Soy vs. Beeswax Candles: The Inside Scoop

the problems with soy candles

Last week, I discussed my unusual high school job: pouring beeswax candles at a Greek Orthodox Convent! Read about the healing properties of beeswax candles and the dangers of paraffin candles here. Did you know, for example, that many people find burning beeswax candles an effective treatment for allergies? 

Soy vs. Beeswax Candles

Hands down, beeswax candles win the competition. They can effectively reduce allergies, asthma, and hay fever by releasing negative ions into the air. Although soy candles don’t boast medicinal properties, soy is clearly a better choice that paraffin candles… sometimes (read why paraffin candles are so dangerous here). There is a catch…

In the U.S., the term “pure” on a label means only 51% of an ingredient (and that goes for food, too). Companies sell both “pure” beeswax candles and “pure” soy candle, which contain a combination of 51% beeswax/soy wax and 49% toxic paraffin. Look for the key phrase “100% Pure Beeswax” or “100% Soy” on candles.

But even 100% soy candles have some significant problems: 

Soy candles contain paraffin

 Interestingly, even a 100% soy wax candle must be processed with a small amount of paraffin. Potentially, burning a 100% soy candle will release small amounts of the carcinogens and toxins found in paraffin. Again, most soy candles on the market are not 100% soy, and contain a high percentage of poisonous paraffin.

Soy candles often contain  fragrances and dyes

Additionally, many soy candles contain the same poisonous dyes and fragrances added to paraffin candles. (Granted, some low quality beeswax candles are dyed and fragranced, too, and they do not offer the healing benefits of 100% pure beeswax candles.) Interestingly, essential oils are not safe options for candle fragrances, either. A  soy or beeswax candle scented with essential oils will release toxins, since combustion changes the molecular structure of these oils.

100% pure beeswax candles require no added fragrances or dyes, because the pollen and honey content of the wax offer a natural orange color and light, sweet fragrance.

Soy candles pose environmental concerns

More than 90% of soy is genetically modified! GM soy crops are heavily sprayed with toxic pesticides, causing harm to both the harvesters and the soil. So if you are buying soy candles, chances are you are supporting the production of GMO’s–which devastate our environment and our health.

Price: A Deal Breaker for Some


 beeswax soy candlesWhen you buy paraffin candles, you are spending money to poison your home. Beeswax candles, like I discussed, are a healing investment and worth the higher price tag. Soy candles–even 100% pure soy candles–cost significantly less than beeswax. Those who want a more affordable alternative to paraffin often go with soy candles. Although this is a personal decision, but I would rather go candle-free than settle for anything less than 100% beeswax.

Where do I get the beeswax candles?

Please read the UPDATE section on my beeswax candles post.

Questions about wicks or making your own candles? Please refer to that post, too.

shared at: Homestead Barn Hop,  Sunday School, Monday Mania

Get the Empowered Sustenance Newsletter
Join 50,000 others and receive recipes, wellness tips and my e-cookbook Grain Free Holiday Feast delivered to your inbox!
Some of the ads on this site are served by AdChoices and, as a result, I do not necessarily recommend the advertised products. The revenue from the ads makes it possible for me to continue blogging, so I appreciate your understanding.


  1. Lynda says

    There is another choice for candles! A company that I have recently joined because of this very problem. They use palm oil wax which burns cleanly and no soot! They are an Amerrican company and all candles are made here in the USA. I have a problem with any kind of scent in perfume, deorderants, cleaners and many other products. From the first time I just sniffed this candle, I could tell the lack of chemicals in it. I have grown to really love their items.

    You can read more on the site. The wick is 100% cotton too. I have just joined as a distributor, but their candles are really different and worth a look.

    Thanks, Lynda

    • says

      Thanks for sharing, Lynda! I’ve tried 100% pure palm wax in the past, but it still couldn’t compare to beeswax for me. 100% pure beeswax has a light, honey fragrance and I missed that with the palm wax. But the palm wax is certainly more affordable.

      I would only recommend using 100% pure palm wax candles. I was browsing the website that you linked and saw that most of their candles use toxic fragrances and dyes.

      • Tori Bailey says

        Do you have a link to the research papers where you got your info regarding how bad paraffin candles are? I have only ever been able to find one article on the subject. All the other stuff that came up was just re-hashes of that.

