Is there anything that sparks as much joy as scented candles? Not only are scented candles the perfect way to bring beautiful fragrances into your home, but they make the perfect accessory for a relaxing bath, romantic night in or simply as a decorative item for your home.
Scented candles can boost your mood and help add to the sense of ‘home’ - it’s no wonder we can’t get enough of them! The perfect treat for yourself, or a gift for someone else - scented candles are a must have.
But with so many types of candles and scents to choose from - how do you know which ones are the right for you? Get ready to become a scented candle expert with our ultimate guide to scented candles for your home.
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What's the difference between soy, beeswax and paraffin candles?
There are a lot of different types of candles on the market. It’s not always easy to tell which ones are right for your needs. Do you choose soy, beeswax or paraffin candles? Check out the main differences between these candle types:
Soy wax candles are made from soybean oil, and have only really been used since the 1990s! Soy wax is made using cleaned soybeans which are then cracked and de-hulled before being rolled into flakes - from which the oil is extracted.
Soy wax holds a lighter fragrance but has a slow burn time. You can buy organic soy wax which is made without using pesticides and provides a more natural candle option.
Beeswax has been used to make candles for centuries. Beeswax candles date back to Ancient Egypt and have been used ever since. Beeswax candles are among the purest type of candles, burning without smoke or soot. Beeswax is often blended with other types of wax (such as paraffin or coconut) to create scented candles.
Paraffin candles are among the most popular candle types you’ll see available to buy today. Made from crude oil, it’s the material that’s left after oil is purified. Paraffin wax is typically bleached and coloured to make candles.
Paraffin candles can hold strong fragrances, which is why it’s a popular choice of wax for many sellers. Despite their popularity, paraffin wax candles can burn a number of different chemicals when lit, and low-quality candles can leave traces of smoke on your ceiling, walls and furniture.
What are the main candle scents and their benefits?
When it comes to scented candles, there are a lot of different scents to choose from. While some brands invent their own scents, there are some common scents you can find from most candle manufacturers that have some wonderful aromatherapy benefits. The top 10 main candle scents include:
- Amber - helps reduce stress and anxiety
- Vanilla - helps promote healing, while helping with comfort and relaxation
- Rose - helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation
- Bergamot - is a natural mood-booster, helping to reduce anxiety
- Cedarwood - cleanses the air, aids stress and is a natural insect repellent
- Pine - has anti-inflammatory properties, has soothing properties
- Eucalyptus - can help ease symptoms of pain, can help you breathe easier, is a natural insect repellent
- Lemon and citrus - helps reduce stress, can reduce anxiety
- Cotton - provides a mood-boosting fragrance
- Jasmine - a soothing scent that promotes relaxation, and can work as an aphrodisiac too
How Scented Candles Work
Scented candles are popular for adding fragrance to a room, creating a relaxing atmosphere, and improving mood. But have you ever wondered how scented candles work? In this section, we will explore the science behind scented candles and how they release their fragrance.
Scented candles consist of a wick, a wax base, and fragrance oils. The wick is the string in the centre of the candle that ignites and burns the wax. The wax usually comes from paraffin or a natural wax, like soy or beeswax. The maker adds fragrance oils to the melted wax before pouring the candle and allowing it to cool and harden.
When you light a scented candle, the heat from the flame melts the wax near the wick. This liquid wax goes up the wick by capillary action.
This action is the same process plants use to pull water from the soil. A flame heats the liquid wax. The fragrance molecules become airborne.
The fragrance molecules in scented candles work similarly to the way they work in perfume. The molecules are small and volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly and easily. The fragrance molecules smell when olfactory receptors in your nose send a signal to your brain. You then perceive the scent.
The strength of a scented candle's scent depends on many factors, like:
- How much fragrance oil is used; the size of the candle
- The room's airflow
- and how far the candle is from the person.
The fragrance will be stronger in a smaller room with less airflow, while it will be weaker in a larger room with more airflow.
In summary, scented candles work by melting the wax, which vaporises the fragrance oil and releases the scent into the air. The fragrance molecules interact with the olfactory receptors in your nose, causing you to perceive the scent.
The next time you light a scented candle, you can appreciate the science behind how it works and how it can improve your mood and atmosphere.
What types of scented candles work for different house smells?
Scented candles are perfect for masking different home smells. If you have a very busy kitchen or pets in your home, you can use scented candles to neutralise different odours and leave your home feeling and smelling fresh.
Some ideas for candles to combat different house smells include:
- Lemon and citrus for the kitchen to create a fresh scent.
- Pine and eucalyptus have a strong, cleansing fragrance that makes them perfect for the bathroom.
