraffin wax is energy intensive to produce and cannot be considered to be sustainable, which also means it is not environmentally friendly.

Which type of wax is vegan friendly?


Beeswax manages to tick the sustainable and renewable boxes as it is derived from the honeycomb of bees.

And when burned, the wax doesn’t soot or release harmful chemicals into the air.

Some manufacturers use ethically sourced beeswax which ensures no bees are harmed during the collection process.

Whilst this may make it vegan-friendly for some, others may not feel comfortable because animals are still being exploited.

Coconut wax

Coconut wax can be considered to be a renewable and sustainable vegan alternative to paraffin and beeswax because it is made from the meat of coconuts.

They also have a higher melting point than paraffin candles, which allows them to hold more fragrance and they usually emit less soot.

Soy wax

This is probably the most popular vegan candle wax as it is 100% plant-based.

Soy wax is non-toxic and biodegradable, which also makes it sustainable.

Less soot is released when they are lit and the wax also produces a longer, slower burn than paraffin wax candles.

Palm wax

Another vegan candle option is palm wax, which is sourced from the oil of palm trees.

They produce a long-lasting burn and are very pleasing to the eye as crystals tend to form on the surface.

Palm wax that is responsibly sourced and biodiversity assured is considered to be sustainable as palm trees are renewable.

Gel wax

Gel wax is used to make wax melts and tarts, and is transparent and usually coloured.

The wax is made from a petroleum-based by-product, which doesn’t make them eco-friendly or sustainable.

They do not contain animal ingredients (although like paraffin, petroleum may contain fossilised animal remains), which makes them vegan-friendly, although it also depends on how the product has been tested during the manufacturing stage.

Final thoughts

When answering the question, “Is paraffin wax vegan friendly?” there are two parts to the answer.

The wax in itself is vegan friendly, as it is sourced from petroleum.

However, in order for it to properly function as a candle, animal fats are added to keep it stable at room temperature, which does not make it a vegan-friendly option.

If you are looking for vegan-friendly candles, soy wax, coconut wax and palm wax are the best options.

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The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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