Aromatherapy candles and scented candles: more than just the smell

Wax melts, scented candles, soy candles, aromatherapy candles – phew, we get it – the world of candles is becoming VERY mercurial, with options at every corner.


The industry is so bountiful, that a recent report from Grand View Research valued the global scented candle market at a staggering USD $533.5 million in 2020.


This is projected to grow 3.3 per cent from 2021 to 2028, with growth driven by an increasing number of hotels, wellness facilities, restaurants, and religious institutions.


That’s all well and good, but did you know that no two candles are created equal?


We don’t want to complicate the candle matter further, but the choice you make to fragrance your home can affect both your health and the environment.


In this blog post, we will break down the difference between scented candles and aromatherapy candles, explaining why the latter is the better choice for an eco-conscious consumer.

What are scented candles?

Scented candles are a catch-all name for any candle that contains an aroma. This includes your commercial options, soy candles, and aromatherapy candles— if it smells nice and has a wick, you best believe it makes the list.


The issue, here, is the term “scented candles” doesn’t explain:


  1. a) how do scented candles work and
  2. b) what goes into them.

That last point is what we’re going to focus on here.


It’s a sad state of affairs but most commercial scented candles are made from paraffin wax: a petroleum by-product that releases soot into the air as it burns.

Needless to say, this is not the most environmentally-friendly option, but it’s favoured by large-scale candle-makers as it’s inexpensive and can hold a lot of fragrance and colour.


Now, there are more environmentally-friendly options out there to be sure; soy candles, beeswax, and coconut oil candles spring to mind.


The first one, soy, is the most common option you will come across as it’s a cost-friendly, environmentally-sound option. We can spend all day talking about this but for the sake of your time and ours, we suggest you read our previous post “are soy candles eco-friendly” if you want to learn more.

What are aromatherapy candles?

Brace yourself, it’s time we introduced another contender to our candle ring: aromatherapy candles.


These candles are made with essential oils and use all-natural ingredients such as botanical wax or animal wax – so, they’re better for the environment.


Just for reference at Raw Beauty Box our aromatherapy candles are made from soy. You can check out our range here.


Now, the answer to “what do aromatherapy candles do” is a simple one: they are designed to stimulate your senses, as each essential oil used may produce distinct therapeutic, psychological, and physiological effects.


How, you ask?


The oil used in the candle determines the effect it will have. You can find one, or a combination of oils, in a candle. Take our Honeysuckle and Jasmine candle for example, it has two floral essential oils in it.

Below are some of the common essential oils used in candles, and the response they’re designed to create.


  • Lavender: Aids relaxation and better sleep.
  • Peppermint: Promotes mental clarity and reduces stress.
  • Orange: Alleviates anxiety and boosts mood.
  • Tea Tree: Fights stress and boosts the immune system.
  • Geranium: Relaxation and mood improvement.
  • Rose: Improves mood and relieves anxiety.
  • Ginger: Enhances concentration and soothes stress.
  • Rosemary: Enhances memory and focus.
  • Ylang Ylang: Aids relaxation and soothes inflammation.
  • Cinnamon: Boosts focus and promotes relaxation.
  • Lemon: Improves mood and soothes anxiety.
  • Eucalyptus: Prompts mental clarity and relieves congestion.
  • Bergamot: Increases mood and reduces anxiety.
  • Lemongrass: Relieves stress and reduces inflammation.
  • Sandalwood: Improves mood and focus.
  • Chamomile: Aids relaxation and better sleep.
  • Jasmine: Boosts mood and increases energy.
  • Grapefruit: Aids relaxation and balances mood.

Do aromatherapy candles work?

There is no doubt that scent is a powerful thing, but experts are divided on whether aromatherapy is a cure for ALL ailments.


While a lot of essential oils are used to aid relaxation, some claim to go a step further to combat health issues such as high blood pressure, low immunity, digestion, and more.


Multiple studies, including research published in the journal Science Direct last year, have shown that aromatherapy can improve mood disorders and sleep.


The research, which looked at 30 other studies, concluded: “Aromatherapy improves sleep quality and reduces stress, pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in adults and elderly people.”


But when it comes to wider implications for health there is just not enough evidence – yet.


What we do know is the use of aromatherapy is not new. It actually dates back thousands of years, with the Ancient Egyptians having used perfumed oils, scented barks, and resins in 3000 BCE.

And our sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more powerful than our other senses, with aroma travelling to the brain faster than sight and sound.


There, it can produce both emotional and physical responses, and lead to the recall of specific memories.


Fun fact: The name for the scent-memory recall is the Proust Effect, and it happens because the olfactory processing system that distinguishes smell is located close to the memory hub in the brain.


For the author behind this blog post, the aroma of frangipani reminds them of Christmas and long summer days spent by the beach with sandy feet and toes.


We’re no experts, but to us, that’s more than relaxing.


If you want to learn more about candles check out our previous post “how to choose the perfect scented candle for your home”. You can also find Raw Beauty Box’s limited-edition range of scents here.


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