You look forward to the end of a long day just so that you can unwind. You ensure that the ambiance is just right – a good book or movie, a glass of wine and a lit scented candle.
But after three hours or so you notice that the candle isn’t producing any scent at all. Sure, the ambience is warm, but your space isn’t transformed into an imaginary botanical garden or a spa in a rainforest.
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For you, the smell of the candle is a key factor. It must meet a number of criteria such as packaging, the number of burning hours, how it smells, and most importantly, how well the scent projects.
We use the term, “scent throw” to refer to the strength of a candle’s fragrance. It’s further broken down into two terms – “cold throw” which describes how the candle smells after the wax has been solidified and cured; and “hot throw” refers to how much aroma is produced after the candle has been lit.
Perhaps it was the cold throw of your homemade scented candle that led you to believe that the hot throw would be excellent.
Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to maximize the scent throw of your candles the next time you make some.
Use More Expensive Ingredients
Sometimes we get what we pay for. Manufacturers will attach a higher value to an ingredient because of the high quality as well as the efforts and processes involved.
This type of wax is very eco-friendly and sustainable. It is a favourite among candle makers who prefer to use more natural wax bases, and is often used by luxury brands.
Candles made from coconut wax can hold a lot of scent which makes this wax a great choice for scenting with both fragrance oils and essential oils.
It also has a great hot and cold throw- superior to soy wax where scent throws are concerned. The coconut wax cold throw gives a good impression of what to expect when the candle is lit.
Coconut wax has a slow, even burn. It doesn’t produce soot and toxic fumes, and should give fragrance throughout the life of the candle.
Oud Fragrance Oil
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You can’t go wrong with this ingredient. Oud is very pricey and for good reason – it’s very rare, difficult to harvest and is very strong as a fragrance.
It comes from the wood of a tree known as agar. The wood has to become infected with a type of mould called Phialophora parasitica, which causes the wood to produce the highly fragrant resin that we know as oud. It’s a popular ingredient in many sought-after colognes.
Oud fragrance oil can be blended with essential oils such as lemon, rose, patchouli and peppermint, and can be added to the candle wax to intensify the hot throw.
Light a candle with this ingredient to fill your house with a rich, velvety and luxurious scent.
Sandalwood has a woody, warm and sensual scent. The fragrance works beautifully in scented candles, perfect for creating an inviting and comforting atmosphere.
It’s strong, distinctive and long-lasting scent is a benefit of the tedious distilling and extraction process. The oil is tightly wound around the cellular structure of the tree which results in an expensive and lengthy process of distillation.
As an aromatherapy candle, sandalwood promotes calmness, relaxation and clarity. Additionally, it’s very complementary to a variety of other oils such as jasmine, gardenia, orange and rose.
Use Stronger Ingredients
Less is more, especially when we use ingredients that are more potent. We like them because they do half of the work.
Some fragrance oils don’t just blend well with certain types of waxes. Soy wax, which has been gaining popularity as a more natural alternative to paraffin, is one of those waxes that is not always compatible. Some fragrance oils can cause the wax to curdle or become lumpy.
Paraffin wax on the other hand works optimally with fragrance and essential oils, which is why it retains its spot as the most widely used wax.
It’s also the wax that holds and distributes scent the most effectively, therefore it can contain a more concentrated ratio of fragrance and still produce the full room fragrance effect.
You and other candle makers will agree that while paraffin waxes produce soot and release toxins in the air, they still provide better scent throw than soy and other waxes.
You may opt to make a soy wax blend- a fusion of soy and paraffin. This will produce better hot throw and reduce frosting which is common for 100% pure soy candles.
Concentrated Fragrance Oils
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Some fragrance oils don’t produce enough scent because they are blended with solvents. Di-Prpolyne Glycol, Dioctyl Adipate and Hercolyn-D Carrier Oil are examples of solvents that dilute the oils so that manufacturers can get more bang for their money.
They may even add other oils to the fragrance oil just to stretch them, which results in a less concentrated oil. This means that you should be concerned about the potency of your fragrance oils if you didn’t buy them from an established source.
You may purchase concentrated fragrance oils from stores that specialize in candles, home fragrances or craft. Store them in a dark and cool place to prolong the strength. Also, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before using them.
There may be special instructions as it pertains to the types of wax or the temperature.
You wanted a strong scent so here’s one. The strength of this scent makes it a favourite for candle makers and perfumers alike.
It’s earthy and herbaceous with a rich and intense woodsy base, and just like wine, the oil gets better with aging. The hot throw will be phenomenal after your candle cures.
It blends beautifully with oriental, chypre, and fougère-type fragrances. Patchouli harmonizes well with other earthy scents such as vetiver, sandalwood, cedarwood, clove, lavender and rose. It works well with soy and other types of wax.
Use More Ingredients
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High performing candles have wicks perfectly sized to manage the wax blends. Choose wicks that are 100% pure, unbleached and lead-free cotton.
You are likely to find cotton braided wicks as they are widely popular. Their thickness and braid patterns are so designed to pair with the type of wax they are melting.
An 8 oz or smaller jar usually has one wick but will only produce enough hot throw for small spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms. Choose two or three wicks instead of one for bigger jars to properly distribute the scent in large areas of your house such as your living room.
If your wax isn’t pre-blended then you will need additives to help in preserving the potency of your candle’s fragrance. Vybar is a polymer which is used primarily to aid in fragrance oil retention.
It allows the wax to hold more fragrance oil while preventing the oil from separating from the mixture. This gives you more freedom to add twice or even three times as much fragrance oil into the mixture (provided that you are adding the right amount), for a much better hot throw.
More Fragrance Oil?
Using too little fragrance oil will lead to a candle with poor scent. On the other hand, using too much fragrance oil does not guarantee a strong scent in a candle.
In fact, adding too much fragrance oil can lead to undesired and counterproductive burning characteristics.
We recommend using fragrance oils at 1 to 1.5 oz. per pound of wax for optimal scent throw. Fragrance oil should account for 6% to 8% of the candle’s total composition.
Additionally, read the labels of your fragrance oils and follow the instructions.
An increase in temperature doesn’t help the scent either. The fragrance oil will actually fizzle out in the melted wax.
Adding fragrance oil at too low of a temperature may prevent the fragrance oil from disbursing and binding uniformly in the melted wax.
We recommend that you slowly add fragrance oils to 180° – 185°F.
A candle adds warmth and ambience to your home. You can light one at the end of a tiring day to help you relax. More specifically, a scented candle is certainly a luxurious necessity that can transform your space into a dream vacation or a pastry paradise.
As you get candle making down to a science, bear in mind that there are many factors that come into play as it pertains to the strength of a candle’s scent.
In addition to the types and quality of our ingredients, number of wicks, additives and temperature, we should also consider the curing time for our candles.
We implore you to let your candles cure before burning them. For natural waxes such as soy, palm and coconut, the ideal curing duration is one to two weeks while three days are perfect for paraffin candles.
You now have the tips and tools you need to make candles with more intensifying scents. We hope you enjoy the process as well as the product.