What's so special about soy wax? I get asked that all the time at markets and with potential retail partners, so I thought it'd be a good idea for me to share some of the features (and benefits!) of soy, and why I insist on using only pure soy wax for my candles.
Although there are a handful of others, the 2 most common raw materials used for making candles are soy wax and paraffin wax. Take a look at a candle's label, and if it doesn't tout itself as a pure soy wax candle, it's likely made of paraffin. “Soy wax blends” are typically a mixture of soy and paraffin.
Soy, as its name implies, is made from the soybean, a renewable resource. Made from the oil of soybeans, soy wax is produced directly from the crops that grow on the farms dotted across North America, primarily in the Midwest. Paraffin, on the other hand, is made from petroleum (yes, that petroleum!) produced through the same environmentally-hazardous process that refines crude oil and requires continuous excavation of more and more of our finite fossil fuels to sustain.
The people in my home are precious to me, and so is my own health. Since soy wax candles are vegetable-based and don't contain harmful additives, their emissions are non-toxic and not dangerous to the people or animals nearby. However, considering that paraffin is a petroleum-based product, burning paraffin or paraffin-containing candles in your space emits similar toxic particles into the air as would be emitted from burning gasoline (ew!).
Similar to being non-toxic, soy wax candles burn cleaner than paraffin candles. Although any candle can “soot” if the wick is not properly trimmed - meaning emit dark smoke residue that tarnishes the glass and/or walls nearby - paraffin candles are much likelier to emit “whiffs” of soot that end up on your walls, lamps, and even in your lungs (!!). Much of this has to do with the properties of the petroleum used to produce paraffin and paraffin-blend candles that simply is not the case with pure soy candles.
Due to soy wax's higher melting point compared to paraffin, it takes longer for soy wax to melt, thus allowing your candle to last longer and burn down more slowly. Soy wax candles generally last 30 - 50% longer than paraffin candles of the same volume, so they'll fill your home with non-toxic, clean fragrance for longer!
For all of these reasons - sustainability, non-toxicity, clean-burning properties, and longevity- I choose to make all Crowded Table candles with only pure soy wax. I believe that what we choose to spend our money on ought to reflect our values, and I'm proud to burn these candles in my home and hope you will be too!