Last Updated on December 11, 2021 by The Filtery Staff
Beef candles—what!? Yep, tallow candles (also called beed lard candles) have been around for a LONG time. Although they’re not nearly as popular as they once were, tallow can be a great natural, non-toxic alternative to paraffin wax candles. We’re going to tell you why and then tell you where you can find the most high-quality tallow candles for sale!
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Featured Image: Farmers Candle Co.
What is Tallow?
Tallow is fat rendered from beef (also called beef lard). Before cheaper types of waxes came along, humans had been making candles out of tallow and beeswax for a long time.
Tallow used to be used for a lot of different things, not just for candles but also for soaps and body balms. It’s really good for the skin, with vitamins A, D, K, & E, & B12, anti-inflammatory properties, and healthy fatty acids.
Before the 1990s, almost all of the fast food restaurants cooked their fries in tallow. It’s also been widely used as a lubricant for everything from trains to bicycles. These days, it’s also used in dog food and other types of animal food.
Why is Tallow Better Than Paraffin Wax for Candles?
These days, most candles are made with cheap paraffin wax, which is a petroleum product. When burned, paraffin wax releases a collection of toxic chemicals called BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene). You’re actually contributing to indoor air pollution when you burn regular candles in your house! You can read more about that here.
Tallow wax, on the other hand, is a natural and non-toxic alternative to paraffin that doesn’t release any toxic chemicals when burned. Not only that, but tallow is very slow-burning, so each candle will last a lot longer than other types of waxes.
You’ll also notice that most of the brands below use tallow sourced from their own farms. Buying tallow candles can be a great way for sustainable cattle farmers to implement low/zero waste initiatives and use the whole animal. It can also be a great way for consumers to support small, regenerative farms!
6 Best Brands for Non-Toxic Tallow Candles
These beautiful, sustainable tallow candles are crafted with the rendered fat of California pasture-raised Cattle, locally sourced beeswax, smoky black tea, and vetiver essential oil. Their various sizes come in glass jars with a resealable, sustainably sourced cork lid.
In addition to their tallow candles, Summer Solace also carries soaps, balms, and perfumes.
This Wisconsin-based shop carries clean-burning natural candles that support family farms. They’re handmade with 100% grass-fed and finished beef tallow, beeswax, and a hemp wick, along with a blend of essential oils and premium grade phthalate-free fragrance oils.
These candles are made by hand on an off-grid homestead in Tennessee. Poured into glass jars that have been salvaged from the local recycling facility, they’re made out of 75% tallow and 25% beeswax. There’s a fair bit of customization available; you can choose your scent (or get unscented) and pick between a cotton or wooden wick.
They also carry a variety of other products like goat milk soaps and shampoos, tallow body balms, alpaca and sheep yarn and fleece items, and more.
If you’re looking for an unscented tallow candle, check out this Canada-based small business. These fragrance-free tallow candles are hand-poured into mason jars and you can choose between cotton or wooden wicks.
Made with a tallow and beeswax blend, scented with essential oils, and colored with plants and clays, these candles are not only for burning, but can also safely be used for aromatherapy or massage!
As they describe it, these candles are “made with the best dang skin-loving, grass-fed, local tallow we could find, and local, unadulterated beeswax.”
Located in Georgia, White Oak Pastures is committed to “radically traditional farming,” which means operating their farm as a living ecosystem as opposed to using industrial agriculture. This means their animals are raised in a humane and regenerative manner and operate according to a vertically-integrated, zero-waste model.
Their candles are made with grass-fed beef tallow, beeswax, and fragrance or essential oil. (We recommend skipping the synthetic fragrance and instead choose the essential oil or fragrance-free version!)
D.I.Y. Homemade Tallow Candles
If you want to know how to make tallow candles yourself, here are a few great tutorials from around the web:
Other F.A.Q.s About Tallow Candles
How Long Do Tallow Candles Last?
Tallow wax is actually very slow-burning, so the candles can last a really long time, especially compared to other types of wax (really, only beeswax can beat it.) A standard 8 oz tallow candle can usually burn for about 8-10 hours.
Do Tallow Candles Smell Bad?
Tallow is made from beef fat, so it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to wonder if they smell meaty… Although the rendering and manufacturing of beef tallow stinks, by the time they’re made into candles, they don’t usually smell bad anymore. Unscented tallow candles usually smell like nothing, and of course, the scented ones smell like essential oils or whatever other fragrances have been added.
Are Tallow Candles Safe to Burn?
Yes! Tallow candles are safe and much healthier for your indoor air compared to conventional paraffin wax candles.
What’s the Difference Between Tallow and Lard Candles?
Tallow is a type of lard (beef lard), so technically tallow candles ARE lard candles. However, lard candles can also be made out of other types of animal fat too.
More Guides to Non-Toxic Candles
If you’re looking for guides to other types of non-toxic candles, we’ve got a lot of related ones for you:
- Here’s more info about why conventional candles aren’t healthy for you
- Here’s a guide to the best non-toxic soy wax candles
- The best non-toxic coconut wax candles
- The best healthy beeswax candles
- Click here to read specific about Bath & Body Works candles
- And for to learn more about Yankee Candle, click here.
- The best non-toxic holiday & winter candles
- Our picks for non-toxic fall candles
Tallow candles may be “old-fashioned,” but they can be a great natural, non-toxic way to create a slow-burning glow in your home. They’re a great way to support regenerative, low-waste, and family-owned farms, too!
Image Credits: All product photos belong to respective brands