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  • Writer's pictureCathleen Miller

Candles: Soy or Paraffin?

Oh! All the choices! Everyone loves candles, but how does one know which one to buy? I always thought a candle was a candle. I had no idea the benefits (or costs) associated with particular candles, and why someone would choose one candle over another. All I really cared about was that it enticed me, stayed lit, and made my room smell amazing! I just love the smell of fragrance about a room. It lifts my spirits and makes me feel pretty darn happy and comforted.

Glowing, flickering candles are so relaxing.

Paraffin Candles - For years I bought paraffin candles. They worked great. They are reasonably priced unless you are buying a brand name candle. They are available everywhere you go! They burned and threw a nice scent called "hot throw" into the room. Paraffin is a by product of Petroleum. According to Wikipedia: Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft solid, derived from petroleum, coal or oil shale, that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms.

I had no idea! I wasn't sure how I felt about that once I found that out. Paraffin candles throw a strong "soot" when burned. Oh. That's not good. Could that be considered a carcinogen? Environmental Agencies and the State of California think so. Yikes! If you are a seldom candle burner, that might be ok, but what if you burned candles all the time to reduce stress or ease anxiety? That got me thinking.... is there a better option?

Enter.......Soy Wax Candles - These candles are a little more expensive, why? Soy Wax is a new innovation in the candle industry that was mostly paraffin for over 100 years! Soy is farmed! Farmers in America are producing soy beans and creating sustainable products including soy wax.

American Soy Bean Farm

According to CandleScience, a reputable candle company states that Soy Wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. After harvesting, the beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. The oil is then extracted from the flakes and hydrogenated. The hydrogenation process converts some of the fatty acids in the oil from unsaturated to saturated. This process dramatically alters the melting point of the oil, making it a solid at room temperature. The leftover bean husks are commonly used as animal feed. The U.S. grows the vast majority of the world's soy beans, primarily in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana.

Soy Beans create Soy Oil and Soy Wax.

The typical melting point of Soy Wax begins at 115 F. compared to the mean melting point of Paraffin Wax being 130F and can go as high at 154 F. (Catalina's Cottage candles have a beautiful melt pool. See below.)

The Phoenix Collection Soy Candle

A well made soy candle, will burn slowly, the wax melt will be cooler and therefore safer with children around (always wanting to plunk their finger in the wax. Yes. I did this too as a child. Soy wax doesn't hurt! Its just warm when melted..) Because soy wax melts at a lower temperature, additives must be added to make pillar candles. But in its pure form it is perfect for container candles! But, Soy Candles are more expensive than Paraffin candles. For all the above reasons. And, that's ok with me. I will shell out a couple more bucks for an eco friendly product. Yes Ma'am!

What an education I received doing this study. I really liked all these great points about Soy Candles. I like helping American Farmers. I like eco-friendly products, and I love innovation. It makes me really proud to present these products to the public. And, I will do what I can to educate others about eco friendly products.

Yes!!! eco-friendly, renewable, American grown, sustainable, carbon neutral;

As the owner of Catalina's Cottage, I choose to offer and manufacture Soy Candles. We will pay a little more for the appropriate ingredients to support this product because it makes us feel good to know we are helping in all these ways.

So, the choice is yours.

Catalina's Cottage offers Soy Candles in jars and tins. You can find them here on our website.


aka Cathleen Miller


Catalina's Cottage


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