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December 6, 2017

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In which Stella talks about 'Natural' wax, bees and chemistry.

November 20, 2018

A conversation between Krystal 'Stella' Coss and Apossentials.


Stella Says candles are made from 100% natural wax blend which has been described as making them 'truly unique'. But the word 'natural' is used by many candle producers - what makes Stella Says candles special?


Summed up very quickly - Stella Says candles are made from organic, ethically, sourced un-hydrogenated, non-bleached waxes and oils which are readily available from the natural environment without requiring excessive industrial processing.


And they're handmade made by you?

Yes; they're handmade by me, in small batches. They're about as far from industrial as it's possible to make a high quality scented candle. I believe that they're something that you can burn and enjoy with a clear conscience (and I do!). That's what makes them special!


Are you implying that other 'natural' candles are not actually natural...?

I'm not implying - sadly, in a number of cases they're simply not. As anyone who's ever asked me why I don't use soy in my candles will know, nothing gets me more worked up than 'natural' candles that are made from an oil extracted from a genetically modified plant, treated with hexane to hydrogenate it (ie so that it's a wax at room temperature)  and then chlorine to bleach it. Even more infuriating are candles that describe themselves as 'natural paraffin', 'natural mineral wax' or any of the hundred other labels that manufacturers use on petro-chemical derived waxes or wax blends to sanitise their original source.


That sounds...somewhat misleading.

I think they would argue that point! Crude oil is after all natural, soy is a plant, hexane can be found in many fruits and chlorine gas is naturally occurring...


But it's not exactly what I understand when I think of 'natural' in this context.

Well, again, there is no legal definition of the word - so one persons understanding of 'natural' isn't necessarily that of another and no rules are being broken. But, in either case, it convinces us that what we're buying is somehow more innocent, but it doesn't take a huge amount of research to find out that all is not quite as innocent as it seems.


So is that what drives you to make your candles?

More or less: Stella Says candles came from my desire to make a candle that was as chemical (though not chemistry) process free as I could make it: In my early days of candle making, I experimented with many different kinds of wax to try and find a wax that I could work with. I researched their origins and production methods and the characteristics of each - for example their melt point and ability to hold a fragrance. Soy was a very strong contender for a base, it was becoming increasingly popular as a reliable substitute for beeswax; it's far less expensive,  its very easy to work with and it's relatively odourless, so for a candle maker it offers some obvious benefits.


But you chose not to use it, why? Isn't soy sustainable and renewable, carbon neutral? Certainly not all of it's GM.