From Beeswax to Soy: The Evolution of Candle Waxes Through History

At PUNKS & PEACOCKS, we delve deep into the rich history and advancements in the materials that light up our world—candle waxes. This blog post traces the fascinating evolution of candle waxes, from ancient times to the present, exploring how changes in wax composition reflect technological advances and shifting consumer preferences toward sustainability and health.

1. The Ancient Beginnings

Tallow: The Original Candle Wax
The earliest candles, dating back to ancient Egypt and Rome, were primarily made from tallow—a rendered form of beef or mutton fat. Tallow was widely accessible and inexpensive, making it a popular choice despite its smoky burn and unpleasant odor.

Beeswax: A Luxurious Upgrade
By the Middle Ages, beeswax candles became highly prized among the affluent for their cleaner burn and sweet, subtle fragrance. However, beeswax was expensive and less accessible, limiting its use to the wealthy and for church ceremonies.

2. Industrial Revolution and Innovation

Paraffin Wax: A Modern Introduction
The 19th century brought significant changes with the introduction of paraffin wax. Derived from the distillation of coal or oil shale, paraffin became immensely popular due to its economical production process, odorless and cleaner burn compared to tallow.

Stearine: Improving Candle Quality
Around the same time, stearine (made from animal fats and plant oils) was introduced, enhancing the quality of candles further. Stearine candles burned more brightly and with less odor than their predecessors, setting new standards in the candle industry.

The Quest for Sustainability and Health

Soy Wax: A Sustainable Choice
In the late 20th century, as environmental concerns gained prominence, soy wax emerged as a popular alternative. Made from hydrogenated soybean oil, soy wax burns cleaner than paraffin and is renewable, biodegradable, and vegan-friendly, aligning with modern eco-conscious preferences.

Other Plant-Based Innovations
Other natural waxes like palm and coconut wax have also gained popularity. These waxes offer unique qualities such as slower burn times and excellent scent-holding capabilities, appealing to artisan candle makers and eco-conscious consumers alike.

4. The Future of Candle Waxes

Blended Waxes: Combining the Best Qualities
As the candle industry continues to innovate, blended waxes are becoming more prevalent. These blends combine the best properties of different wax types, such as the hardness of paraffin with the clean burn of soy, to meet specific needs and preferences.

Advances in Synthetic and Natural Waxes
The future may also see advances in synthetic biodegradable waxes and further refinements in natural waxes, focusing on sustainability and performance. The development of new, environmentally friendly candle-making materials is likely to continue in response to consumer demands and environmental challenges.


The evolution of candle waxes is a testament to human ingenuity and adaptability, reflecting broader trends in technology, economics, and environmental consciousness. At PUNKS & PEACOCKS, we embrace this rich history by offering a variety of candles made from different types of waxes, each with unique benefits and properties. Explore our collection to find the perfect candle for your home, knowing that each holds a piece of history and a step toward a sustainable future.