Candle Scents: Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil

Candle Scents: Fragrance Oil vs Essential Oil

Hand covering candle flame


We all love candles as they can bring light into our lives (literally). The soft lighting of the dancing flame and the beautiful scent is so calming. It can transform any space into a relaxing and soothing environment.

But when it comes to choosing your candles, there are so many options that it becomes difficult to choose. So we’ll help you as much as we can, starting with this article.

An aroma candle has 3 main components: scent, wax, and wick.

When you light your candle, the heat melts the wax on the surface. This also heats the scent additive and releases it through evaporation. 

When choosing a candle, the scent is usually the factor that we use to decide. There are so many scents available but we can categorise them into 2 types. Scented candles which use fragrance oils and aromatherapy candles which use essential oils.


Fragrance oils

Fragrance oils are man-made in labs. But, there are 2 types of fragrance oils - synthetic and natural. (Don’t confuse the natural fragrance oil with natural essential oils. We’ll explain.)

Synthetic fragrance oils

These oils are created from artificial chemical compounds which are not found in nature. There can be as many as 80 different chemical compounds in these synthetic fragrance oils. Most cosmetic products and candles use synthetic fragrance oil. Because it can last longer than the natural ones.

Natural fragrance oils

These oils are made using naturally derived fragrance instead of artificial chemical compounds. For example, they would extract limonene from lemons and geraniol from roses. These compounds are the ones responsible for the smells we get from the fruit or flower.


Essential oils

What about essential oils? Essential oils are extracts from aromatic plant parts. This could be the root, leaves or flowers! Essential oils are 100% pure which means they are not diluted, processed, or have any additives. They are also well-known for their therapeutic properties. When used either topically or inhaled. A famous example is lavender. Researchers have looked into the effectiveness of inhaling lavender a lot. They have proved to relieve stress and anxiety, help insomnia and heal wounds. You can learn more about essential oils here.


We’ll compare candles scented with fragrance oils or essential oils based on what you’ll want to look out for when buying them.


01 Natural vs synthetic

If you’re looking for all-natural products then essential oils and natural fragrance oils would interest you. Since fragrance oils are synthesised in labs, they do not have the option of being organic. Learn more about all-natural vs organic here. So, for all organic lovers, aromatherapy candles are the way to go. But you'll need to ensure that it contains 100% organic ingredients like our Calla Me Mellow.

02 Scent throw

Since fragrance oils are man-made in labs, they are able to concentrate the oils to get a stronger scent throw. Even with the natural fragrance oils. Essential oils may not get the same benefit since they are obtained from nature. As such, essential oils need a higher concentration to achieve the desired scent throw. 

03 Benefit

Fragrance oils give you more options for scent. Even scents that are not found in nature like bubblegum or cotton candy. But, aromatherapy candles are as beautifully scented. And they have therapeutic benefits such as relaxation, etc.

04 Side effects

Fragrance oils can cause some skin or fragrance sensitivities. And, a study found that 34.7% of people experienced adverse health effects from exposure to artificial fragrance. This includes headaches, migraines and breathing difficulties. [1]

Essential oils can cause allergic reactions. This is due to external or topical applications. The toxic side effects of essential oils are the misuse of essential oils. Yet, inhaling essential oils have minimal to no side effects. Other than to provide its individual therapeutic properties. [2]

05 Shelf life

Aromatherapy candles have a longer shelf life because they obtained from nature. They expire through oxidation or improper storage and handling. With this, the potency of the essential oils used will be reduced. Along with any therapeutic properties.

06 Price point

The price point for fragrance oils is cheaper than essential oils. This is because they are cheaper to buy and produce. The process of obtaining essential oils is expensive. For example, it can take up to 60 rose stalks (that’s about 1000 rose petal) to get 1 drop of rose essential oil. But, it seems that the prices of aromatherapy are worth the benefits it brings. So do consider everything when you buy.


Properties Fragrance Oil Essential Oil
Natural or Synthetic Synthetic Natural
Source Artificial compounds or aromatic plant parts Aromatic plant parts
Scent throw Strong Not as strong
Benefit Able to create any scent not found in nature Has aromatherapeutic benefits
Side effects Possible adverse health effects from exposure Minimal to no side effects
Shelf life Short (6-12 months) Long (2-15 years)
Price points Cheaper Expensive


So which oil is better when it comes to candle scents? It's up to your preference! They are both unique in their own ways. As for Calla Me, the therapeutic benefits and safety are very important to us. We have benefited from essential oils and would like you to experience them as well. And the pricier option is reflected in the value that it gives you. That's why we made Calla Me Mellow, our aromatherapy candle.


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The article written represents the writers' opinions based on their findings. It is not meant to be expert/medical advice. Users are solely responsible for fully understanding the safety and risks of essential oils. 



[1] - Steinemann A. (2016). Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions. Air quality, atmosphere, & health, 9(8), 861–866.

[2] - Schilcher, H. (1985). Effects and side-effects of essential oils. In Essential oils and aromatic plants (pp. 217-231). Springer, Dordrecht.

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