Misconceptions spread by new candle makers

Posted by Leoni Goldsmith-Cormick on

Popular misconceptions around soy wax and paraffin wax

These are the popular misconceptions pushed forward by soy wax candle/wax melt businesses as they try to tap into your moral compass. They paint this idea that soy wax is a superior wax above all else and you are being environmentally friend and conscious by only using 100% soy wax, while bashing paraffin (its competition) and painting it as this evil product that if you use it you are not being eco-friendly.

We all like to put down big companies when we feel like their morals are not in the right place when they over charge on products that are so cheap to make and don't reflect the quality. So, by pointing out that most, if not all of the big name candle businesses use paraffin wax then this gives a negative view of the product and who it is associated with.

With surface level research or bias wording when doing a quick search on google will of course bring up information to support an already bias conception. This is not always their fault, as we are hit with this same "information" daily, you might not realise your blind bias when wanting to do a quick google search to back the claims you have heard. But with that same surface level research you can also easily find information that contradicts these "facts" put out by the soy wax industry. In this blog you will see some of the popular misconceptions that are repeated on nearly every new candle/wax melt makers website or instagram page, and the correct information behind this.

Myth 1:

Soy candles do not smoke

This is probably the biggest misconception about candles ever! There is no such thing as a soot free candle. Science lesson time, all waxes are essentially composed of hydrocarbon molecules, part hydrogen and carbon. So yes, all candles CAN smoke. However, the culprit of candle smoke is the wick. Candle wicks do need to be trimmed to ¼ inch every time you light them to ensure proper burning.

People often say that only paraffin wax will smoke but like said above this has nothing to do with the wax. It is mainly to do with the wick and finding the right combination between wick, fragrance oil and wax.

Myth 2:

Paraffin wax is hazardous to your health

This is just another myth created by the soy candle companies to sell more soy candles. However, just to be clear, all candle waxes are non-toxic. In fact, paraffin wax has been approved by the FDA for use not only in candles, but also in cosmetics and more.

Also the laws in the UK would not allow a product to be sold to customers where it releases toxic chemicals. The paraffin wax used in candles is the same type used to coat some vegetables and fruit sold in your supermarkets. It's gone through a refining process to ensure that there are no harmful chemicals in it.

Myth 3:

Just because it's soy, it's natural

Oh boy, where do I start? Many of the soy candles you see on shelves are not actually 100% soy.

Soy wax is a very soft wax and has lower melting points, causing it to burn faster. So, many companies will blend it with another wax or add additives like chemical hardeners to make the wax more durable. Then, there is the fragrance oil and dyes to consider. Generally, if it’s dyed, it’s not natural. Even soy candles made with essential oils are not “all natural” because the wax is chemically produced from a soybean.

Myth 4:

Soy wax has a cleaner burn

Claims that soy wax burns cleaner is false. Soy wax does not burn cleaner than other waxes. A well made soy wax candle will burn cleanly just as any other well made candle that contains beeswax, paraffin, or palm wax. It is the making of the candle that decides the cleanness of the burn. The correct wick, not too much dyes or fragrance will produce a nice clean burn. If the soy candle is badly wicked for example it will blaze and may soot.

Myth 5:

Paraffin wax is cheap

What this implies is that it is a cheap wax and so no good and this is the reason why big name candle businesses use it instead of soy. This is not correct, paraffin wax was actually more expensive per pound compared to soy wax. The refining process is what makes it more expensive to ensure it is the one of the most versatile wax available. Paraffin is ideal for container candles and pillar candle because it holds the shape you want it to and its structure will last longer.

Soy wax misbehaves a lot at a chemical layer because it’s polymorphic. This means soy wax forms crystals of random sizes in response to time and changes in temperature, which is literally what you do to make a candle: heat up, cool, and wait. This is called frosting.

Myth 6:

Soy wax burns longer than paraffin wax

The claim that soy burns longer than paraffin probably comes from the physical makeup that soy is more dense than paraffin, and would move up through the wick with more resistance than a paraffin equivalent.

Paraffin candles require wick designs that melt the wax and regulate the temperature of the candle differently than soy wax candles.

That’s a really long way to say that you’ll use different wicks for each to achieve the same goals. Burn length is ultimately a function of heat, which is regulated by the wick.

Different wicks = different heats. The density discussion doesn’t matter unless the candles are literally the same except for the wax, which hardly ever happens. If they were, soy would likely burn longer, but a more thorough scientific approach to this idea needs to happen before marketing that material as fact.

For the most part, similar volume soy and paraffin candles will burn for roughly the same amount of time when properly designed.

Conclusion

New candle makers are just as much of a victim to the misconceptions put out there by the soy wax industry as their customers. The soy wax industry had a great marketing plan that is just being repeated and spread and eventually believed as fact when only surface level research has been done.

There is nothing wrong with using soy wax or paraffin wax they both have their pros and cons of how they are in using the material and getting the desired outcome you want. There are no health risks to factor in or weight up when it comes to choosing the type of candle you want. It's all preference based but as a customer do not be swayed on a product or who you buy from based on the misconceptions listed in this blog, as a consumer you deserve the truth.

 


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