Are Natural Soy Candles Good For You?

Natural soy candles are made from soy wax, a vegetable-based alternative to paraffin wax which is a byproduct of petroleum refining. Soy wax is created from hydrogenated soybean oil. The term “natural” refers to the fact that soy wax comes from a renewable resource – soybeans – rather than non-renewable fossil fuels. Natural soy candles are often advertised as being better for the environment and cleaner burning than regular paraffin candles. They have grown in popularity in recent years along with the eco-friendly product movement.

History of Candlemaking

The origin of candles and candlemaking dates back thousands of years. According to Wikipedia, candles first appeared in China around 200 BCE. These early candles were made from whale fat and were used in Chinese ceremonies and to light homes [1]. Candlemaking spread to ancient Egypt and Greece, where candles were made from beeswax and tallow. The Romans used tallow and wax candles, improving candle design by adding a wick. In India, wax from boiling cinnamon was used for candlemaking. In the Middle Ages, candlemaking became an established craft in Europe. Tallow candles were common, and beeswax candles were expensive and mainly used in churches. Candlemaking saw innovations like dipping molds and continuous wicking that made the process more efficient [2]. Over time, candlemaking evolved from small home-based production to an organized industry.

soy wax being poured into a candle mold during candle making

Benefits of Natural Soy Candles

Natural soy candles provide a number of benefits compared to traditional paraffin wax candles. Soybeans are a renewable, sustainable crop and a healthier alternative to petroleum-based paraffin wax [1]. Soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil, giving it a natural source. Soy candles burn cleaner than paraffin candles, producing less soot. The natural soy wax also allows for better scent throw from essential oils and fragrances [2].

One of the biggest advantages of soy candles is that they are non-toxic and environmentally-friendly. Paraffin wax releases carcinogenic hydrocarbons into the air while burning, but soy wax does not. This makes soy candles a safer choice around children and pets. The soy wax itself is biodegradable as well [3]. With natural soy candles, you can enjoy the ambiance and fragrance without harmful toxins.

Potential Concerns

Although natural soy candles are largely considered safe, there are a couple potential concerns to be aware of.

One is soy allergies. Soybeans contain proteins that can trigger allergic reactions for some people, especially those with nut allergies.1 Reactions can range from mild skin irritation to runny nose, hives, or anaphylaxis. Those with soy allergies should avoid soy candles or opt for soy-free alternatives like beeswax.

Another thing to watch is wick safety. Cotton wicks don’t release toxins when burned, but lower quality wicks may contain lead or zinc.2 Lead-core wicks were banned in the U.S. in 2003, but cheaper candles made abroad may still contain them. Make sure any soy candles use cotton, wood, or paper wicks marked “lead-free.” Trim wicks to 1⁄4 inch before lighting to prevent excess soot.

Aroma Benefits

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from fragrant plants to promote health and well-being. When natural soy candles are infused with essential oils, the aroma can provide various benefits through the sense of smell. According to ACDC Co, lavender essential oil used in soy candles has relaxing, stress-relieving effects while eucalyptus has clarifying, invigorating benefits. Candles with essential oil blends can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, boost mood, increase focus, and more based on the oils used.

The aromas from soy candles enter the nose and stimulate the olfactory nerves, which sends signals to the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. This can induce psychological and physical effects in the body. For example, The After Company creates candle blends designed to provide specific aromatherapy benefits like calming or energy-boosting.

When choosing a scented soy candle, consider your desired aroma benefits. Carefully reading the label for included essential oils can give insight into the candle’s intended effects. However, individuals can perceive scents differently, so personal trial and error is key for finding the most suitable aromatherapy soy candles.

Comparing to Paraffin Candles

One of the main differences between natural soy candles and traditional paraffin candles is that paraffin wax is derived from petroleum. As the National Candle Association explains, “Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum by dewaxing light lubricating oil. Paraffin wax is chemically inert, colorless, tasteless and odorless” ( Some people prefer to avoid petroleum-based products.

