How to make candles with essential oils
With the growing number of people wanting the products they use in their day-to-day life to be as natural as possible, it’s no wonder that so many are requesting candles that are made using all natural essential oils.
Essential oils are extracts that are derived from a variety of different botanicals and remain in their highly concentrated and often potently fragrant raw form. It is true that essential oils smell lovely, have some amazing therapeutic properties and are all natural, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ideal for candle making.
Most essential oils are quite delicate and don’t handle heat well. This trait makes them less than ideal for candles. Often the candle maker will add the essential oils to their hot wax and the scent will burn off before the candle has set. This means that the candle maker will enjoy the beautiful smell of the oils, but whoever lights the candle will get little to no scent throw at all.
Alternatively, some essential oil candles will give off an unpleasant fuel like smell when burned. Others are very flammable and could cause the entire surface of a candle to light on fire. You’ll also need to investigate whether they cause the fumes from your candle to be toxic to humans and/or animals. It’s very important to do some research into the oils you want to use before starting to make candles with them.
Given the high cost of essential oils, these outcomes can be incredibly frustrating, disappointing, and even dangerous for both the candle maker and their customers.
Ways to use essential oils to optimize scent throw
If you are still determined to use pure essential oils in your candles, there are a few things that you will do differently than when using synthetic fragrance oils.
- The first thing is that you will add slightly less oil. Due to the high concentration of essential oils, we recommend using 20ml per pound instead of the 30ml per pound we recommend for synthetic fragrance oil.
- The next thing that you will need to do is add it to slightly cooler wax. You will need to do some testing with the type of wax you work with to find the ideal temperature to add your essential oils. The trick will be to make sure that the wax is hot enough to bind with the oils, but not so hot that it burns off the oil when added. Soy wax is a good choice due to its low melting point, while beeswax isn’t recommended because of its high melting point.
- TEST, TEST, TEST! Every essential oil is different and will react differently when burned, so we recommend rigorously testing every essential oil combination you make to ensure that it burns safely and properly before selling or giving away your candles.
Another great option would be to try an Essential Oil Blend. These blends are made specifically for candle making and combine pure essential oils and an all-natural carrier oil that helps to stabilize it in heat. This makes them ideal for those wanting to use an all-natural fragrance oil in their candles, but don’t want to compromise on scent throw. These have been well tested in candles and work just as well in candles as the synthetic fragrance oils. They also have the added benefit of being a more complex scent then a plain essential oil has.
Mix and match using both synthetic and essential oils. Using only essential oils can be rather limiting for a candle maker and using synthetic fragrance oils can be beneficial as well if you’re open to it. Some of the benefits include:
- The possibilities are endless! The most obvious benefit is the vast selection of synthetic oils to choose from. With the help of technology, fragrance oil makers have been able to duplicate virtually every smell known to man. From Campfire to Fresh Baked Bread and Champagne to Clean Cotton, these are all scents that would never be possible as an essential oil.
- They are specially made to go in candles. These oils are made with candle making in mind. They are tested in candles and are known to give off any excellent scent throw when burned in a candle.
- They are highly regulated. Often the concern over using synthetic fragrance oils is the lack of knowledge around what is used to make these oils and whether they are safe or not. It is important to know that fragrance oil producers are highly regulated, and the oils have gone through many tests to ensure that they are safe to use.
The International Fragrance Association was created to ensure that safe use of fragrance around the world. Whether ingredients are natural or synthetic, they monitor, test and assess these ingredients and set rules for them to be used safely – helping you to feel good about using them in your candles. For more information on what they do and how fragrance oils are tested, visit www.ifrafragrance.org.
The fact is that essential oils have been used safely and effectively in candles for many years and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. However, it is very important for every candle maker to understand the risks associated with them. It is also necessary that they complete their own research and testing on the oils they plan to use to ensure the quality and safety of their product.