There is little that is more disappointing than lighting a candle that does not smell as strong as you want, and it is even worse when there is no scent at all. Learning how much fragrance you can safely add to candle wax is an easy way to improve the quality of your candles.
The fragrance load of candle wax communicates the maximum amount of fragrance oil that can be added as a percentage. The most common fragrance load to start with is around 6 percent, or about 1 oz per pound of wax.
You can always add less than the fragrance load, but it is important you do not go over this number when making your candles. Keep reading to learn how to calculate fragrance load and its importance, as well as other ways to add fragrance to candle wax.
Candle Wax Fragrance Load
The fragrance load varies depending on the type of wax you use and its manufacturer. This is the percentage of fragrance that can be added in relation to the amount of wax you use.
In a perfect world we would be able to add as much fragrance as we want without repercussions, but waxes can only handle a specific amount safely. Luckily, calculating this amount is easy.
Using the proper fragrance load prevents you from adding too much oil and gives you a safe amount to strive for. It also prevents issues that come from using too much fragrance oil in your candle wax.
Calculating Fragrance Weight from Fragrance Load
The equation for calculating fragrance weight from fragrance load is:
- (Fragrance Load Percentage/100) x (wax weight)
Let’s say you are making a 12-ounce soy candle with a fragrance load of 10 percent. If you plug the numbers into the equation you get:
- (10/100) x (12oz) = 1.2oz
It is important to note that the final unit is in terms of weight, not volume. The maximum fragrance load of this candle is 1.2oz, so you can use any amount up to that value.
Risks of Adding Too Much Fragrance
While most waxes are capable of handling a decent amount of fragrance oil, adding too much can cause a variety of issues, including:
- Candle tunneling
- Issues lighting
- Premature extinguishing/self-extinguishing
- Poor hot throw
- Dry or lumpy wax
- Uneven burning
- Too strong a scent throw (burning through fragrance faster)
Too much fragrance oil easily upsets the blend, and adding too much can clog the wick and cause wet spots or sweating outside the candle.
Make sure you measure fragrance carefully and do not surpass the fragrance load of any candle wax you use.
Reasons Candle Fragrance May Not be Strong
If you find that your candle is not throwing as strong a scent as you would like, the most common areas to look back are:
- The amount and type of fragrance oil you are using
- The type of wax you are using
- The process you use to make your candles
This issue is usually easy to resolve, and tweaking your materials or process should improve the scent throw of any candles you make.
While the recommended starting fragrance load for candle wax is around 6 percent, this is still well under the allowed fragrance load of quality waxes. You can always increase the oil you add to the wax as long as it does not surpass the maximum load of the candle wax you use.
The quality level of your fragrance oils can also be a problem. While cheaper fragrance oils keep manufacturing costs low, they can lead to candles with subpar scent throw. High quality oils are often more expensive, but investing in them has a better payoff.
The type of wax you use can hinder the amount of fragrance oil you use, and it can limit the hot and cold scent throw of your candle.
For example. Paraffin wax candles are much cheaper to make, but they have one of the lowest fragrance loads (usually no more than 6 percent). They do not burn as evenly and have more issues throwing scent than other waxes.
More expensive options like coconut wax or soy wax blend well with fragrance oils and can take on a higher fragrance load.
Any hiccups in your candle-making process can affect the strength of your fragrance oils. This is usually the culprit if you are using the maximum fragrance load and a quality wax but still suffering poor scent throws. The most common problems are:
- Adding oil at the wrong temperature
- Too short of a curing time
- Improper storage
If you can pinpoint where you are going wrong then you can resolve the issue and get back to making candles that smell great.
How to make Candle Fragrance Stronger
There are plenty of safe and effective ways to increase the strength of your candle fragrance. Most of these solutions involve taking a closer look at your candle-making process and fixing any inconsistencies or changing some of your materials.
Make sure you do proper research with any unconventional methods. Some suggestions, such as doubling your fragrance load, are unsafe, leading you to waste materials and create potential fire hazards.
Add the Maximum Amount of Fragrance
While you should not add more than the maximum fragrance load of the wax, there is no harm in using the maximum amount. If you start with a lower ratio and find that the results are not satisfactory, then bumping it up on your next batch should have more favorable results.
Make sure you use proper measurements when increasing the amount of fragrance, and work through your calculations carefully. Using estimates may work when baking, but with candles, it can create a major hazard.
Add Fragrance at the Right Temperature
Make sure your wax is hot enough when you add the fragrance oil, or it may not settle properly. The optimal temperature for adding fragrance oil is 185 °F; fragrance oil will not combust at this temperature, and it should bind well with the wax.
Take the time to slowly stir the wax for about 2 minutes at this temperature. This helps ensure proper bonding.
Allow Adequate Curing Time
You need to let your candle have enough time to cool off and set before you try to burn it. Burning a candle too soon often results in a weaker scent throw and uneven burning.
The minimum curing time for candles is 3 days, but you should strive to reach 1 to 2 weeks of curing time for optimal conditions.
Use a High-Quality Wick
Cheaper wicks might save you money, but they can affect how evenly a candle burns and how well it throws scent. Make sure you are using a wick adequate for the size of the candle and use multiple wicks when needed.
Choosing high-quality, natural materials like hemp or cotton will provide a better scent throw than cheaper, synthetic materials. These also contribute to a more even burning of the candle.
Storing candles in a cool, dark place can increase the longevity of their scent. Heat and sunlight can steal away some of the fragrance, leading to a weaker scent throw.
All candles should have a lid on when they are not burning, even if they are in a sealed container.
What Can You Add to Candles for Fragrance
While fragrance oils are the most effective way to add scent to candles, they are not your only options. Many candlemakers find great success with other materials such as essential oils and dried herbs.
Because these materials do not behave like fragrance oils, you will need to adjust your expectations and your preparation methods. Otherwise, these provide a great way to increase the variety of fragrances you can use.
Essential oils can be added alongside fragrance oils, but they do not have the same effects.
Essential oils have a better cold throw than fragrance oils, but their hot throw is not on the same level. They also do not last as long as fragrance oils, and most will not make it to the bottom of the jar.
Dried herbs are not only a great way to add natural scents to candles, but they affect the color and texture of the candle as well. Some of the most common types of herbs to add to candles include:
Because these are dried materials it is important to place them away from the wick and closer to the sides of the candle. You can chop them or grind them for more manageable pieces, but keeping them away from the flame is essential for safe burning.
Can candle wax fragrance load be increased?
There are additives such as Vybar that allow candle wax to hold more fragrance. Vybar can also prevent issues like fragrance bleeding (most common with essential oils), and it increases opacity and creates a harder wax.
Which candle wax throws fragrance the best?
Soy candles are known to throw fragrances the best for their price point. They have an average fragrance load of around 10 percent, and their cold and hot scent throw are fairly consistent.
Do candles have a scent without fragrance?
Most candles smell like wax or other materials, but some natural varieties have a unique, pleasant scent. Popular examples include candelilla wax and beeswax.
Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.