Soy vs beeswax vs paraffin wax

If you’ve ever been candle shopping, you will have noticed that candles aren’t always made of the same wax. Three of the main kinds of wax used in candle making are soy wax, beeswax and paraffin wax. Each of these waxes have their benefits and drawbacks when it comes to cost, environmental impact, quality and health effects.

 

Soy wax

Soy wax is a hydrogenated form of soybean oil. When soybeans are harvested, they are de-hulled and rolled into flakes. Soybean oil is then extracted and hydrogenated, which converts some of the fatty acids from saturated to unsaturated. This changes the melting point of the oil and makes it solid at room temperature. The oil can then be heated, poured into candle jars and left to cool.

Pros of soy wax candles

Soy wax is cheaper than other eco-friendly waxes, like coconut wax or beeswax. It is environmentally sustainable and made of renewable materials. Soy wax candles are also biodegradable. 

 

Not only are they better for the environment, but they pose less risk to your health. Compared to synthetic waxes, such as paraffin wax, soy wax produces less soot when burned, making it better for your lungs. 

 

Purchasing soy wax candles can also save you money in the long run, as they have a long burn time. With proper candle care, soy wax candles can last up to 50 percent longer than paraffin wax candles. 

Cons of soy wax candles

Though a relatively cheap natural wax, soy wax is still more expensive than candles made of synthetic fragrances such as paraffin. Soy wax also doesn’t hold scent or colour as well as paraffin wax.


Beeswax

Beeswax occurs naturally in the environment and is made by worker honey bees. It is collected by beekeepers when they cut the wax caps off of honeycomb. 

Pros of beeswax candles

As beeswax is natural, candles made from 100 percent beeswax are chemical free, making them better for you, your family and your pets. They produce less soot than artificial waxes, making them friendlier for people with lung conditions like asthma. 


The lack of chemicals makes beeswax an eco-friendly candle option. Its production is environmentally friendly and it is biodegradable.  

Cons of beeswax candles

As beeswax is expensive, it is often combined with other waxes, such as paraffin wax. It is important to look for candles labelled “100 percent beeswax”. 

 

Like other natural waxes, Beeswax can be difficult to dye and often doesn’t hold scent well. This means its fragrance may be weaker to begin with and may fade quickly.

 

Paraffin wax

Paraffin wax, also known as petroleum wax, is the most common wax used in candle making. It is a by-product of petroleum. It starts off as a crude oil, then the wax is then extracted, boiled, then cooled and pressed into a filter. Though it comes from a natural source, it is not usually considered a natural wax. 

Pros of paraffin wax candles

As paraffin occurs as a by-product of petroleum production, it is cheap and easy to obtain. Its low cost means it can be combined with more expensive waxes to make them go further. 


Paraffin wax is easier to dye than soy wax or beeswax, leading to brighter and longer-lasting colours. Candles made with paraffin wax often smell stronger than candles made of more expensive waxes, as it holds fragrance better. 

Cons of paraffin wax candles

Paraffin wax can be detrimental to your health and the environment. When a paraffin wax candle is burnt, it releases a large amount of soot and exhaust-like fumes, which can cause respiratory problems and exacerbate conditions such as asthma. Paraffin wax contains up to 11 toxic chemicals, including benzene and toluene. As paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, paraffin wax candles are not biodegradable.