You can make candles from several different ingredients. There are so many health concerns in the modern age due to some of the extremely strong or harmful chemicals used in traditional candles. It has caused a steady shift away from candles that incorporate essential oils over to the less concentrated dried herbs.
However, adding dried herbs can be incredibly dangerous. A poorly made herbal candle, once lit, could produce sporadic sparks, flames, or excessive smoke. Luckily, it is safe to put herbs in candles if you chop them finely and place them to the side of the candle away from the wick.
The following article will extol all the benefits and hazards of including dried herbs in your candle mix. It will also compare traditional candle-making materials and the reasons behind the shift from conventional methods to using dried herbs. Now let us find out, is it safe to put dried herbs in candles?
Conventional Ingredients Candle Making
What is it that makes conventional candle-making ingredients so good or bad? The most talked-about element in traditional candles is paraffin. Paraffin is the waste product of crude oil processing and produces carcinogenic toxins when burnt.
The soot generated from lighting a single paraffin wax-based candle is similar to inhaling second-hand smoke or the fumes from a diesel engine.
Aside from the paraffin used in wax candles, the wick is often made from lead or lead-based products. Not to mention the toxic soot produced from burning a candle. This soot is made of benzene and toluene. The first of which are cancer-causing, and the second adversely impacts the central nervous system.
Candles made from animal fat (otherwise known as tallow candles) are tasteless and odourless. Tallow is one of the oldest ingredients of traditional candle making. These candles did not serve any other purpose but to supply light in the olden days and even now.
Tallow candles can create a great ambiance and set the mood. Since they are made from the parts of an animal that would otherwise be discarded, these candles are eco-friendly. Also, they burn cleanly and are entirely sustainable.
Wax candles are the most common candles in the world today. And paraffin is the most famous wax ingredient, but it is not the only one ever used. Soy, beeswax and synthetic materials are also used to make wax candles.
The more natural waxes like soy and beeswax are considered to be the safer alternatives to paraffin wax because they burn more cleanly and are eco-friendly.
The wax itself is scentless and colourless. You can add fragrance using dried herbs or essential oils. Diversify the shape simply by changing the container the melted wax is formed in. While soy and beeswax are safer to use than paraffin wax, all waxes produce soot.
Essential oils are generally added to wax and tallow candles to add exciting fragrances. However, other oils are mixed with wax to create a more substantial oil-based candle.
Coconut oil is a popular choice in these kinds of candles. Coconut oil instantly makes a fragrant candle without the need to introduce essential or manufactured oils in the mix.
There is a great candle made from palm oil called Stearin. It is all-natural, completely sustainable, and biodegradable. The only drawback is that the manufacturing process for palm oil is not always eco-friendly.
Some candle makers will market their coconut oil-based candles as Stearin or even use animal fat and call it Stearin. Be careful of these things as true Stearin is made from palm oil.
Using dried herbs in candles produces a similar effect to making coconut oil-based candles. The herbs have tremendous health benefits and produce incredible smells. Aromatic herbs are the best ones to add.
Herbs like lavender, mint, sage, and chamomile are beautiful examples of herbs you can add. Dry the herbs, chop finely, and add to the wax of your choice. And voilà! You have naturally scented healthy wax candles.
Benefits of Using Dried Herbs in Candles
Dried herbs produce fresher, stronger fragrances than any manufactured scent. They introduce exotic colours to otherwise plain candles. Not to mention, a bit of texture is added to the candle through the wild herbs.
Minor and sometimes significant health benefits accompany most of the popular plants used in candles. Herbs like sage help with focus and meditation, lavender and chamomile aid peaceful sleep, and mint produces a clean, refreshing scent.
Herbs come in assorted colours and shapes. Even when finely crushed, a bit of that individuality is displayed once the melted wax has solidified. Try adding colour through a careful selection of herbs for your candle.
For instance, you may consider adding lavender, not only for its calming effect but also for its vibrant purple colour. Note that the herb’s colour may be dimmed after drying, creating a more muted palette for you to work from. But there are other bright plants like chamomile, which, even when dried, will not lose too much of its vibrancy.
Sometimes by allowing the undried version of the plant to remain steeped in the molten wax, the wax will take on that plant’s colour. Want a purple candle? Try adding lilac! No artificial colour additives are required.
Because the herbs are placed so far away from the wick, they create a bumpy or sometimes coarse texture on the candle’s surface. The herbs can also be added to the bottom of your candle moulding container before the melted wax is poured in.
That way, you will get an extremely rough bottom and smooth surfaces elsewhere. This is also not a bad design idea to consider; the only downside is that its beauty is hidden if the candle is put down flat on its bottom.
There has been previous mention of the incredible fragrances that dried herbs produce. Dried herbs by themselves have very potent scents. When heat is applied, they become even stronger. For that reason, you may want to be careful when adding the herbs so that they do not become unbearably overpowering to others’ noses.
Be sure to pay attention when mixing and matching herbs. Not all mixtures are created equal. You could wind up with a pretty pungent-smelling candle if you add herbs in randomly.
Test your combinations by observing those specific smells together on a warm day. You can also test by burning them together in a metal vessel in an open space to diminish the chance of endangering yourself and others.
Sometimes less is more. Adding only one type of herb is often the right way to go. You get the full fragrance and benefits associated with the herb. Unfortunately, you lose the other colours, other herbs supply.
Luckily, this can be amended by adding scentless dried herbs to your candle. Chamomile also comes in the scentless variety, and mayweed is another beautiful but fragrance-less plant for your consideration.
Adds to the Appearance
By adding colour and texture, you have already contributed to the candle’s appearance. Dried herbs produce incredible, even exotic colours. They show all around the candle’s glass container or in the specific places you have set them to be seen.
Speaking of said container, varying the height, width, and overall shape of your container creates a variety of looks for your candles.
Herbs can be placed in different sections of the containers to create a particular pattern or look to make the candle look more interesting. Suppose it is the kind of candle that is going to go container less after solidifying.
In that case, those strategically placed herbs will make not only beautiful designs but also cause a slightly raised texture to the surface of the candle.
Adds a Sense of Calmness
By incorporating any herbal scent into your candle, you automatically give them the ability to be used in aromatherapy. Fresh, floral herbs like lavender and rosemary are thought to promote calm and reduce stress.
Even herbs like basil, which are not commonly thought of as aromatic, can be used to induce peace of mind. Basil reduces anxiety and fatigue and increases positivity.
Herbal candles are great for creating an enclosed space suffused with these smells to maximize their purported effects.
There has been a shift away from traditional candle-making methods to newer candle-making methods, such as incorporating dried herbs into your candles. Dried herbs do the jobs of several different additives used in conventional candles.
It adds fragrance which synthetic perfumes or essential oils would normally supply. The herbs promote calmness, focus, positivity, and much more. And they add flair to your candles through their own natural shape, colour and texture.
While adding dried herbs to your candles has terrific benefits, you must be careful with how you go about adding them. The herbs tend to be incredibly flammable, and steps must be taken to avoid excess smoke production or something much more catastrophic.
You must ensure the herbs are placed away from the wick so that even upon the candle solidifying, they remain a safe distance away.
Carefully consider your needs, availability of materials, and time before selecting a method to make your candles. Newer is not always better, and the conventional way may be more feasible for you.
Keep in mind not only the benefits but the dangers associated with making candles from dried herbs. It is never unwise to research so you can make informed decisions.