What Are the Differences Between Soy Wax and Paraffin Wax?

When it comes to wax, there are many different types. The two most popular wax types used in wax melts and candles include soy wax and paraffin wax. When purchasing a wax melt, does the kind of wax matter? Is one type of wax superior to the other? 


Soy wax and paraffin wax may not seem that different at first. Once you compare both, you will notice that there are many differences. Paraffin wax has existed for over 100 years longer than soy wax. It is made from petroleum. Soy wax was created as an alternative to paraffin wax. It is made from hydrogenated soybean oil. Soy wax was invented in the 1990s and has gained popularity as a more natural choice of wax. 


Soy wax is a natural, renewable resource, as soybeans can be grown, whereas petroleum has a finite supply. Soy wax is biodegradable. It is cleaned easily by using soap and water. Soy candles also burn slower and last longer than paraffin candles. This is because soy wax has a lower melting point than paraffin wax.


The shade and colour of soy wax give wax melts and candles a pastel or “flat” shade. As a result, soy wax requires more dye to achieve the desired colour. When using soy wax, getting the temperature just right when pouring has less of an impact on the finished product than with paraffin waxes.

Paraffin wax is a solid wax. It is often white or colourless. Paraffin wax is also the least expensive wax for making candles. It is derived from petroleum, coal, or oil shale. Paraffin wax was created in 1830 and it was hailed as a cheaper way to make candles. It burns cleanly and reliably. Paraffin wax is sold both in liquid and solid form.


Paraffin wax is considered more versatile than soy wax and is used to make many candles, including container candles, tea-lights, and large pillar candles. Soy wax candles are generally restricted to container candles, as soy wax has a lower melting point versus traditional candles.


Soy wax can be purchased in either flake and pellet form. Due to its lower melting temperature, soy wax can melt in hot weather. This will not be much of an issue if you are using soy wax to make container candles. 

Fragrances and scents are distributed slightly less in soy candles versus paraffin candles. Both soy and paraffin wax can be combined to make a “soy blend.” This allows for a better distribution of scent (scent throw) and helps solve the problem of the wax melting in hot weather conditions.


While there is some debate regarding which wax is better or healthier, there is little difference in the soot production or release of carcinogenic compounds in soy wax or paraffin candles.


The big factors to consider when choosing whether you use soy wax or paraffin wax include the temperature where you live, what kind of candles you will be making, and how the wax will affect the scent or melting point of the wax. Similarly, the finish product's colour may be an issue, as soy wax is not white or clear, whereas paraffin wax is. If you are concerned about waste and the environment, soy wax is 100% biodegradable, whereas paraffin is not.