Paraffin candles are generally less expensive than soy candles. Paraffin wax is a byproduct of gasoline manufacturing, so it is readily available and cheap. Soy wax comes from soybean oil, which must be grown and processed. The production process for soy wax is more expensive, resulting in a higher retail price for soy candles (

Making Your Own

Making your own natural soy candles at home is a fun DIY project that allows you to customize scents andExperimenting with different essential oil blends and natural colorants like herbs and spices can yield beautiful, unique candle creations you won’t find anywhere else. Soy wax is a beginner-friendly wax, melting at lower temperatures than paraffin and allowing more room for error. With proper preparation and safety precautions, soy candle making can be a rewarding hobby for all skill levels.

The basic steps are: buying soy wax flakes, wicks, jars/containers, and any desired scents or colors. Melt the wax using a double boiler or candle making melter, being careful not to overheat it. Add fragrance or essential oils at the proper temperature. Carefully pour the wax into containers, allowing time for one layer to set up before adding another. Insert wicks, waiting for wax to fully harden before trimming to size. Always allow ample cooling time and follow all manufacturer safety guidelines. Refer to in-depth online tutorials for more details on equipment, techniques and recipes.

Safety Tips

When burning soy candles, it’s important to follow some basic safety tips to prevent fires or other hazards:

Properly trim the wick to 1⁄4 inch before lighting. Long wicks can produce tall flames that tunnel down into the wax pool, releasing more smoke and emitting a strong aroma. Trimming helps maintain an even, low flame.

Allow the candle to fully pool across the entire top before relighting. This prevents tunneling. Let the wax completely liquify to maximize fragrance throw and extend burn time.

Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish the flame if leaving a room. Unattended candles are a leading cause of home fires. Follow the National Candle Association’s recommendation to not burn a candle for more than 4 hours at a time.

Keep candles away from flammable items like curtains, books, or loose papers. Leave at least 12 inches of clearance on all sides. Place on a stable, heat-resistant surface.

Consider using a candle snuffer instead of blowing them out, which can send sparks and hot wax flying. Extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get within 2 inches of the holder.

Store candles in a cool, dark place when not in use. Candles last longer when kept out of direct light and heat. Keep wicks trimmed to 1⁄4 inch to maintain optimum performance.

Top Brands

When shopping for high-quality natural soy candles, you’ll want to look for brands that specialize in soy wax candles and have a reputation for using premium ingredients. Here are some top brands to consider:

  • Yankee Candle – Their natural soy wax candles come in a variety of classic and seasonal scents. Yankee Candle initiated the transition to natural soy wax in 2010.
  • Bath & Body Works – This popular retailer offers an extensive collection of soy candles. Their 3-wick candles provide excellent fragrance throw.
  • Village Candle – With options like soy wax tin candles, soy jar candles, and soy pillar candles, this brand offers high-quality soy candles in unique fragrances.
  • Pacific Shore Candles – They use premium natural soy wax and cotton wicks in their hand-poured candles. Variety of fragrances available.
  • Madison Row Soy Candles – Small-batch soy container candles made in the USA, featuring creative fragrances and decor-friendly designs.
  • Serenity by Sweetwaters – Offers a wide array of natural soy pillar candles and jar candles. Known for exceptional scent quality.

When evaluating soy candle brands, look for ones that use 100% soy wax, pure essential oils, and cotton or paper wicks. This helps ensure you’re getting a high-quality natural product.


In summary, natural soy candles have several benefits over paraffin candles. Soy candles burn cleaner and are made from a renewable, sustainable crop. The natural wax and cotton wicks create less soot and release fewer toxins into the air. Soy candles also tend to burn longer than paraffin.

However, there are some drawbacks. Natural soy candles are generally more expensive than paraffin. Some people also find the natural scent of soy wax unpleasant, requiring additional fragrances. There are also some environmental concerns around soybean crops and genetically modified soy.

Overall, for most home use, natural soy candles are a good option. The clean burn and renewable materials make them a better choice for health and sustainability. Those sensitive to fragrances or concerned about allergies may want to be cautious and read labels carefully. But with proper precautions, soy candles can be an excellent non-toxic alternative.

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