I use soy wax to make all the candles available from my company. They are paraben-free, phthalate-free, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. While candles have been made for thousands of years, soy wax candles have a relatively short history. Researchers at Iowa State University refined the use of soy wax for candles in the 1990’s after seeking a paraffin wax substitute that burned slower but was comparable in cost to paraffin wax.
Compared to paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum as a by-product of making gasoline, soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil. Since the soybean oil comes from soy beans, it is regarded as a natural and renewable resource. Further, it is biodegradable and cleans up easily with soap and hot water - especially beneficial when it comes to cleaning and repurposing used candle containers.
In terms of candle performance, soy wax has a lower melting point than paraffin wax. This means the candles burn slower and last longer. Soy wax also has a tendency to develop a wider and deeper melt pool. This means the wax melts to the edges of containers better and avoids tunneling, where wax melts only down the center of a candle and leaves wax unmelted lining the container. Plus, the larger the surface area of a wax melt pool, the more scent that will be thrown from the candle. The deeper melt pool is also beneficial, as it has an insulating effect on the unmelted wax below contributing to a slow burning candle.