A question we get frequently is “Are your candles all natural and made with essential oils?” And the short answer is... no. However, it’s more nuanced than choosing between synthetic and natural-based products. As a brand that’s trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible, it was important that we created safe candles for the environment, but most importantly... you.
We spent countless hours researching the differences between natural essential oils and synthetic fragrance oils when developing our products. Now we want to share with you why synthetic fragrance oils are the best (and safest) choice for our candles and your home.
This is what we considered: environmental impact, cost, consistency, variety, and safety.
When considering the environmental impact between fragrance oils and essential oils, surprisingly fragrance oils come out on top. The sheer volume of plant life that is needed to create essential oils is astounding. To create 1 oz of rose essential oil requires around 60,000 rose petals.¹ The mass cultivation of single-source plant life can lead to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, some essential oils, such as rosewood and certain types of sandalwood, are endangered species, and the use of these oils can contribute to their decline. Plus that may cost you more than you think...
The bulk proportions of plant life needed to extract small amounts of oil is the main reason why essential oils are so expensive. Utilizing such an expensive material in our candles would create a wildly more expensive candle. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay $100+ for a small candle that only offers 30 hours of burn time.
Essential oils can vary in strength and scent depending on the time of year, location, and even the age at which the plant is grown and harvested. Similar to how you buy your favorite fruits when they are in their prime season, the external factors of mother nature can really change how the plants look, smell, and even taste. This inconsistency can make it difficult to create a consistent scent in our candles. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are made methodically in a lab and are specifically designed to deliver a consistent scent every time. This ensures you know what you are getting every time you repurchase your favorite CarteHaus candle. You can breathe easy knowing our candles are consistent and tested for safety.
We take safety extremely seriously. If created and used poorly, candles pose a significant threat to your home, health, and life. Between open flames, vessel integrity, flashpoints (the temperature at which a particular organic compound gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air), and the health of our respiratory system, we took every step we possibly could to ensure you felt safe burning our candles.
When comparing fragrance oils to essential oils, choosing fragrance oils was a no-brainer. Fragrance oils are specifically created to be burned safely when exposed to an open flame when mixed with wax. They are engineered to handle high temperatures without rapid degradation. On the other hand, essential oils have low flashpoints, making them more likely to catch fire (not the kind you want for a candle) when you light it.² I’m sure we can all agree that exploding candles don’t sound like a good time.
Even if a candle made with essential oils doesn’t combust, there are still a couple other safety concerns to consider.
There are many delicious-smelling essential oils that are phototoxic (dangerous when exposed to light). The phototoxicity can expand beyond the candle and into the air as its aroma releases. This can result in the essential oil becoming dangerous to inhale and can even cause chemical burns on your skin (and become even worse the next time you get exposed to sunlight).³
Pet safety is also extremely important to us, and there are so many essential oils that are dangerously poisonous to cats and dogs like cinnamon, eucalyptus, and clove. Their sense of smell is so much greater than ours, and we wanted to ensure our pets, and yours wouldn’t suffer at the expense of a CarteHaus candle.⁴* If we were to use only essential oils that were pet-friendly and non-phototoxic, we would have only a small, limited variety of scents to offer you.
Essential oils are limited to the scents of the plants from which they are derived, whereas fragrance oils can be formulated to create any scent imaginable. This makes fragrance oils a great choice for creative chandlers who want to create unique and innovative scent blends. The blends that can be imaged with fragrance oils are what make candle/ perfume/ fragrance a beautiful and magical art form. If we relied only on essential oils to create our candles we wouldn’t be able to offer you a range of complex, varied scents to elevate your daily routine. It would be virtually impossible to transport you to your favorite coastal getaway with Black Pearl solely with essential oils.
Essential Oils Aren't All Bad...
Now I know it seems like we’ve just been ragging on essential oils. And while natural doesn’t always mean better, essential oils definitely have a time and place where they shine.
Essential oils are a beautiful way to enjoy the scents and aromatics nature has gifted us. When safely applied to the skin or diffused in essential oil-safe diffusers (like nebulizers that use high-frequency vibrations to turn the water and oil mixture into a fine mist), essential oils can provide pain relief, help treat symptoms like migraines and nausea, or help relax your mind and lift your spirits.
It’s important to note that essential oils originate from ancient India, Persia, and Egypt, with steady roots in Ayurvedic practices for medicinal and therapeutic practices.⁵ I have so much respect for the trails these ancient cultures have blazed for modern day chandlers, like myself, to have the means to create aromatic experiences for your home. Without their discovery of scent distillation, fragrance oils, home fragrance, and perfume wouldn’t be what they are today.
While I am also an avid lover of essential oils myself... at the end of the day I felt like they were not the correct choice for our candles, your safety, or your satisfaction. When comparing the pros and cons of both essential oils and fragrance oils, it was a no-brainer. For us, it's about giving you the best possible experience so you can relax while enjoying the best quality scent, and knowing that it's perfectly safe for you and your furry friends.
Does picking your next candle scent seem as impossible as harvesting 60,000 rose petals? Eliminate the headache by taking our scent quiz to find your perfect-fit candle and receive 10% off your order.
*Please note that all animals differ, and some may be more sensitive than others when even using candle safe fragrance oils. Please burn any and all candle brands with caution and discontinue use immediately and seek veterinary help if you notice any abnormal changes in your pet.