A Short Introduction to Candle Scents

In the late 20th century, people discovered new type of wax by blending palm oil, flax-seed oil, soy oil with paraffin. These new waxes gave fragrance while burning. Thus began the search for scented candles. Candle makers add synthetic fragrance, fragrance oils, essential oils and scented herbs to create scented candles.

Today, scented candles have such a huge market share that about 80 percent candles sold in the United States are scented candles. Candle makers are constantly working with fragrance companies to develop a new fragrance for candles. These days you can find candles of various scents from garden spices to exotic herbs, fruits, flowers, you name it. Scented candles are made by infusing essential oils, fragrance oils and scented herbs in candle wax.

When you burn a normal candle, it will produce water vapor and carbon dioxide, likewise when you burn a scented candle, in addition to water vapor and carbon dioxide, it will also release aroma in the air. The aroma is released through evaporation of fragrance from the melted wax.

Generally speaking, two kinds of fragrances are used in candles: natural fragrance and synthetic fragrance. Natural fragrances are derived from essential oils and scented herbs. Synthetic fragrances are chemical based fragrance.

All kinds of fragrances does not work in all kinds of candle waxes. In order to ensure that candle burns properly, a good formulation of candle wax and candle fragrance should be used.

You can find over 2000 natural and chemical fragrances that can be used in candles as well as cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, shampoo and bath soaps.

You can use scented candles to remove odor and have a sweet aroma in your house, or set the ambience or mood.  It is more natural to burn scented candles than spray a room freshener. It is also more convenient to light scented candles than burn essential oils in the aroma burner.

While making candles, you can use any kind of fragrance oils, essential oils, scented herbs or synthetic fragrances, however, you need to check whether these additives are compatible with the wax you are using. Some fragrance oils blend well, whereas others don’t.

If you want to have a strong scent, you have to use more fragrance oils. While using essential oils, you also need to check out whether this particular fragrance oil will work on the wax you are using for candles. If the oil does not work with the wax, candle will not burn properly. You must also be aware that some essential oils require thicker wicks.

How do you add scented oils, essential oils or fragrance oils in wax to create scented candles? This is not as complicated as it sounds. Melt the wax and then add fragrance oils and let it cool to the right temperature.  Measurement is very important to create a good fragrance.

Melting wax, in the candle making process, is a very important step. Different kind of wax have different requirements for melting, for example, you can melt soy wax easily in the microwave. In case you are using beeswax or paraffin wax, you will have to use a double boiler.

When you are making scented candles, adding scents is another important step. Generally speaking, the recommended amount of candle scents for every ounce of wax is 20-25 drops of liquid scent.

You can create scented candles by adding fragrance oils in the wax. You can not only add liquid scents to your candle but also add scented herbs by pressing herbs with wax. The herbal scent will be released when wax begins to melt when you light the candle.

Here are some of the common essential oils, fragrance oils and scented herbs that you can use with your candles to make scented candles.

Patchouli essential oil: Patchouli is a small East Indian shrubby mint. The leaves are highly aromatic.  The essential oils from patchouli plants are used to create fragrance in various things, including candles. You can add patchouli oil on candles to create earthy aroma. Alternatively, you can also blend patchouli oil with other essential oils to create a distinct aroma.

Juniper berry essential oil: The essential oils derived from juniper berries have a mild fragrance. You can use juniper berry essential oil as a standalone fragrance for your candles as well as mix with other fragrance oils.

Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint essential oil has a fresh, minty scent. The candles with peppermint smell are very popular, however, you can create unique scent by blending peppermint essential oil with other mints, spearmint for instance, or floral fragrance oils.

Cinnamon essential oil: You get spicy, fresh smell from cinnamon essential oils. You can use it on your candle to make scented candles. You can experiment with the scent by adding other essential oils. Try mixing orange essential oil with cinnamon essential oils and make spicy-citrus smell.

Jasmine essential oil: If you like floral smell, you should try adding jasmine essential oil in you candles. Jasmine essential oil blends well with other floral oils or herbal oil. You can use jasmine essential oil along with bergamot essential oil, orange oil and cedar wood.