    • Taylor says

      The tactic in which palm oil is extracted and collected is very detrimental to animals, especially Oranutans fighting for their existence in Indonesia and Malaysia. If people were more aware, and we lived in a world of glass walls, we would never use palm oil. It’s a tragic element and ingredient found in an extended list of food products and beauty products we consume daily. The facts are there, by supporting palm oil extraction we are deforesting habitats and killing thousands of animals, as well as the habitats for the indiginous peoples, who live in the whirl of the palm oil demolition. Although palm oil benefits seem natural and organic to the consumers, the dollar price we are paying for the product, whether foods, lotions, or candles, comes with a much greater cost to the innocent creatures we are stealing life from. This comment is not intended to sound as a preach or a shame on you, it is to enlighten you, and us, and we as consumers about the blindfold draped over our eyes by manufacturers and coorporations. I, as well, percieved palm oil as an organic and natural subsitute to the pollition in which our soy is manipulated with, hardly considering where the pomade came from (my thinking: just as long as it wasn’t genetically modified ingredients and it’s natural, it must be okay.) I discovered the dangers of palm oil from an online peer, and want to continue to pass the dangers on to you, reader. We live in a scary world where we are sensitive to the sway of advertising. Coorporations will make us blind to the dirty secrets hidden beneath their labels. Devote the time to read labels, and understand the whereabouts of our consumed ingredients. The solution for candles is Bee’s Wax. It is a natural and local ingredient which benifits the population of bees, and in turn benefits us with a proper pollination nessicary for the creation of food. Bee’s and humans have a great symniotical relationship of give and take. As we help their population rise again, they provide us with the genesis of food. Think simple, think local, think before consuming. It’s the natural way to assist rather than destroy.

      • margo says

        Palm oils are extracted from the berries, it is a renewable source. know one is killing the plants. It is propaganda from the soy industry, that you bought into.

        • sophia says

          I definitely agree with Margo. Here is why, Malaysia whose government has put a moratorium on forest clearing for the establishment of oil palm plantations. Only areas already used for agriculture will be allowed to convert to palm oil production. The oil palm has been grown as a commercial crop in well managed and regulated estates in Malaysia since 1917.

          The palm produces fruits in bunches which are harvested, so it never harms the palm trees. It is then sent to palm oil mills to undergo sterilization, bunch stripping, oil extraction, oil clarification and purification.

          Palm cultivation is perhaps the world’s most environmentally friendly commercial crop. After oil palms reach maturity, they are commercially productive for at least a quarter of a century. That means that once the trees are planted, the soil remains essentially undisturbed for decades.

          Unlike soy, where the ground is dug up and re-cultivated every year, year after year. The soil in a palm plantation remains essentially undisturbed. This causes much less erosion and pollution because they do not need chemicals for it’s upkeep whether it be fertilizer or pesticides.

          Native grasses and scrubs are allowed to re-populate the space between the trees. The natural habitat returns, complete with wildlife. An oil palm plantation takes on the appearance of a rain forest, filled with vegetation. Wild boar, monkeys, birds, and other wildlife are allowed to roam in and out of the plantations, just as they do in the wild.

          Unlike soy where the grounds have to be cultivated every year, year after year. I undoubtedly believe this why soy propagated these lies because as you can see they clearly have no shot at beating palm oil out of the game.

          I really love bees and their important role for our existence without them we have Monsanto who have deep pockets and like to propagate lies and playing the victim, like they have done here in Hawaii because of the moratorium, by having a farm ban saying that if they go out of business so will all of the other farms when the moratorium clearly states if you can prove “genetically modified” foods are safe for our environment we will allow it and they have never been able to.

    • Brad says

      agree with Taylor. palm oil might be better but it is also what is causing most of the rainforest destruction around the world has people clear it to plant palms. 9 million hectares (an area the size of Maine alone have been cleared so far and that is expected to grow to 26 million by 2025.

  2. Stephanie says

    I have some beeswax candles melting in ramekins on candle burners. They seem to last forever! Would the benefits be the same as actually burning the beeswax candle? I’m assuming “yes” but just wanted your thoughts. Thanks!

    • says

      Yes, I believe you will still get the air cleaning properties, but not as potent as burning the actual candle. Anyways, that is my educated guess on the topic… At least using beeswax in a candle warmer won’t pollute the air like using those paraffin wax disks.

  3. Lynda says

    Thank you Lauren! They use natural fragrances when they can, but many are synthetic so that they will last through the whole candle. Of course you couldn’t nor would you want to with a beeswax candle since they have their own natural fragrance.

