Soy Wax vs. Paraffin Wax (9 Points)

Last Updated on 26.12.2022

Soy Wax vs. Paraffin Wax

If you want to make your own candles, you should first know what kind of candles are best for your environment and health.

The most common candles that we can find in any supermarket or store are usually made of paraffin. Knowing the benefits of using soy wax may be of interest to you.

Paraffin wax is widely used in the candle industry because it is much cheaper than vegetable waxes.

So the first thing you should know is: What is paraffin?

Paraffin is a petroleum derivative; in fact, it is the remains of refined petroleum residues.

The oil industry is one of the most polluting industries that exist on the planet. The use of paraffin candles, besides implying the contribution to this industry and, therefore, the generation of greater contamination, also entails negative consequences for our health.

This is so because when we light a candle made of paraffin, it emits toxic residues inside our own home, office, or environment. In fact, studies have shown that paraffin candle smoke contains numerous chemical compounds that can be hazardous to human health.

However, is paraffin safe to use? The reality is that it is a highly widespread product worldwide and considered safe by the most important associations of cosmetic, food, and other everyday products safety.

However, it is suspected that the continued use of paraffin candles over time could affect your health. Of course, you should keep in mind that exposure to these substances must be high, regular, and daily to be considered hazardous.

What is soy wax?

Soy wax is a 100% natural wax of vegetable origin, through a hydrogenation process, ideal for elaborating aromatic candles in cups and massage candles because of its low melting point of 42-48°C.

Soy candle wax is also perfect for making massage candles. For this, you have to combine it with vegetable butter and oils. You can also add essential oils to make soy candles smell wonderful.

Being of vegetable origin, this soy candle wax can also be used to make natural candles. However, they should always be made in a container. As it has a low melting point, it is not consistent enough to make candles with molds.

Therefore, making candles in cement bowls, coconut shells, wooden logs, aluminum cans, etc., is always recommended work with this wax.

Soy wax or Paraffin wax: which one to choose?

1. Wax composition

Soy wax is made from soybeans, while paraffin wax is made from petroleum (yes, the same petroleum used to make oil and gas). In 1850, paraffin wax was discovered by removing the waxy substance from crude oil.

Soy wax was discovered in 1991 as an alternative to paraffin wax and is a hydrogenated form of soybean oil. Not only is soy wax all-natural, but it is also sustainable since we can grow more soybeans. Paraffin wax is not sustainable because fossil fuels cannot be replenished.

Winner: Soy wax

2. Soot

All candles emit a certain amount of soot, but under the same conditions (length of wick, presence of airflow, etc.), a paraffin candle will emit more soot than a soy candle.

This soot can discolor the candle’s container and sometimes get on your walls, furniture, and curtains, especially if you have a lot of air circulation that moves the soot around. If you light a soy candle and a paraffin candle next to each other, you will notice the difference in the soot.

Winner: draw

3. Toxicity

Soot is not the only thing paraffin wax emits. Burning or melting paraffin wax releases 11 known toxins, including two carcinogens, into the air. (A carcinogen is a substance or agent that promotes cancer.)

Because soy wax is a biodegradable wax made from soybeans, which we eat, it does not contain these toxins and carcinogens. Not only is soy wax better for the environment, but it’s also better for you, your family members, and your pets.

Winner: Soy wax

4. Coloring

Soy wax is milky white, which can slightly mute the intensity of candle dyes, resulting in delicate pastel shades. On the other hand, as paraffin is clearer than soy wax, it typically displays richer and brighter colors.

If vibrant and more accurate shades of your favorite color are what you crave in candles, then Paraffin wax is the way to go. On the other hand, if dye-free results suit you better, either type of wax would be suitable for candle making.

Winner: Paraffin wax

5. Burn Time

All things being equal, soy wax will burn 30-50% longer than a paraffin candle. Again, this depends on the candle’s height and width, the wick’s length, and other factors.

To maximize the burn time of your soy candle, you should reduce the candle’s wick to 6 millimeters before relighting it (learn how to cut a candle wick here).

Do not burn the candle for more than four hours, as this may cause the wax to overheat. Keep the candle out of drafts, and re-center the wick if it moves when the wax is melted.

Winner: Soy wax

6. Melting point

Because of its large, defined crystal structure, paraffin wax has a higher melting point, between 49-71°C (120-160°F). Soy wax has a lower melting point than that, making it easier to burn in cooler environments or during colder seasons like winter.

This lower point also reduces the risk of accidentally burning yourself if the candle is knocked over or in an accident. Soy wax can melt on its own if you live in a very hot area where temperatures rise in the lower part of this range.

Because of its crystalline structure, paraffin wax also tends to be harder and more brittle, while soy wax is softer and more pliable.

Winner: Soy wax

7. Frosting

A major drawback of soy wax candles is the presence of frosting – an effect that causes crystalline deposits to form on top and sides. This discoloration is particularly visible when displayed in a clear glass container, making it unsightly.

Furthermore, colorants used within soy wax further detract from the candle’s aesthetic if frosted over. Paraffin-based candles are not prone to this issue since they do not experience any type of frothing or frosting effects whatsoever!

Winner: Paraffin wax

8. Scent Throw

Molecularly, soy wax is more compact and heavier than paraffin. As a result, it needs greater heat to transform into liquid form in order for the aromas to be released. This lengthens the time needed before you are able to smell its fragrances – explaining why paraffin candles have a stronger scent throw than soy-based ones.

Additionally, soy wax is selective when it comes to fragrance oils that you can use. Consequently, your desired outcome may not be achieved with certain fragrances.

To amplify the aroma of your candles, opt for paraffin wax. On the other hand, soy wax is an ideal alternative if you’d like a subtle fragrance in your home.

Winner: draw

9. Price

Both soy wax and paraffin wax are cost-efficient when compared to other candle waxes on the market; in fact, paraffin is even cheaper than soy. But you must consider all candle-making supplies before coming to a final conclusion about your budget.

As we discussed earlier, if wanting to reach the same scent level as paraffin wax, more fragrance oils must be added when using soy, which can also become costly.

Winner: Paraffin wax

Summary

After examining both waxes from 9 different perspectives, it’s clear that there is no one-size-fits-all option. Soy wax stands out regarding environmental concerns, burn time, and ease of use; however, paraffin wax surpasses the competition for scent throw, coloring versatility, and cost.

Ultimately it comes down to choosing which factors are most important to you; if having a powerful scent matters more than anything else, then go with paraffin, but if green living or quality takes precedence over everything else, soy should be your selection.

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