Lavender essential oil: Lavender is a highly aromatic flower. Lavender essential oil has numerous health benefits. It not only relives you from stress and boosts your mood, but also helps in getting a good sleep. You can try lavender with other essential oils. Sage oil blends perfectly with lavender oil.

Eucalyptus essential oil: You can either use eucalyptus essential oils in your candle to create woody eucalyptus fragrance or blend eucalyptus oil with other oil, peppermint for instance, or create woody fragrance with minty twang. By the way, candles created from eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil have decongestant properties.

Palmarosa essential oil: Palmarosa essential oil is a cheap alternative to rose oils because Palmarosa essential oil just smells like rose. The best thing about this essential oil is the fragrance lasts long. You can mix Palmarosa essential oil with other floral oils or even cedar wood oil or sandalwood oil to create a woody smell with floral twang.

Myrrh essential oil: Myrrh is highly aromatic. It is used in perfumes, bath soaps, and cosmetic. Myrrh essential oil is also commonly used in candles to make scented candles. Myrrh essential oil mixes well with other essential oils. Try blending myrrh with juniper berry oil, cypress oil, sandalwood oil, or even peppermint oil.

Chocolate: People love chocolates. You can easily create chocolate scented candles by using chocolate scented synthetic fragrance oil. You can mix this oil with other fragrances to create unique scents. If you are confused about the kind of chocolate scent for your candles, try mint chocolate.

Fresh laundry: Do you like the smell of your laundry? If yes, you can find synthetic fragrance oils that give a scent just like freshly washed clothes.

Lemon scented candles: Many people love the citrus smell of lemon. Therefore, lemon scented candles are very popular. However, the general practice of making candles with lemon scents is by pairing the lemon scent with other fragrances. Lemon scented candles can be used as a room freshener because the smell is long lasting.

Sandalwood: Sandalwood is a popular scent for candles, perfumes, bath soaps, cosmetics etc. Some people find sandalwood smell little muskier, therefore, candle makers prefer to blend sandalwood with jasmine or patchouli. Sandalwood is the ideal smell for indoor candles.

Apple scent:  Many people love the smell of apples, therefore apple scented candles are very popular. If you want mild aroma, apple scented candles are best. The common practice of making apple scented candles is by mixing apple scent with the cinnamon smell.

Rose oil: Rose is a highly aromatic flower. Rose oil and rose fragrance oils are commonly used in perfumes and cosmetic. You can use rose essential oils or synthetic rose fragrance to create rose-scented candles.

Coconut oil: Coconut oils are commonly mixed with soy wax, beeswax, or paraffin wax to create candle wax that gives coconut scent. Coconut scented candles give you a feel of the tropical atmosphere. 

Vanilla scent: Vanilla is a popular scent. You can either use vanilla extracts or synthetic fragrance to create vanilla scented candles. Vanilla is so versatile that it blends well with other fragrances thus creating a unique scent.

These are just a few examples of the fragrances that you can use on your candles to create scented candles. You can also try basil essential oils, sage essential oils, lemongrass essential oil, Ylang Ylang essential oil, vetiver essential oil, anise essential oil; the options are unlimited.

Choosing the Proper Scent For Your Candles

Basically, you have four options to choose.

Commercial candle scents: This is available in liquid form. Depending on the brand, the strength of aroma and price might differ. You will have to mix the scent with the melted wax to make scented candles. Generally speaking, you are supposed to mix one ounce of scents with two pounds of wax.

Fragrance oils: Just like commercial candle scents, fragrance oils are also synthetic aromatic oils. These are not actually made for candles, however, you can mix fragrance oils with wax to make scented candles. Recommended use is 10-15 drips in one pound of wax. The wax should be melted prior to adding fragrance oil.

Essential oils: Essential oils are natural oils derived from flowers, herbs, and exotic plants. The recommended use is 10-15 drops in one pound of melted wax.

Aromatic herbs, flowers, fruits: You can press aromatic herbs and flowers in the candle wax to create scented candles. Some of the common aromatic herbs and flowers are myrrh, lavender, rose etc.

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