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At the heart of crafting captivating candles lies the selection of 1000’s of fragrance oils—an intricate process that involves navigating a labyrinth of scents, sources, and considerations. Not only do you have to choose fragrances, but you also have to decide what kind of oil you will use.

Whether you’re a seasoned candlemaker or a budding enthusiast, this guide aims to demystify fragrance oils, aromatherapy oils, synthetic alternatives, and the dichotomy between vegan and non-vegan options. It’s a minefield!

Vegan or non-vegan – (Relating to the ingredients of your candle) – Vegan candles often use plant-based fragrance oils or essential oils to impart scent. These oils are extracted from botanical sources such as flowers, fruits, and herbs, and they do not involve any animal-derived ingredients. Some fragrance oils used in non-vegan candles may contain animal-derived ingredients such as musk, ambergris, or civet. These ingredients are often obtained from animals and may raise ethical concerns for vegan consumers.

Essential oil or nature identical – Essential oils are natural oils extracted from various parts of plants, including flowers, leaves, stems, roots, and bark. The extraction process typically involves methods such as steam distillation, cold pressing, or solvent extraction. Not all oils are suitable for use in candles due to their flash point. Essential oils are more expensive and you also have to be aware of contraindications such as Asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure and pregnancy. Nature identical oils are often more cost-effective than essential oils, making them a preferred choice for mass-produced candles and commercial applications. Their synthetic nature allows for larger-scale production at lower costs compared to natural essential oils.

Essential oils can have a higher viscosity (thicker) than nature identical so you might possibly need to wick up, otherwise the wick can’t consume the oil to give you a sufficient bright flame that will remain lit.

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Cruelty or non cruelty – (Relating to whether your candle ingredients have been tested on animals) Cruelty-free candles have ingredients which are not tested on animals at any stage of production. These candles uphold ethical principles of compassion and sustainability, appealing to consumers who prioritise animal welfare and environmental consciousness. Non-cruelty-free candles, on the other hand, may contain ingredients sourced from animals or undergo testing on animals to assess safety or efficacy. As per my previous BLOG you can check out your candle status on PETA

Regular or concentrated and intense oils. If you are choosing an oil and see more expensive oils they are most probably a premium blend concentrated or intense and you would use less of a percentage of this oil. These oils are more complex and created for longevity. I do use a lot of the regular oils too which are still fabulous.

If this was helpful why not read my previous BLOG – Animal products in candles and testing.

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Pictures courtesy of Alexander Grey & Fulvio Ciccolo

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