Where Does Soy Wax Come From?
Soy wax is a clean, vegetable-derived wax from the oil by-product of soybeans, an edible food product. The beans are first harvested from the field, then they go through a journey of being cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. Once in flake form, the soy oil can then be extracted from the beans, but it then must be "hydrogenated" before it becomes a wax. Hydrogenation is a process by which fatty acid groups are added to the molecular structure of the oil so that it is converted from an unsaturated liquid to a saturated solid, also known as a wax. Therefore the hydrogenation process chemically changes the melting point of the soy oil, transforming it into a sold at room temperature. Once hydrogenation is complete... Voila! You now have a beautiful clean wax to make a candle!
Why Soy Candles?
The greatest advantage of using soy wax, is that the USA is the largest provider of soybeans in the world, so it is quite frankly, "Made in the USA!". Soybeans grow very quickly, and often beans that are growing in the field now, will be candles or food next year. Soy is a completely sustainable, eco-friendly, easy-to-grow, inexpensive resource as compared to petroleum which is becoming more and more scarce and as its prices skyrocket worldwide.
In addition to long-term cost-effectiveness and sustainability, a well-made soy candle is non-toxic and will burn cleanly and slowly, which means it will last a long time! While soy candles tend to be slightly more expensive up front than their paraffin alternatives, the end-user definitely gets more for their money. Because soy wax burns at a cooler temperature, (because it is softer with a lower melting point,) that candle will burn for more hours than a paraffin candle of the same size Because it is not burning as hot, the wax is also less likely to scald if touched, which is a nice safety concern for children.
In addition, there are health benefits to soy candles as soy burns "clean," meaning, no toxic fumes, no black soot to discolor walls or fabrics, and no toxic by-products. Paraffin products contain hydrocarbons from the petrochemicals that they are made from which are toxic (example: alkanes, benzenes, alkynes etc,) and burning these paraffin candles daily and inhaling these toxins over time has been shown to be hazardous to one's health, according to many studies. Many more studies have shown that inhaling these compounds over a long period can increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as COPD, asthma, and even cancer.
Soy candles burn cleanly and have not been found to release any toxic chemicals. The only substance found associated with soy candles is a clear-ish, white, inert (non-toxic) film which can be removed with soap and water.
And soy candles also have the benefit of being vegan! Beeswax comes from bees, and some wax includes the tallow aka "fat" of animals. Soy is wonderfully vegan, and the left-over soy husks is even used in some animal feeds to nourish animals. So is there any reason NOT to buy a soy candle?