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Animal products in fragrance oils & testing

Candle fragrances can contain a variety of ingredients, and while many are plant-based or synthetic, some may include animal-derived components. Here are a few examples of fragrance ingredients that could potentially come from animal sources:

Vegan – Doesn’t contain animal products

Cruelty free – Hasn’t been tested on animals.

Some well known candle companies have to test on animals if they want to sell into China, additionally check out the list of companies that test on animals here on PETA

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Musk is a common fragrance ingredient known for its warm, sensual aroma. Traditionally, musk was obtained from the musk glands of certain animals, such as deer, muskrats, or civet cats. However, due to ethical and environmental concerns, most musk used in modern fragrances is synthetic. Nevertheless, some fragrances may still contain natural musk or musk derivatives sourced from animals.

Stearic acid – In the candle-making industry, stearic acid is often used to harden candles and improve their burn quality. It improve the hardness, opacity and depth of colour. Stearic acid can be derived from animal fats (such as tallow) and plant oils (such as palm oil or coconut oil).

Ambergris is a rare and highly prized substance produced in the digestive systems of sperm whales. It has a unique sweet, earthy aroma and is used as a fixative in perfumery to enhance fragrance longevity.

Castoreum is a substance extracted from the castor sacs of beavers, located near the base of their tails. It has a strong, leathery scent and is used as a fixative in perfumery to impart a warm, quality to fragrances. While castoreum is not widely used in modern perfumery due to its limited availability and ethical considerations, it may still be present in some traditional or niche fragrances.

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This is about as Vegan as a candle can get – PETA’s Tofu Scented candle, I don’t think that will be on my ‘Top candles to try’. However you can have a browse here PETA

Honey and Beeswax: Fragrances inspired by sweet or floral scents may contain ingredients such as honey or beeswax, which are derived from bees. While honey and beeswax are more commonly used in candles as natural ingredients rather than fragrances. I do teach people how to create beeswax candles on the Advanced Candle Making online but I don’t use Beeswax within my Vegan company. I am a trained beekeeper, although I don’t have any in the hive at the moment. I helped a little bee on Sunday with my Beevive Kit. Picture credit – Sean Blake of The Untitled Chair Project

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Animal-Derived Fixatives: Some fragrances may contain animal-derived fixatives or additives used to enhance fragrance longevity and stability. These fixatives may include ingredients such as civetone (derived from civet cats)

So next time you pick up a candle check the ingredients.

If you liked this you might like to read the BLOG – ‘Where can I buy my candle supplies from’


Hey candle lovers! 

Thinking of starting your own candle business get my 10 ways to build a profitable candle business.

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