    I still think it’s a nice choice for when you want to have a difference scent. I know I’ve not had any allergic reactions to them.

    Thanks again for a wonderful blog!

    • sophia says

      It is alright Lynda, because Scent-team and this website basically have the same purpose which is to raise awareness about paraffin and how they are “NOT” good for our homes while still recommending a better alternative to paraffin wax candles.

      The only difference about scent team is that they sell a safer alternative to “scented candles” and though people love candles not all like scented and vice versa if they are getting a candle for a scent that is where mia bella candles will be, they have amazingly powerful scent throw that lasts to the bottom of the candle.

  4. Mellan says

    I’m curious…is there a way to tell what a candle is (soy vs. parafin, etc)? Obviously the beeswax is going to smell like honey. I have lots of candles but they are mostly decorative as I don’t know what they are made of. I am allergic to eating soy and am against supporting the soy industry. Would I also have allergy symptoms burning a soy candle? It seems everywhere I go, even the organic market the candles are soy! Thanks!

    • says

      If it doesn’t have a label on the candle, it is paraffin. By far, the majority of candles are paraffin candles and you can be safe to assume that your decorative candles are also paraffin. So use them for decoration but do not burn them.

      And don’t burn soy candles if you are allergic–you would probably have a reaction. And I’m with you… I certainly don’t want to support the genetically modified soy industry.

  5. vikki smith says

    I have been buying beautiful, pure beeswax candles from Vermont Honey Lights for 20 years and burn them daily in my home. I love the faint smell of honey as they burn and they are as beautiful to look at as they are restorative, in terms of helping with allergies and asthma. This is a family-owned company who works heavily in fundraising for charity and they are a delight to work with. Based in Bristol, VT and they ship all anywhere.

  6. liese says

    For those of us who would like to make our own candles, can you recommend any particular brand of wax? I like Coloured candles.

  7. says

    Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness to your put up is just nice and i can suppose you are knowledgeable on this
    subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to
    keep updated with drawing close post. Thanks one million and please carry on the gratifying

  8. says

    Thanks for the good writeup. It actually was once a entertainment account it.
    Look complex to far introduced agreeable from you!
    However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

  9. says

    Hello There. I discovered your weblog using msn.
    That is a very neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark
    it and return to read more of your useful info. Thank you for the post.
    I’ll certainly comeback.

  10. says

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with useful information to work on.

    You’ve performed an impressive job and our whole group can be grateful to you.

  11. says

    They are open around the clock, one week a week including holidays.

    They provide services for residential, automotive and commercial services.

    Always attempt to contact a few different shops, because price ranges tend to be different for most lock pros.

  12. says

    My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a
    year and am anxious about switching to another platform.

    I have heard good things about

    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?

    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  13. says

    That is very interesting, You are an excessively professional blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and sit up for seeking extra of your magnificent post.
    Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

  14. says

    This design is steller! You certainly know how to keep a
    reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well,
    almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really loved
    what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.

    Too cool!

  15. Fina says

    Very well done, and presented. You’re a smart girl! Thank you for getting out there writing and sharing your knowledge in wording that even a beginner can grasp. Breathe deep, fret not, live large, and be healthy everyone!

  16. Christa says

    I had never even considered that the type of wax used in candles mattered! Thanks so much for this post. Reading this brought up a question that you may or may not be able to answer.. I work at a spa (massage therapist) and we dip our hands in warm paraffin wax at the beginning of our shifts to help warm up and soften our hands. Do you have any information about whether or not the toxins in paraffin wax can be absorbed through the skin? I did a quick google search to see if I could find any info, but nothing really came up. Any insight you have would be great! Thanks :)

  17. Jessica says

    This was very interesting, I have never heard that burning essential oils release toxins. Thats what most of the sites I come across suggest using. Do you mind me asking where you got this information? I would love to read more about it.

  18. Summer Frost says

    I am a beekeeper and make candles from the extra wax my hives produce. One question I am asked frequently is *why* beeswax candles are “more” expensive than _____. It’s a reasonable question. The answer is, beeswax is a resource intensive product to make for the bees. Yes, they make wax naturally for comb, and to cap honey in the comb. But the bees must consume 6-8 pounds of honey to make one pound of wax. One good sized pillar candle can easily weigh a pound.

