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!
Today candles are an essential part our lives, helping to create a desired mood or atmosphere in any home. Aromatherapy candles, made with essential oils, provide a therapeutic treatment, designed to maintain or improve our wellbeing.
In the past, tallow candles made from animal fat were the norm (Stavert, 2010), but today there are now a range of candles to choose from, made from different waxes. But what are the relative merits of these different waxes? Which wax makes the best aromatherapy candle?
Here we take a look at two different types- soy wax and beeswax. We’ll explore where these waxes have come from, what their advantages and disadvantages are and discuss which is the better choice when it comes to aromatherapy candles.
Unlike beeswax, soy wax is a vegetable, plant-based wax (Short, 2014) made from the oil of the soy bean, which is purified and hydrogenated.The hydrogenation process turns some of the unsaturated fatty acids in the oil into saturated fat, a process which alters the melting point of the oil, making it a solid at room temperature.
Because it’s a soft wax, it is currently mainly used for container candles. Pillar candles can be made from soy wax if certain additives are mixed into the wax and there is continuing research into improving the hardness of soy wax (Yao & Wang, 2012).
The history of soy wax
Unlike beeswax, which has a long history, soy wax became available in fairly recent times. It was developed in the US in 1992 by Michael Richards as a better-value alternative to beeswax and was first sold on the high street in 1995. Interestingly, historians think that early civilizations used plant wax to make candles. For example, it is said that early Japanese civilisations made candles out of tree nut wax. So the basic idea of using plants to make candles is not a new one.
The main advantages of a soy wax candle
• BIODEGRADABLE: Soy wax is biodegradable, so it can be broken down in the environment.
• RENEWABLE: The soy plant can be grown again and again, whereas paraffin wax candles are made from non-renewable resources.
• AFFORDABLE: Soy offers good value for money (beeswax is more expensive).
• CLEAN-BURNING: There is minimal soot production when the candle is burnt, which makes it nicer for the home.
• SAFER: Because soy wax burns at a low temperature, the melted wax does not become as hot (so it’s safer than paraffin wax).
• EXCELLENT SCENT THROW: So it’s great for aromatherapy candles as you can really smell the essential oils and experience their therapeutic benefits.
• LONG-LASTING: Due to its low melting point, the wax burns for longer which means that your candle is longer lasting.
• EASY TO CLEAN UP SPILLAGES: Soy wax spillages are easy to clean up with soap and hot water. Beeswax can be a bit trickier to clean up.
The main disadvantages
• MAINLY CONTAINER CANDLES: Because the wax is quite soft, it’s not currently suitable for non-container candles apart from the pillar variety. However, with on-going research, this may be an option in the future. If you’re looking for a container candle, then this isn’t a problem.
Beeswax is sourced from the wax of bee hives, which is then refined (cleaned) to remove any impurities. There is now only one beeswax refinery still operating in the UK, the British Wax Refinery Company (Stavert, 2010).
History of Beeswax
Unlike soy wax, beeswax has been used for candles since ancient times. Historians think that the Romans dipped papyrus into melted beeswax to create candles. These were used to help travellers to navigate at night, for religious occasions and to light their homes. So some of the uses of candles are still the same in the modern day!
The main benefits of a beeswax candle
• BIODEGRADABLE: Like soy wax, it can be naturally broken down in the environment.
• CLEAN-BURNING: Very little soot is released when the candle is burnt.
• LONG SHELF LIFE: Beeswax candles last for a long time.
• VERSATILE: They can be used for any free-standing candles, not just container candles.
The main disadvantages
• COST: Beeswax is expensive, so beeswax candles don’t offer as good-value for money as soy candles. As bee populations are declining, this cost may further rise.
• SCENTING: The distinctive honey scent tends to mask or interfere with the ‘scent throw’ of essential oils. So this can be a problem if you’re looking for an aromatherapy candle.
When it comes to appearance, there are notable differences between candles made from soy wax and those made from beeswax. Soy wax has a white creamy and ‘pure’ appearance, whereas beeswax is normally a shade of brown or gold. The colour of beeswax varies, depending upon the country of origin and the method of melting.
Soy candles are versatile to use as home accessories as their colour is neutral. For container candles, different materials and colouring may be used to house the wax, giving a product a distinct appearance. Of course, appearance choice is down to personal preferences.
Lots of candles are made from more than one type of wax. Be aware that for candles which combine soy wax or beeswax with paraffin wax, then the paraffin will create soot and toxic emissions. Of course, this will be to a greater or less extent, depending upon the proportion of paraffin wax added.
• Soy wax and beeswax candles have some features in common, such as being natural, biodegradable and clean-burning.
• The main difference is that soy wax is vegetable-based, whereas beeswax is an animal product.
• Soy candles are more affordable than those made from beeswax.
• Soy candles have a good ‘scent throw’, making them ideal as aromatherapy candles, whereas beeswax’s natural honey scent can mask the scent of essential oils.
• If you’re looking for a completely natural and healthy product, avoid candles blended with paraffin wax.
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 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!
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