We have been asked so many times by our customers, “What kind of wax do you use in your candles?”
The answer is, we only offer 100% soy wax candles at Second Home and nothing else. The reason is simple, because we only offer what is the best to our client. Soy wax possess a lot of lovable properties, however not by any means its perfect.
In this article, we are going to discuss different types of wax, their properties, their pros and cons thus to enable you as a candle lover to choose a candle that suits you the best.
Different type of wax
Petroleum Wax (or Paraffin Wax)
As the name suggest, Petroleum Wax or Paraffin wax is a by product of crude oil and is extracted during the oil purification process, they are then further processed and the result is a wax that is completely synthesised. Paraffin wax can be found in different commercial products or industrial applications such as candles, different types of lubricants, phlegmatizing agent, expansion medium for thermostat and actuators and even, ready for this, solid propellant for hybrid rocket motors.
It is easy to understand why people have doubt using paraffin wax candles, given all other uses or applications of paraffin wax are quite industrial to say it mildly. Physical symptom such as headache or migraines is reported by users when burning paraffin wax candles due to toluene, a chemical that inherently exist in paraffin wax. Furthermore there was a study by South Carolina State University found that burning paraffin wax candles give off harmful fumes that consisted of toluene and benzene, substances that contribute to asthma and lung cancer.
So it really begs the question of why with all these negative press and studies toward paraffin wax, big candle companies are still using it to produce their candles? The answer is simple, because business is business. Like all businesses, candle companies would maximise their profit margin by using lower cost material, material that can be handled easily, a wax that gives a strong cold throw to impress prospect (Wow factor), the followings are some other factors that might entice big candle companies to use paraffin wax instead of other natural wax.
Paraffin wax is relatively low cost compare to other wax to maximise business profit, since it is a by product of oil, paraffin wax manufacturers are essentially turn useless material to something worthy.
High Fragrance load
One of the biggest advantage of using paraffin wax for candles is that it is capable to handle a high load of fragrance oil and produce a very strong cold throw. I am sure you have experienced unboxing a new candle and your room just fill with the scent before you even burn it, the chances are these candles probably use paraffin wax instead of other natural wax thus gives strong cold throw to give the “wow” factor to potential prospects to entice their purchasing decision.
Easy to handle
Paraffin wax comes with different shapes or forms with different melting temperature, hence it is suitable for making different types of candles, from pillar to container. Candle manufacturers are benefited with this special property to save a lot of cost on inventory by using one or fewer types of wax.
Curing and aesthetics
The curing time for paraffin candle takes about 24 to 48 hours, where as soy candle take 1 to 2 weeks to cure which is much longer. Hence the use of paraffin wax for candles increase the output of goods for manufactures or even save a lot of cost by eliminating the use of a ware house for curing process if the shipping destination of goods takes longer than its curing time.
Aesthetically, unlike soy wax that dries with rough and uneven surface, paraffin wax dry with a smooth surface thus no additional post-processing needed for surface treatment.
There are multiple researches suggesting the burn time of soy wax is much longer than paraffin wax but shorter than bee wax, thus soy wax may be consider a type of wax that is
Soy wax has great burn time
Soy wax is less expensive than bee wax
Soy wax is widely available with good supply
Soy wax produce much less soot compare to paraffin wax
Soy wax is eco friendly (made from soy beans)
With it low melting point and all natural property, you can even use it as hand moisturiser.
Soy Blend is NOT equal to 100% soy wax
Soy Blended candle is a clever marketing technique use by a lot of companies as a mask so that they can use the word soy in their products, it could mean 95% soy wax with 5% other wax, it could also mean 95% of other wax with 5% soy wax. It is by no mean all soy blended candles are bad, you could imagine they blend a percentage of bee wax which is also natural and more expensive than soy wax into their candles for a specific reason i.e. increase fragrance load or better hot and cold throw. However if that’s the case I highly doubt they will use the name “Soy blended”, they would probably use something like “Soy wax and Bee wax blended” to tell their potential customers that their candles are all made in natural ingredients as a selling point.
Unless stated clearly, soy blended usually means soy wax blended with paraffin wax. I am sure I don’t have to reiterate the disadvantages of paraffin wax if you make it to this point.
Shipping factors (Important if you are running a candle business and user should know too)
I have read a lot of articles online regarding to the use of different wax to make candles. These articles are mainly written targeting customers as a buying guide to give advice so that they can choose a candle that is suitable for them.
To my surprise, I haven’t seen or yet discover an article to address the following issue, that is shipping. In customer perspective, I place an order, paid for it, I wait for it to ship, the product arrives, I enjoy it, that’s it. As a candle business owner tho, there are much more aspects needed to consider and shipping is one of them, especially International shipping. I am sure you know you can ship your product internationally via air or sea. Needless to say the cost of air freight your products from one country to another is hefty. Ironically sometimes the shipping fee might even be more expansive than the product itself, render it impractical to sale your product to that particular region. The other option for cheaper shipping option is using sea freight, it is significantly cheaper especially for bulk shipment. It sounds too good to be true right? Because is it. Depends on region, sea freight can take months to ship your products so it is difficult to implement JIT which will in-order increase the cost of inventory. The biggest issue however is that the freight container where your products is stored during the shipping process can reach up to 50-60 Celsius degree. This posts a major problem with candle that’s 100% soy wax as this is about the temperature where soy wax candle would melt. The shipping process via sea freight might just jeopardise all your hard work and inflict a substantial financial lost for your candle business. I presume no one will purchase a damage candle. I have aforemention stated that paraffin wax can be produced with different melting temperature, this literally solved any shipping problem no matter where the destination is and relief the headache to big candle companies by using paraffin wax to sell their candles over the world.
I must say I understand why big candle business use paraffin wax for their candle in a business point of view.
It gives better scent throw
It’s properties are adjustable
It comes with all shapes and forms
Short cure time
Smooth surface when dried (No post-process)
Shorter burn time for short product cycle
No shipping problem
All these factors are good for big candle companies business, very lucrative indeed. Is it good for users tho? I bet you have the answer.