a selection of nine different coloured wax melt paws

Guide To Buying Scented Candles and Wax Melts

So Much Choice-How to Choose? 

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on choosing the perfect scented candles and wax melts for your space. With an increasingly wide range of products in the market, deciding on the best choice can be overwhelming. This article sheds light (excuse the pun!)on several aspects to consider, including the type of candle or container, the appearance, fragrance, wax type, burn time, and price. We will also address common myths and misconceptions about scented candles and offer guidance on ensuring the safety and performance of your chosen products. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned connoisseur, we're confident you'll find this guide enlightening and helpful.

Candle/Container Type 

Probably the first thing to consider when buying candles is whether you want a container candle or a free-standing pillar candle. Pillar candles can be found in many shapes and forms. Some may also be fragranced. They should have all undergone fire safety testing. The first test of which is hugely important for free-standing candles is that they are stable and won’t easily fall over. The vendor should be happy to explain how their candles perform in these tests. Pillar candles should not have a lot of wax running down the candle when burnt. A well tested candle should fold inwards as it burns. However, it is always best to burn a pillar candle on a heatproof surface to catch any wax that does drip. Coloured pillar candles may also stain furniture, so it is a good idea to protect any surfaces the candle is displayed on. 
Container candles prevent wax spills on furniture and often the containers can be recycled. The most common containers for candles are metal tins or glasses, although there are candles available in a wide range of containers.  
We use glass containers for our indoor candles with waterproof vinyl designs. This allows the container to be re-purposed as part of your home décor after burning the candle, rather than it ending up in waste or re-cycling.  
Our outdoor candles are in metal containers for extra safety in a garden environment. Once burned the remaining wax can be removed and the metal tin placed in recycling. 
The questions I ask when I see candles sold in one-off re-purposed containers such as antique tea cups, is how was the testing carried out?  The container used for a candle should be evaluated to make sure it does not get damaged while burning. Also, a lot of testing would be needed to make sure the candle has the correct wick to ensure it supplies a good hot throw, burns the wax evenly and most importantly, safely. I would definitely ask the vendor what testing has been carried out to check these candles performance and safety before purchasing. 

 

Appearance 

Both candles and wax melts are available in a wide range of designs and colours with many containing extras like botanicals, mica and glitter. While the addition of botanicals may look very appealing in candles, they do add to the fire hazard. I would definitely want reassurance from the vendor that they have been tested for fire safety before purchase. Botanicals, mica and glitter are all safe to use in wax melts as the melt itself is not burning so there is no risk of these additions catching fire. 
We do not add colour, botanicals, glitter or mica to our candles as all of these interfere with the performance and safety of the candle and we feel that a well-made, naturally-coloured candle is beautiful in its own right. However, we do add colour and glitz to our wax melts. 
One thing I see which is a warning flag for me is candles or melts that look like something edible such as an ice cream, frothy cup of coffee or other edible items. It is against the law to sell or offer to sell items that imitate food. When I see these products, it is plain that the producers either are not aware of or chose to ignore this law. Which makes me wonder what other guidance they do not follow such as fire safety testing which makes alarm bells sound in my head. I personally would not buy scented candles and wax melts from vendors offering these products for this reason. 

Fragrance 

This is a matter of personal preference whether you prefer fruity and exotic, floral and perfumed, ocean tones or earthy scents, the choice of fragrance is endless! It is easy to choose fragrance you love when buying in person but not so easy online. Most online suppliers will give a description of the fragrance notes for each of the fragrance they supply. The fragrance descriptions for our candles and melts are available on our website. 
It is a common myth that essential oils are better than fragrance oils. However, they may have exactly the same chemicals and therefore the same allergy risk. In fact, many concentrated essential oils are toxic to cats. Many people also believe, incorrectly, that essential oils are more eco-friendly than fragrance oils. We choose high quality fragrance oils from trusted suppliers, many of which are blends which have both synthetic and essential oils.
Scent throw again is down to personal preference. I personally like both a strong cold and hot throw, so our candles and wax melts are tested to ensure they smell beautiful whether they are burning or just adding to your home décor. Some of our fragrances have a lot of heart and base notes which do take a few minutes to really throw the scent when burning but are well worth the wait for the full fragrance to develop. Our 165g candles are ideal for use in smaller rooms such as bathrooms, small bedrooms and entrance halls. The 220g candles are more suitable for larger living areas, bedrooms and open plan rooms. 
One particular concern you should have if you have allergies is the allergen advice for each fragrance whether it is synthetic or an essential oil. When buying in shops or fairs this should be included in the CLP label on the candle or melt, either on the container or the packaging. The allergen advice for our fragrances is also available on our website so you can check before you buy. 

 

 Wax Type 

Again, there is much talk about “natural” and vegan friendly waxes and the belief that they burn cleaner than mineral waxes. All these waxes are manufactured, none are natural. The “natural” waxes use oils from plants rather than a by-product of the petrochemical industry as is the case for mineral wax. Beeswax is a natural product but of course is not vegan. The tallow used in the first candles was a natural product from animal fat but produced a very smokey flame.
There are issues around sustainability for some plant-based waxes such as soy, while mineral waxes are using a by- product from another process, which will not stop being produced until we all convert to green energy. The issue of sustainability and the environmental issues around scented candles and wax melts is a complex issue which I will look at in more detail in another post.  
 
Another down side of the plant-based waxes is that they generally need a larger quantity of fragrance oil to create the same throw when compared to candles made from mineral wax. Our main candle range uses a mineral and rapeseed blended wax. This allows us to produce amazing scent throw with less fragrance. It produces a beautiful white candle and as it is sourced from quality manufacturers ensures the cleanest burn with excellent flame stability. We are currently developing a range of candles in both soy wax, and a rapeseed and coconut wax allowing our customers to make their own decision and should be available during the Autumn of 2023. 

You can read more detail on the pros and cons of the different waxes here.

 

Burn Time and Price 

These two factors work together to enable the buyer to work out the value for money for candles and wax melts. There are many very expensive candles with only average-length burn times and you can choose for yourself whether they provide value for money. The best value for money may well be provided by mass produced candles available in many supermarkets, however it is well worth looking closely at the packaging to see how long the burn time is so that you can judge whether they are a such a great deal.  

Good quality handmade candles are generally available at a reasonable price. Our 165g candles have a 40 hour burn time and the 220g candles typically burn for 50 hours. A gentle reminder that whatever the burn time of the candle you buy, it is advisable to extinguish the candle after four hours of burning. Once cool enough the wick should be trimmed to half a centimeter and can then be re-lit. If the wick gets too long your candle is more likely to produce a sooty flame whatever type of wax it is made from. 

In conclusion, buying scented candles and wax melts involves more than picking your favourite scent. It's crucial to consider various factors such as the candle or container type, appearance, wax type, burn time, and price, which all contribute to the product's overall quality and value for money. As you navigate the sea of available options, remember to prioritize safety and efficacy in your selections.

Moreover, remember that 'natural' or 'vegan' products do not necessarily equate to a cleaner burn and that essential oils are not inherently better or more eco-friendly than fragrance oils. Above all, rely on reputable vendors who can provide detailed information and have conducted necessary product safety tests. We hope this guide has helped empower you to make more informed decisions when purchasing scented candles and wax melts. Whether you're seeking to create a calming atmosphere, evoke precious memories, or add an aesthetic touch to your home, choosing the right candle or wax melt can enhance your living space. Happy shopping! 
I hope that you have found this buying guide useful you can see our scented candle and wax melt range on our website plus more guidance on how to enjoy your candles and wax melts safely.
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