April 23, 2021 3 min read

If you are vegan, plant-based or looking to reduce your consumption of animal products you might be pretty clued up on diet but how about home decor? Are candles vegan? No... not always. Today we'll explain which candle types are vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

Why aren't candles vegan?

People can practice veganism in different ways but in general, vegans avoid animal products if possible in their daily lives. This can be through your diet, fashion choices and even where you bank. So in terms of candles, the ones that are not vegan are generally made using animal products or ingredients that are derived from animals.


Candles have been made for thousands of years, with surviving examples dating back to 200 BC in China. Historically, candles were made from tallow (beef fat) or other animal fats such as pig and sheep. Although olive oil and other vegetable oils were used too. Obviously, using animal fats is not vegan at all. However, the use of tallow or animal fat candles is fairly uncommon now on a mass-market scale. You will usually find these types of candles from extremely small-batch companies and the homesteading movement.

Paraffin and stearic acid

Nowadays, paraffin candles are the most popular choice of mass-produced candle makers. Though paraffin wax as a product is suitable for vegans, many candles also contain Stearic Acid which is derived from animals fats such as tallow. The stearic acid is used to harden the wax, so look out for this to avoid non-vegan paraffin candles.


Beeswax is another popular, historic candle wax source. As it's reliant on the bees producing it and it is something they use to make and protect their hives and food source, it is not a vegan product. Many natural candle companies choose to use beeswax over paraffin as it is more environmentally friendly but it is not vegan and not guaranteed to be cruelty free.

Other Animal Additives

Some candles and wax melts contain other animal additives to improve the properties of the candle, like hardening or for their colour or scents. A few examples include;

  • Goat milk - Frequently used as a hardening agent
  • Carmine or cochineal - A beetle derived red colouring
  • Musk Scents - Created using animal anal secretions. YUCK!

Vegan Candle options

So, what options are there for candles that are vegan? All of the vegan options are plant-based and come from a vegetable oil (wax) source.

Palm Wax

Palm wax is frequently used for candles because it is incredibly cheap. But palm oil production is devastating to the environment and should be avoided. Even 'sustainably' sourced palm oil causes deforestation and reduced biodiversity. If you are looking for a vegan candle, it's not just about the product but the effect it has on the world around us.

Coconut wax

Coconut wax is another renewable, natural source for vegan candles. It is a quality product and has a better environmental footprint than palm wax but can be a lot more expensive than other vegan options.

Soy Wax Candles

Soy wax is better for the environment because it is a natural and sustainable resource and does not involve any animal products or animal-derived ingredients. Wax made from soy is also biodegradable so if it spills on your tablecloth or clothing, it's a lot easier to clean than toxic waxes such as paraffin. They are an affordable vegan candle option. The environmental reasons alone were enough to convince us that this was the wax we wanted to use in our candles.

Cruelty-Free Candles

It's not just about the contents of the candle that you should consider if you want to avoid animal products. As mentioned with palm wax, it's about the overall impact a candle could have on the environment and the animals that live there. A product may be animal-free but if it has been tested on animals, we wouldn't consider it to be vegan. The same with its production; if animal habitats are damaged by making the product or producing the raw materials, then you couldn't consider the product cruelty-free. It can feel like a bit of a minefield when looking for cruelty-free, vegan products but by researching before making a decision, you can make a difference with your purchases.

Shop Vegan Candles

Check out our range of vegan, cruelty-free candles created using soy wax and 100% natural fibre wicks. We are committed to improving our products and processes to avoid animal cruelty and improve our environmental impact as a business. If you have any questions about any of our products, please get in touch with the Candles by Luma team.

Lorna Middleton
Lorna Middleton

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