The Great Debate: Paraffin Wax vs Soy Wax
What happens when you put Paraffin Wax and Soy Wax into an octagon?
This controversial matchup has created a great divide within the candle community. Paraffin is like the old guard of the candle world. It is predominantly used in candles because it offers exceptional scent throw. Enter Soy Wax, a new type of wax marketed to be “sustainable” and “natural”. One of their favourite competitive techniques is to paint Paraffin as a villain so as to draw more supporters to their side.
But are these allegations all true? In this article, we lay out the facts and debunk misinformation about either wax.
Myth 1: Soy is non-toxic. Paraffin is toxic.
Soy Wax manufacturers are direct competitors of Paraffin Wax manufacturers. When soy manufacturers entered the scene, they started the push to portray paraffin as a toxic ingredient. However, fully purified Paraffin Wax used in candles are safe and they are classified as food-grade, the same paraffin that coats the outside of your favourite apples and oranges. Zeke Candle uses fully purified non-toxic paraffin. It is actually a safe product and more commonly used in everyday products than you think.
Myth 2: Soy is clean burning. Paraffin is not.
“Clean” is an unregulated marketing buzzword. Saturated with many messages every day, it is easier to convince consumers that a product is either “good” or “bad” when in actual fact, profit-driven brands are the ones putting the “clean label” on themselves.
How clean a candle burns depends significantly on its wick, wick size, fragrance oil quality and amount used. There is no proven research that paraffin is less clean burning than soy wax. It is just a different type of wax. An improperly made low quality soy wax candle can burn less cleanly than a good quality paraffin candle.
Myth 3: Soy does not soot. Paraffin does.
Anything that burns will soot. This is another example of how brands grossly simplify and falsely convince consumers that a product is either “good” or “bad”. Soy will emit soot but could be in a lighter shade than paraffin. How much a candle soot will depend on the wick used, wick size and airflow of the room.
We did a little mystery shopping ourselves and tested candles made from 100% Soy Wax. Obviously, they soot and as you can see from the photos, the flame size was not too big as the wick did not mushroom after our burn test.
Myth 4: Natural does not mean sustainable.
This point is more of a misinformation rather than myth. Just because a plant is natural, it does not mean that the process of extraction and manufacturer is sustainable. While soybeans are natural products, Soy Wax manufacturers do not have to tell you how they are being made.
In addition, candle makers can claim that their candles to be soy candles if it contains at least 51% Soy Wax regardless of any artificial additives they add in, usually palm oil or other synthetics such as Stearic Acid or Vybar so you candle may not be as “natural” as it was claimed to be.
Paraffin is a derivative of crude oil meant to be recycled or upcycled. If they weren’t reused, they would have gone to waste.
Myth 6: Paraffin is bad for your health.
Would you think a candle made of mineral oil is harmful to your health? Of course not!
Paraffin is in fact the equivalent of mineral oil. Due to widespread misinformation and brands painting it as the villain, the word ‘paraffin’ conjures up scary images of black smoke and a dying planet. It is to the point where staff from luxury brands such as Jo Malone are taught to say “blend of minerals” instead of “paraffin” when questioned about their wax. Other excellent candle brands that make high quality safe candles such as Diptyque and NEST New York uses paraffin or a parasoy blend.
Myth 7: Soy is biodegradable. Paraffin is not.
Both soy and paraffin are biodegradable.
Hear It From The Expert
You may think, “Wait a minute, how can I trust what Zeke Candle say? They’re trying to sell me their candles!” You don’t have to just hear it from us, check out what Wade Thomas from Black Tie Barn has to say. Wade has many years of experience making candles and is an unbiased candle maker who has worked with different wax types and is a subject matter expert on this topic
Due to the immense marketability of Soy Wax, brands will continue to paint an unfair and inaccurate picture of Paraffin Wax. As long as customers believe that this wax is good and that wax is bad, the cycle of misinformation will continue.
Zeke Candle started out with a plan to launch soy wax candles, but after many rounds of testing, our in-house artisans created our trade-secret Zeke Parasoy Wax Blend™ which performed the best. Click here to discover our unique Zeke Parasoy Wax Blend™.
No one makes candles like us.