Aromatherapy candles - A guide to finding the best aromatherapy candles and avoiding synthetic alternative
More and more people are seeking out natural, chemical-free products not only for the body but also within the home. From our inception our ethos has been to work with only natural, plant-based and sustainable ingredients. This has led to us being awarded both vegan and cruelty free status by PETA.
All our aromatherapy candles and soy wax melts are made by us in the UK using our own unique blends of pure essential oils.You can experience our range of everyday wellbeing scents, including uplifting and calming blends, by ordering one of our scent discovery sets from £4, or treat yourself to some handmade aromatherapy wax melts from £9 or our Day + Night hand blended pure essential oil duo.
We are often asked such questions as ‘Do you have anything scented with strawberry or Lily of the Valley?,’ and when we explain that these scents are synthetic and not natural, people are very often shocked and want to know more...
How to choose the best aromatherapy candles and avoid mass produced synthetic alternatives.
In this blog post we wanted to help you understand what is really natural, and how to choose the best aromatherapy candles. In today's world of clever marketing it can be difficult to know the difference and make an informed decision when purchasing scented candles and wax melts.
Many candle companies are turning to soy wax as opposed to paraffin (a petroleum by-product) as evidence grows to the potential health risk associated with petroleum-based products, however they continue to use synthetic fragrances to scent their products.
So what is the difference?
Natural fragrances are derived from natural raw materials. The International Organization for Standardization refers to natural raw materials as ‘physically obtained from plants using distillation, expression and extraction’ known to most people as essential oils.
At flo we work only with our unique collection of hand blended pure essential oils to create fabulous aromas, from the beautiful floral bouquet of our serenity blend to the fresh citrus fragrance created from our zest blend. But as more and more evidence shows, these oils will also bring mood boosting benefits. So whether you’re looking for help to stay fresh and invigorated during the day or unwind on an evening and smooth the way for a good night's sleep, we have a blend to suit your needs.
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Here are just a few of the amazing essential oils we use to create our natural fragrances:
Bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange fruit. It is citrusy but sweet-smelling and it has powerful mood-stabilising effects. It helps promote clarity in the workplace. You can find bergamot in our happiness, relax and uplifting collection.
Clary Sage is a herb with a scent that has some similarities to lavender, but with an earthy, smoky note. The essential oil has a calming, relaxing effect and can also bring about a sense of euphoria, clary sage can be found in our embrace , uplifting and serenity collection.
Lavender is one of the most well-known and versatile essential oils. It has a floral, woody fragrance and can be both stimulating and calming. Lavender has reviving qualities but can also help induce restful sleep. It has the ability to reduce anxiety and emotional stress and to improve mood. You'll find lavender in our relax and embrace and serenity blends
Lemongrass, a versatile essential oil, known amongst aromatherapists to be soothing, stimulating and refreshing, it has the ability to both calm and revitalize, to relieve tension and invigorate. Lemongrass can be found adding some zing into our zest collection
Ylang Ylang essential oil has a sweet intoxicating aroma that is totally unique. It is calming and relaxing but also has an uplifting effect on mood. Ylang ylang can be found in both our happiness and embrace collections.
There are, however, limitations with natural fragrance. For example, fragrance can be extracted from citrus fruits, but as yet there is no natural process to extract scents from other fruits and many flowers, and it is for this reason synthetic fragrances have been developed and are widely used, so beware of anything claiming to be natural that contains, for example fig, freesia, strawberry or even orchid.
Synthetic fragrance: The majority of home fragrance products are made partially or entirely from synthetics.
Synthetics are man-made in a laboratory, often from petrochemicals in an attempt to duplicate the smell of a flowers, fruits and even chocolate and prosecco! There are fully synthetic fragrances which are made in the main from petroleum by-products, there are then semi-synthetics, or natural fragrances that have been artificially modified.
Synthetic fragrances are controversial as evidence grows into their potential health hazards. Studies continue to report that synthetic fragrances have the potential to cause "possible mutagenic and genotoxic effects." Synthetic fragrances have also been found to contain possible hormone disruptors which have been linked abnormal cell reproduction. (Candles and Incense As Potential Sources of Indoor Air Pollution Environmental Protection Agency January 2001)
Companies are also starting to use natural isolates which blur the line between natural and man-made.
Why do companies use synthetic fragrances oils?
Well first of all it is cheaper and much less fragrance oil is needed to create a scent. They are also easier to work with than their natural counterparts, but what they gain in profit margins is lost in the aromatheraputic properties.
Personally we’d rather be surrounded by the natural beauty essential oils have to offer.
How to tell the difference between natural aromatherapy candles and synthetic imitations.
This is a real challenge as currently there is no legal requirement on companies to declare the exact ingredients of their fragrances. Because fragrances often contain complex chemical formulas known as "proprietary" they are protected under the FDA’s "trade secret" law allowing them to withhold ingredients and simply state ‘perfume’. Within Europe however all products must now list potential allergens and carry warnings giving you some protection.
Campaigners in the US are pushing legislators to formally define what natural means and set standards for products which claim to be natural, let’s hope the UK follows suit soon.
Many producers use a combination of essential oils with synthetic fragrances, chemical enhancers and perervatives as a way of keeping costs down and appear to have longer lasting, stronger scents. This often translate in marketing and publicity as “Scented with essential oils” However what you will find this means in reality is a complex combination of ingredients with a small amount of essential oils.
Also beware of clever marketing, labelling and descriptions leading you to believe all is natural. Many companies use ‘Notes’ for example ‘beautiful notes of fresh lemon and bergamot combined with floral notes of rose and jasmine’ terminology used within aromatherapy and alluding to natural ingredients, but notes only means, what you can smell. You will also see beautifully shot adverts and packaging with natural flowers and fruits emblazoned, but don’t be fooled by the hype, learn how to read the labels and don’t be afraid to ask question for details of ingredients.
Companies that really are natural and scent their products with nothing but pure essential oils should happily disclose their ingredients, and there are usually very few elements, such as essential oils, natural alcohol, plant-based oils, water, soy or beeswax.
So unless producers declare 100% natural, as a consumer you are well within your rights to ask ‘What else does the product contain?’, as there may well be many hidden ingredients and chemicals included which could be potentially harmful to your health.