It was about 4 years ago that I began to hear "Soy candles are better for you" or "Paraffin is terrible to burn in your house"
I was a bit confused at the time because I thought all candles were made of paraffin and I knew that soy, itself, should not be eaten in large amounts so why should a soy candle be better than a regular paraffin one?
Then 2 years ago I began this journey as a candlemaker (aka Chandler) and started to delve deeper into why I should or shouldn't use any particular type of wax for my customers. Now before I go into the "why" of me choosing to use soy wax in my candles and in my own home, I'd like to say that there are amazing artists that make wonderful products using all types of wax. What you choose to use in your own home is up to you but these are the reasons I chose to use soy wax for myself and my customers.
First, soy wax has a higher melting point. When you purchase a candle, you may expect it to last a while. Only to find out after a few short burnings that it's already halfway gone. Why is that?
Paraffin wax has a melting point between approximately 115 and 154 degrees Fahrenheit. When you light a candle, the wick burns down and draws up the wax, as it heats, burns, and oxidizes to yield water and carbon dioxide which then dissipate into the air. So when the wax you're heating has a lower melting point it will run out faster.
Soy wax, on the other hand, has a melting point of between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes soy candles last longer and, in my humble opinion, more worth the money.
Second, soy wax is more natural. Soy wax is derived from soybeans, most of which are grown and harvested in the United States. Paraffin wax, however, is a byproduct of petroleum. Although it is still considered "natural", it is typically derived from components of decayed vegetable and animal material. I'd personally much rather burn something from a soybean than decaying material or petroleum.
Third, when I worked in the Pathology lab a few years ago, the chemicals we absolutely had to be careful with were, toluene, and formaldehyde. Did you know heated paraffin wax can emit benzene and toluene. Both are known carcinogens and have been linked to asthma and lung cancer.
These factors made the decision for me, I would be using soy wax for my candles. At times, it can be more difficult to work with, and I can't make some of the fun candles that other artists make. But those things don't matter as much as knowing that my family won't be breathing in toxins emitted from paraffin and I am using a renewable, natural source for my candles.
Whatever candles or home fragrance you purchase, I encourage you to dive a little deeper into the compounds involved in them. I know I never thought twice about any of the above until I was starting my business but knowledge is power.