Firstly it must be said that there are a number of important similarities between beeswax and soy candles. For a start, neither contain paraffin wax. That is, if, they are made from pure soy or beeswax and not some dubious soy or beeswax blends.
So both are good and either is better than a regular paraffin candle.
Which of the two is a better choice, however, isn’t as straightforward. Here’s why…
What’s Wrong with Paraffin Wax?
The problem with paraffin wax candles is that when burned, they can release VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. These are actually the same VOC emissions that you get from diesel fumes, namely benzene, and toluene.
Needless to say, VOCs are toxic. They are carcinogenic by nature but they can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system as well as causing short-term adverse effects such as eye nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.
Occasionally burning a paraffin candle in a room with good ventilation probably isn’t going to give you a significant health risk.
But if you have allergies, paraffin candles are definitely not going to help.
And, you don’t want to add anything that could be potentially harmful to you and your family’s health, especially if you can buy a safer and more natural alternative that will give you a cleaner burn as well as a more natural and pleasant aroma.
Both beeswax and soy candles are completely safe, natural alternatives to paraffin.
Soy Wax Candles
Soy candles last much longer than regular candles, but not generally as long as beeswax candles. That’s because beeswax is denser.
They have a softer consistency and a lower melting point so they aren’t suitable for pillar candle making. That means you will always find pure soy candles in vessels such as jars or tins – simply because they need support.
They blend well with scents and you can make them at home in your own kitchen.
Another big plus point about soy wax is, that it’s water-soluble so it’s super easy to clean up.
It’s also vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Are Soy Candles Eco-Friendly?
Soy is a sustainable and renewable resource which, in theory, makes it carbon neutral.
However, the environmental impact of producing soy is pretty much dependant on how and where the soy is grown.
Not all soy is certified as sustainably grown, but here in the US, almost all soy production is regulated by the Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol.
The SSAP provides strict guidelines and conservation practices for farmers growing soy.
If you’re concerned about the environment, knowing where the soy in your candles comes from is important.
There is no deforestation or degradation in the production of responsibly farmed soy and organic soy contains no herbicides. Soy wax is also 100% biodegradable.
Beeswax Candles are about as natural as you can get. The first records of their use date back to Ancient Egypt in 3000bc. You don’t need any chemicals, modern technology, or factory processing to make a beeswax candle you could make one at home from scratch.
The wax is self-supporting so they make great alternatives to regular pillar or taper candles. They are much healthier than paraffin candles and they last longer than soy or regular paraffin candles too.
Beeswax candles also have unique properties of their own. Unscented, the natural wax has a fresh, subtle, and aromatic sweet honey smell.
There’s no need to add any fragrance to them, though unscented, the aroma is most often very faint and you may not detect the natural honey scent when they are burned.
Some, however, do have a little more honey-scent than others. This is usually the result of only lightly filtering the wax after harvesting so a little of the honey residue remains.
Beeswax candles are also the least likely of any candle to cause allergies.
Do Beeswax Candles Really Clean the Air?
You are probably wondering about this. The answer, unfortunately, is no. You may have heard that they emit negative ions or, more specifically, more negative ions than other candles. Negative ions attract dust and particles which clump together and fall to the ground due to their accumulated weight so they are not hanging around for you to breathe in.
However, although they do emit negative ions, as all candles do, there isn’t any real scientific evidence to support this theory, and there are no particular health benefits to burning beeswax or any other candles for that matter.
Are Beeswax Candles Ethical?
Bees are vital to our environment. Beekeeping is a way of looking after and protecting bees from extinction and beeswax is a sustainable and renewable resource but you should always choose beeswax candles that have been responsibly and ethically sourced.
We hope this article has been helpful.
If there’s anything that you think we’ve missed, or if you have any questions about anything, then let us know down in the comments below.