Which is Better, Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil For Candles? (2023)

Last Updated on 30.01.2023

Which is Better, Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil For Candles? (1)

Fragrance oils and essential oils are two distinct types of oil used for different purposes. Essential oils are extracted directly from plants and other natural sources, while fragrance oils are manufactured in a laboratory.

Fragrance oils are designed to create a long-lasting scent throw, making them popular for use in candles, perfumes, soaps, and other scented products. On the other hand, essential oils are more volatile than fragrance oils and evaporate more quickly when exposed to heat, resulting in candles with shorter-lasting scents.

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The ingredients used to make each oil type differ as well. Fragrance oils are lab-made with synthetic compounds that mimic the aroma of natural materials such as flowers or herbs.

Essential oils, on the other hand, come from natural sources such as flowers, leaves, bark, or roots of plants. As a result of their differing compositions, fragrance and essential oils have different properties and uses.

For instance, essential oils can be used for aromatherapy due to their therapeutic properties, while fragrance oils are unsuitable for this purpose.

When it comes to choosing between fragrance oils and essential oils for candles, there is a disparity in terms of budget-friendliness as well as the intensity of scent.

Although many assume that using essential oil would provide fewer ecological risks than fragrance oils’ synthetic components, truthfully, the latter option offers more robust fragrances without excessive toxicity concerns.

Overall, it is still a matter of choice.

(Video) Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils - Candle Making

Nature lovers quickly proclaim essential oil as a safe and healthier alternative, but is that actually true?

When burned in candles, are essential oils really a healthier, natural alternative to fragrance oil? Can they match the intensity of fragrances that is desired — and at what cost?

This article will answer these questions and provide clarity on which type of oil works best for achieving quality scents. Let’s dive into the world of essential oils!

Fragrance oils, what are they?

Fragrance oils are a type of synthetic scent created in a laboratory. They are composed of various chemical aromas and natural elements and can be divided into synthetic and natural.

Essential oils are naturally sourced from nature, while fragrance oils are synthetically created in a laboratory. Fragrance oils are a mix of natural and synthetic chemical components carefully formulated by perfumers to create a desired scent.

These may contain essential oils or synthetically made constituents of essential oils, which have been approved for use by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) and the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).

The DuPont Corporation used “Better Living Through Chemistry” as their slogan, which is particularly apt for the fragrance oil. This product of chemistry is designed to make our world smell better and can be found in many everyday products such as perfumes and candles.

It is important to note that while these products may smell great, they should not be used on the skin or ingested.

However, the petrochemical ingredients used to create synthetic fragrances are some of the most toxic substances when used at dangerous levels. These include aldehydes, phthalates, and toluene, just to name a few.

Types of Fragrance Oil

Fragrance oil is a popular ingredient used in many products, from soaps and lotions to bath bombs and candles. It comes in more than 200 types and can be divided into two categories:

  1. synthetic
  2. natural

Synthetic oils are made from artificial chemical ingredients, while natural oils are derived from naturally occurring scents.

Fragrance oils are not as powerful as essential oils, but they still offer a range of uses. They can be used to make car air fresheners, laundry detergent, bubble baths, perfumes/colognes, scented candles, soaps and creams, massage oils, room sprays, lotions, and more.

Read also: When Were Candles Invented: A Complete History
(Video) ESSENTIAL OILS VS FRAGRANCE OILS | What is the difference | Candle Questions 001

However, when using fragrance oils on skin or clothes, it is best to use natural fragrance oils instead of synthetic ones as they can hasten and fade in cold procedural soap and expire faster than essential oils.

Essential oils, what are they?

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of plants and herbs that have been used for centuries in aromatherapy, massage, cleansers, soaps, and room sprays. They are natural oils that contain the essence of a plant, extracted by distillation or other processes.

Popular brands have made essential oils widely available for sale and use. Essential oils are powerful organic chemicals derived from plant material, usually requiring hundreds of pounds to make a pound of essential oil.

It can be used to make soap, candles, room sprays, lotions, bath salts and oils, and balms. Some plants (like an orange tree) contain several different essential oils in different parts.

Care should be taken when using either essential or fragrance oils in candles and soap, as they can be very potent and cause skin irritation if not used correctly. Essential oils are a great way to add natural scents to your home or products without the use of harsh chemicals.

Types of Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural plant extracts that are produced using steam distillation, cold-press, or extraction. They are made from different parts of the plant, such as fruit, blossom, leaves, peels, cones, stem, bark, wood, or resin.

