Soy wax, made from soybean plant, is a type of wax that has grown in popularity in recent times. Paraffin wax has been the favourite for a long time and is still so. But soy wax has witnessed massive acceptance from many people.
To begin with, there are three major types of wax. The first are mineral waxes such as paraffin wax and gel wax. Next comes the vegetable waxes which include such waxes as soy wax, palm wax, bayberry wax and so on. Then Beeswax is on its own. Beeswax, gotten from bees, is the oldest type of wax but is still in use till today for the great benefits it offers. Mineral waxes are gotten from petroleum products and release harmful toxins into the air while burning. This has been a source of concern to candle makers and users especially with paraffin wax, notwithstanding its massive popularity and affordability. This toxicity of paraffin wax led to discovery and manufacturing of vegetable waxes. These are natural waxes made out of plant products and are considered safer for the environment.
Of these vegetable waxes, soy wax leads the pack as it offers a lot of gains. Some of these benefits would be considered below.
Benefits of Soy Wax
Just the fact that soy wax is natural is a huge advantage. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum which in turn takes a lot of effort and exploration to get and be refined. This in itself is harmful to the environment. Soy wax, on the other hand is gotten from soybean oil and is a way of encouraging more people to go into farming and develop the agricultural sector.
Natural soy wax, when made into candles, produce clean burn unlike paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is associated with producing too much soot when burning and releasing chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Though no type of wax is entirely free of soot when burning, soy wax releases very little and ranks higher than paraffin in this regard. The fact that it is natural also means that no toxins are released.
Soy wax is known to last longer than paraffin wax. You can test this yourself by making two different candles of the same size with soy and paraffin wax respectively. You would notice that the soy wax candle burns significantly longer than paraffin wax. This difference can be up to 50% at times. This is because soy wax has a lower burning temperature and therefore burns slowly. This ensures that you get value for your money.
Better Scent Throw
This is another way one can benefit from the lower burning temperature of soy wax. Adding of scent is not compulsory for candle making but doing so creates a more pleasant environment as the candle burns. Since soy wax burns slowly, the scent is released gradually. This ensures that your room smells nice and at a regular rate throughout the time the candles burn.
Most of the benefits mentioned above are advantages that soy wax has over paraffin wax. But it is not cheaper than paraffin wax. The low cost of paraffin wax has made it the most used wax for candle making; it is used in more than 90% of candle making projects. However, soy wax is the cheapest of vegetable waxes. Even the fact that soy wax candles last longer than those made of paraffin wax means it is a more cost-effective alternative and one would get value for the amount spent.
Soy wax is a very good product for candle making but it has some downsides too. It is important to state them here so that you would get full details and make a better choice on whether to use soy wax for your next candle making project or not.
Disadvantages of Soy Wax
Lower burning temperature
I have mentioned that soy wax has a lower burning temperature compared to other types of wax. This is because of its soft nature and means soy wax can only be used to make container candles. Pillar candles are stand-alone candles which need rigidity and so a hard type wax such as paraffin wax or palm wax is required. However, this can be remedied by blending soy wax which is another type of wax which would provide necessary stability. Soy wax blended with paraffin wax is common but then that is no longer 100% natural. It is advisable to get blends of soy wax with another natural wax.
Fussy to humidity or temperatures
Soy wax is made from soybean oil and this means if it is not used after some time, it would spoil. So there is need to properly preserve soy wax if you would not be using them immediately which is not necessary for paraffin wax. As a rule, soy waxes older than a year should not be used for candle making anymore.
Frosting is when white patches appear around the top edges of candles. This does not affect candle performance but affects its beauty especially if the candles are coloured. This problem is peculiar to soy wax and is even a sign of how natural the candle is as the more natural candles frost more. But it is not easily noticeable with non-coloured candles since they have a natural white colour already. You can avoid this by avoiding old soy waxes or preserving them well.
Not flexible with some types of fragrance oils
I have mentioned that soy wax throws off scent very well, but this does not mean it works with all types of scent oils. You should always make sure that you buy fragrance oils suitable for use in soy wax as it is not very flexible in that regard. And you may want to test a few scent oils to know the ones that work best.
Having offered you good details on soy wax, it is left for you to make a choice. If the disadvantages are things you would find your way around, then you can go ahead with it. Or if you simply prefer another type of wax, that is okay too. But be careful when purchasing soy wax. There are many blends in the market today that manufacturers call soy wax even though it is only little. Buy from reliable brands only. Good luck!