Here is some advice on buying scented candles. Many people know very little about candles in general let alone the scented variety and some information might not go amiss. Many are worried about how they should choose the right candle, and also about the properties of candles such as the fire risk and the effect of the smoke.
If you intend to buy scented candles for your home or your office you should treat low prices with caution. Cheap candles often emit only a very faint perfume and in many cases you are as well purchasing a cheap box of plain white candles. The three components of a scented candle you should learn about are the wax, the wick and the perfume.
1. The Wax
Many candles are made from various types of pre-blended waxes, some from paraffin wax and stearic acid, and others using soy wax. It is important that the wax does not give off a visible smoke when burning and that it is itself odourless, or as close as it can be.
Paraffin Waxes: these are obtained from oil, and have melting points of from around 50 to 70 Celsius. The higher melting waxes are used for standing candles while the lower melting points are used for those held in containers. Their various oil contents are also important. Paraffin waxes burn relatively quickly and do not hold scents very well.
Microcrystalline Waxes: Also derived from oil, these have a higher melting point and a finer crystal structure than paraffin waxes. They are used to modify the properties of candles.
Beeswax: This is extracted from honeycombs and burns fairly quickly but also very cleanly and holds scents well: they can be used for scented candles or to modify their burning speed. Tend to be expensive.
Soy Wax: This is a vegetable wax with a fairly high melting point and it burns much cleaner than paraffin wax. It also burns for longer and throws scent very well. Another advantage is its relatively low price.
There are other waxes used in scented candle making, but these are the most common and those generally used in scented candles are beeswax and soy wax. Sometimes a small amount of paraffin wax or petrolatum is used for container candles to help then stick better to the container.
When buying scented candles you should look for beeswax or soy wax that can be modified with others to control the burning properties.
2. The Wick
Wicks for scented candles are normally made from plaited or braided cotton wound round a central zinc core. The core used to be lead but was discontinued on health grounds. The wick is treated with inorganic salts to modify the burning speed, and the size of the flame can be modified by changing the diameter of the wick. The wick draws molten wax upwards by capillary action which then evaporates, and the flame is actually the wax vapour burning rather than the wick itself.
3. The Perfume
The perfume in scented candles is generally from essential oils. These emit a lovely fragrance when heated and what you smell is the scent from the heated essential oil, not the burning perfume. Burning destroys essential oils. By choosing the fragrances carefully, you can alter your mood in the same way as aromatherapy is used for a similar purpose. Unfortunately, this is not the case with mass-produced candles whose fragrances are artificial and do not possess the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
When buying scented candles you should select a scent that best suits the required mood, and you may prefer to burn certain candles at certain times of the day. For example:
Stimulating: Citrus fragrances such as lemon or grapefruit are stimulating and can get you going each morning. Lemon grass and sweet basil offer the same effect. Burn them when you wake up and blow them out about an hour after wakening.
Warming: Cardamom, ginger, clove, pine, geranium, and sage are warming and relaxing and you can burn these candles in the evening before bedtime, and even in the bedroom.
Calming: Ylang Ylang, sandalwood, bergamot, lavender, rosemary and chamomile are all calming and if you feel a bit nervous and tense, then burn a candle-containing one or more of these fragrances to calm you.
Uplifting: Petigrain, neroli, elemi, geranium and bergamot are all uplifting and give you a feeling of self-confidence and well-being. Burn these before embarking on any activity of which you are a bit nervous, like giving a speech.
Some candles such as sandalwood and cedar are burned just because they smell great and many people never burn their candles but use them for ornamental purposes only. It is far better to have candles that look as if they are burned, because that is their purpose and it seems rather sad somehow seeing candles that are obviously old and have never been burned.
Nevertheless, hopefully these tips on buying scented candles will help you make the best choice for you and your home. There is a massive range of scented candles out there, and you will have a fabulous time testing them out and finding how each affects you.