Candles can be made with many different types of waxes. Some other types are paraffin wax, palm wax, coconut wax or beeswax. Each maker usually chooses their favourite type, and I chose soy to work with.
I love burning and making soy candles for a few reasons:
Soy wax is longer lasting than other waxes because it has a lower melt point. This means that soy candles, weight for weight, will last longer than any other kind of wax.
The soy wax flakes I used to make my candles are sourced ethically and sustainably. This was hugely important for me as Pretty Frank makes candles that are as green as possible, and knowing the people and the plants involved are treated in the best way is hugely important.
Soy beans are natural, fast-growing and can be harvested in many areas.
Paraffin wax is derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource. Crude oil and its manufacture have caused a slew of environmental tragedies, including oil spills, damage of natural habitats and is contributing to climate change.
Palm oil is the largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia, destroying the habitat of animals and increasing the effects of climate change. The waste water at palm oil plantations release crazy amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is even more detrimental to our planet than carbon.
There are some downsides to using soy wax, but these are largely aesthetic differences.
Soy wax can "frost"
See the bottom right of this candle, just to the edge of the label? There's an inconsistency in the wax adhesion there and this is frosting.
The effect is only aesthetic and doesn't affect the burn of the candle whatsoever. For this reason, many candlemakers use white, black or coloured glassware so the wax isn't visible on the sides. I love seeing the flame as it flickers down the glass, so I've opted to use clear glassware for my candles.
Soy wax can "sweat"
I don't have any photos of this, but you'll know it when you see it. For a variety of reasons, including quick temperature changes or even how the candle is made, the candle can "sweat out" some of the fragrance in the candle.
This doesn't affect the use or effect of the candle and it can be lit and burned as usual. If the spots of "sweat" bother you, it can be wiped away with a paper towel but it's also safe to burn as is.
At the end of the day, it was a pretty easy decision to use soy wax. Hopefully it's an easy decision for you to buy soy candles instead of palm or paraffin.