Are Soy Wax Candles good?

Soy wax is of vegetable origin and is therefore considered one of the “natural” waxes. For this reason, it is thought to be a better wax for than “mineral” waxes when it’s down to sustainability. Is it true?

Paraffin waxes and mineral waxes derive from petroleum and albeit they have their advantages, including the fact that they represent a clever way to reuse a byproduct that would otherwise go wasted, oil is not a renewable source. And if it is debatable that mineral oils are or are not natural, it is undeniable that vegetable waxes like soy wax originate from plants, a renewable and eco-friendly source.

Yet, as experts in all things wax, we often get asked about soy, how good this really is, also considering the fact that soy is often GM (genetically modified).

What are the advantages of soy wax candles?

Although reputable manufacturers will supply high quality waxes regardless of the type of wax you require, final buyers feel reassured by the fact that, with soy wax candles, they are buying and burning a natural wax.

Their assumption is that a natural wax will not release harmful chemicals when burned.
Being a manufacturer you will know that wax is only one of the many components of a candle. Only by using components (like wicks and fragrances) from established manufactures and suppliers you will have the certainty to offer a safe product to your clients.

Another advantage of soy wax is that it often comes in a practical flake format. Compared to blocks and slabs, flakes are often preferred when adjusting for quantities and the overall handling and melting process.

Soy wax candles are often considered to burn for longer than paraffin wax candles. Burning time is affected by a huge variety of factors, and a true comparison would need to identify which parameters are equal and which are different. So it’s difficult to take a side on this one. Surely, soy wax is denser than paraffin wax and it has a lower melting point. This can lead to longer burning times and a warmer look of the candle flame.

What are the disadvantages of soy wax candles?

Due to their chemical composition, soy wax candles tend to have a weaker cold and hot scent throw when compared to paraffin wax candles. To adjust for this it is important to test the fragrance load (different fragrances might need different loads) and mixing temperature.

For the very same reason that soy wax candles can last longer than paraffin wax candles, they can require more testing with wicks.

Another implication of vegetable based waxes it land use. Extensive soybean crops can have negative effects on biodiversity. But this, of course, can apply to all the natural waxes.

But does soy wax contain GM material?

Our soy waxes are sourced from the US. They provide consistent quality/performance and come from long standing USA agricultural land which therefore avoids the issue of South American Rain Forrest deforestation. But, as you might know, US soy crops are GMO crops.

However, US soy waxes are free from GM material

How is this possible? The GM material is present in the soybean meal or husk that contains the protein. But the part of the soybean that is used to make the wax is the soybean oil.

How does the separation happen? The beans are crushed and oil flows out of the bean.  The oil is then filtered to ensure that no parts of the bean remain in the oil.

After that, most soy waxes for candle making will have other botanical oils and natural additives added to improve performance and then the mixture is hydrogenated to make it hard enough to use as a wax.

It is important to ask this question of your soy supplier, especially if the soy is from ‘China’ as this will more than likely be from deforested South American soy fields.

In conclusion

Soy wax candles are a great addition to any product range.

Soy wax candle performance is great, in particular after some testing with fragances and wicks.

Consumers are looking for natural waxes and soy wax sourced from responsible suppliers ticks all the sustainability boxes.

We distribute two of the main brands of Soy Wax:

NatureWax by Cargill

GoldenWax by AAK

Picture by Kelly Sikkema – Unsplash

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