When creating your homemade candles, you want to create the best scent throw you can. But how does the wax type affect each scent throw, and which one is best? Can you make a candle without fragrance and still have a natural scent throw?
The top 5 best wax for scented candles from best to worst are:
- Paraffin Wax
- Palm Wax
- Gel Wax
- Soy Wax
Depending on your project, it could vary what type of wax works best. Scent isn’t the only thing that matters—size and wick do, too. Read on to find out more about each wax type and which is best to throw your scent around a room.
Choosing the Right Wax for the Job
While you have a handful of options when it comes to picking out wax for your candles. The best type depends on what you want out of your candle. Because each candle shape and style functions differently; you must pick the wax that will work best for all aspects of your candle.
Because pillar candles are freestanding; you will need a firmer wax to make sure it does not need the support of an exterior container. Container candles, on the other hand; do not need a firmer wax, so you can choose whatever wax you want in these candles. Votives and tealights can be made with any sort of wax; while taper candles need a stronger wax like the pillar candle.
The following waxes are best for creating your scented candles. Note that there are differences between them that may affect not just their scent, but their construction and the way they can be colored.
The most popular type of wax, even over beeswax, is paraffin wax. While the other types of wax on this list are natural waxes, paraffin is decidedly not a natural wax. It is created through the refinement of crude oil, making it the most inexpensive wax option compared to the others.
A disadvantage is that some more naturally or environmentally minded people may shy away from paraffin due to the way it is created.
Paraffin can be used to make any sort of candle. And you can mix it with any sort of other wax to create a hybrid wax.
Paraffin is on the opposite side of the spectrum from soy wax. Paraffin melts at a hot temperature and can be hard to work with because of that.
One advantage to paraffin wax is that it is the best type of wax to hold both color and scent. Paraffin holds a significant amount of fragrance in its wax, which means it can throw the scent best around a room.
Palm wax is another natural wax that is made out of palm oil and functions similarly to soy wax. This type of wax is very firm, so palm wax is best for pillar candles that intend on standing alone. You can also mix palm wax with other natural waxes, like soy, to make soy wax firmer.
An advantage or disadvantage to palm wax, depending on what you want to do with the wax, is that the wax can feather in your container, making it appear crystalline when it hardens.
Like the other waxes you will read on this list, gel wax functions the same and burns the same, but it is typically a transparent wax. Used for more decorative candles with items placed inside, gel wax is technically not a wax—it’s made from a mixture of mineral oil and resin.
Even though it is made from materials that are not technically wax, it does still hold candle dye and scents. It will also burn the way you would expect a candle to burn. These candles are typically made for novelty reasons, and you can add designs inside your candle by leaning into the transparent quality.
One downside to gel wax is that it is a softer wax. They are best for container candles, but if you decide you want to make a pillar candle out of gel wax, consider finding a wax that is firmer.
Soy wax is similar to the other natural wax options on the list, but is much more affordable than something like beeswax. A newer wax on the market, it is often sold as a soy wax blend. Created out of soybean oil, it can also be made out of other vegetable oils or even beeswax. Soy wax also has a long burn time—up to 50 percent longer than paraffin waxes—so mixing it into any other type of wax can increase your burn time.
When you use soy wax, realize that it will look different from other waxes as it cures. When you add color to soy wax, it can usually harden to a more pastel color. It can also be more difficult to work with than other waxes, as it causes rough tops to form on your candles.
When working with scents, soy wax tends to be the hardest. It does not always mix consistently with scents, but it is still an option, as it comes with the benefit that it can work well with most types of wicks.
There are advantages and disadvantages to beeswax as you make your homemade candles. Beeswax is one of the best candle making waxes on the market right now, yet it is also one of the most expensive. You can get it in almost any form, whether it’s chips, slabs, blocks, or pre-rolled sheets.
Beeswax has a melting point of about 150 degrees Fahrenheit, so it blends well with other waxes. Because it is so firm, it also works well with blending with softer waxes. Beeswax can be used for any sort of candle that you would like to make.
A possible disadvantage to beeswax is that it does have a natural scent already. This could affect the throw or the mixture of scents that you place in your candle. But, because it is a natural wax, when beeswax burns it can release negative ions into the air, which many believe help purify the air. Although a great option for your candles, when it comes to creating scented candles, beeswax is the bottom of the list.
As you get further into the candle making industry
You’ll learn that you can mix wax types. Many will create a soy blend or mix a natural wax with paraffin to create a softer or firmer wax for whatever type of candle you’re making. This also works when scenting your candles. If you like the idea of beeswax in your candle but don’t want the scent, try mixing it with another wax like soy.
If you focus completely on scent, paraffin wax holds scent the best, although it is not environmentally friendly. Soy wax is hard to mix scent into, but it also can be a subtler scent as it burns. Beeswax, while a great natural option, does have that already existing sweet scent, meaning it may not be the best if you’re adding scent to your candle—even though it already has that existing scent. Picking the best wax depends on what you want to do with your candle, but if you’re simply looking to make a scented candle—paraffin is your wax.
Frequently Asked Questions
When I make a candle, the wax doesn’t harden properly on top or there are holes. How do I fix this?
Depending on your wax type, you may have uneven hardening on your candles. To fix this, use a heat gun and heat up the top of your candle where it is not hardened correctly. Make sure to stay far enough away, so your wick does not catch flame from the heat. When it is melted enough, place more hot wax on top to ensure that the candle hardens correctly.
What kind of scents can I use in my candles?
There are two routes you can take with scenting your candles—either by using essential oils or fragrances created specifically for candle making. One type to avoid is using fragrances like perfumes or cologne. They are not created to burn, so they will not mix well with your wax nor will they create a scent throw. If you want to copy a perfume, try finding out what notes are in the fragrance and use essential oils or candle fragrance to create a similar mix in your candle.
My candles don’t smell strong enough. How can I make them smell stronger?
Scent depends on how much fragrance oil you use and what kind of wax you use. Consider changing your wax to something that holds fragrance better and use the proper amount of wax per candle—most waxes are about 0.5 ounces of fragrance to a pound of wax. Add your fragrance at a high heat, making sure it is mixed all the way through before pouring.
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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.