What's Not to Love About Soy Wax in Scented Candles?

Soy wax is one of the fastest growing, popular ingredients used in scented candle-making. Soy candles are now popular choices among many candle users and enthusiasts because of a slew of benefits, I mean, even The NY Times did a piece in 2004 that covered the sweet benefits of soy candles. However, just like any other products, there are also drawbacks for soy wax candles. So I’d like to talk, a little, about soy wax from the candle making perspective, the good and the bad.

First, let me start off by saying that soy wax can be really complicated. In fact, I'd say it's a bit of an enigma for designers of scented bakery candles. It can prove to be your best friend or like the acquaintance who you just had a delightful dinner and conversation with the night before, but the next day they won't answer your calls. Here's what I mean. I can use soy when I make (pillar style) bakery designed candles and they will work beautifully, with a few drawbacks. However, when it comes to using soy for making some molded designs, the texture of soy may make things a bit more complicated. 

So, before I get started on the love hate relationship that soy and I have, I'll get to the factual reasons why soy can be a dream and a nightmare.


The Benefits of Soy Wax

Here are some of the upsides of using soy wax for scented candles in general:


    • Natural – One of the many benefits of using this type of ingredient for candles is its all-natural and healthy content. Soy candles are basically made from soybeans. Soybeans are renewable and natural sources local farmers grow in several regions. Using soy wax also means supporting local farmers and agriculture and boosting their operations.
    • Longer Lasting – Soy wax candles are typically long lasting compared to other types such as paraffin. The longevity of soy wax candles is largely due to its slow and cooler burning temperature. Moreover, soy wax is biodegradable and makes an eco-friendly wax choice. Although the cost of purchasing soy candles is initially more, it’s actually a more economical choice because they’re going to burn much longer than their chemical counterpart, paraffin.
    • Cleaner Burning – All candles produce soot, but candles made from soy wax produce cleaner with very little soot. Compared to other candle types, such as paraffin, soy candles could still accumulate black soot but in a much less amount. Soy candles are, likewise, non-toxic and they do not release carcinogenic substances and toxins in the air.
    • Better Scents – Most scented soy candles retain essential oils when blended together. And, as I mentioned, scented soy candles burn much slower than paraffin so the scent is released in the air in a more gradual manner. Abrupt waves of strong smells are avoided, therefore creating a more pleasant ambiance.
    • Budget and Eco Friendly – One of the many reasons why more and more people prefer soy wax is because it is more cost effective and cheaper than other natural waxes. It’s an eco-friendly option for making fantastically scented candles that burn slower and last longer, without harmful petrochemicals.




Lovely candles, made in Australia, but I'll tell you, wherever you look, you'll see a lot of hype about soy wax for candle making. From my experience, I wish someone would have told me about the drawbacks as well. So, I think that it’s only right to look at some of the disadvantages of soy wax, and there are certainly disadvantages. As a candle designer, myself, I can tell you that I’ve wrestled, time and again, with going completely soy, but due to the designs of my candles, the disadvantages have caused me to think twice.


The Downsides of Soy Wax

Soy wax has the tendency to expand and contract. These are effects that are natural due to the changes of temperature and the natural characteristics of soy wax.

  • Soy wax is not flexible with some types of fragrance oils. This could be remedied through testing scent oils and asking manufacturers how they work with soy wax.
  • Soy wax may create frost marks in the candle or tart. There are, however, soy additives that could reduce the production of soy mark. 
  • Soy wax could become fussy due to humidity and temperature.


Don’t get me wrong. We love soy here, and we use it in just about every scented bakery candle we make, and though I've literally had to walk away from it to control my frustration with soy wax, it is a great option for candle users and makers. It provides a wide range of benefits and perks for your budget with benefits that far surpass paraffin. Although there are downsides, there are natural additives and remedies popping up all the time to help soy to become an even better alternative for candle making than it already is. 

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