Who doesn’t love lighting a candle and sinking into a hot bubble bath? And how timeless is a candlelit dinner?
Although I’ve long been a lover of candles (and was miffed that I wasn’t allowed to have candles in my dorm room—I would have been totally responsible!), I’ve only recently refined my candle-selecting process. I do my best to find 100% soy candles scented with all-natural essential oils.
Why I Choose Soy:
Soy wax is better for the environment. A by-product of the soy industry, soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil. Most candles (if not made from beeswax) are made with paraffin wax (or a blend of paraffin and other waxes). Paraffin wax is made from distilled petroleum, and we’d all be wise to avoid unnecessarily burning petroleum. Soy is renewable and biodegradable.
On a related note, soy wax burns cleaner. Have you ever noticed the dark soot created by conventional candles? Soot, a.k.a. black carbon, is the result of the incomplete combustion of carbon molecules and is the second-biggest human cause of global warming. Soot produced from paraffin candles is certainly not much compared to that produced by say, a diesel truck, but it’s still something we should try to reduce where to have the power to do so. Plus, we certainly want to avoid breathing soot. 100% soy candles (watch out for sneaky soy-paraffin blends) create a negligible amount of soot—better for your lungs, better for your walls!
Soy candles may have longer burning times and greater scent-releasing powers. Many soy candle companies claim that soy wax burns longer because it has lower melting point than paraffin wax. (Unfortunately, I can’t find any studies that verify or dispute this claim, so for now I’m just thinking of this as an added, possible bonus.) The longer melting time leads to a larger wax pool, and the larger the wax pool, the great release of fragrance.
Soy wax is easier to clean up! It’s such a drag when you spill wax. Soy wax is typically softer than paraffin wax, making it easier to clean up after it’s hardened. Also, it’s possible to clean out of the container it came in–I love reusing pretty candle jars to hold pens and makeup brushes.
Finally, since they’re free of beeswax, 100% soy candles are vegan.
A few naturally-scented, 100% soy wax candle recommendations:
More in Home: How to Make Your Home Greener
Photos: Mush via Flickr, Mountain Rose Herbs, Pacifica Perfume, Seeking Balance, Coye