When making a candle purchasing decision, we often wrestle with whether or not we want beeswax, soy or paraffin. We also wonder if a candle made with essential oil is healthier than a candle made with fragrance oil.
We all want to get the best candle for our money and we also want it to be a pleasant experience from the first strike of the match to the last gasp of the flame. We want them to smell good just sitting there on the table, which is called the cold throw. We also want the aroma to fill the room while the candle is burning. This is called the warm throw. To achieve this, the oil blend must be able to be release scent at room temperature and again during the burning process. This is where chemistry comes in and an understanding of it will help us be more accepting of distasteful words like synthetic blends and chemical matches.
First, let’s look at natural essential oil. Essential oils are from the plant and they are natural. They can be purchased uncut or in a concentrated form or cut with a binding agent or carrier. The less the essential oil is cut the more expensive it is. We have to add the carrier or binder to the concentrated essential oil before adding it to the wax in a ratio of 1:1. This is a very expensive way to scent candles. For most manufacturers, mass producing a candle in this way is cost prohibitive and the candle may only smell good while on the shelf, lose its scent after a few months and be a disappointment once it’s lit. The biggest challenge candle makers face is the high volatility of essential oils. They evaporate at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Most candles both soy and paraffin are poured between 130 and 175 degrees. All the scent is lost in the pouring process. Another challenge is, essential oils don’t blend well with each other without help from the lab. Additives are needed to stabilize them.
Working with large quantities of essential oils can be very dangerous to the candle maker. We are required to wear respirators when mixing the oils. The bad news is that not all essential oils smell good when they are burning too. It’s not just the synthetic oils that smell like a chemistry lab.
To get what we want, we need to co-create with nature
Synthetic oils were created out of the need for affordable oils with more versatility. Through technological advances, essential oils can be broken down to their basic atomic structures and recreated into synthetic oils using a process called chemical matching. They are chemically similar to the essential oils but much cheaper to produce and in many cases more stable. Synthetic oils that duplicate the quality of essential oils so closely that you cannot tell the difference is called a certified natural. Meaning, it is produced in a lab through fermentation and enzyme reactions and judged by a board to be identical to the natural counterpart. These synthetic oils are more expensive than lesser synthetics but still more affordable and available than natural essentials.
Synthetic oils are called scent enhancers. They were designed to work with nature by stretching the performance of the oil beyond its capabilities. In essence, it gives the natural oil the ability to give us the cold and warm throw characteristics we demand of a quality candle. Synthetic oils blend better with each other and with natural essentials. One scent can be created out of blending 100 different synthetic oils. Well blended oil is like a perfect chord in music. Three notes, one sound.
We all know that the cold throw sells the candle. What is happening here is that the oil is evaporating right off the surface of the candle at room temperature and we can smell them. The oils are volatile because their molecules are small, move fast and can escape the wax easily. We like that about them, they attract us and we react to them before we even see the candle. Now the candle has our attention. Once the candle is purchased, we anticipate that we will have the same experience while the candle is burning and our whole room will be saturated with the scent we adore. Those tiny molecules have done their job, but they are gone.
What will scent the air when the candle is burning? The oil that sits in the candle as clouds, giving the candle that popular mottled look, is the long-lasting non-volatile oil. As these clouds come in contact with the flame the scent is released. It is released only once, so we have to wait until the next cloud comes in contact with the flame for more scent to be released into the air. These larger, slower molecules need heat from the flame to activate them so they can evaporate into the air. The warm throw is what makes a consumer come back to buy another candle, and this is why the most successful candles are made with blended oils.
When the blend contains the right combination of light and heavy oils the candle will consistently delight the consumer. Scent enhancers or synthetic oils burn better than natural essential oils and perform better as a warm throw. We need the scent enhancers for that reason. No one wants to burn a candle and just smell paraffin. Paraffin doesn’t smell very good and neither does soy. Beeswax is the only wax that has a pleasant scent on its own.
Typically flower and citrus scents are volatile or light oils and release first, while the heavier oils from resins, musk’s, sweet sugars and heavier fruits like coconut and peach are non-volatile and need heat to release them. Perfumers blend the two kinds of oils to satisfy our need for candles to smell good whether they’re burning and while they are not.
A candle can be made with 100 percent synthetic oils, but it’s not necessary and a little bit of Mother Nature goes a long way. At Coventry, we combine the best of both science and nature to create a candle that works hard to please our customer. It’s all chemistry, vibration, energy, and the creator. Philosophically, there is nothing in our candles that is not from All There Is, God or the Creator.
Call us at our shoppe (248) 547-2987 if you need guidance in picking the right Coventry product for your needs. We are happy to help. You can also connect with us on Facebook. We monitor it for questions every day.
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