Isn’t it frustrating when you spent hours melting your wax, assembling your wicks and sticking them to your candle jars, adding your aromatic fragrance, and waiting for your candle to cure and when you finally light your candle there’s NO SCENT at all! 🤯 I know exactly how that feels because I was there too. It’s also frustrating that you spent so much money on this candle only to start all over because the hot throw is nowhere to be found.
We all know that having that highly scented candle is what many candle makers want to achieve and to please our customers we must learn the art of winning at the candle scent game.
So in this article, I’ll show you 6 tips for stronger smelling candles that I have implemented and has worked for me.
1. Know the recommended fragrance load for your wax
Not all waxes can retain the same amount of scent throw. I have compiled a list of wax temperature guides, which also includes fragrance load. Just click here to get that free list.
Most people believe that adding more fragrance to your wax will increase your fragrance scent and that’s so far from the truth especially when you try to exceed the recommended maximum fragrance load.
If a wax fragrance load is between 6-10 percent try to start at 8% fragrance load, let the candle cure for at least a week if it’s coconut or soy wax, and a few days for paraffin. Light it up in your bathroom. If the scent fills your bathroom then move it into a slightly bigger area such as your bedroom, then move it to an even bigger area like your living room. Always test in a smaller confined area and then work your way to a larger area.
REMEMBER that adding too much fragrance oil (FO) way over the recommended setting limit will make your candles sweat, clog your wicks, and will create carbon buildup which can make your wick mushroom, create soot, and have a burning scent instead of the scent you have chosen for that candle. Before you add more fragrance move on to step #2.
2. Test a fragrance that you know already smells strong out of the bottle
Many dark-colored fragrance oils tend to be strongly scented fragrances. Such as cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver, musks, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, almond, ginger, amber, many fragrances that contain a high level of vanilla (although vanilla is not a dark-colored FO it is a very highly scented FO right out of the bottle), and many earthy and bakery scented fragrance oils. You will know these scents because the moment you twist the cap take a whiff your senses will open up or the scent will just have taken you aback. Scents that are very light and airy tend to work best in paraffin blend waxes because paraffin has a higher fragrance load and retains scent better than any other wax. This is why many waxes (nonvegan waxes anyway) contain small percentages of paraffin to increase and aid in hot scent throw).
FYI! Not all expensive scents are strong-smelling.
A large majority of expensive scents smells strong but not all. Trust me, ask me how I know in the comments. Also on this same note, not all fragrances from the bottle will perform great in a candle. I know, sorry, it’s controversial information since I just literally said to test strong smelling scents out of the bottle. However, I didn’t say that if it smells strong out of the bottle then it will outperform in a candle. This is just a good way to test out your wax performance and FO combo. If this is still not working keep the 8% fragrance load and keep the same fragrance type and move on to step #3.
3. Change waxes
Soy wax alone already has a bad rep for not having a strong hot throw but if you’re keen on soy then use a soy blend wax such as coconut with soy or soy with any other vegetable wax. Or you can try soy with paraffin or IGI6006. You can also try a coconut wax blend which I highly recommend) or you can try paraffin. Check out my video here on which wax should I use for my candle line for an in-depth explanation of coconut wax, paraffin, and soy. If changing waxes still doesn’t work keep the same 8% fragrance load, the same fragrance type, either change the wax for the new one or keep the same wax or better yet what I like to do is test both waxes and move on to step #4.
4. Change vessels
Vessels that are 6 oz or less tend to be too small for a large surface area. So if you’re using soy wax with a light FO and vessel that’s 6 oz, chances are that the scent will not go past 2-3 feet from where the candle is standing. And if you’re not highly sensitive to scents meaning you enjoy highly scented candles then you probably won’t smell this scent while it's being lit. People who have scent sensitivity will enjoy the light scented candles and will enjoy soy wax because they will pick up faint scents quicker.
If changing the vessel size tip still doesn’t work, keep the same 8% fragrance load, the same fragrance type, keep the same wax you used in step #4 either change the wax for the new one or keep the same wax or test both waxes, test a bigger vessel, and move on to step #5.
5. If all fails then quit candle-making. Just kidding. Change wicks.
Some wicks perform best with certain waxes. I have mentioned this in my book Candle Making Business Hacks. CDN wicks work best with natural waxes, CD and ECO wicks work best with soy waxes, LX and HTP wicks work best with paraffin and paraffin blend waxes, and wooden wicks work best with natural waxes and waxes that contain small amount of paraffin. This again is my opinion and this has been tested by me. This is not the rule of thumb but based on my own experiment this is what I have concluded when I tested these wicks with those waxes.
6. Finally, if all things fail then increase your fragrance load
Oh, and if you started at 8% and you tried everything else then at this point then increase your fragrance load to 10% if this is the maximum fragrance load for your wax. Then repeat all the tips (1-5) above when you add a higher concentration of fragrance to your wax and ONLY add more FO if your wax maximum allows.
I realized that there wasn’t a big difference between a fragrance load of 8% and 9% when I tested my candles. However, I saw a bigger significance when I increased my fragrance load by 2 so from 8% to 10%. Plus it’s easier to manipulate even numbers. Also, it’s easier to see differences between a smaller increase of increment of 6% to 8% than a bigger increment of 6% to 10%. In addition, always test one variable at a time so you know what worked and didn’t work. This is why I have these 6 steps set in place in order to document my findings and repeat the what worked versus what didn't workout.
On this same note if you’re adding embeds, color, mica powder (which I don’t really like when I see it in candles but that’s just me) DO NOT test these variables when you're trying to test for fragrance load. If you test many variables at a time, you will get confused and lost if the tips mentioned in this article doesn't work.
Once you have your fragrance down to the T then incorporate any other additives you want to add. Also know that not all fragrances work with every wax. I used gingerbread from Candle Science at 12%, 10%, and 8% and it was way too strong and it was clogging my wicks because that scent was strong to begin with so 6% was a happy medium for this fragrance. I tested this FO with IGI6006, Coco Apricot, Paraffin, and Coco Paraffin and they all gave me the same results.
So if you enjoyed these 6 tips for stronger smelling candles then hit the like button, save it, follow, and share this article with other candle makers to help them out.