Candle makers and candle enthusiasts alike know the disappointment of lighting a candle in anticipation, only to be gifted with a weak, barely present fragrance. Today we are going to have a look at common candle wax types, and their benefits in search of finding the best candle wax for a strong and fragrant scent throw.
What is Soy Wax?
Soy wax is a natural wax derived from the cultivation of soybeans. Soybeans are a major agricultural crop, most commonly grown in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina, but can be found being grown in parts of Europe, Asia and Canada. After soybeans are harvested, they are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled and then rolled into flakes. The soybean oil is then extracted from the flakes, leaving the flakes to be repurposed into animal feed. Soy wax is considered a non-toxic, clean burning fuel source, and with a melting point of 120 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, it is well suited for candles.
Benefits of Soy Wax Candles
- Soy wax is a natural, biodegradable and a renewable resource.
- Soy wax has a lower melting point than most of its counterparts.
- Soy candles burn slower/longer than candles made from paraffin wax.
- Soy wax burns clean, producing less soot.
Best Soy Wax for Scent Throw
In an attempt not to get too into the weeds when choosing a soy wax for candles, we tend to gravitate towards candles that use Naturewax C-3 from Cargill, and our faves Goldenwax 464 & 444 Soy Container Wax. We’ve made and burned a few candles in our day, and these are our go-to’s for their clean burn, and ability to mix well with both fragrance and essential oils.
Soy vs Paraffin Wax
Full disclosure, we are partial to using soy wax for our candles here at the Sojourn Company, which we will go into more detail later in this article. But let’s look at these two wax types side by side. The first, and most stark contrast between the two waxes in our view is that soy wax is derived from soybeans, while paraffin wax is a petroleum product, made by removing the waxy substance from crude oil. Yuck.
While not completely free from these, soy wax candles release fewer toxins and emit less soon than paraffin wax. The absence of the soot and toxins allow for a stronger and more pleasant scent profile. Soy wax candles also burn 30-50% longer due to their lower melting point.
Finally, soy wax grows in various places globally, and is a locally sourced and renewable option for most parts of the world.
What is Paraffin Wax?
Paraffin wax differs quite a bit from Soy Wax. It is a residual product of the oil purification process from petroleum, coal, or oil shale, which are extracted from the earth. When removing the waxy substance from crude oil, paraffin wax is the product that remains. Paraffin wax is quite popular in candle making as it is cost effective. In addition to making a good water barrier, paraffin wax is also a non-toxic, clean burning fuel source, and has a melting point of 120 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Benefits of Paraffin Wax Candles
- Paraffin wax can carry a higher fragrance load, thus a more intense, longer lasting fragrance
- Paraffin wax candles burn/cool at a higher temperature.
- Paraffin wax can be more cost effective than other waxes
Best Paraffin Wax for Scent Throw
While here at the Sojourn Company we tend to lean toward Soy Wax for our candles, we tip our cap to IGI’s 4627 Comfort Blend Wax. This single-pour paraffin wax is known for its high max fragrance load tolerance, and it’s hot & cold throw (which is a fancy way to say how it smells when the candle is lit, and not).
What is Beeswax?
Beeswax is a wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. The wax is secreted from wax-producing glands located on abdomens of worker bees. The wax is secreted in thin, flake-like sheets called scales. Beeswax consists of at least 284 different compounds, but varies in composition by location. Bees then form the beeswax into honeycomb. It takes about 1,100 scales to make one gram of wax, and over 8 pounds of honey to create 1 pound of beeswax. Another fun fact; Bees must fly an estimated 150,000 miles to collect enough nectar to produce six pounds of honey, so they may secrete one pound of wax.
This is an oversimplified explanation of the wonder of beeswax, and a great read on the subject can be found here. Beeswax is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, hypoallergenic, with a melting point of over 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Benefits of Beeswax Candles
- Beeswax candles release negative ions that neutralize air pollutant particles, pulling toxins as they ionize the air.
- Solid beeswax can burn slower than their soy or paraffin rivals.
- Completely free of paraffin, and produces little soot.
Beeswax vs Soy Wax
While both beeswax and soy wax are environmentally friendly options, both being non-toxic, biodegradable and renewable, there are some distinct differences. While both materials are 100% natural, only beeswax can claim to be completely paraffin free. Soy wax has no natural scent, and some candlemakers find it easier to use when honing specific fragrances. Soy wax is also a more affordable option than using beeswax. But we cannot deny that beeswax releasing negative ions that help remove positively charged allergens and pollutants in the air is pretty dang cool. Bees are incredible, and we could always use more apiaries, so can we call it a tie?
What is Palm Wax?
Like other vegetable waxes, palm wax is another 100% all-natural wax. This wax is produced using hydrogenating palm tree oils milled from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and regions of West Africa and South America. Palm Wax has a melting point of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a higher temperature than both soy wax, and the lower-density paraffin wax.
Benefits of Palm Wax Candles
- Like Soy wax, Palm wax is natural, renewable, and biodegradable.
- Longer burn time compared to synthetic waxes.
- Allows you to create, pillared and textures candles
What is Coconut Wax?
Coconut wax typically uses a blend of hydrogenated and refined coconut oil with other vegetable waxes. The process of refining the coconut oil removes the natural scent, while hydrogenation raises the melt point considerably, but it is still quite low compared to other candle waxes at 100 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Coconut wax achieves its solid form through this process, and is known for being a clean burning, sustainable wax source.
Benefits of Coconut Wax Candles
- Coconut wax has easy jar adhesion, and binds to its container without effort.
- Coconut wax burns clean and is from a renewable source.
- Coconut wax emits little to no smoke or soot.
Best Candle Wax for Scent Throw
Now to the meat and potatoes of the debate. If we are selecting a wax type based solely on the strength of its scent throw, paraffin would be your strongest option. BUT hear us out. At a molecular level, soy is more dense than paraffin, so it requires more heat to release it’s fragrance. While paraffin wax burns up easier, it also burns quicker, reducing the total burn time you can enjoy your candle. Paraffin wax when burned also releases more toxins and emits more soot than other options.
Here at the Sojourn Company, we believe that quality soy wax, coupled with the correct organic cotton wick for its vessel, and a perfect balance of quality essential and fragrance oils is the key to an amazing smelling, and long burning candle experience. From the sweet citrus of bergamot, to the woodsy and exotic sandalwood, we’ve got you covered. Give our candles a try, we are sure you’ll agree!
We hope you enjoyed this article. Did we miss something? Let us know in our contact section. We love to wax poetic about wax!
Looking to learn more about the best candle wax for scent throw? Check this out.