The production process requires only water, heat, and pressure with no chemical solvents. Essential oils contain the essence of the plant and can be used in place of synthetic fragrance oils.

Essential oils are widely used in aromatherapy and can be vaporized and released into the air for therapy purposes. They can also be used to make scented bathing soaps, although they can be costly.

Candle making is one of the best uses for essential oils as they provide a pleasant scent when burned. It has many therapeutic benefits and can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality.

They also have antiseptic properties, which make them great for cleaning surfaces around the home.

When choosing essential oils for candle making, it is important to consider the flash point (the temperature at which the oil will ignite) and aroma strength.

Popular essential oils with higher flash points include Basil, Cinnamon-Leaf, Clove-Bud, Cedarwood-Atlas, Clary Sage, Geranium, Guardian Blend, Lavender (Any), Lavender Magnolia Blend, Meditation Blend, Palmarosa Patchouli, Tranquility Blend. Ylang Ylang is also an excellent choice for candle-making due to its strong aroma.

Which one is best for candles?

When choosing a scent manufacturer for your candles, your decision revolves around these three things: scent release, scent variety, and cost.

(Video) Is Fragrance Oil Even Safe?

1. Price

Price is a key factor in distinguishing between essential and fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are made with fewer amounts of synthetic compounds, making them cheaper than essential oils.

Fragrance oils range in price from $3.75 to $15.00 depending on type and size, while essential oils require several hundred pounds of natural ingredients to produce, making them more expensive.

Both fragrance and essential oils can be used for at-home projects or candle making, leaving a strong scent.

Essential oils offer aromatherapy benefits that make them worth the extra cost. They are often used for relaxation, stress relief, and even healing purposes due to their natural properties.

However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option for your home projects or candle-making needs, then fragrance oil may be the better choice. It still provides a strong scent without breaking the bank.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference when deciding which oil is right for you.

2. Type of Fragrance

The fragrance is an important part of candle making, and various fragrances are available to choose from. Candles can be made with both natural and synthetic oils, which offer different scents.

Read also: How to Make a Candle Smell Stronger (5 Easy Ways)

Natural oils tend to provide more subtle aromas, while synthetic oils offer a wider range of scents. Combining the two types of oils through diffusion can create unique scents that are impossible with either oil alone.

General Wax carries two main families of fragrances: Regular and Ultra. Regular fragrances are typically used in candles, while Ultra fragrances are designed for use in wax melts and tarts. Fragrance oils come in various forms, including liquid, solid, and powder.

For more information on fragrance oils, visit the blog post “Scented Candles: Everything Candle Makers Need to Know About Fragrance.” This post provides detailed information on selecting the right fragrance for your candles and tips on getting the most out of your fragrance oils.

3. Health Concerns

Essential oils are derived from natural ingredients and have healing properties. They can be used in aromatherapy to help ease muscle pain, skin problems, and other bodily afflictions.

Lavender scent can help reduce stress, while peppermint smell can act as an insect repellant. Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin or taken internally for their therapeutic benefits.


However, it is important to consider individual health when using essential oils. Artificial ingredients blended with fragrance oils, such as parabens, should be avoided in large quantities for health concerns.

Fragrance oils do not offer the same health benefits as essential oils but can enhance the aroma of cosmetics and perfumes. Natural does not always mean it works for everyone; every individual is different and may have allergies to the components of essential oils.

Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before using any type of oil on your body or ingesting them orally.

4. The longevity of the scent

The debate between essential oils and scented candles has been ongoing for years, with many people now choosing essential oils over scented candles. Essential oils are natural ingredients that are free from toxins, making them a healthier option than scented candles.

They also have therapeutic benefits, such as reducing stress and improving moods. Furthermore, essential oils are more cost-effective than scented candles and can be used in diffusers to create a stronger scent that lasts longer.

Additionally, they are environmentally friendly due to their natural ingredients and lack of toxins.

Essential oils can be used in various ways to create a pleasant aroma in the home or office. Diffusers are the most effective way to use essential oils for a strong scent, while candles may not be as effective and can even be toxic in some cases.

Aromatherapy has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its therapeutic benefits, leading many people to choose essential oils over scented candles for their longevity and health benefits.


Fragrance oils are better than essential oils for candle-making in general.

Fragrance oils have a higher odor profile and are cost-effective. Although they are chemical based, they are considered safe to use as long as they are free of phthalates and parabens. You are also guaranteed a consistent scent if that matters to you.

Essential oils are certainly healthier than a fragrance, but not for this specific candle-making application. You may get delicious scents with an unlit candle, but it doesn’t retain the scent well when you light a candle.

