Is Soy Wax Good For You?

What is Soy Wax?

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 flakes are then solvent extracted with hexane to remove the soybean oil. The crude soybean oil goes through a degumming process to remove phospholipids and is then refined, bleached, and hydrogenated to make it solid at room temperature. This produces a natural wax made from soybean oil that is an alternative to paraffin wax, beeswax, and other petroleum-based waxes.

Compared to paraffin wax which comes from petroleum, soy wax is a renewable and sustainable wax made from vegetable oil. It is also biodegradable. Soy wax has properties similar to beeswax in that it is creamy in color and has a low melting point. However, soy wax is usually cheaper than beeswax and has a cleaner burn. The natural scent of soy wax is milder than beeswax. Soy wax is commonly used to make candles, soap, lip balm, and other cosmetic products.

Benefits of Soy Wax

soy wax candles burning with soft light

One of the biggest benefits of soy wax is that it is natural and biodegradable. Unlike paraffin wax which is made from petroleum, soy wax is made from soybeans, a renewable resource. According to research, soy wax will biodegrade in approximately 1 month in optimal conditions [1]. This makes it much more environmentally friendly than paraffin wax.

Soy wax is also non-toxic, meaning it does not release any harmful fumes or smoke when burning. This makes soy candles safer to burn indoors compared to paraffin candles [2]. The natural soy wax contains no carcinogens, toxins or pollutants.

Additionally, soy wax has a lower smoke point than paraffin wax. This means soy candles produce less soot and burn cleaner. The lower temperature burn helps preserve fragrance in soy candles as well.

Uses of Soy Wax

Soy wax has become a popular alternative to paraffin wax and beeswax for certain applications due to its versatility and environmentally friendly reputation. Some of the most common uses of soy wax include:


Soy wax is commonly used to make container candles. It has a lower melting point compared to paraffin, which allows soy candles to melt and pool wax when lit. Soy wax candles are often promoted as being environmentally friendly and natural. According to CandleScience, “Soy wax blends are ideal for container candles because they readily adhere to the glass or metal container walls.”1

Skin Care Products

Soy wax can be used to make skin care products like body butters, balms, and lotions. It is an emollient that helps smooth and soften skin. Soy wax is also used to create cosmetic soy candles that liquefy into skin moisturizers when lit. Terre-de-Bougies states that soy wax “is an increasingly popular ingredient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.”2

Food Coatings

Refined soy wax is sometimes used as a protective coating for certain foods. The FDA considers it a safe additive for this purpose. Soy wax can provide a protective barrier and glossy sheen to foods like candy, chocolate, and fresh produce.1

Nutritional Profile

Soy wax has a unique nutritional profile compared to other waxes. According to, soy wax contains no protein or soy allergens found in soybeans. This is because the soybean oil goes through a cleaning and hydrogenation process to produce soy wax.

One of the key nutritional benefits of soy wax is its high vitamin E content. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage. Soy wax also contains significant amounts of lecithin, which has emulsifying and lubricating properties.

The hydrogenation process converts the unsaturated fatty acids in soybean oil into saturated fats, resulting in a very stable final soy wax product. However, the lack of protein means soy wax has no nutritional value as a food product.

In summary, soy wax provides high levels of vitamin E and lecithin but does not offer complete nutrition like some other food-based waxes. It retains antioxidants from its soybean origins while removing allergenic proteins.

Environmental Impact

Soy wax is considered more environmentally friendly than paraffin wax. Soy wax is made from soybeans, a renewable and sustainable crop. Soybean plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, making soy wax carbon neutral (1). The carbon emitted when burning a soy wax candle is offset by what was absorbed during the plant’s lifecycle.

Additionally, soy wax is biodegradable. While paraffin wax can persist in the environment for years, soy wax will break down within a few months (2). This makes soy wax much less harmful if it ends up in landfills or waterways. According to one study, soy wax had a biodegradation rate of 95.55% after 2 months (3).

Soy wax production also results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to paraffin wax. The soybean growing process requires less energy input than extracting and refining crude oil. However, soy farming does have some negative environmental impacts that should be considered, like deforestation and heavy water usage (1).

