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The 10 Best Fragrance Oils For Candles

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By Masha Vapnitchnaia
Bustle / Amazon

When making scented candles, using high-quality fragrance oil is key to getting a potent aroma. Besides being available in lots of scents, each of the best fragrance oils for candles on this list follows the safety standards of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), which tests ingredients used to create fragrances and sets industry-wide guidelines for their use.

When it comes to candle making, there is a difference between fragrance oils and essential oils. Though some brands and DIY candle makers use essential oils, they won’t create a potent scent on their own. On the other hand, fragrance oils are made with synthetic and natural ingredients that help them bind with candle wax, and when added at the right temperature, the scent won’t burn off during the candle-making process. Also, unlike essential oils, fragrance oils create a hot throw so candles will release scent while they’re burning.

As for safety, the oils below adhere to IFRA’s standards, which are backed by science and overseen by a panel of experts. Some options contain phthalates, a group of chemicals used in personal care products to help carry fragrances. It’s important to note that diethyl phthalate (DEP), the type used in fragrances, is generally considered safe — but if you prefer to not use them, I’ve indicated which options are phthalate-free below.

Before making candles, you should calculate the fragrance load (the percentage of fragrance a wax can hold.) Most wax suppliers will include this on the label, but it’s best to stick to 5 or 6% if you’re unsure. This calculator can also help you determine the right fragrance load for your project. And while it’s a spec not always listed, some brands will indicate the oil’s flash point, which is the temperature at which it might ignite when exposed to an open flame. Keeping the fragrance load within a normal range will help prevent the oil from combusting at its flash point during candle making.

Read on for the best fragrance oils for candles, grouped by scent profile below.

Floral & Tropical

1. A Set With Jasmine, Rose & More

  • Phthalate-free

This floral fragrance oil set includes six scents — Gardenia, Freesia, Lilac, Violet, Rose, and Jasmine — and each oil has a highly concentrated formula for the richest scent bouquet. This set has earned more than 3,600 five-star ratings on Amazon, but the brand has dozens of other collections, including bakery, tropical, and nature-inspired ones.

One glowing review: “I love all the scents, but lilac is my favorite! They came well packaged in nice [little] bottles with a plastic 'stopper' that controls the rate of flow so it's not wasted. They are very natural smelling-no artificial or 'perfumy' smell to them-it's just like smelling flowers.”

2. This Pairing Of Tahitian Vanilla & Coconut For A Trip To The Beach

Tropical and sweet, this duo of fragrance oils can be used separately or blended together for a unique scent. The Tahitian Vanilla oil is infused with the smell of tropical flowers, while the Coconut Cream oil includes notes of burnt sugar, cinnamon, and peach. It’s a popular and affordable set with more than 1,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.

One glowing review: “This is amazing quality and great value. The smell is soooo good! I mixed the two together and feel like I'm on the beach. I like them separate as well.”

Earthy

3. This Amber Blend With Hints of Citrus & Vanilla

Starting with a vanilla and powder base, this Dragon’s Blood fragrance oil is infused with a blend of amber and floral notes, including patchouli, rose, jasmine, and a hint of citrus. The multi-layered formula has garnered more than 1,500 five-star ratings on Amazon, and it's also available in a smaller 10-milliliter size. This brand also has lots of other rich fragrances, including fruity Adriatic Fig and delectable Chocolate.

One glowing review: “This is the real stuff. The scent I remember from when I was younger and had the incense. Dragon's Blood smells very exotic and sensual. A very deep amber, woody, spicy scent. You can really smell the patchouli too. This oil is VERY potent and concentrated [...] The oil itself is different than the other fragrance oils I have in that it is a deep brown color and the consistency seems heavier.”

4. A Set Of Oils With Relaxing Scents

The fragrances in this soothing oil set will help you create relaxing candlelit vibes with nature-inspired scents. The six earthy fragrances include Lavender Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Mountain Rain, Ocean Breeze, Eucalyptus, and Sandalwood. Plus, the brand makes additional inspired sets, like Island Getaway, Woodsy, and Mysterious.

