A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best, Healthiest Candle Wax | Soy vs. Beeswax vs. Paraffin

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Understanding Candle Waxes: An Exploration of Types and Their Benefits

Choosing the right wax for your candles can be as crucial as picking a perfect scent or color. Each type of wax offers unique benefits and potential drawbacks, affecting everything from the candle's burning time to its environmental impact. This guide will help you understand the differences among various types of candle waxes, their benefits, and potential downsides.

What Differentiates Waxes?

There are several types of wax available for candle-making, each derived from a different source and offering a distinct set of characteristics. The most common types include paraffin, soy, beeswax, and the kind used in luxury candles. So, what sets these waxes apart?

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is a byproduct of petroleum refining, making it readily available and inexpensive. It holds scent well and provides a slow burn, but its origins raise some concerns about air quality and sustainability.

Soy Wax

Derived from soybean oil, soy wax is a renewable resource. It burns cleaner and slower than paraffin, reducing the amount of soot produced. However, the debate about whether it's safe to burn is ongoing.


Beeswax is the oldest candle-making material, boasting several benefits. It burns longer and cleaner than other waxes and emits a natural, honey-like fragrance. However, it's often more expensive due to its natural origins.

Luxury Candle Wax

Luxury candles typically use high-quality waxes, often a blend of soy, coconut, and beeswax. These waxes offer a clean, long burn and excellent scent throw, justifying the higher price point.

Which Wax is the Healthiest to Burn?

Health considerations are essential when selecting candle wax. The burning process can release particles into the air, some of which may cause health concerns. Soy and beeswax are often considered the healthiest options as they burn cleaner and produce less soot than paraffin.

Soy vs. Beeswax: Which is Better?

Both soy and beeswax have their benefits. Soy wax is vegan, burns slowly, and is relatively affordable. Beeswax also burns slowly, purifies the air as it burns, and has a naturally sweet aroma. The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference and values.

Paraffin vs. Soy Wax: Which Should You Choose?

While paraffin wax is inexpensive and holds fragrance well, it can produce more soot and potential toxins when burned. On the other hand, soy wax burns cleaner and is renewable, making it a popular choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Which Candle Wax Holds the Most Fragrance?

Paraffin wax is known to have the best scent throw, both cold and hot, which means the fragrance is strong even when the candle isn’t burning. However, if you are looking for a more natural alternative, soy wax also holds fragrance well.

Health Risks of Burning Scented Candles

While scented candles can create a relaxing environment, they do have potential health risks if they're made from paraffin wax. As it burns, paraffin wax can release toluene and benzene, two volatile organic compounds that can have adverse health effects. Soy and beeswax candles, which burn cleaner and produce fewer toxins, are healthier alternatives.

Are Candles Similar to Smoking?

The claim that burning a candle can be like smoking a cigarette stems from the potential release of harmful particles and toxins, particularly from paraffin candles. However, while there are some similarities, the risks are not identical. Candles, especially those made from healthier waxes like soy or beeswax, can be enjoyed safely when used properly.

Which Candles Do Not Cause Headaches?

Candles with strong artificial fragrances or those made from paraffin can sometimes cause headaches in sensitive individuals. Opting for candles made from natural waxes like soy or beeswax, and choosing those with essential oils or fragrance-free options, can help to avoid this problem.

What Candles are Non-Toxic?

Non-toxic candles are typically made from natural materials like soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax. They use wicks made from cotton or wood, and incorporate pure essential oils or phthalate-free fragrances. The candles offered at Scents of Purpose are a perfect example of non-toxic options.