Soy vs. Paraffin
What is the difference between Soy candles and Paraffin candles?
First, let’s identify how they are made. A soy candle is made from soy beans by compressing the bean to extract the oil. The oil is then made into a biodegradable wax. Paraffin wax is a refined gasoline by-product made from petroleum. Soy wax tends to come in flakes while paraffin comes in blocks. Each are melted down to add scent and color and then left to harden into a candle. The process of making the actual candle is very similar.
Paraffin candles are easy to mass produce and cost effective for the manufacturer. Paraffin wax holds a lot of fragrance oil and color which is typically why most paraffin candles smell extremely strong and come in bright colors. Depending on the fragrance oils used in the candle and the color additives, you could be breathing in even more toxins than just the gasoline by-product in the wax. While Paraffin candles seem to be cheaper to purchase (with the exception of some better known brands) paraffin wax was meant to burn quickly. So that 12oz candle you bought on sale for $15 will only burn for approximately 50 hours at most.
Let’s talk about soy wax now and how it makes a better candle. As discussed earlier, soy wax is a product of the soy bean. Soy wax is all natural and burns clean. This means it does not emit any toxins in the air that you will be breathing. That is especially important when you are burning a candle in your home. Most soy candles are scented with natural and essential fragrance oils to keep the integrity of the natural soy benefits, and are often left in it’s natural color, white. Additives like dyes and strong perfumes negate the benefits you get with a soy candle. Soy wax tends to hold fragrance well so you get a nice smelling candle without a headache of too much perfume. The best part about soy wax is that it was meant to burn slow. You will get twice as many burn hours out of each candle. So a 12oz soy candle will give you 80-100 burn hours.
Although paraffin candles are cheaper to make, that doesn’t always mean they are cheap to buy. The better known paraffin candle companies charge just as much for their candles as a quality soy candle the same size. So before you buy another candle, look at the label. If it doesn’t specify that it’s soy or beeswax, assume it’s paraffin and walk away.