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Opinions needed on which oils to use


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I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Jodie and I have been lurking for awhile. I have a question for you guys and I would love your opinion. We’ve been making container candles for about a year and a half, and we’re (husband and I) interested in moving forward with our candle business. Right now we are stuck debating over whether to use Fragrance Oils or Essential Oils. He’d like to use ONLY essential oils, and I’m torn, because I love the wide selection of fragrance oils there are available. He feels that it would be better business wise to use essential oils – making our candles “cleaner”, I agree with him to an extent, but I am wondering if we would be limiting ourselves. I came across some information while searching for a Market Analysis online that said the candle industry is “struggling” due to the fact that there are SO many other choices out there for scenting a home. (Plug-in air fresheners, Sprays, Scented Oils, etc.) So if that’s the case, and people (the analysis said 96% of candle buyers are women) purchase a candle primarily for the scent, wouldn’t fragrance oils be better because we would have more options to entice customers? ARGH! I hope you guys can understand this. We’ve been having a friendly debate for awhile about this, and as you can see I could really use some outside input. I tried talking about this with friends/family, but not being interested in the whole candle thing – they just don’t get it. Anyway, your input and opinions are much appreciated. Thanks in advance!:rolleyes2

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Hi Jodie,

Welcome to the board. I haven't personally tried EOs. I use FOs in soy wax with a universal additive. I've heard that EOs are harder to work with, and some have poor throw in soy wax. Others can give a much better opinion on this. I have never actually heard that EOs burn "cleaner" than FO, but, FOs can contain solvents like mineral oil, for example that I don't think EOs contain.

You didn't say what kind of wax you will be using. If it will be soy wax, there are a lot of arguments against soy wax being completely natural - pesticides and fungicides used in soybean farming; chemicals added for soybean oil extraction; the hydrogenization process to raise the meltpoint to make soybean oil into wax. I'm not bashing soy wax. I'm just saying that if you claim it is all-natural, be prepared to meet a lot of argument. If you did buy organically raised soybeans, and use a natural extraction process rather than a chemical one, you would have a natural soybean oil. But there's still no way around the hydrogenization process to change the chemical structure to turn it into a "wax". My understanding is that palm wax and bayberry wax are more natural than soy, because an actual wax-type substance is extracted, and does not require modification to the chemical structure. Someone else please feel free to jump in and correct me if I am wrong about this. Henryk? You seem to know a lot about palm wax.

Anyway, to cut myself off, because I tend to ramble on...the question is, if your wax is not all-natural to begin with, why use a "cleaner" candle argument when choosing an oil type? I agree with your thinking - that with all the competition out there, you should go with the type of oil that gives more choices and better fragrance throw ability. You could also look into soy-based FOs, that contain less mineral oil than regular FOs, as a compromise with your husband.

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So far I've found in scented products (both candles and bath & body), it's the scent that carries the sale. But my target market is very general.

It's going to depend on who you want to market to. I can see if you go toward the more organic type market, then essential oils will be a benefit. But if you're going for a more general market share, then fragrance oils will give you a wider range to please your customers.

I find EOs very difficult to work with in candles. I have pretty good luck blending EOs and FOs. EOs give a different kind of "throw" - it's not going to be a strong fill up the room type of scent. It will really come down to who you decide your target market is. And kudos to you for doing your market research - you're right, there are a *lot* of options out there for consumers. You have to find your niche.

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Essential oils are natural, but to say they are cleaner might be jumping to conclusions. There's uncertainty about what happens when you burn them.

I wouldn't discourage you from pursuing it. I'm personally interested in EOs for candles and I do some experimenting along those lines. But I would agree that it would be limiting, has its pitfalls, and is not demonstrably "better" than also using FOs.

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Lately I have been seeing the word wax used in quotes around here. I'm starting to sympathize with this idea. We've been getting altogether too lax in our terminology and the broadening of the definition for wax over the past 150 years or so is just out of control.

What I propose is that wax without quotes hereinafter should only refer to beeswax (plus I will consider arguments that a small number of other substances such as bayberry "wax" could also officially be wax). Regarding the various useful wax-like substances that have come on the market in recent centuries, such as paraffin and hydrogenated soy, I think these should be referred to as "wax" rather than wax in order to avoid confusion.

:P

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Thanks so much for your input guys! I really do appreciate it. Sometimes you need an outside opinion on things. We have gone round and round debating the pro’s and con’s. I think for the time being I’m going to stick with Fragrance Oils (which I have already been using in Soy Wax) I’m not going to claim that they are “natural” or anything along those lines. My goal is to continue learning as much as I can about this whole process, and ensure that I am making a safe candle. I might experiment with Essential Oils just for the fun of it! J But for right now, I enjoy the wide variety offered to me by using Fragrance Oils.

I never would have guessed when I started making candles how addicting it is!! I swear every store I go in now I have to check out the candle aisle. The last store we went in we started asking a lot of questions, and I think they thought we were mystery shoppers or something. LOL :)

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I swear every store I go in now I have to check out the candle aisle. The last store we went in we started asking a lot of questions, and I think they thought we were mystery shoppers or something. LOL :)

:laugh2: ME TOO! lol. I have to touch the wax & smell every fragrance.

I'm suprised that no one has commented on FOs for paraffin & FOs for soy, though I understand most FOs can be used equally well in both types of "wax". For some reason, & maybe I'm wrong, I was thinking there were FOs for soy ... maybe I was getting confused w/ FOs that are suitable for soap. :undecided Is there a light switch someone can flick on for me?

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