Most people would love to have around beautiful candles which also give off a good odour. You have probably come across one before. In craft making, candles are given their great smells by adding scent oils to the wax. Scent oils are simply what they are called: oils. Adding scent oils to a candle wax is not something that is much of a big deal. But it is good to properly educate oneself before choosing scent oils. There are only two main types of scent oils: Fragrance oils and Essential oils.
I know what you are thinking. Are not fragrance oils same with scent oils? And what makes essential oils essential? To answer the first question, most times people use the term ‘scent oils’ and ‘fragrance oils’ interchangeably, which is wrong. The latter is a type of the former. I will give a brief definition of fragrance oils but one cannot really do without talking about essential oils first.
Essential oils are oils gotten from the bark, flowers, leaves, roots and other parts of a plant for scenting and aromatherapy. I will expand a bit on aromatherapy later. Essential oils are so called because making them involves extracting the ‘pure essence’ of a plant. So you see that the ‘essential’ does not refer to our traditional definition of the word as ‘important’ or ‘necessary’. That answers the second question raised in the first paragraph.
Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are laboratory-manufactured synthetic scent oils made to imitate essential oils. so the first and basic difference between essential oils and fragrance oils is that one is completely natural while the other is synthetic.
Plants, from which essential oils are made, are known to have various medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Of course, these benefits are transferred to essential oils. The use of essential oils for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits is known as aromatherapy. So one big advantage they have is that apart from giving off scent for a good ambience, you can actually use candles scented with natural oils as a form of therapy. That sounds good. I’ve mentioned that fragrance oils are made to mimic essential oils. This imitation, however, stops at the level of the scent. The health benefits of natural oils cannot be duplicated to make fragrance oils, unfortunately. Nevertheless, fragrance oils still give the room cool nice odours.
Fragrance oils are cheaper
One would think that the fact that essential oils are natural and come with added benefits would make them very popular. That is not the case. Essential oils are popular but fragrance oils beat them in popularity rankings. Why? Money. Fragrance oils are far cheaper and affordable compared to the natural ones.
The latter takes a lot of resources and effort to make and are therefore priced higher. Rose essential oil is one of the most expensive essential oils. And you cannot blame manufacturers. It takes several rose petals to just make a drop of scent oil. The prices of essential oils are a big turn-off for most people and many go for the cheaper alternative. However, for the added benefits to one’s health, essential oils can be said to be worth their cost.
Plants are grown and how they turn out to depend on various factors such as the weather season, regional climate, growing conditions and so on. All these affect essential oils, which are extracted from plants. Two essential oils, made from the same type of plant may vary in quality because of the factors involved. This inconsistency and lack of uniform is a problem manufacturers face. But for fragrance oils, this is not so. They are made from chemicals with fixed combinations and are able to offer uniformity and consistency especially in the same candle flavor.
Fragrance oils are cheaper because they are easy to make in large quantities. This is why there are several fragrance oil flavours in the market today. The many varieties also provide a lot of choices for candle makers.
Essential oils are not known to react well to heat. Hence, they provide less scent throw than fragrance oils. Both essential and fragrance oils can be used to make a wide variety of products: soap, perfumes, body care products, detergents and so on. The aromatherapy benefits of essential oils make them possible to be used as a form of alternative medicine too.
How to use fragrance oils or essential oils
In using scent oils, either fragrance or essential oils, some general considerations have to be made. The first is that the scent oil should be measured in weight in proportion to the amount of wax to be used. Though, they are liquid, measuring them in volume would not produce accurate results and one would end up using the wrong loading. Also, the flashpoint of each scent oil should be noted. And they should be added to the wax when it is about that temperature. Note that the flashpoint is different for each scent oil so there is no fixed temperature for this.
Also on adding scent oils, if you need to mix two oils together, do so before you add them to the wax. You can mix different essential or fragrance oils together or even mix an essential oil with fragrance oil. To add the oil to the wax, one must do so once the wax has melted fully and then stir. The number of drops you need depends on the amount of wax. But only very little is needed. In any case, follow the instructions that come with the scent oil package as they would be more specific. Fragrance oil and essential oils are similar in the method of adding them to wax.
One cannot really proclaim anyone of the two as being the best absolutely. You choose the type that works best for you and that you prefer more. Considerations to be made are personal preference, budget, scent throw, availability and so on. Besides, there are manufacturers who blend fragrance oils with essential oils. These are still to be considered fragrance oils as they are not completely natural.