Candle makers and candle enthusiasts will know that soy as a wax base has always been a popular choice. Its many qualities make it a wonderful addition to your collection, and its ease of use makes it a perfect choice for budding candle makers.
However with the rising popularity of Soy wax comes a few warnings, and a few ‘heads up’ if this is the kind of wax you want to use solely in your candle adventures.
From misdirection on labels, exuberant costs and lower quality ‘fillers’, there are a few things to look out for when buying your next soy candle.
The magic of soy candles
Firstly, let's look at the wide range of benefits that soy brings to the candle community.
Soy wax is made from soybeans, and is a solid form of hydrogenated soybean oil, making it a natural and renewable product. Unlike paraffin, which is a by-product of crude oil refining, soy wax is a relatively pure compound.
It's made from natural, plant based ingredients, and is one of the quicker renewing waxes available for those more sustainably conscious about the products they use. Its make up also means it's 100% vegan.
Soy wax is also popular because of its cleaner burning properties. Its zero toxins, carcinogens or pollutants means it is much healthier for us, as it doesn't emit any nasties into our atmosphere unlike non-renewable paraffin waxes.
Not only is it also biodegradable, when it comes to candle quality soy also can have longer burning times and can hold scent stronger than most other forms of wax.
Overall soy is a great wax to work with for both beginners and advanced candle makers, it is adaptable, and you can colour and scent the wax, or create interesting shapes and designs in the same way as you would any other candles.
Soy can also be mixed with other types of wax, such as beeswax, to create interesting blends. However beware that it will lose its candle claim of being truly vegan.
So we know soy is great, and its many qualities makes it a fun addition when making and buying candles. However it's important to look closely at how you’re being marketed to.
Make sure you don’t get burnt
Soy can be a terrific medium to use for candles, but as with all products, it's important to read labels and know exactly what you're getting.
A lot of soy candles these days are mixed in with paraffin or palm wax.
Although these candles are still sold at a premium by many suppliers, the makeup of the wax can be poorer quality. The reason a lot of companies add paraffin or palm wax is to extend the amount of inventory at a lower cost.
Paraffin wax, although also a good product to use for some styles of candles, has come into fire recently with claims it was affecting our overall health.
This controversy began with a 2009 South Carolina State University (SCUS) study on the harmful chemicals produced by burning paraffin wax candles, especially the soot. However these claims have been debunked, when the National Candle Association (NCA) questioned the findings of SCSU.
The NCA paid for an independent study on paraffin wax candles and beeswax, soy, and palm wax candles to determine what chemicals each of these wax candles emit. The conclusion was that all the candles produced nearly identical combustion and were safe to use.
The biggest warning when it comes to these differences is that paraffin and soy have different qualities. If you’re buying a soy candle because of its vegan qualities, only to see it includes paraffin wax which is often taken from animal fat, then you are spending more for a quality that isn’t there.
When you’re buying soy candles it is important to read the labels to know what you’re really buying. Make sure you check all details that point to the chemical makeup of the candle including its look, smell and feel.
Burning fragrance not cash
The only disappointing part about natural soy candles is the often hefty price tag. 100% soy candles are sold at premium prices, and often come in at double or triple the price to your standard paraffin.
However there is a way around this issue. It turns out that without massive shipping and distribution costs added onto the final price, soy wax is pretty cheap.
You can make your own soy candles at a quarter of the price, and with so many fragrant options out there recreating your favourite candle is becoming easier and cheaper.
Our super creamy soy starter packs start at just $16 per kilogram which can make up to 5 candles, about $3.20 per candle. Whereas our Ultimate Candle Making Starter Kit is just $119 including wax, containers, fragrances and equipment. Compare this to candles with the same makeup that sit around $350, and you’ll see what you’re really paying for is the marketing.
No matter where you are in your candle journey, whether you’re just starting out or are a hardcore enthusiast looking to perfect their craft, it’s important at all times you know what you’re buying.
Premium products do create a great candle, however the cost on them isn’t often justified. These days making your own is the most financially sustainable way to get more out of your money.
So this season instead of being duped by a paraffin wax ‘soy’ candle, or blowing $100+ on two candles, why not try experimenting with your own fragrances. You may find yourself discovering new amazing mixtures of scents which will quickly become your new favourite.