Why Use Soy Wax Candles?
In this article, we will briefly explain all the waxes available to make candles, and why we chose Soya Wax for ours.
Natural VS Synthetic
There are so many kind of waxes, but we thought we should first clarify one thing: waxes can be "natural" (derived from animals and plants) or "synthetic", also called "paraffin" (artificially made, mineral). You can decide on what you prefer to use following your beliefs, as they all have different physical properties and characteristics, pros and cons.
Synthetic waxes are derived from a mixture of various oils, and are a by-product of the petrochemical industry. Depending on its chemical mixture, each of these waxes can have different texture or colour.
There's a common myth that paraffin wax can be smoky and therefore toxic - but this isn't strictly true. Indeed, smoky flames come from a poorly wicked candle (whichever wax used).
CONS: Paraffin wax is also seen as non-sustainable, but it is only a minor by-product of the oil industry.
PROS: Paraffin waxes allow an excellent hot throw (scent spreading when burning) and a super smooth shiny flat surface (only aesthetic but so important) - which is why a wide range of international luxury candle brands use them. Set very quickly, meaning they can be burnt quickly after being made (a couple of days).
Often referred to as "natural wax", these waxes are squeezed from plants to extract their oils, and then chemically purified and filtered.
The most common types of plant waxes are soy (which we use), rapeseed and coconut. They belong to a different class of chemicals and therefore look and perform differently from mineral waxes.
CONS: The surface of a plant wax candle will often have a "matt" appearance. Coconut wax is too soft on its own so needs to be blended (with soy or rapeseed wax). Can take a long time to set, meaning they can't be burnt directly after having been made (they can take up to 2 weeks to set).
PROS: Can be heated in the microwave. Most soy wax manufacturers use ethically sources soy. Plant waxes are more sustainable than paraffin.
We also want to put the light on bee wax, as a natural, renewable source. Bee wax is known to burn longer, have a brighter flame, drip less and smell wonderful, naturally.
CONS: More expensive than other waxes on the market. Doesn't hold scent as well as other waxes. Can be difficult to add colorants because of its natural yellow tint. Not vegan friendly.
PROS: 100% pure, with no chemical processing needed. Sourced straight from the hive.
When deciding on which wax to use, whether you are a maker or a candle-lover, what matters most are your beliefs. If sustainability is close to your heart, you should focus on natural waxes, and if the look and finished end-product is the target, paraffin waxes are for you!
There is no bad or good waxes, best or worse: it really is down to personal choice.
Being transparent, using soy wax isn't easy:
- It takes 2 weeks to set, meaning we always need to pre-empt stock and make before it is actually needed.
- The top of our candles don't always look amazing, as, as a natural product, it reacts to its environment (temperature changes etc).
- It needs a very careful and timed use when making, and any extra degree can make a difference to the end-result.
However, it provides:
- A sustainable foundation to our candles.
- A beautiful, strong cold & hot throw.
- A vegan-friendly candle.
What is your opinion on the aforementioned candle waxes? Does it matter to you?