I'll be the first to tell you that before I became a part of the MUNIO team, I had no clue what soy wax was. Candle talk never really was a part of my information bubble, at best, it centered around scents not so much ingredients. I don't think I'm alone in this. I think most people know the general information about candle making, yet just a few dive deeper into the topic and research what is what in the world of candle wax.
So let me take that research burden off your shoulders. Let's talk about the basics of candle making, starting with wax. Here are our reasons for choosing soy wax for our products.
Not all wax is the sameIn the world of candle making there are four basic types of wax – paraffin, beeswax, soy wax, and palm wax. All come at different price points and pros and cons. I'll tell you a bit about each wax type to highlight what is the reason for its popularity.
Let's start with paraffinIt is without doubt the most popular out of all wax types I mentioned above and there's a good reason for it – it is the cheapest and most widely available wax. Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum. It is made by removing the waxy substance from crude oil. A 2009 study by South Carolina state university found that burning paraffin candles give off benzene which is a known carcinogenic substance. To simplify, burning paraffin wax lets off benzene which can cause cancer. Don't take my word for it, here's the study I mentioned.
Of course, the likelihood of you getting cancer from a scented paraffin candle is low, however, it's not the safest option especially for smaller children of people with sensitivities. It has a harmful effect on our respiratory system.
Paraffin is also non-renewable just like oil / petroleum. The widely available, extremely low priced paraffin candles do have an effect on the environment. Crude oil which paraffin is made of, has also been the cause of many environmental calamities, in oil spills, damage of natural habitats and climate change.
All in all, it is affordable, but it is neither the safest option for you, nor the planet.
On to beeswaxLet's start off with the good – it is natural, non-carcinogenic, and safe to use. When bees eat honey, they produce this wax. Beekeepers filter the beeswax from the honeycombs, cool it and sell it. Due to their natural honey scent and color, these candles are great for people with extreme allergies and sensitivities to scents or colorants.
Beeswax isn't ideal for all candles since they don't scent well and have a low melting point, but as far as the environment goes, they are a great choice. Not suitable for vegans or people who exclude all animal products from their lifestyle.
Next on – Palm waxI'll admit, at first glance there's not much wrong with palm wax. It's safe to burn, can be scented well and burn cleanly. The problem with palm wax is that there is no way to guarantee its origins. Often palm oil that is used to make palm wax isn't grown sustainably. Unfortunately, to expand their palm plantations, many countries (including Indonesia, Malaysia) deforest their land to make room for palm trees. The land being clearcut is home to some of the oldest and most diverse rainforests in the world. The incredible rate of deforestation in Indonesia ranks it as one of the world's largest CO2 emitters.
So although palm wax could be a great natural resource, it's tied to major environmental issues.
Finally, soy waxOur choice for candles is soy wax. As the name suggests, soy wax is made from the soybean which means that it is 100% natural, 100% renewable, and 100% environmentally friendly. In fact, for better results, we combine our soy wax with rapeseed wax. Although it is not the easiest to work with, it is also 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable. And, importantly – both waxes are vegan friendly as well as they are not animal products.
When it comes to soy or rapeseed wax, we use organic wax to truly have the best quality product and sustainable approach. Since this is the wax of our choice, let me tell you why we love it so much:
- Clean burning – it's quite simple, soy burns clean which means minimal soot is released. It has 90% less soot than paraffin, reducing the amount of indoor air pollution produced. Also, it won't ruin your walls. The emissions from paraffin candles build up on walls, staining the paint in your home. They also build up in upholstery fabrics and in carpets, affecting the air quality in your home.
- Soy is sustainable. Soybeans are an environmentally friendly, sustainable, and a renewable resource.
- Soy burns longer. Soy wax and beeswax candles are the ones with the longest burn time. Yes, both of these waxes are more expensive thus making the final product (candle, wax melt) more expensive, but they last much longer. For example, our Naturella candles burn for around 50h.
- Soy is not as hot. That's right – when burning, soy wax doesn't become as hot as other types of wax. If you ever get it on your skin, it won't cause a burn. Definitely safer with children around… or just clumsy adults. :)
- Better scent experience. Due to the lower melting temperature of the wax, a healthier ‘wax pool’ around the wick is created. This ‘wax pool’ allows the fragrance oils to more easily evaporate, and thus releasing more fragrance into the home.
Now that we've gone over understanding the basics, one question remains – what do we as consumers do? Well, the best you can do is choose candles made of natural waxes rather than paraffin. Weather it's coconut, beeswax or soy – all are safe options for you!
Find a brand you trust and read their labels. Candle makers are not required to disclose the ingredients they use in their candles. No laws or regulations make it a requirement so the best way to choose your candles is finding out how and with what ingredients they are made. Brands who are transparent about their ingredients and production is your best choice!
Alternatively, be creative – try making your own candles at home. This way you get to control the potency of the scent. Plus it's a great activity for children or a party. Quality time spent together crafting. Choose one of our soy wax DIY candle making kits:
the MUNIO uses 100% organic soy wax. We scent our wax with eco certified aromas – all natural and 0% harmful. If you're curious, take a look at our soy candle selection at our shop.