When I first decided to make candles, and began to research the types of wax that I could use, I was completely surprised by what I discovered.  It made me question the candle brands that I had previously favoured, and which I am sure you will have used yourself too.    

Paraffin, or should I say petrol, wax?

Did you know that paraffin is derived from petroleum oil?  I was amazed to discover that paraffin is actually created from the sludge waste when oil is turned into petrol!  Seriously.  It horrified me to learn that paraffin wax candles produce what are known as ‘volatile organic compounds’ and contain as many toxins as cigarette smoke!   And, because they are often lit in poorly ventilated rooms, such as bathrooms, they can exacerbate conditions such as asthma, eczema and other skin complaints.

So, those sweetly scented candles we buy ourselves, and light as a ‘treat’ can prove to be anything but! 

As the majority of us only burn the occasional candle, the smoke emitted is unlikely to cause any real harm, but if you burn a lot of candles, then it makes sense to steer clear.  That is certainly what I decided to do, and I am glad that I have stuck to my decision to make only soy wax candles; one of the candle knights in shining armour.  (You can also make coconut, rapeseed, and bees wax, candles).    

Unfortunately, these tend to be accompanied by a higher price tag (of course they would!).  I know from my own experiences with buying candle making supplies, soy wax is invariably more expensive than paraffin (or as the suppliers like to call it, euphemistically, mineral) wax.  No surprise there.    

Having considered the reasons for using paraffin and soy wax, I find myself far more drawn to the qualities and benefits of soy. 

Soy wax-the good guy!

  • As soy wax is made from soybeans (which are vegetables), they are 100% natural.  They will burn cleaner as a result, and will not emit the CO2 that is associated with paraffin wax burn.
  • Soy candles burn for 50% longer than paraffin wax.  So, although soy wax candles may cost you a little bit more to buy, they will last longer, proving more cost effective.
  • Soy candles burn cleaner than paraffin wax candles, as they produce no soot, or a minimal amount?  If they DO soot, it is possible that the candle will have been burnt for too long and developed a ‘mushroom’, a carbon deposit on the wick.  Please see our Candle Care page for more information on how to get the most out of your candles.   https://www.gweni.co.uk/candle-care/
  • Soy wax candles have a lower melting point, so will not burn as hot (i.e. will not burn off as quickly). 
  • The scent of soy wax candles is stronger because of this lower melting point.  The wax produces a greater pool around the wick, which will produce a greater ‘throw’ of scent.

Once I decided on soy wax, I was away, and eager to begin creating!  Incidentally, my first candles were made in used ramekin glasses (a better excuse for buying Gu puds I have not come across!); then in old jam jars; then retro Kilner jars; and finally, in contemporary glass tumblers featuring metal or wooden lids.  I wish I’d kept some of those first candles!

Overall, with soy wax candles you will be getting candles that are completely natural, smell terrific, burn longer and are not harmful to the environment or your health.  What is there not to like?

Do you have any experience of using any other type of wax candle?  What do you think of the paraffin (mineral!!)/soy wax debate? 

Do let me know! 

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