Are Soy Candles Better than Paraffin?
That’s always the question people ask. But, what are you really asking? Is it better in what way? Are you asking if it’s safer, cleaner, or more environmentally friendly?
First and foremost, soy is natural. Soy wax is not. Soy candle wax isn’t derived from simply squeezing a soy bean or plucking it off some magical soy tree in the fall harvest. All soy crops come from genetically modified (GMO) crops using pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and more.
All soy crops come from genetically modified (GMO) crops using pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and more.
The process of making soy wax starts by extracting the oil from the bean itself. Then, it’s distilled using hexane, a byproduct of gasoline refining. It’s chlorine bleached, deodorized with boric acid.
Finally, it’s hydrogenated; a process that moves it towards a more solidified state while raising its melting point. This keeps it in solid form at room temperature while making it melt when used in candles.
If one were to think that purchasing an “all soy” candle is more beneficial to health and humanity, that point could be easily argued. It should be clear that the process itself of generating soy wax is far from 100% natural and isn’t “better” for the environment.
About Soy Candles and Soy Production
Soy Candles Do Not Burn Cleaner
Studies show that all wax types have the same burning behavior. There are a few minor college studies that go back over 10 years, but there has been no significant, scientific analysis that’s been peer reviewed regarding this subject. More info can be found at the National Candle Association’s website.
Soy Production Linked to Habitat Losses
Massive soy production growth has lead to deforestation, impacting wildlife, natural ecosystems, and resources causing complete disruption and catastrophic consequences. If one were to think that purchasing an “all soy” candle is more beneficial to health and humanity, that point could be easily argued. Click on the article link below or view the links at the bottom of this post for more information.
Soy Candles Do Not Hold More Scent
The complexity of soy’s molecular characteristics make it difficult for it to natively hold fragrance oil. In fact, virtually all soy candles contain additional additives to help hold and boost fragrance scent.
Beware the Soy Label
If you are truly dedicated to finding a candle made from 100% soy wax, be sure to do your research. Any candle containing 51% soy can legally be labeled as “Soy”, which leads you to think it’s all soy when it’s not. This can be misleading to the consumer. In the interest of full disclosure, Dude Candle uses a soy blend that combines both soy and paraffin wax. We do this because, quite simply, it makes the best burning and best scented candle without any additional environmental or socially responsible compromises. If we truly produce a 100% soy candle, it will be clearly labeled as such. Otherwise, we label it a soy blend. We believe in honesty.
Myth: Candle Wax is Toxic
Beware how language is used to describe candles. Clever word placement can elude that one brand of candle or wax type is superior, healthier, or safer than another. In truth, all candle waxes are non-toxic and FDA approved; whether it’s soy, paraffin, or a soy blend (soy and paraffin mix).
Paraffin Wax is Not Evil
Paraffin is derived from crude oil, which, hold on, wait for it — is a natural fossil fuel extracted from the earth. It’s during the refining process that paraffin is extracted. In fact, paraffin is a natural byproduct
It’s used in or on crayons, cosmetics, therapeutic treatments, fruit, vegetables, candy, jellies, jams, and much more. Paraffin has been in your life longer than you can remember.
We think it’s important to have a grounded perspective and real facts when considering the notion of 100% soy candles are better for you or the environment. Ultimately – there is no clear and proven facts on this issue. There’s no official scientific study that demonstrates soy wax is any better, cleaner, or less harmful.
We don’t want to demonize it, but both consumers and advertisers have placed unrealistic praise for the power of soy.
In an age where “renewable”, “sustainable”, and “all natural” products are a great step forward for our environment and ethical responsibility, some of these terms are used too liberally and exploited for marketing purposes only.
Have doubts. Do your research. Track reliable sources. Take our thoughts and message and verify for yourself. You are responsible for your own education.
When it’s all said in done, we don’t believe one is better than the other. There are unique characteristics to both soy and paraffin. We just don’t want to play the game of marketing gimmickry.
Let’s hope for further scientific and credentialed research in the future and perhaps all of us will come to a better informed understanding. Perhaps we’ll change our minds, but for right now, we did our research. Please do it for yourself.
Additional information can also be found at the links below:
National Candle Association (the governing body of candle manufacturers in the United States)
Is Soy Bad for the Planet?
World Wild Life Foundation – Soy Industry
Why Soy is Bad for You and the Planet
Soy Trade – Deforestation and Emissions
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Great perspective. I never really shopped for Soy candles anyway, but this is a great argument if it ever comes up.
Thanks, Chris. There’s a wealth of information out there and I only touched the surface, but I think it’s all worth considering when debating paraffin vs soy in a candle.