The use of candles today is as popular as ever. The UK is one of the world’s biggest scented candle markets, with Brits spending a massive £90million on them every year. Also, the public is becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental and ethical way in which the products they consume are manufactured. Veganism and vegan products are becoming increasingly important. So where does this leave soy candles? In this post, we’ll dig down into the benefits of soy wax in comparison to the widely available paraffin wax, and why soy candles are awesomely vegan-friendly.
The Dangers of Parrafin Wax
Paraffin wax was discovered in the mid-1800s, and since then, it’s been a cornerstone of the UK candle making industry. Most candles that you find today are made of paraffin wax, but it’s not the safest compound to be inhaling as it burns.
Paraffin wax is a byproduct of the oil purification process. Through a dewaxing process that crude oil undergoes, paraffin wax is derived and is then processed further for use in products. Today, petroleum-based paraffin wax can be found in candles, wax paper, polishes, cosmetics, and electrical insulators, among other commercial items.
Candles made of paraffin also contain hidden dangers. Dangers come in in the form of additives, or chemicals added to wax, to make the resulting candles look, smell and burn better.
You can find additives derived from petroleum called microcrystalline, which help improve the texture of wax, as well as polyethylenes produced from natural gas that add a glossy finish. Some of the most common compounds found in paraffin candles include:
- Vybar: This polymer raises the melting point of paraffin and allows the wax to blend evenly with scents and dyes.
- Mineral oil: Candlemakers can achieve an attractive mottled effect using mineral oils.
- Polysorbate 80: This compound helps to blend oils and scents into paraffin wax.
- UV light inhibitor: Adding this inhibitor prevents premature fading of coloured candles due to sunlight.
Daily use of paraffin candles over the years may contribute to the development of health problems in adults. In one study, researchers at the South Carolina State University found that long-term exposure to certain types of candles can lead to poor air quality and pose a health hazard to a home’s inhabitants.
Paraffin candles released undesired chemicals such as alkanes, alkenes, and toluene, all of which are toxic to humans. Inhaling these compounds over a long period can increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as common allergies, asthma, and even certain types of cancer.
Why Choose Soy?
Soy candles are made from soybeans, not only making them a safe and natural alternative to petroleum-based paraffin, but also renewable and biodegradable.
When vegetable-based candles such as soy candles were tested in the South Carolina State University study, they were not found to release any of the pollutants given off by paraffin. Soy wax is a great wax for non-toxic candles. They also don’t produce any unsightly black soot, which is not only a pain to clean but is a health hazard as well. With prolonged use, soy candles may create a fine white residue that’s nontoxic and easy to clean.
Soy wax cleans off just about any surface with a simple solution of warm, soapy water.
While soy candles tend to be slightly more expensive than their paraffin alternatives, you also get more for your money. Soy wax burns at a cooler temperature, meaning that your candle will burn for more hours than a paraffin candle of the same size. The wax is also less likely to scald if touched, which is an important consideration for households with curious little ones.
Soy Candles are Vegan
If you abstain from using animal products, then you might find candle shopping to be difficult. Many types of candles use animal products. Beeswax comes from the hives of beeves, tallow comes from the fat of animals and so on.
If we take Parrafin for example, paraffin is the main ingredient in most candles. Unfortunately, paraffin alone is too soft to make a good candle. Therefore most paraffin candles also contain a small amount (up to 10 per cent) of stearic acid to harden the wax and provide opacity.
Parafin is vegan and derived from petroleum, but stearic acid often comes from animal fat. While coconut-based stearic acid widely available, most candlemakers opt for the much cheaper slaughterhouse byproduct.
Unless the label indicates otherwise, you should assume a candle is not vegan. Luckily, vegan candles are fairly easy to find—although they’ll always cost more than the cheapest candles.
Aubrey Bay, soy candles are 100% vegan and do not require any animal products in their production or use.
Is the wick made of a safe material? Some candle brands also use a wick where the cotton is wrapped around another material such as metal, producing toxic soot, which may also lead to lung problems. At Aubrey Bay, we always use non-cored cotton wicks.
These are safe to burn and produce no pollutants. We always advise keeping the wick trimmed each burn to prevent a build-up of carbon.
Are Soy Candles Vegan-Friendly – Wrapped Up!
Soy candles are a great vegan-friendly choice for candles in the home. If you’re not sure if you’re candle is vegan-friendly then always reach out to the retailer who will be happy to help. If you’re interested in vegan soy candles in the UK check out our shop for our best candles.