Candle making is a popular hobby and a booming industry worldwide, and scent manufacturers have not been slow to realize the potential for marketing different types of fragrance oils. Though there are many types of scents available, oils for candle fragrance fall into 2 categories:
- Essential oils
- Fragrance oils
Essential oils are plant-based and made using distillation, cold pressing or they’re extracted with a solvent like alcohol. These processes get the “essence” out of the plants to be used for medicinal purposes or for bath and body products.
Essential oils tend to be more expensive because obtaining them requires more effort. For example, it takes 30 roses to make 1 drop of essential oil and 60,000 roses to make one ounce. Since you can use up to half an ounce of essential oil per pound of wax in candle making, you can imagine how expensive that would be to use in candles.
Some essentials oils are very delicate and don’t react well to heat. This means that scented candles made with essential oils will not always smell as strong as candles made with fragrance oils. (If that’s what you want, it’s a good thing!) Certain essential oils smell stronger than others. A few examples are: lavender, patchouli and lemongrass.
Fragrance oils are usually synthetic, although they can smell like natural flowers, plants or fruits. Sometimes both fragrance oils and essential oils are used in a fragrance blend so would not necessarily be considered “natural” by those looking for aromatherapy type scents.
On the other hand, fragrance oils are frequently referred to as “aromatherapy” scents. Technically, they don’t have the medicinal or therapeutic properties of essential oils, but that doesn’t mean they won’t cheer you up. Also, fragrance oils provide more scent selections at a cheaper price, as almost any scent can be duplicated synthetically in the lab.