The natural candle market can be difficult to navigate if you’re unsure of what to look out for, which is why you’ve come to the right place. We’re candle experts, welcome to our guide.
Keep reading to find out about soy wax (and whether it’s vegan), the differences between various natural candles on the market, why we use a natural paraffin blend in our candles, as well as the difference between cotton wicks and wooden wicks.
What is Soy Wax (And is it Vegan)?
Soy wax candles are made from oils derived from the soybean, a natural plant source that means they are in fact vegan-friendly. To make soy wax, the beans are pressed to extract the oils which are then hydrogenated. This process involves solidifying the oil to make it more consistent and easier to burn thanks to a low melting point. The husks from the beans are then generally fed back to animals, which makes the process low waste and low on negative environmental impact.
The Benefits of Soy Wax
Soy wax is a biodegradable, environmentally-friendly choice for your candle. Because of its low melting point it also burns at a cooler temperature which helps the candles stay lit for longer. Soy wax also has a much cleaner burn than other types of wax, making it much better for the environment than non-natural candles.
In terms of other natural candles on the market, soy wax is the most renewable variety available. Bayberry wax and coconut wax are all derivatives that are extracted from the earth with no chemicals required, however they are a limited resource, making them extremely expensive to buy. Beeswax is another natural candle, however because it’s an animal by-product, some vegans don’t consider it to be an ethical variety of candle. Palm oil wax also falls under the same umbrella, because its extraction is also linked heavily with deforestation. These are both also extremely expensive because of their finite and unrenewable availability, Soy wax is much more affordable when compared to these other wax types because of its renewable factors.
Soy wax’s low burning temperature also makes it easier to clean up once cooled, compared to other varieties of candle, especially if it has spilled onto fabrics or tablecloths. This low temperature also means that when lit, soy wax creates a soft ambience that doesn’t overpower a room. Because it tends to burn evenly, this creates a healthy wax pool around the wick, meaning that more fragrance is released into the home.
The Benefits of Paraffin Wax
Where soy wax is made from natural resources, paraffin wax is made from crude oil, which means some vegans choose not to use it. However, mostly they know that the animals and organisms extracted from the earth in the process of making crude oil died millions of years ago, meaning they weren’t killed for its use.
Paraffin wax holds a lot of fragrance, meaning when it’s burned there is a bigger fragrance “throw”. This means that more scent is released when the wick is lit and therefore you get to smell the bottom notes of the candle for longer after it’s stopped burning.
At PartyLite, our candles are made with a paraffin/soy wax blend, giving them a long, clean burn time and are therefore safer for you and your family. Our artisan candles are responsibly made without the questionable ingredients that you may find in other types. These include:
Parabens - A preservative that can cause cancer and is linked to hormone disruption.
Phthalates - A chemical linked to the cause of asthma and fertility issues.
Sulfates - Derived from environmentally destructive petrol or palm oil, can cause skin, eye and lung irritation.
Dyes - Many candles on the market are infused with dyes which can release incredibly harmful toxins into the air when burned.
Animal derived ingredients - Our products will never be tested on animals, or made from animal products.
Cotton Wicks vs Wooden Wicks
Both of these natural wicks have their own benefits when it comes to burning candles, which is why PartyLite uses both types in our forms. Cotton wicks are braided cotton strands that are dipped in wax and then compressed to hold their shape. Some cotton wicks are dipped in pure paraffin or metals like zinc or lead to ensure they stay lit, but that causes damaging toxins to be released as they burn, which is why PartyLite will never do that in our artisan candles.
Wooden wicks are thin strips of wood made specifically for candles, they create a log fire type crackling sound when burned, but take a little more effort to maintain. Always ensure that no matter which wick your candle is using, that you are trimming it after every burn. Read more in our Candle Care Guide.
Although it’s not recommended to burn candles outdoors unless they’ve specifically been designed to be lit outside, cotton wicks tend to last longer in gusty or draughty conditions. It’s not advised that you light a wooden wicked candle outside, they’re much more likely to extinguish quickly and are much more difficult to re-light.
In terms of sustainability, wooden wicks tend to be friendlier for the environment as they don’t use as much water in their manufacture when compared to cotton wicks. Some cotton wicks are even wrapped around pieces of metal so they can be “self-trimming”, we would never do this with our wicks, making them much more ethical and safer for our customers.