Soy vs Paraffin
Myths & Facts
“The ultimate candle wax debate. Soy wax vs paraffin wax”.
“Let’s talk about the myths and reveal what is fact or fiction about these two particular waxes. I use several wax types, so this video is not about my opinions or bias on each wax,” says Wade Thomas from the Black Tie Barn Candle Company, “but moreso just responding to popular rumours and myths about them. Sort of a “myth busters” for wax,”
Yes the video was educational and real eye-opener. I was so impressed with what I heard that I decided to write an abbreviated version of the video’s content to add to my Blog.
“So, first let’s deal with the myths concerning both waxes.”
Myth – Soy wax is non-toxic—Paraffin wax is toxic so says the Soy Industry
This rumour was started by the Soy industry/manufacturers. Paraffin wax was their competition and they dealt with it accordingly. However paraffin wax has been used for candles, for at least 5,000 years. It is also found in many household and food applications such as coating apples as a protection prior to storage. You will find it in food, crayons, cosmetics, paper, building products and much, much more. Both waxes are NON-TOXIC.
Myth – Soy is a clean burning wax, Paraffin is not
How clean a candle burns is not down to the wax but is more related to the wick size, or the amount of fragrance oil. There is no evidence to support the fact that soy wax is cleaner burning than paraffin. The most important way to ensure a candle is clean burning is that the candle is made properly. The right size wick and the correct usage fragrance oil. What may not convince you that that is true is, soot.
Myth – Soy does not soot, Paraffin does – NOT TRUE
Both types of candles will soot if the wick is the incorrect size/type or there is too much fragrance oil. Soot from a Soy candle is white or light in colour making it hard to see.
Anything that is subjected to heat will soot. For example using the toaster or cooking with oils on the stove top will result in more soot particles than you would get from a candle. Ensuring good airflow/ventilation is essential when cooking or using candles.
Beeswax candles are regarded as “the best candles for overall air quality,” However, they also create soot and quite a lot!
All candles soot the level of soot is down to, as has been said, wick type and size and the amount of fragrance oils used.
Myth – Misleading is:- Soot is Dangerous!
Soot is not dangerous it’s what’s in the soot that can be dangerous. Waxes have additives added such as fragrance oils or essential oils and those are what can be dangerous.
Myth – Soy is Eco-friendly… Well, Sort of
Soy comes from soy bean plants, and plants are natural and good for the environment however, most soy bean plants are treated with pesticides before being processed and the processing is not eco-friendly. Also, the ongoing demand for soy bean wax has been responsible for a lot of deforestation and damage to land and the destruction of natural habitats. Add to that the industrial machinery used on these soy farms, and the processing of the soy plants, all of this will result in creating more pollution than burning a candle in you home ever could.
Myth – Soy Wax burns longer? Yes and No
Soy wax needs more heat so to burn so a larger wick than would be used in a Paraffin wax candle would be needed. Yes overall the soy wax candle may burn a little longer than Paraffin but overall there is very little difference between the two.
Myth – Soy wax is all Natural and Organic – No, Not Really!
Soy plants are natural, Soy wax is not, neither is is sustainable. Paraffin wax is not natural either. Paraffin is the by-product of crude oil or the waste product of crude oil so instead of throwing it away it is processed into wax. So, neither wax is a natural wax
So, why is Soy so Popular?
It all comes down to slick marketing. The soy industry, quickly recognised that Paraffin wax, its competitor was cheaper and readily available so as a newbie to the market the manufacturers of Soy took on the responsibility of dishing up negative information relating to paraffin wax. Next the media, joined in and of course people believed all that they were being told and those online also ran with the information that soy wax is the ‘good’ wax and paraffin is the ‘evil wax’ and the rumours spread like wildfire!
Despite what is said about both waxes, if people believe what they are being told that soy is the natural, healthier wax, and paraffin is not then that also creates an opportunity for candlemakers to produce this ‘healthier’ form of candle making them just as guilty of spreading this ongoing cycle of misinformation as the rest of them.
Our Candles are 100% Soy – Sorry guys, No they are not.
Nevertheless as long as a candle contains 51% of soy wax it can be claimed to be 100% soy no matter what else has been added. But, one thing you cannot say is that it is organic!
For the record, No candle is 100% soy. All candles have other additives added whether its palm oil, or paraffin wax, or coconut wax etc. It will also have additional additives or stabilisers added to the soy in order to make it burn properly.
Having said that if you do find a candle that is 100% soy then you’ll have to consider the refinement and the chemicals used to make it a suitable wax to burn.
Don’t be fooled by labels, rhetoric, or terminology. Do your research.
And Now For Some Facts
(1) Scent Throw–Paraffin wax has a better scent throw than Soy.-Yes it’s a fact!
It’s because of the molecular structure of the waxes. Soy has a much denser molecular structure compared to Paraffin which means that soy needs more heat in order to let the molecules expand allowing fragrance to escape.
Paraffin on the other hand has a much looser molecular structure which doesn’t need as much heat to open up and allow the fragrance to escape. That is why it is a well known fact that Paraffin will throw scent stronger and better than soy.
Many candlemakers will argue that fact and yes you can get the same scent throw with soy as with Paraffin but it can be difficult to find the right fragrance oil that is as compatible with soy as it is with Paraffin.
(2) Scent Retention – Is better with Soy than with Paraffin
Absolutely! Mainly because Soy has more difficulty releasing scent. The scent will last throughout the life of your candle whereas the Paraffin wax candle has no difficulty releasing scent which is great for scent throw but not for scent retention.
In short, scent throw is better with paraffin, scent retention is better with Soy.
(3) Reactions and Allergies to wax
Many people say that Paraffin wax gives them migraines or headaches, or they just don’t like it. But do remember that soy is a very common allergen so be careful if you only sell soy candles they may not suit everyone. Check out various waxes and you the appropriate wax for the type of candle you are making.
(3) So why not make a candle out of Mineral Oil? Sounds bad? Good?
Many people because of the name of the product do not realise that mineral oil is in fact Paraffin oil.
(4) Both Soy and Paraffin wax are biodegradable—FACT
Having discussed the myths and facts about these two waxes, it is important to remember that the most dangerous part of any candle no matter what the wax type is the Fragrance Oils, or the Essential Oils! Most fragrance oils are synthetic and Essential Oils are toxic by nature.
So much attention is focused on the waxes, which are not toxic or dangerous, but Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils are, as is over-wicking which can be a fire hazard. Glass that shatters because it is too thin or not suitable for candles is also a danger/fire hazard.
“I loved the video it gave me information that made me realise just how much more there is to candle making plus, don’t believe everything you are told, check it out, research it. There is a lot of bias out there by people determined to make an extra buck at the expense of others!”