Beeswax Candles vs. Soy Candles vs. Paraffin Candles

Beeswax Candles vs. Soy Candles vs. Paraffin Candles


Last week, we discussed 33 Self Care Ideas for Stress Relief

This week, I wanted to dive deeper into one of those ideas - burning candles.

I recommend nothing other than beeswax candles.

One of my favorite things to do is make candles with beeswax. And given its many health benefits, I would never make my candles with anything else.

The commercial candles you buy from the store or online are usually made with soy or paraffin.

Many people assume (mistakenly) that soy candles are good for you because soy is a “natural” ingredient. And what the heck is paraffin anyway? 

Well, in this post we’re going to discuss beeswax candles vs. soy candles vs. paraffin candles so that you can make an informed decision about the type of candle you want to burn the next time you have a nice, relaxing self care evening. 


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The Health Benefits of Beeswax Candles

Many people enjoy lighting a candle, breathing in the soothing aroma, and basking in the glow of its amber firelight.

But there may be some serious dangers lurking behind that “soothing aroma”. Carcinogenic soot, toxins and lead emissions, anyone?

Ew, no thanks!

Unfortunately, many candles on the market today (Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works, etc) are still unsafe and unhealthy despite their pretty colors and fragrances.

But, some types of candles are safer and healthier than others.

And there’s one type of candle that’s actually good for you – beeswax candles.

Are Beeswax Candles Safe?

Yes. They are environmentally safe, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Compared to soy or paraffin candles, beeswax candles produce very little smoke.

Are Beeswax Candles Healthy?

Yes. Beeswax candles are 100% natural and chemical-free. That’s because beeswax is created by bees, not laboratories.

Beeswax Candles Benefits Research

Researchers have found that there are many benefits of beeswax candles. They have the highest melting point of all waxes and therefore burn longer and drip less.

Beeswax Candles for Allergies & Asthma

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, beeswax candles may be the natural remedy you’ve been searching for!

Beeswax candles do not product soot or toxins and actually clean the air as they burn.

Beeswax Candles for Air Purification & Other Health Benefits

Unlike other types of candles, beeswax candles produce negative ions which cleanse the air of dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and other hazardous particles.

They also have many other positive effects, such as:

  • reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • lowering blood pressure
  • improving breathing
  • boosting the immune system
  • increasing metabolism
  • regulating sleep
  • boosting mood

Beeswax Candles with Essential Oils

Have you ever gotten a headache when you’re around scented candles?

Or perhaps you’ve experienced sneezing, difficulty breathing, blocked sinuses, itching, or rashes?

If so, you might be allergic to them. 

That’s because the synthetic fragrances found in commercial candles contain carcinogens and environmental toxins.

In fact, about 95% of chemicals used in synthetic scents are derived from petroleum. They have been linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and allergic reactions.

It is much safer to burn an unscented beeswax candle, which is hypo-allergenic and gives off a natural, light honey scent.

Or, double up on the health benefits by enjoying a beeswax candle scented with essential oils!

Essential oils are extracted from seeds and plants, not petroleum.

They have numerous physical, emotional, and psychological benefits without all the unpleasant and unhealthy side effects.

Some of the Best Essential Oils for Beeswax Candles

For example, lavender essential oil is effective for:

  • pain relief 
  • antioxidant protection
  • reducing stress
  • supporting brain function 
  • treating insomnia

Lemongrass essential oil is:

  • antifungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • analgesic
  • antimicrobial
  • antiviral
  • antidepressant

And peppermint essential oil is good for:

  • treating nausea and other stomach problems
  • supporting respiratory health
  • increasing energy 
  • enhancing mental focus

Are Beeswax Candles Vegan?

No.

Beeswax candles are not vegan because they are an animal byproduct. However, they are vegetarian because they do not contain any animal flesh.

Some vegans may be surprised to learn that many fruits such as avocados, cherries, apples, blueberries, oranges, kiwis, butternut squash, and pumpkins are pollinated by bees through a process called migratory beekeeping.