Overall, soy wax candles have a lower carbon footprint and are less harmful to the environment than paraffin candles. The renewable, biodegradable nature of soy makes it an eco-friendlier option.



(3) Study on biodegradation of soy wax –

Health Concerns

There are some potential health concerns to be aware of with soy wax. Studies have shown that when soy candles are burned, they can release harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, toluene, and benzene into the air (Source: Additionally, since soy wax is made from soybean oil, there are concerns over pesticide and hexane residue, GMOs, and allergies.

Most soy today is genetically modified which means it receives heavy applications of pesticides and herbicides. Trace amounts of these chemicals may be present in the finished wax (Source: The solvent hexane is also commonly used to extract oil from soybeans and may leave residues.

People with soy allergies need to be cautious with soy wax candles as the proteins may become airborne when burned and trigger allergy symptoms like coughing, wheezing, or skin irritation.

Comparisons to Paraffin Wax

When it comes to melting point, paraffin wax typically has a melting point between 120-150°F, while soy wax melts at a slightly higher temperature between 135-165°F ( The higher melting point of soy wax means candles made from it retain their shape better in warmer environments.

In terms of burn properties, paraffin wax burns faster and hotter than soy wax. Paraffin wax candles tend to burn down more quickly, while soy wax provides a slower, cooler burn ( This results in soy wax candles often having a longer burn time.

When it comes to renewability, soy wax has a clear advantage. Soy wax is made from soybean oil, a renewable and sustainable crop. Paraffin wax, on the other hand, is a petroleum-based product made from fossil fuels. Soy wax is considered a more eco-friendly and renewable alternative.

Comparisons to Beeswax

When comparing soy wax to beeswax, there are a few key differences to consider:

Sustainability – Soy wax is considered more sustainable than beeswax. Soybeans are a renewable and abundant crop grown annually across the world. Beeswax depends on healthy bee populations, which can be threatened by climate change, pesticides, and disease (Source).

Smoke Point – Soy wax generally has a higher smoke point than beeswax, around 160-170°F versus 144-147°F. This means soy wax can hold a scent better and burn cleaner than beeswax (Source).

Price – Soy wax tends to be more affordable than beeswax. Soy wax is mass produced, while beeswax depends on labor-intensive collection and processing. Soy wax averages $1-2 per pound, while beeswax can cost $5-15+ per pound (Source).

Recommended Uses for Soy Wax

Soy wax is increasingly becoming the wax of choice for many crafters due to its environmentally-friendly properties and versatility. Some of the most common and recommended uses for soy wax include:


Soy wax is ideal for candlemaking. Compared to paraffin wax, soy wax candles burn cleaner and are non-toxic. Soy wax has a lower melting point, allowing candles to burn longer. The natural scent also doesn’t interfere with fragrance oils. Soy wax allows for better scent throw and fragrance retention. Since soy wax adheres well to container walls, it works great for container candles.[1]

Natural Skin Care

Soy wax is commonly used to make body butters, lotions, balms and soaps. It helps retain moisture when applied topically. Soy wax has emollient properties that soften skin. It is also an eco-friendly alternative to ingredients like petroleum jelly. Soy wax is gentle and unlikely to clog pores or cause irritation.[2]

Coating Fruits and Vegetables

Soy wax can be used to coat fruits and vegetables to extend their shelf life. The thin soy wax layer helps retain moisture and prevents spoilage. Soy wax coatings are safe to eat and provide a natural alternative to chemical waxes.


Soy wax offers several pros and cons compared to other wax options like paraffin wax and beeswax. On the plus side, soy wax is made from a renewable resource and is environmentally preferable to paraffin wax. It’s also non-toxic and emits little to no scent when burning, making it safe for use in candles, skin care, and food recipes. The main downside is that soy wax has a lower melting point than paraffin, so it may not hold shape as well in warm environments. Soy wax also tends to be more expensive than paraffin.

Overall, soy wax is a good option for most home uses. It burns cleanly and sustainably while posing little health risk. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, non-toxic wax, soy is preferable over paraffin. However, for specialty applications that require high heat resistance, a natural beeswax may be the better choice. With proper care and precautions, soy wax can be safely used by most people for candles, cosmetics, and food recipes.

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