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Difference Between Paraffin Wax and Candle Wax

Wax is a popular ingredient used in a variety of industries including food, beauty, leather and textile, just to mention a few. Most popular as a component of candles, most people would be surprised to learn that wax is also found in moisturizers, used as coatings for candies, used in crayons and pencils as well as in chewing gums. While the uses are inexhaustive, the sources of wax vary, leading to different types of wax such as paraffin wax, beeswax, palm wax and candle wax. In this article, we will look at the differences between paraffin wax and candle wax.  

What is Paraffin wax?

This is wax derived from coal, petroleum or oil shale. It is white, tasteless, colourless, odourless and waxy solid. It is also insoluble in water, is solid at room temperature and burns readily. 

Available in powder, bulk liquid, flakes, free flow pastilles or slabs, it is used in industrial and laboratory applications. 

Among the used include;

  • Making candles
  • Used as additives in food items and coatings
  • Used in beauty products such as toiletries and moisturizers
  • Making of pencils and crayons
  • Used as a tanning agent for leather and a waterproofing agent for textiles

Others include use in industries to make construction boards, wood finishing, polishes, anti-caking agents, fertilizer coating and flexible coatings, just to name a few. 

What is Candle wax?

This is a form of wax that is used to make candles. While beeswax has been popular in making for many centuries, other types of wax such as paraffin wax, soy wax and coconut wax are recent innovations in this industry. 

Different wax, however, gives different results in candles. For instance, soy wax is known to burn the longest burn while paraffin wax is known to achieve a strong fragrance in candles. 

Similarities between Paraffin wax and Candle wax

  • Both contain wax

Differences between Paraffin wax and Candle wax


Paraffin wax refers to wax derived from coal, petroleum or oil shale. On the other hand, candle wax refers to a form of wax that is used to make candles. 


While paraffin wax is obtained from coal, petroleum or oil shale, candle wax can be made from various types of wax such as coconut wax, soy wax, paraffin wax and beeswax. 


Paraffin wax is odourless. On the other hand, candle wax can be odourless or have fragrance. 


While paraffin wax can be used to make candles, as an additive in food items and coatings, in beauty products such as toiletries and moisturizers among other industrial uses, candle wax is used in the making of candles. 

Paraffin wax vs. Candle wax: Comparison Table

Summary of Paraffin wax vs. Candle wax

Paraffin wax refers to wax derived from coal, petroleum or oil shale. On the other hand, candle wax refers to a form of wax that is used to make candles. The main difference, however, is that paraffin is derived from coal, petroleum or oil shale while candle wax is derived from any type of wax. 

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References :

[0]David Nelson. Junkyard Jam Band: DIY Musical Instruments and Noisemakers. No Starch Press, 2015. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=QAbSCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA140&dq=Difference+between+paraffin+wax+and+candle+wax&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiOvLiG8MPsAhVh8-AKHZguB18Q6AEwAHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20paraffin%20wax%20and%20candle%20wax&f=false

[1]Farrel S & Bettelheim F. Introduction to General, Organic and Biochemistry. Cengage Learning, 2009. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=mM-Ulksh9PAC&pg=PA340&dq=Difference+between+paraffin+wax+and+candle+wax&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiOvLiG8MPsAhVh8-AKHZguB18Q6AEwAXoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20paraffin%20wax%20and%20candle%20wax&f=false

[2]Owen Jones. Lighting for the Home and Garden. Owen Jones. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=U3IgQdofHCQC&pg=PP6&dq=Difference+between+paraffin+wax+and+candle+wax&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiOvLiG8MPsAhVh8-AKHZguB18Q6AEwCXoECAEQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20paraffin%20wax%20and%20candle%20wax&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agglomeration_of_melted_candle_wax,_plus_burning_candles,_in_a_Tallinn_restaurant.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paraffin_wax.jpg

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