I've always sworn to stick with natural waxes only, and I began our candle line using soy.
(A "Natural" Wax is a wax from a renewable resource such as a plant, insect or animal. The wax from an animal would be from the exterior of a living animal such as Lanolin (wool grease).
I'm sure you all know that soy wax comes from soy beans, and that beeswax comes from bees, but what about the other types? Here are a few examples of common wording you'll see on candle packaging, and exactly what it means:
Paraffin- Basically, paraffin wax is a petroleum product that has gone through a refining process. It is a byproduct left over even after asphalt has been extracted. According to the EPA, it is known to release harmful pollutants into the air, including several known carcinogens. It is the most widely available wax product in candles, and is generally the easiest/cheapest for candle makers to use. If you do not see a wax type listed in it's description or label, then this is most likely what it's made of. (most big name brands like Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works are paraffin) Gross!
Soy Blend- This type is always the most misleading. To be labeled as such, this wax type only needs to contain 25% soy, the other 75% is paraffin. Most consumers are unaware of this, and retailers take advantage of them by promoting it as "clean burning soy blend". This is simply not true. The "cleanest" burns come from 100% natural wax, period. Candle makers choose soy blend because it is more affordable and easier to work with than 100% soy or beeswax. (even some small, independent artisans who market as "natural" use this type) Tricksters!
Palm Wax- Although Palm Wax does fit the working definition of a "natural wax", I myself have chosen to never use it. Palm wax is made from palm oil, which is obtained from various types of palm tree grown in Indonesia/South East Asia. So what's the problem?... To fuel the demand, a large number of palm plantations are needed. These plantations are to blame for massive amounts of jungle deforestation, pollution and the destruction of natural habitats for endangered species. This one is based purely on my opinion, you can research it yourself if you are curious. Just say no to palm oil.
It's always been my advice to stay as informed as possible as a consumer. Your best bet is to double check a product's description/label. It's always a matter of preference, of course, and this is a free world to buy/use whatever you'd like. If you aren't concerned with these things, then right on, and thanks for reading! But if you are, you can always count on me to be as transparent as possible about my materials, and to only offer the good stuff! Natural, clean burning and 100% sourced in the US.