The relative ability of a candle to conduct aroma is known as its “scent throw”. Experimenting a lot with different waxes. I can tell you; selecting the right wax really matters when it comes to making the most of your scented candles. But of all the waxes you can choose, which ones have the best scent throw?
Of possible candle waxes, paraffin has the highest scent throw and holds the most fragrance. Paraffin is also the most common wax used in scented candles.
These are the Top 3 waxes that hold the most fragrance.
- Soy Wax
If you want to make scented candles, it’s best to stick with these three, as you will be wasting your time trying to get a good scent throw from other waxes. Here is a table I made of the candle waxes with the best scent throws, as well as their curing times, to help you decide which wax is best to use in your scented candles.
|Wax Type||Position as a Top-Five Scent-Thrower||Curing Time, Days|
No doubt about it, paraffin wax has the best scent throw of all the candle waxes I have tried. Most other sources agree. For this reason, paraffin is the go-to wax choice for many aromatherapy candles, both for sale and made by hobbyist candle-makers.
What is Paraffin Wax?
Paraffin wax is created when petroleum undergoes a de-waxing process. The petroleum wax is then further refined into paraffin. Paraffin has many other uses as well. It is also used in the production of drywall, paint, cosmetics, and even has medical uses.
Pros of Using Paraffin Wax
Besides its amazing scent throw, paraffin is significantly cheaper than other candle waxes, costing around $3 per pound.
Additionally, it has a short cure period, so for people who don’t want to wait weeks for candles to cure, you can have a batch of paraffin candles ready in only five days. This might be ideal, especially for small businesses who don’t want to maintain a lot of inventory on-hand.
Cons of Using Paraffin Wax
The use of paraffin wax has many criticisms because it is a by-product of petroleum. For this reason, many claim that the burning of paraffin emits fumes toxic to human health, although a study by the European Candle Association found that all major candle waxes, including paraffin, did not emit fumes harmful to health when the candle was made properly. Nevertheless, cancer-causing products have been linked with the use of petroleum and petroleum by-products, leading many not to want paraffin burning in their homes.
Additionally, there are environmental concerns with using petroleum by-products, including paraffin wax. For this reason, even though paraffin undoubtedly has the best scent throw, many prefer using candle waxes made from more sustainable options.
Of the major waxes, paraffin is relatively short burning, which means that your candles will reach their end-of-life quicker than some other alternatives.
I use paraffin in some of my candles, but since there is contradicting information on whether they may be toxic, I prefer to use these candles in well-ventilated areas and for limited periods of time.
Soy wax has the second-best scent throw overall, and the highest scent throw of the so-called “natural” candle waxes. Within the soy wax category, Golden Brands 444 Soy Wax is claimed by many to have the best scent throw of all the formulations.
What is Soy Wax?
Soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil. Soy wax is a relatively new wax, having been invented only in 1992 by Michael Richards, a candlemaker, when he was looking for an alternative to beeswax in candle-making,
Pros of Using Soy Wax
In addition to its scent throw, soy wax is relatively inexpensive at around $4 per pound.
It is also considered completely renewable, being made from soybeans, which can be replanted at a faster rate than they are consumed. Additionally, it is said to have clean-burning properties, reducing the amount of potentially toxic fumes generated by its burning.
Soy wax is also long-burning, meaning that candles made with this wax will not only smell great, but they will also last a long time.
Cons of Using Soy Wax
There is one major con of using soy wax. Soy wax tends to be extremely responsive to surrounding temperature. If soy candles are stored in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), the candle wax shrinks causing the volume to decrease, which can make the pour seem uneven when the wax reaches room temperature.
This is easy to mitigate, however. Just make sure you don’t store or cure your soy wax candles in a garage or other cold place, and they should be fine.
Of the waxes with the top scent throws, at 14 days, soy candles take the longest to properly cure.
Given its overall merits, soy wax is my favorite wax for its combination of scent throw, longevity, and price. I do have to keep in mind that with their long curing time, however, I need to make sure I make them well ahead of when I will need them.
Beeswax is a great choice when it comes to scent throw, because you can get a nice natural scent out of it without adding fragrant oils. From all available evidence, beeswax is the oldest wax used in candle-making, having been used in China since before 40 BCE.
What is Beeswax?
Beeswax is harvested from beehives. Its natural color ranges from pale yellow to light brown. It is notable for having a pleasing, sweet scent when burning.
Pros of Using Beeswax
Because of its natural scent, beeswax could be a great alternative to people who want the experience of scented candles but might be sensitive to the use of fragrant oils in candles.
Beeswax is the hardest of the candle-making waxes, which is why it tends to be the longest lasting. Beeswax is also environmentally friendly and sustainable, with some calling it “the greenest of all the candle waxes.”
Also, beeswax has a curing time of 10 days, twice that of paraffin but still significantly shorter than soy wax.
Cons of Using Beeswax
The major con of beeswax is it’s the most expensive wax, at around $12 per pound.
While it has a great scent all its own, beeswax is a distant third to soy wax and paraffin wax when it comes to scent throw. But there is a way to fix that: mix coconut oil into your beeswax while it is still warm. This will allow for a much better absorption of the fragrant oils.
One other caution when using beeswax is that if you do blend fragrant oils to make a stronger scented candle, make sure that the scent of the oil you plan to use complements and does not clash with the natural honey aroma of beeswax.
Beeswax has a great natural scent, which I prefer to highlight in my candles instead of adding fragrant oils.
Note: Why Coconut Wax is Not on the List
Coconut wax is reportedly a great scent thrower, but I didn’t include it on this list, because it is almost always used in blends of other candle waxes, being too soft to use on its own.
Tricks to Increase Your Candle’s Scent Throw
Besides choosing one of the top three waxes that hold the most fragrance, there are some other things you can do to optimize a candle’s scent throw.
Allow Your Candles to Fully Cure
Fully curing your candles will increase their scent throw. Refer to the chart above for the time you will need to cure your candles to achieve optimal scent throw.
Add the Fragrant Oils at the Right Temperature
If your wax is too hot when you add the fragrant oils, the oils will burn off, losing their scent before you even pour your candles. Similarly, adding oils when the wax is too cold will prevent the oil from properly melding with the wax, which will also compromise the scent.
The ideal temperature to add fragrant oils to your candle wax is 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit (82-85 degrees Celsius). Allow your wax to heat up or cool down to this temperature before adding fragrant oils.
What is the shelf life of candles?
Like other consumable products, candles do expire. Especially for dyed or scented candles, make sure you use candles within a year of when you made or purchased them. Also keep this in mind when selling your candles to others.
How should I store my raw candle wax?
You want to keep your candle wax, like onions in your kitchen—in a cool and dark place so the candle wax does not become rancid before you have a chance to use it.
Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here
Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.
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.