- Lavender and jasmine are ideal for combatting pet smells, as are peppermint and bergamot.
- Peppermint is ideal for helping to boost focus and concentration - perfect for your home office.
Are scented candles safe in my home and for my family and pets?
Scented candles can bring a lot of delight to your home, but are they safe for you and your family and pets to enjoy? While any burning flame poses a safety risk, you can reduce your chances of an accident by keeping your candles in a safe place, away from where small hands and paws can get near them. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Remember to always read the packaging for safety information and usage instructions to ensure you're using scented candles in the safest way possible.
Pets may have different sensitivities to certain fragrances. If strongly fragrances candles seem to affect your pet, you could consider using soy or beeswax candles, and limiting the amount of candles that you burn.
Which scented candle works well in what room?
Scented candles have a magical quality that means they can transform a room in a subtle way. Smell is one of our strongest senses, and it’s amazing how candles can affect our mood in each room we walk into.
Learning what types of scented candles work for different house smells can make sure your home has a wonderful home fragrance that suits the space perfectly.
Your bedroom is somewhere to relax. Fragrances should be calming, helping you to ease the stresses of the day so that you can get a good night’s sleep. Choose calming candle scents like lavender, jasmine and chamomile.
We know that bathrooms can be fragrant for all the wrong reasons! So having a fresh fragrance in your bathroom can help things stay smelling clean. Citrus and cotton are popular choices for the bathroom, but you may also want to consider a sea breeze fragrance to keep things clean.
Your living room is a space where you can be more adventurous with your fragrance. Many people change their living room fragrance depending on the time of year. Here you can use florals to create a welcoming, pleasing scent, or try something a bit warmer with amber or wood fragrances.
Keep your kitchen feeling fresh and clean with a subtle citrus or herb-based scented candle. For dinnertime, you should consider a very subtle fragrance so as not to spoil the aroma of your meal.
Your hallway fragrance should be subtle. Choose something light such as cotton or vanilla to gently welcome guests into your home.
How to dress your house with scented candles?
Candles make the perfect home accessory, so you can have a lot of fun dressing your home with candles. Some ideas for decorating your home with scented candles include:
- Use lanterns and candleholders to make a decorative feature out of your candles. Choose holders that match the theme of your room.
- Chandeliers and sconces can help you create mood lighting, while also keeping candles out of reach of children and pets.
- Make a feature using candles and other home accessories such as vases, bowls and ornaments.
- Avoid having too many clashing candles - experimenting with different levels can create an aesthetically pleasing look.
- Decorative trays are ideal for housing candles on a coffee or side table, creating a cosy look for your living room or bedroom.
- Use a bath tray to house bathroom candles to create a spa-like, luxurious feel.
How do you care for scented candles?
Using scented candles is easy, but if you want them to last, you need to care for them correctly. Some tips to help you get the most out of your candles include:
- Trim your wick after around 4 hours of burn time. This will keep the wick clear and prevent a smokey burn.
- Allow your first burn to be for at least three hours to ensure an even burn. This will ensure the wax melts evenly, preventing wax remaining on the sides of your candle and creating a pool in the centre.
- Keep your candle clean - it will make a big difference to the quality of the smell and will prevent fire hazards.
- Try not to over burn your candles, avoid burning for more than 4 hours at a time to allow you to keep them clean.
Regular maintenance will keep your candle looking lovely and clean, while ensuring the true scent of the candle burns instead of burnt wick or soot. You can find a more in depth list of candle care techniques on our blog.
What containers do scented candles come in?
Scented candles come in different types of containers, which give you a lot of choice for aesthetic reasons and practicality too.
- Tinned or metal containers are a popular choice and are easy to keep clean. You can usually recycle an empty tinned candle once it’s been used.
- Ceramic candle jars are very durable, and they can be coloured and decorated to create a lot of different looks.
- Glass candle jars are amongst the most popular for those who buy scented candles. They have a clean, luxurious look that make it easy to see how much is left.
All candle containers come in different finishes, including both natural and decorated finishes - giving you a wide range of styles to choose from for your home.
Can you make your own scented candles?
It is possible to make your own scented candles using wax, essential oils and the right tools. It can be a fun and enjoyable hobby, and it allows you to get creative with different fragrance combinations.
Many people choose to make their own scented candles, although it can take practice to get the hand poured technique right, and your materials will need to be bought upfront. Another option is to buy a candle making kit with all the ingredients ready for you.
Now that you know all about scented candles, you can consider yourself a candle expert. Check out our full selection of Shearer Candles and put your new knowledge to good use.