That’s not a typo, that’s me being clever and funny…ahem…moving on. I can’t believe today is the last day of the month, and Beltane seems months ago. I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been with product making, as well as working on something, that when (positive thinking!) it comes to fruition, I’ll make an announcement about, because it’s going to be exciting.
I’ve been making the Soy Spell Candles like mad this week, thanks to finally getting my double-burner hot plate. I’ve been able to take my candle candle making out of my kitchen, and into my workspace, which is also my temple. That’s important for me, plus it’s much more convenient, as both rooms are on different floors, and the back and forth was just annoying.
The more I make the Soy Spell Candles, the happier I get with them. Like I mentioned in my last post, it was a long journey to get to this point, starting with testing out various types of soy wax, and even trying out a soy-paraffin blend.
I knew right from the start that I wasn’t going to use paraffin or palm wax. I have some serious issues with palm-derived raw materials. As the natural market increases, particularly with cosmetics, the demand for palm-derived raw materials is increasing. Approximately 85% of cosmetics contain palm-derived, and as a result, palm plantations are popping up all over, Indonesia in particular. The downside to this – the Indonesian rain forest is being razed at an alarming rate, and I’d rather not contribute to that more than necessary. Now, one can argue that the increase in soy demand is contributing to the accelerated depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, and one would be right. The lesser of two evils, I suppose.
What I didn’t realize was that there were so many different types of soy wax blends. Some include other vegetable waxes, some include vegetable oils, and like I mentioned above, there are soy-paraffin blends too. I wouldn’t have thought that companies would combine soy and paraffin, but as I discovered, there is a very good reason why.
Now what, you may ask, am I doing even considering an ingredient containing paraffin? Well, let me tell you. I wasn’t actually considering it as an option. I wanted to test it so I could speak to its properties, both good and bad, with knowledge and experience. If at some point I need to compare my candles properties to paraffin, palm, other soy waxes, and soy-paraffin blends, I want to be able to do it honestly and from an educated position.
The first soy wax I tried was horrible! The candles came out of the moulds so greasy, I had to let them sit for two days before I could even touch them. And even then, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. The wax was so soft (soy wax is soft period, but this was SOFT), that I really felt it wouldn’t be the best bet for a consumer good. On top of that, both the cold and hot throw sucked. I always planned to have these candles very lightly scented, but with this blend, the fragrance was almost non-existent. Lastly, it burned too quickly.
The second soy wax I tried was a blend with other vegetable waxes. It didn’t come out greasy, and was harder than the first wax I tried. The scent throw, both cold and hot, was pretty good, but not great. This blend had a longer burn time, but still not as long as I wanted.
It was at this point I tried the soy-paraffin blend. It produces a beautiful candle, not greasy, nice and hard, and a really good scent throw. You can tell that this blend contains paraffin. Soy wax is opaque and matte, paraffin is translucent with some shine to it. This candle was slightly translucent and shiny. It really has the best shelf appeal. If you put a soy wax pillar next to the soy-paraffin pillar, I really think a customer would choose the soy-paraffin, based solely on their first impression based on looks. It was the most high-maintenance to work with, though. I assume that has to do with the properties of the paraffin, because the two other soy waxes were much more low maintenance.
The soy blend I really wanted to try, but had to wait patiently for (my three least favourite words – OUT OF STOCK) took some time in getting. This one is blended with vegetable oils, and was well worth the wait! It has the burn time I wanted, the cold and hot throw is magnificent, it’s easy to work with, takes dye and fragrance very well, and creates a hard candle, although not as hard as paraffin or palm wax.
It was so nice, after so many weeks of working with different waxes, to come across a wax that scores 10 on all the properties that mattered to me.
This post is getting long, so I’ll stop here, and focus more on the properties of the winning wax in my next post.