One glowing review: “[Exactly] what I was looking for! I got these to add scent to my candles and they smell amazing.”

Fruity

5. An Energizing Citrus Blend

  • Phthalate-free

If you’re looking for an invigorating option, this energizing fragrance oil blends the scent of California lemon with orange sweet oil. Plus, this oil comes in a generously sized 60-milliliter bottle. Other scents available in this harder-to-find size include Rose, Amazing Grace (a fresh floral fragrance), and Clean Cotton.

One glowing review: “[Citrus-y] more on the lemon side, and the shot of orange blossom makes it very complex and enjoyable.”

6. The Fragrance Inspired By A Fan-Favorite Body Mist

Featuring citrus top notes blended with melon, apple, kiwi, and jasmine, this highly-rated fragrance oil was inspired by the scent of the classic Love Spell body mist from Victoria’s Secret. What’s more, the brand offers other fragrant blends, such as tropical Coconut Lime Verbena and warm Tobacco Vanilla.

One glowing review: “I loved this scent as a body spray so I was hoping that it would make a great candle scent. I was absolutely amazed that it made my house smell so great.”

7. These Food-Inspired Fragrance Oils That Smell So Delicious

  • Phthalate-free

Make candles that smell like your favorite snacks with these highly concentrated fragrance oils by NatureAnne. In addition to Lemon Pound Cake, the brand also makes more than a dozen other scents, including a few that foodies will love. For example: Fruit Loops, Almond Biscotti, and Apple Cider Donut.

One glowing review: “I love the scent of this premium lemon poundcake. It works very well in our candles that we make.”

Seasonal Sets

8. These Holiday-Themed Oils That Will Get You In The Spirit

When the festive season arrives, you can make your home feel extra cozy with these holiday spice fragrances — and they’re perfect for making DIY holiday gift candles. The set includes six concentrated fragrance oils: Cinnamon Orange Clove, Merry Mistletoe, Cranberry Spice, Sexy Cinnamon Clove, Cozy Cottage, and Chestnuts and Brown Sugar.

One glowing review: “Love these! Cozy cottage is by far my favorite, makes our house smell like the holidays.”

9. A Halloween-Themed Collection With Your Favorite Fall Scents

  • Phthalate-free

This set of highly concentrated perfume oils brings out fall’s favorite fragrances, including Candy Corn, Autumn Wreath, Pumpkin Pie, Marshmallow, Night Air, and Caramel Corn. With scents like that, it’s no surprise that this mix of sweet and spicy fragrances has garnered more than 1,700 five-star ratings on Amazon.

One glowing review: “I bought these to make some spooky candles for Halloween and LOVED IT [...] I honestly will never buy scents for candles from any other company again, P&J is hands down the best and I love all of their different sets (I now have 6)!”

10. A Set Of 14 Oils That Are Great For All Seasons

  • Phthalate-free

This set from P&J Trading includes the brand’s most popular scents, with options for every season. The array of fragrances includes Lilac, Vanilla, Peppermint, Forest Pine, Fresh Cotton, and more. Use them on their own or combine scents to make your own unique fragrance blend.

One glowing review: “I made candles for the first time ever and these were an excellent choice for the fragrances! They add great scent into the candles and aren't too overwhelming at all!”

You May Also Like: This Candle-Making Set

This candle-making kit includes almost everything you need to get started — all you need is your favorite fragrance. The set includes a durable stainless steel pouring pot and stirring spoon, 12.4 ounces of soy wax, 50 cotton candle wicks with adhesives, and two wick centering devices. The handy kit has earned more than 1,900 five-star reviews from candle enthusiasts on Amazon.

One glowing review: “This is a great set for beginners. I had never made a candle before and was able to make a couple relatively easily on my first try. All I needed that wasn't included was holders (jars/tins) and scent.”

Studies referenced:

Api A. M. (2001). Toxicological profile of diethyl phthalate: a vehicle for fragrance and cosmetic ingredients. Food and chemical toxicology: an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 39(2), 97–108. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0278-6915(00)00124-1