Fragrance is like music: it has three sets of notes to create one harmonious accord, and each note may contain a symphony of scents. Fragrances are created by balancing the right combination of top, middle and base notes:
Scent "throw” refers to the release of fragrance from a candle: the “cold throw” is the scent released when a candle is unlit at room temperature, the “hot throw” is the scent released when the candle is burning.
When making candles: the wax is melted to a specific temperature, the fragrance is added to the wax, the wax and fragrance are blended together, and the mixture is set to cool down to a specific “pour” temperature before pouring the candle.
Another factor in candle making that affects the scent is the temperature at which the fragrance oil is blended with the melted wax, which can differ from fragrance to fragrance. If you add the fragrance oil at too high a temperature, it’ll “burnoff;” however, you want to make sure the wax temperature is hot enough for the fragrance oil to properly bond with the wax. If the temperature is too low, the fragrance will not bond properly.
Because soy wax is softer than paraffin wax, it bonds better with fragrance oils which means you’ll smell fragrance from the first burn to the last burn. The molecules of paraffin are so strong and difficult to break apart that the fragrance oil may not get distributed throughout the wax, which leads the scent to burn out on some paraffin candles. Not all fragrance oils are rated to work well with all types of wax, so it’s important to mix the right fragrance with the right wax. Lit Up Candle Co. only works with fragrances that are rated to throw a scent with soy wax.
There are two types of scent for candles: 1) fragrance oils and 2) essential oils.
Fragrance oils are formulated from many aromatic ingredients derived from nature and created by scientific methods. Natural ingredients include essential oils, resins and absolutes. Although synthetic ingredients are man-made, they are also found in nature and reproduced synthetically using scientific techniques.
Not all fragrance oils are created equal. Candle making suppliers offer a wide variety fragrance oils; however, fragrance oils from suppliers are often concentrated for bath & body use. The IFRA (International Fragrance Association), RIFM (Research Institute for Fragrance Materials) and FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulate standards for safety, purity and the maximum amount of fragrance oil that’s safe to use in products like soaps and cosmetics, which is much less than what you can put in candles.
This means candles made with fragrance oils from candle making suppliers are not fully-concentrated. At Lit Up Candle Co., we work directly with our local perfumer to formulate our signature fragrances that are all laboratory-tested and fully-concentrated.
Each type of candle wax is rated to bond with a different percentage of fragrance oil: when you add too much fragrance oil to a candle, it’ll leech out of the wax. Most suppliers recommend using 1 oz. of fragrance per 1 lb. of soy wax (which is about 6%). We use almost double the recommended ratio and add 10% fragrance oil to our candles; that combined with our fully-concentrated fragrance oils give our soy candles the absolute best scent throw possible.
The alternative to fragrance oil is essential oils. Essential oils are distilled down from the oil of the plant from which they were extracted. Although essential oils are natural and may provide therapeutic benefits, there are several drawbacks to using them in candles:
Phthalates are esters of Phthalic acid and can be used to dissolve raw materials when making fragrance oils. Products including phthalates have increasingly becoming a concern to consumers due to certain types being labeled as potentially having negative health effects. The particular type of phthalates creating this concern is typically used as ‘plasticizers,’ which allow plastic products to become flexible without compromising their strength. This type of phthalate is not the same as those that are used in creating fragrance oils. The phthalate commonly used in fragrance products is diethyl phthalate, or DEP; it’s a solvent used to extend the aromatic strength of the candle fragrance oil.
Although DEP has been found by the IFRA to be non-toxic in skin products and candles, if used at safe levels, many suppliers have already or are working to remove all phthalates from their fragrance oils. And just to be on the safe side, all of our fragrance oils are phthalate-free.
In conclusion, there are a lot of myths about fragrance oils and essential oils. While essential oils are 100% natural, they are not sustainable or effective scents for candles. Fragrance oils are safe, provide a much wider variety of aromas, are much more cost-effective than essential oils and make the best scented candles.
With regards to candles in particular, many people with allergies and sensitivities think the issues stem from fragrance oil when it’s actually caused by paraffin wax. Learn more about the benefits of all-natural, non-toxic soy wax.