Unlike gel candles, soy candles are renewable, biodegradable, clean-burning, long-lasting, work well with essential oils and do not emit any nasty toxins.
Visit our shop (sale now on!), where you can buy one of our scented candle relaxation or sleep packages. Our candles are made with 100% natural wax (soy and rapeseed) and fragranced with the pure essential oils of lavender, bergamot and geranium. The perfect remedy for tension and stress! Our candle does not contain any paraffin wax or synthetic fragrance. Plus all packages come with a free relaxation or sleep guide!
When it comes to buying a candle, there are lots of choices available, but most of the time, we don’t know much about the differences between one type of candle and another. Often, we will only be guided by appearance and fragrance. However, materials used to make candles can have very different with their own characteristics, and it’s important to be aware of these. We will go on to explore and compare two different types of candles available; those made from soy wax and those made from gel.
Gel candles, which came into prominence in the late 20th century, are made from a material first invented by a company in America called Penreco, who patented their new product under the name Versagel C. Other similar materials have been developed but the original one remains dominant. Such candles are normally made from a combination of mineral oil and a polymer. Mineral oil is commonly described as a distillation product of petroleum which itself is a by-product of the oil-refining process and is used as a fuel. The polymer turns the mineral oil into a solid form at room temperature.
The gel is firm but spongy to the touch, and needs to be housed in a container to keep its shape. These candles are often coloured with dye and may have objects or decorative glitter within them for novelty appeal.
Advantages of gel candles
• APPEARANCE: there are a big variety of gel candles on the market, and some look much better than others. The gel allows different decorative materials and objects to be suspended; some, for example, display an ‘underwater’ scene or contain glitter. The gel can also be coloured, whist still remaining ‘see-through’ in appearance.
• LOW COST: gel candles can often be quite cheap as the materials used to make them are inexpensive, but at what other costs…
Disadvantages of gel candles:
• SAFETY CONCERNS: there have been documented incidents of accidents involving gel candles. A 2001 report outlined a case of a young girl being badly burnt after accidentally spilling hot gel onto her hand. The report states that 34 other cases had been reported to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. It goes on to describe how gel wax wax burns at a higher temperate than other waxes, such as paraffin, making it hotter when burning. The report discusses incidents where glass has spontaneously shattered due to the high temperature reached by the gel.
• TOXICITY: as with paraffin candles, there may be unhealthy emissions produced by burning gel candles. A 2006 study looked at emissions from different scented candles types, including paraffin and gel. It was found that the gel candle emitted more air pollutants than the paraffin candle.
• NOT ECO-FRIENDLY: gel candles are made from a non-renewable resource (mineral oil derived from paraffin).
• CONTAINER CANDLES ONLY: because the gel is soft, it cannot hold its shape easily without being in a container. Therefore, all gel candles are all container candles, which isn’t a problem if that’s what you’re looking for.
• ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES: gel candles usually have to use artificial fragrances, not authentic essential oils because the gel burns so hot and slowly. For safety reasons, it is only fragrances with a ‘flash point‘above 170 degrees that are recommended.
• SPILLAGES DIFFICULT TO CLEAN OFF FABRIC: gel spillages can be peeled off a smooth surface, but, unlike standard paraffin wax, you can’t simply iron them out of fabric.
Soy wax is a plant-based vegetable wax, made by hydrogenating (solidifying) and purifying soy bean oil (Short, 2014). Soy candles are normally container candles and have a creamy white appearance.
Soy candles first came onto the high street in 1995, although historians believe that the use of vegetable wax for making candles dates back much earlier in time to early civilisations. For example, there is some evidence to suggest that tree nut wax was used by early Japanese civilizations.
Advantages of soy candles
• BIODEGRADABLE: Because soy wax is made from a natural vegetable oil, it can be broken down in the environment.
• RENEWABLE: Soy beans, from which the soy wax is made, can be grown over and over again. Therefore, soy wax is renewable.
• CLEAN-BURNING: Soy candles have been found to emit minimal soot when burnt. With any candle, it’s helpful to keep the wick trimmed to minimise any smoking.
• SAFER: Soy wax melts at a lower temperature than both paraffin wax and gel wax, making it a safer alternative for your home.
• NON-TOXIC: Unlike, paraffin and gel candles, there are no concerns about unhealthy emissions.
• EXCELLENT SCENT THROW: If you’re looking for a scented or aromatherapy candle, this is a real bonus; therapeutic, authentic essential oils work very well in the natural soy wax. Gel candles, on the other hand, normally contain synthetic fragrances.
• LONG LASTING: Soy candles last for a long time, which is due to their low melting point.
• EASY TO CLEAN UP SPILLAGES: Using soap and warm water, you can easily clean up any accidental spillages.
Disadvantages of soy candles
• MOSTLY CONTAINER CANDLES: This isn’t a problem if you’re looking for a container candle – there are lots available with many different container designs. However, because soy wax is quite soft, it is not normally made into non-container candles, such as pillar candles.
• Soy and gel candles are made from very different materials; although both are normally housed in a container.
• Soy is a vegetable wax, made from the oil of the soy bean. It’s biodegradable, renewable, clean-burning, has an excellent scent throw, and spillages are easy to clean up.
• Gel candles are made from a combination of mineral oil and a polymer. They can be inexpensive and novel in appearance, although safety concerns have been raised due to their high melting point.
• Gel candles are non-renewable and, like paraffin candles, have been found to emit air pollutants.
Don’t forget to visit our shop (sale now on!), where you can buy one of our scented candle relaxation or sleep packages. Our candles are made with 100% natural wax (soy and rapeseed) and fragranced with the pure essential oils of lavender, bergamot and geranium. The perfect remedy for tension and stress! Our candle does not contain any paraffin wax or synthetic fragrance. Plus all packages come with a free relaxation or sleep guide!
You may also be interested in:
© 2015 Zuna Naturals Ltd.