If you are a scent lover, then you will appreciate this product review.  Personally, I like to have a fresh scent in the air when I’m reading or relaxing.  I’m really in to aromatherapy and blending different essential oils in my electric diffuser.  Back in my college days, before Dave and I began our journey of natural living, I used paraffin candles to scent my apartment.  A couple of reasons for this: A) paraffin candles are cheap, and B) they come in an array of scents to fit any mood.

If you’ve ever used a paraffin candle, you’ve noticed the black smoke that comes immediately after lighting.  I noticed increased allergies whenever I burned a paraffin candle.  I attributed it to the synthetic perfumes used to scent the candle, and I’d throw it out and buy a new one hoping for better health results.  Well, that never happened.  I seemed to always get sick whenever a paraffin candle was burning, and eventually those allergies hung around for many days after.  So I decided to investigate and was shocked to find out the reasons for my sickness.

Paraffin Candles vs Soy Candles

Did you know paraffin comes from petroleum??  Yeah, me either.  When paraffin/standard wax candles were studied, research showed that when the paraffin melts, it sets off chemical reactions that are emitted into the air you breathe.  These chemicals consist of carcinogens that do not burn healthy.   The American Chemical Society states that when burned, paraffin candles emit toluene, benzene, and other toxins that are linked to health issues such as asthma, eczema and cancer.  (Scary!)  We also need to consider the way in which they burn.  Candles tend to burn slowly, releasing these toxic chemicals over a long period of time.  And where we burn them — usually the candles are used in an enclosed space so there is little to no ventilation.  This results in the toxic fumes being loaded into one room or space for a long period of time.

Makes sense why I was sick for so long, huh?


Most paraffin candles use metal wicks to burn.  The metal is usually lead or zinc, which releases hazardous toxins and soot into the environment as the candle burns.  Hemp or cotton wicks are preferred, but aren’t usually found in paraffin candles.  Research states that homes with an asthmatic, someone with emphysema, or breathing problems, should not have or use paraffin candles.  In my opinion, no one should use them due to the unknown dangers of what you breathe in when using a paraffin candle.  If the toxic chemicals burning in the air irritates someone who already has health symptoms, by all means it is causing disease and damage to your body even if you don’t have symptoms from it YET.

So that brings us to the beauty of soy candles.  Soy wax comes naturally from soybeans.  Soy wax is eco-friendly, carbon neutral, and is an American grown, sustainable, renewable resource.  One of the biggest benefits of using a 100% natural soy candle is how cleanly it burns.  Soy wax does not produce the black soot that a paraffin candle does.  The amount of smoke released from a soy candle is extremely minimal.  If you ever have a soy candle that does leave soot around the jar or into the air, there is one big reason this happens.  It is not a 100% soy candle.  You need to watch out for companies who market their candles as “soy” on the label, but really it’s a blend of paraffin/soy.  You might not catch this right away in the store or on their website, so always search deep and ask the manager.  It’s always best (just like when requesting ingredients of a food product) to see the ingredients in writing versus just going off the verbal word of an employee.  Once it’s in writing, the company is claiming it as truth.  Another reason soy candles burn so cleanly is that they do not use metal wicks.  Instead you’ll find a good brand of soy candle uses cotton or hemp for the wick.

Another great joy of using natural soy candles is that they are cost effective.  You’ll pay a little more for a quality soy candle, but you’ll be pleased to find out that soy burns about twice as slowly as paraffin, so it’s like buying 2 candles!  This is because soy wax burns at a lower temperature than paraffin wax.  Lower burn temperature equals longer burn time!

Soy candles also have a great throw, meaning the scent from one single candle travels very far thru a room or house.  Different oils will have stronger throws than others, but in my personal experience soy candles travel farther than paraffin all around.  And I should state that you want to look for a soy candle that is scented with 100% natural essential oils!  You’ll find that some of the big candle stores (that you’ll find in the mall) will sell soy candles scented with fragrance.  Remember, fragrance is almost always artificially created, meaning you’ll be burning chemicals into the air you breathe.  Essential oil candles are key!

Pacifica Soy Candles

So this brings me to a wonderful announcement!  I have found a FABULOUS company dedicated to creating natural soy candles scented with natural essential oils.  AND they have a large array of scents to fit any mood!

Pacifica was so kind so send me one of their Persian Rose Pillar Candles.  Unfortunately it was one of their paraffin candles, so I didn’t use it personally for the reasons highlighted above.  However, we visited our local Whole Foods last week and I was so pleased to find the Pacifica SOY candles!  I had a hard time picking which scent to purchase, (and probably would have chosen a more wintery scent if we weren’t in sunny Florida right now) but decided on the soy Hawaiian Ruby Guava.   I’ve been burning the candle every night since, and I am more than pleased with the quality and the scent!  Its throw covers the whole floor of our house, but it’s not over powering.  Just the right amount of delicious guava scent to perk up the mood!  And like I mentioned previously with soy candles, mine has barely burned down at all.  It looks almost brand new, and I’ve had it burning a few hours every night for a week!  That’s the quality difference.  Well worth the price, and I just love that Pacifica soy candles are all natural.  This is my brand for life!  Can’t wait to try more scents!!  :)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day — you’ll want to look at the vast array of luxurious scents Pacifica has to offer in their natural soy candles.  Set the mood and stay healthy at the same time!  You can check out Pacifica brand candles for yourself at your local Whole Foods or online:  http://www.pacificaperfume.com/.

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Written by Elise Schwartz
Elise Schwartz

Elise has been living a sugar-free natural lifestyle since 2008, after discovering her PCOS, infertility, and inability to lose weight were caused by toxicity in her food and daily life. She became a certified nutrition and body detox coach, and provides consultations to clients across the world. By living the principles she teaches, Elise proudly welcomed her son, Austin, into the world in 2011. She and her husband, Dr. Dave, own and operate a natural health clinic, Triad Health Center, in Greensboro, NC.

4 Comments

  1. My only concern with soy is the fact that (unless they’re made with organic soybeans), the soy is genetically modified. Two problems with that
    a) we don’t know the long-term effects of GMO on our health
    b) GMO means made to survive massive amounts of pesticide, which is applied to the plant, which is then IN the candle. So you’re breathing in fertilizer fumes.

    I used to love candles. I used to, in fact, sell Partylite candles, until I came to the realization that paraffin candles are terrible. I immediately stopped selling them.

    Are the Pacifica candles made with non-GMO soy?

  2. Great post, I love Pacifica too. Hopefully they use organic soy but even if they don’t, I’m not going to worry about it and will just make sure not to eat their candles. :)

  3. Thanks for your comments ladies!

    I didn’t find that info on their website, Rebecca, but I did email the rep I was working with. She has not replied yet…hopefully later this week I can get back to you with the answer.

  4. Okay, Rebecca. Finally got an answer out of Pacfica. I guess what I found out is that they don’t really have their act together. I had to go back and forth 3 different times with the rep I was working with asking if the soy is non-GMO. She didn’t understand what I meant, so I asked if it was organic, certified organic? And eventually her reply was “the candles are in fact made of non-GMO organic soy.” But that is literally all the email said, the only sentence.. Almost as if to say, “That’s what you wanted to hear, right? Good.” So..I’m not going to press it further. I asked to speak to someone higher up, but that didn’t go anywhere. So for me, I enjoyed the candle and would purchase again based on the knowledge it is lead free, fragrance free, and low smoke point. But if knowing it is certified non-GMO is the most important thing for you, I’d recommend contacting the company to get it in official writing. Or, stick with the good old essential oils! That’s my fall back! :)

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