Essential oils won’t let you down if you prefer to go all-natural, as long as you are careful, but fragrance oils are probably the best choice for most.

(Video) Top Tips For Using Essential Oils In Your Candles For Beginners / DIY Candle Making At Home

Related Posts:

  • How Much Fragrance Oil Per Pound of Wax?
  • What Temperature do You Add Fragrance Oil to Soy Wax?
  • Wood Wicks or Cotton Wicks Which One to Choose
  • Paraffin in Bath, Wax and Oil: What You Should Know About It


What is the best percentage of fragrance oil for candles? ›

Calculating the percentage of fragrance to use

Most waxes will hold no more than 12% of fragrance oil however to assure the candle stability is not compromised we advise using 10% fragrance oil for optimal scent throw. This means if your candle is 100g in total- 90g should be wax and 10g would be your fragrance oil.

Can you mix essential oils and fragrance oils in candles? ›

If you choose to mix fragrance oils and essential oils to get a nicely scented candle, I've found I like 2 ounces of fragrance oil for every pound of wax, and about 20 drops of essential oils mixed in.

Why do my essential oil candles not smell? ›

Trim your wick regularly

Ensuring your wick is trimmed to at least half an inch before each burn time is vital for the candle to produce a strong enough scent. If the wick is too long, then the flame will be too large and burn the melted wax at a faster rate – giving the scent less time to evaporate and fill a room.

Are fragrance oils safe for candle making? ›

Further, although fragrance oils tend to get a bad rap because they're not “natural,” the good ones are thoroughly tested and scientifically approved to be safe for use not just in candles, but also in topical bath & body products like soaps and lotions.

What happens if you put too much fragrance oil in a candle? ›

Add too much fragrance: Using more fragrance oil does not always guarantee a stronger scent throw. Each wax has a recommended fragrance oil load and going beyond that limit can cause the fragrance oil to separate from the wax which could be a potential fire hazard (not to mention the ugly "gooey" spots it can create).

How much fragrance oil is needed for an 8 oz candle? ›

A typical amount is about 6% or 1 ounce per pound. Be sure to check the product page for the wax you will be using to find out the maximum fragrance percentage that it can hold.

Which is better essential oil or fragrance oil? ›

Most fragrance oils don't provide the same health benefits as essential oils, as they're designed purely for the purpose of mimicking a scent. Nature is complex and essential oils are made of more than just scent components, which is why they are so difficult to recreate.

How do you make essential oil candles smell stronger? ›

4 Tips To Make Essential Oil Candles Smell Stronger and Hold Their Scent
  1. #1 Use Strong Scented Essential Oils. ...
  2. #2 Choose A Slow-Burning Wax. ...
  3. #3 Use the Right Amount of Essential Oils. ...
  4. #4 Keep Your Candles Covered. ...
  5. Essential Oil Candle Supplies: ...
  6. Instructions: ...
  7. How soon can you light your homemade candle?

How many drops of essential oil should I put in a candle? ›

We recommend using 30 to 40 drops of essential oils for a single eight-ounce candle. Remember that soy and beeswax aren't known for their ability to throw scent. If you're concerned that your candle will be too strong, start with 30 drops.

What are the strongest smelling candles? ›

But my nose doesn't lie when it determined that not one but two brands smelled strongest — WoodWick by Yankee Candle Co. and Bath & Body Works.

What essential oils work best in candles? ›

Top 5 Best Essential Oils for Candle Making
  • Lavender Essential Oil.
  • Lemongrass Essential Oil.
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil.
  • Lemon Essential Oil.
  • Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil.

What essential oils smell good in candles? ›

Here are some combinations of the best fragrance oils for candles:
  • 10 drops rosemary + 15 drops sweet orange.
  • 15 drops lemon + 10 drops lime.
  • 12 drops sweet orange + 12 drops basil.
  • 15 drops vanilla + 10 drops lavender.
  • 20 drops eucalyptus + 5 drops lemon.
Aug 19, 2016

What to avoid when making candles? ›

Both synthetic fragrance and dyes are also known to release dangerous VOCs such as formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene, alcohol and esters. Each of these chemicals have been known to result in headaches, dizziness, allergy symptoms, asthma attacks, respiratory tract infections and cancer.

Is burning essential oils in candles toxic? ›

Some essential oils can become toxic when heated, which makes them risky for me to work with and certainly risky for you to burn in your home. It's not worth the risk to your health, your children, your pets and certainly not if you're carrying a baby.

