THE WICK IS THE HEART OF ALL CANDLES
You can have the finest wax candle available, but if the wrong wick is inside it, there is nothing that will make that candle burn at its best. As a candle buyer, you won’t have any idea what wick the candle maker used in your candle, but experienced candle makers will take many weeks, and even months, searching for the perfect wick for a particular candle. Considering that there are hundreds of wicks to choose from, it is a big task for a candle maker and it’s even more important than where they purchased their wax. You can have the purest, most beautiful smelling beeswax candle, but if the wrong wick is inside it, you won't get that beautiful candle burn you were hoping for. So what can you do as a consumer?
BUY A SAMPLE ORDER FOR YOUR FIRST PURCHASE
If you find a new candle company that you haven’t purchased from before, start by placing a smaller order for your first purchase to test them out (gasp! did I just say that?) Yes, we are a candle company and we would LOVE to have you buy huge quantities of candles from us, but as candle junkies ourselves, we know better. Buy the type of candle you normally love and test it out.
WATCH THE WICK
When you burn your candle, is the wick constantly needing attention? Is the flame very tall, very pointy and moving back and forth? ALL wicks need attention, but usually only after an hour or two of burning. If the candle's wick keeps creating tall, pointy flames that jump up and down and emit puffs of smoke when there is no air movement around it, that wick is not the best choice for that candle. That candle should not have been sold to you. It's important to know that even a great wick will start misbehaving after several hours of burning and not being trimmed (or if there’s a lot of air movement nearby), so we’re just talking about wicks that misbehave right from the start and continue to misbehave even after diligent trimming. If you are spending more time trimming that wick instead of enjoying the candle, you may have bought a candle from an inexperienced candle maker, or one that doesn’t perform frequent wick testing. Also watch for a weak flame that seems to struggle and not melt the candle out towards the edges.
WHAT CANDLE SCIENCE HAS TO SAY
“Beeswax can be a challenging wax to work with and isn’t generally recommended for first-time candle makers. Finding a wick to work with is difficult.”
WICK SIZE MATTERS
In its simplest description, wicks are like straws that draw up the melted wax for fuel. Candle-makers know that the larger the wick, the faster the wax will go up that wick for burning. Whenever I see very large wicks on a candle, I wonder about the quality of that candle. Candle-makers choose very large wicks for several reasons: the beeswax isn't filtered as good as it could be and needs a bigger wick to accommodate the impurities in the wax; or there is a lot of added wax colorant and/or fragrance that the wick will have to work hard to pull up.
CANDLE SHAPES MATTER
As a candle-maker, whenever I see beeswax candles in fun, decorative shapes, my first thought is, “How did they wick this candle?” If you buy a large heart-shaped candle, or any beeswax candle that has significant differences in proportion from one part of the candle to another, there is going to be an issue when burning that candle. All wicks are made to burn out to a certain radius and the candle-maker must decide which part of the candle they will be selecting the wick for to optimize the burn. Hopefully, the candle-maker chooses a wick for the safest part of the candle shape so as not to burn too far out and melt through the narrowest part of the candle. Because the safest wick should only burn far enough to the narrowest part of the candle, a lot of beeswax will go unused when a candle with varying widths are burned. If you enjoy buying fun candle shapes, just know the limitations of how that candle can burn and expect to have leftover wax. The best performing beeswax candles are always going to be the ones with a uniform, cylindrical shape due to the way wicks work.
LET YOUR EYES AND NOSE BE THE JUDGE
There are a lot of beautiful beeswax candles out there just waiting for you to light up and enjoy, so have fun trying out new candle companies and types of candles. You may surprise yourself and discover a type of candle you never thought you would enjoy (that's how I felt when I discovered skinny beeswax tapers!) Just keep an eye out on each candle's flame (which is fun to do anyway!) and you will discover which types of candles and which candle brands you prefer.
Hope you found something helpful in this blog post to guide you in your future beeswax candle adventures.
Thanks for stopping by!