This type of exploitation, as well as taking beeswax from beehives, may not align with some vegans’ ethical rationale for being vegan.

Are Beeswax Candles Bad for Bees?

It depends.

In the past, beehives were destroyed in order to obtain beeswax. Some commercial operators still continue to take more beeswax than they should.

But nowadays, many beekeepers harvest beeswax in a cruelty-free way.

If done properly, no bees are harmed while extracting the beeswax and it is extracted in small amounts only when the bees have excess.

Are Beeswax Candles Sustainable?

Yes.

If beeswax is collected in a way that protects the integrity of the hive, then it is a sustainable, renewable product.

Also, beeswax never goes bad as long as it is not mixed with other ingredients like oils.

Soy Candles

Are Soy Candles Better?

Not really.

Some advantages of soy candles vs. paraffin candles is that soy wax does not produce the same black soot as paraffin candles.

And soy candles are biodegradable whereas paraffin candles are not.

But overall, I wouldn’t say that they are “better” for you.

Interestingly, most soy candles (even the ones claiming to be 100% soy) include at least a little bit of paraffin mixed in to strengthen the scent throw of the fragrance oils.

Also, soy candles are not good for the environment– much of soy production involves deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

But, are soy candles safe?

No.

They may be a more eco-friendly alternative to paraffin candles but by no means are they the safest option.

Although soy candles produce less soot and toxic chemicals than paraffin candles, they often contain many of the same poisonous dyes and synthetic fragrances.

Are Soy Candles Healthy?

Because soy candles are made from a “natural” product (soy), many people assume that they are safe.

But as of 2019, statistics show that 94% of US soybean crops are genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Soy candles may also contain UV blockers, phthalates, and other unnatural ingredients.

Many of these chemicals are not only harmful to us but also to our pets.

The toxic effects of these chemicals on animals like cats and birds are magnified due to their small size and sensitivity to smell.

Paraffin Candles

What is Paraffin Wax Made Of?

Paraffin is a petroleum byproduct.

It is created from the sludge waste that is produced when crude oil is refined into gasoline.

Paraffin has to be deodorized and bleached before it is made into wax.

Is Paraffin Wax Safe?

No.

Paraffin candles contain benzene and toluene, known carcinogens that release toxins when burned that are similar to diesel fumes.

Crude oil is an unsustainable, non-renewable resource that has already done a tremendous amount of damage to the environment.

Are Paraffin Wax Candles Toxic?

Yes.

Paraffin wax candles contain chemicals like formaldehyde (which is used in embalming).

They also produce soot, which can penetrate the lungs and cause cancer, emphysema, and other respiratory illnesses.

Dangerous Wicks

Also, some paraffin candles still have lead-containing wicks. Especially the ones that are imported from China and Hong Kong where the safety standards are much lower than in the US.

Health effects from prolonged exposure to lead include:

  • depression
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • memory loss
  • heart disease
  • reduced fertility

And according to the CDC, the body absorbs higher levels of lead when it is breathed in as opposed to being swallowed or absorbed through the skin.

Conclusion: Beeswax Candles Are the Best

Beeswax candles are non-toxic, chemical-free, and all natural.

They are produced from a vegetarian, sustainable, renewable resource and they are biodegradable.

They are hypoallergenic and the negative ions they produce help to clean the air.

Beeswax candles have a natural sweet honey scent and golden yellow color, making it unnecessary to use synthetic fragrances and dyes.

When lit, beeswax candles emit a golden glow which is brighter than any other candle.

And due to their high melting point, beeswax candles burn much longer – and cleaner - than soy or paraffin candles.

Beeswax candles for the win!


Did any of these facts about candles surprise you?

(For example, I was surprised that beeswax candles actually clean the air as they burn!) 

Let me know in the comments. 🙂


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About the Author

Kalliope Archondis, JD, LLM. 👋Hi! I'm Kalli, lawyer turned freelance writer and founder of 3dsuccess.org, a personal development blog dedicated to helping you reach your goals and achieve your definition of success - without all the stress & anxiety. You can read more about me & 3D Success here.