There are so many candle wax options available and different advice is offered left, right, and center! Paraffin vs. Soy vs. Beeswax is a contentious issue for candle lovers. With paraffin being the cheapest material, soy increasingly growing in popularity, and beeswax being the most natural, it is easy to see why candle lovers are so confused.
As a huge candle lover, I always have candles burning in my house, especially in the evening. It took me a long time, and a lot of research, to choose which candle wax was best for me.
So, to save you time (and a possible headache) I have researched and reviewed paraffin, soy, and beeswax so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. Let’s dive in!
Using Paraffin Wax in Candle Making
Paraffin is the most common material for candle wax. It is particularly popular in candles that have been mass-produced (such as those you see on the shelf of your local store). For many years, paraffin has been the top choice for candle makers, both professional and otherwise.
However, recent research has highlighted that there are many toxins that are released when paraffin candles are burned. Made from the sludge that is found at the bottom of crude oil barrels, paraffin already contains a lot of toxic chemicals. It is then bleached white and treated with even more chemicals.
Many people are now more health and environmentally conscious. The risks associated with burning paraffin can be a massive turn off to many candle lovers. Some people, however, still think the pros of paraffin outweigh the cons. To help you decide, I’ve compiled a list of the positives and negatives.
Benefits of Paraffin Wax
- Paraffin is usually the cheapest wax to make candles with. It is also easily available.
- Paraffin wax is thought of as being the best for strong-smelling candles.
- It holds color well, a big plus for those who want beautifully decorative candles.
Downsides of Paraffin Wax
- Paraffin has been shown to have as many as seven different toxins.
- It is widely claimed that paraffin releases harmful substances when burnt. Studies have shown that burning paraffin releases benzene – a chemical shown to promote cancer growth.
- Paraffin comes from petroleum and is a non-renewable resource.
- Candles made from paraffin can stain your ceiling, furniture or walls black and the melted wax is more difficult to clean compared to other candle wax.
Using Soy Wax in Candle Making
Soy wax, made from soybean oil, is a more sustainable resource compared to paraffin. It cannot be disputed that soy wax is made from natural substances and is completely biodegradable. Many people also say that the fragrance from soy candles is better than other candle types.
It is well known that soy wax candles are much less toxic and safer than paraffin candles. However, some people disagree and believe that soy candles are not as beneficial as we are told.
While many people believe soy, which is made from soybean vegetables, is environmentally friendly, safe, and healthy, others say it contains toxins, is genetically modified and is bad for the environment! As a candle lover, I was so confused by the conflicting opinions! To help you understand the debate, I’ve listed some of the reported pros and cons below.
Benefits of using Soy Wax
- Soybeans are made from natural substances and are a renewable resource – making them friendlier to the environment. They are also biodegradable.
- Soy candles don’t contain carcinogens or pollutants. This makes them much cleaner and safer than paraffin candles.
- Soy candles don’t usually cause any stains to your walls and the wax is easy to clean.
- Soy candles burn more slowly and for longer than paraffin candles. This means your candle will last longer.
Downsides of using Soy Wax
- Many soy candles still contain paraffin – even those that say 100% soy.
- Soybeans, the material used to make soy candles, are linked to deforestation. The Amazon Rainforest is one of the biggest victims of deforestation for soy production. This could be a real negative for those conscious of the environment.
- Soy needs to be chemically treated before it can be used in candles. Some people say these toxic chemicals can be harmful when they are released into the environment.
Using Beeswax in Candle Making
Beeswax is the oldest candle wax material and was used as far back as the Ancient Egyptians! Made by bees, it is a completely natural substance and is vegetarian friendly. Although beeswax candles are the oldest candle type, it is only recently that they have started to grow in popularity.
If like me, you are a regular candle burner, it is definitely worth considering beeswax candles. Although they are more expensive than other candles, they do have a longer burn time which helps to justify the higher price.
Benefits of using Beeswax
- Beeswax candles have the lowest amount of toxic chemicals compared to all other candle types.
- They are environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and 100% natural.
- Beeswax neutralizes pollutants in your home. They help to get rid of dust, mold, and bad smells!
- They are hypoallergenic and the most friendly candle for those with allergies or asthma.
- Beeswax doesn’t drip when it melts. This means you don’t have to worry about cleaning up stubborn wax.
- The flame on a beeswax candle is the most natural and is similar to the light from the sun.
- Beeswax candles can burn longer than both soy candles and paraffin candles.
Downsides of using Beeswax
- Beeswax candles are usually more expensive than other candles.
- As beeswax already smells of honey, you often cannot buy a variety of scented beeswax candles. This could be a problem for those who like to choose their own scents.
- Beeswax is not vegan friendly. Many people report the negative effects of harvesting beeswax, including the weakening of the bees’ immune systems.
I hope you’ll now find it much easier to decide whether paraffin, soy or beeswax candles are the best choice for you! Whether you are buying candles or having a go at making your own, knowing how the wax is made and what effect it may be having in your home is important.