    Also, be aware that there is a lot of misinformed (and deliberate) mis-labeling going on with soy candles. While soybean OIL can be labeled organic, wax made from soy oil (or any other oil) cannot be. In fact, the USDA allows NO wax to be labeled “Organic”. And the process used to make wax from oil uses nasty stuff that would disallow an organic label, anyway.

    Buy local, buy beeswax, and buy honey to support your local beekeeper. She works hard for the honey!

  19. Anna says

    Hi Lauren,
    I always loved candles specially because I come from a country (Brazil) where candles are deeply involved in culture, from religious to decoration. Your article is really helpful in outlining the differences between the types of candles available in the market. Recently I decided that I wanted to make my own ones and purchased my first soy flakes and accessories online (which I’m still waiting to arrive).
    I had a look on you blog and quickly read your story about natural healing, which I’m also interested, although I’m a vet and unfortunately a big part of my job still depends on the drug industry. I wish vets were more interested in not-so-easy solutions like a cortisone tablet. So I do understand what you going through and agree on your approach in relates to holistic medicine and sustainable living.
    On the other hand, I’m a bit concern about a few of your perspectives as natural/sustainable living. I do not believe the soy industry is not the best alternative to paraffin, however the bee industry is not as well. The same way you did not give up on meat on your holistic medicine. Giving up on grain and still eating meat is far away from sustainable, as more than 70% the grain we grow go straight to feed animals people ingest everyday. You may not support the soy industry by buying candles, but you strongly support soy, cereals and other genetically modified grains animal eat. In addition, meat industry destroys the environment through air pollution (methane released by cattle), water pollution and the amount of land used for grazing, devastating natural habitats and native species of all kind (animals, plants, bacteria etc).
    I am not here to tell you what you should do or not, as I am also part of a species responsible for the situation our nature is facing now. However, I do find quite interesting.. lets say.. when people try to introduce subjects about sustainability without looking to the big picture. You may find that lighting a soy candle everyday a problem, but the fact that one of your daily basics activities includes eating meat is a HUGE issue. Please, do not take this as a radical vegetarian attack, I am just trying to open your mind to something extremely important, specially in the subjects you are writing. Numerous researches show the health problems caused by meat diets and colonic disease is one of them.
    I still hope to find a sustainable way to make candles, but please consider reading about the meat industry and that definitely will help you win the inside and outside battle of your worlds.

  20. chris says

    Not paraffin is poisonous to the touch. I was actually interested in a information discussion with you but apparently you have some sort of agenda that compels you to print blatant lies about paraffin, so I guess informational discussion wouldn’t work do to the high amount of distortion in your supposed facts. I feel bad for people who follow blogs like yours at face value, and have no idea that your information if very biased and for the most part totally wrong. You should place a warning somewhere on your blog stating that facts stated here are not really facts but your opinions.

  21. Hannah R says

    I’m looking to make some scented wax bars to warm in my home and give as gifts. I have 100% beeswax and would like to use that, but I am unsure about how to choose scents that will be clean burning and compatible with the natural scent of the beeswax. Also, I’m not sure how much scent to put in as this is my first time trying a project like this. Do you have any hints that you could share with me?

  22. says

    Thank you for this – it was very helpful. We love beeswax candles but also use soy as an alternative to regular, but I didn’t realize they could release toxins even with the essential oils. I’ll be making beeswax for sure!

  23. Elizabeth says

    Hi Lauren,

    Great post! Would you please mind telling me more about why you shouldn’t mix essential, organic oils with beeswax? I am curious about the science behind that.

    Thank you!

  24. says

    Beeswax candles also contain pesticides, herbicides, and other environmental “dirt”. The bees fly out and land on everything even flowers recently sprayed by Roundup, Fertilizers, etc.. They collect pollen and nectar and take it back to the hive where other bees make wax, honey, and feed the pollen to the queen.
    GMO free – virtually impossible. Organic honey – you don’t see it often and would be impossible to produce. Considering this then Soy seems to be the better option across the board except for sticks or votives as the melting point is so low.

  25. Ronald says

    I make beeswax candles and I put fragrances in them.I know they smell great without fragrances and I also make them without fragrance.My question is,does adding fragrance to beeswax totally negate the healthy qualities of beeswax?

  26. says

  27. Tasha Shamio says

    There is a new wax on the market, Coconut Wax. The best version of this that I have found is Pure Plant Home – not all of their candles are 100%, but the majority are. I would love your opinion on their product. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *