What is Soy Wax?
All '100% Soy Wax' we sent out to be tested contained non-soy ingredients
I was told by soy wax blenders that it is an allowable convention to call any wax blend 'soy wax' if it contains 25% soy oil.
There is no regulation or committee that tells you what you can name your vegetable wax blends. So then what is soy wax? It’s most likely, a vegetable wax blended from hydrogenated soy oils and other vegetable oils. Every 'soy wax' we have tested contains hydrogenated palm oil.
Soy beans are relatively small. So why try to get wax out of a bean? There are other plant botanicals, like palm that contains more wax. It takes about twice as many soy beans per pound to create the same amount of wax. I believe the answer is that soy producers just wanted to create additional markets for their soy oil. There was no health or environmental need for soy wax.
After harvesting, the beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. The oil is then extracted from the flakes. Soybean oil is separated from the solid components by solvent extraction or by mechanical pressing. This raw oil will be further refined and bleached. About 60 kg of soybeans are required to produce 10 kg of soybean oil.
To make the soybean oil more solid (to make wax of it) it is hydrogenated. The exact steps to produce soy wax are well protected and every producer may have his own secrets. Hydrogenation is the process whereby the poly- and monounsaturated oils are solidified in order to increase the viscosity. This is done by reaction of hydrogen with the oil at elevated temperatures (140-225°C) in the presence of a nickel catalyst. It is important to stir the mixture to help dissolve the hydrogen and to achieve a uniform distribution of the catalyst with the oil. The hydrogenation process converts some of the fatty acids in the oil from unsaturated to saturated. The hydrogenation process will create saturated fats (the double bonds are converted into single bonds) which are not very healthy for human consumption because they contain trans-fats. However, for making soy candles or soy wax this is not a problem. This process dramatically alters the melting point of the oil, making it a solid at room temperature. The soy solids, the leftover bean husks, which remain after oil extraction, can be used as cattle feed.
Hydrogenation of soybean oil alone will produce a wax with a low melting point and not so solid texture. This type of 100% soy wax may be suitable for container candles but not for pillar candles. Other ingredients, such as paraffin or stearic acid, need to be added to produce solid wax for votive candles. Many soy candles shops sell their pillar candle wax as "blended wax" and not as "soy wax." Fragrance oils and dyes are often added to soy candles.
So if you want to be sure that your soy candles are 100% soy wax, you better get certification from a third-party lab.
To me the whole idea that we are supposed to believe soy candles burn cleaner, are more natural and better for the environment is just marketing hype.
All we really want is a clean burning candle that if you put in fragrance throws well. Well, a lot of different kind of waxes can do that and after more than a decade of testing and producing candles, we believe a better option than soy wax is palm wax.
You can also fragrance a room with an aromatherapy diffuser so you don’t even need to burn a candle.
The only truth or conclusion I have come to through my research is that buying soy wax is better for the soy producers.