Do essential oils last in candles? ›

On the other hand, essential oils typically last up to 12 months' in candle form. If you don't store your candle properly (like without a lid or in a warm environment) the scent can dissipate even faster.

What wax holds the most fragrance? ›

If you decide that you want a clean-burning candle that will give you the strongest scent throw you can get, you might choose paraffin. If you want a wax that is clean-burning, comes from a renewable source, has a great scent throw, and burns longer, soy might be the way to go.

Can I remelt candle wax and add more fragrance? ›

While many people believe you can create new melts or candles from used old ones, we do not recommend doing that. If you have reused your wax melts enough in the warmer, the scent will be long gone. Meaning you would not be making a candle or new melt that will add any fragrance to your home.

How many drops of fragrance oil for soy candles? ›

You'll want to add about 100 drops of essential oils for every pound of wax. I like combinations like Lemon, Lavender & Bergamot (use 50 drops of lemon and 50 drops of lavender, plus 10 drops of Bergamot for every 1 lb.

How much fragrance do I add to 8 oz of soy wax? ›

The recommended fragrance load for a soy wax candle is generally between 5% to 10% of the weight of the wax used in the candle.

How many candles does 1 oz of fragrance make? ›

1 oz of fragrance can make 1-2 candles, depending on the size of your vessels, your intended fragrance load and the amount of wax you use.

Are essential oils safer than fragrances? ›

As we shared above, many fragrances include harmful ingredients derived from synthetic chemicals. Because essential oils are derived directly from safe plants, essential oils are a non-toxic alternative to synthetic fragrances.

Can you mix essential oils with fragrance oils? ›

After all this information, we can state that essential and fragrance oils can in fact be mixed in your candle making process. It is a great option when you would like to create your own unique scent which lasts even longer.

Which essential oils scent last the longest? ›

As a general rule, you can expect that:
  • Citrus fruit, frankincense, lemongrass, neroli, spruce, tea tree and pine essential oils can last for 1 to 2 years. ...
  • Sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver essential oils have the ability to last for 4 to 8 years.
  • Most other essential oils are effective for 2 to 3 years.

How can I make my candles smell good naturally? ›

Mix your essential oils into the wax. For an evergreen tree scent, combine 10 drops of balsam fir needle and 5 drops of eucalyptus. For a spiced cider scent, combine 10 drops of sweet orange and 5 drops of clove bud. For a snickerdoodle scent, combine 10 drops of vanilla and 5 drops of cinnamon.

What temperature should candle wax be at to add essential oils? ›

Most fragrances should be added between 175-185° F. Make sure your wax has been removed from the heat source before adding fragrance oils.

What does 10% fragrance mean in candle making? ›

The 'fragrance load' or fragrance % is the manufacturers recommended maximum amount of fragrance that a particular wax can retain. For example, if you are making a 16 oz. candle with a wax that has a maximum 10% fragrance load, you could add up to 1.6 oz. (16 oz. * 10% = 1.6 oz.)

What is the ratio of soy wax to fragrance oil? ›

As a rule of thumb, you need 1 oz fragrance oil in 1 pound of soy wax. Technically, it is 6.25% of the fragrance load. We have calculated it by dividing 1 oz of scented oil with 16 oz (1 pound of soy wax).

How much essential oil do I add to an 8 oz soy candle? ›

We recommend using 30 to 40 drops of essential oils for a single eight-ounce candle. Remember that soy and beeswax aren't known for their ability to throw scent. If you're concerned that your candle will be too strong, start with 30 drops.

How much fragrance oil for 10 oz candle? ›

A common amount to use is 6% or 1oz per pound of wax.

What is the most sold candle scent? ›

Vanilla just so happens to be America's most popular flavor, so it makes sense as to why this scent is so high up on the list.

What is the most popular candle scent in the world? ›

  • Vanilla. Known as the world's favorite flavor, vanilla was first cultivated and harvested around 900 years ago by the ancient Totonac tribe in Mexico. ...
  • Rose. ...
  • Lavender. ...
  • Coffee. ...
  • Lemon. ...
  • Amber. ...
  • Sage. ...
  • Cinnamon.
Dec 8, 2022

How much fragrance should I add to a 4oz candle? ›

A: The industry standard is considered 0.5 ounce of fragrance per pound of wax. For double-scenting, you would use 1 ounce of fragrance per pound of wax. For triple-scenting your candles you can use 1.5 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax. Make sure to confirm the wax you are using will hold that much fragrance.


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