The popularity of candles and wax melts has soared in recent years, with the various lockdowns really making us all think about how best to scent our homes and our surroundings. You only have to search ‘wax melts’ on Google to find many thousands of shops and makers, some of whom are well established and many of whom close before they even really get started. It’s a huge market, which is why we felt it so important to really research the raw materials before we began selling ours.
Like many, we both loved melts already and were regular buyers of other peoples, never really considering what they were made of. Some smelled amazing, some smelled not so good. Some had scents that lasted for hours and hours, others seemed to fade within minutes; leaving a fatty smell that was pretty awful really. What was it that made so many different melts so different in quality? Sure, scents vary and play a big part, but we soon discovered that the most crucial element of any melt or candle is the wax, so that is where we began.
We bought in samples of brands and wax types and began our tests, but what we realised was that it wasn’t so much the brand that mattered, it was the huge difference between soy and paraffin. We scoured the internet and online libraries to find out what those differences were. If so many vendors were using paraffin, it couldn’t be that bad, could it?
So what are the main differences? Ill try my best to explain..
Paraffin wax is a by-product of the oil purification process. Through a dewaxing process that crude oil undergoes, paraffin wax is derived and is then processed further for use in products. Today, petroleum-based paraffin wax can be found in candles, wax paper, polishes, cosmetics, and electrical insulators, among other commercial items, but should we be embracing it?
Well, no, not really!
It is claimed that this type of wax releases toxic, carcinogenic fumes when melted. In 2009, research by South Carolina State University found that burning paraffin wax candles and melting paraffin-based wax gives off harmful fumes (toluene and benzene) which is linked to asthma and lung cancer. It is also reported that lighting paraffin candles and wax melts in an unventilated space can lead to irritation of the skin and respiratory tract.
Soy wax, on the other hand, is derived from the soy bean and is 100% plant-based. To produce soy wax the beans are cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. After which, oil is extracted from flakes and is hydrogenated. That’s it! No nasties, no pollutants, no chemicals. So, when you are enjoying the scent of your soy candle or wax melts, you can rest easy! For your physical health, especially respiratory health, is not being compromised.
So we had made our decision – soy wax and ONLY soy wax would be used by Wisteria Wax, and we’ve never looked back! It is more expensive, but absolutely worth it; the negative health effects of using paraffin are simply too severe to ignore.
So here’s a challenge: Have a look at any candles and melts you have at home. Hopefully most of them are from us, so you’ll have no need to worry ;-) but any that aren’t, just read the labels. Check those ingredients and please, chuck any made from paraffin. We were guilty of grabbing the odd supermarket melt or candle or bulk buying from cheaper vendors on Facebook too before we started Wisteria Wax, and we know you can find them much cheaper than the ones we make, so we do understand!
Above all, whatever you are melting, enjoy it! And if it’s from an artisan soy wax melt maker you can relax in the knowledge that you are inhaling nothing but nature!