When making scented candles, using high quality scented oil is key to creating a strong aroma. Each of the best scented candle oils on this list are not only available in many fragrances, but also meet the safety standards of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), which tests ingredients used to make fragrances and sets industry guidelines for their use.
When it comes to making candles, there is a difference between scented oils and essential oils. Although some brands and DIY candle makers use essential oils, they don’t create a strong scent on their own. On the other hand, fragrance oils are made from synthetic and natural ingredients that help them bond with candle wax. When added at the right temperature, the scent won’t burn during the candle making process. Unlike essential oils, scented oils create a hot throw, so candles release scent when burned.
For safety reasons, the following oils comply with IFRA standards, which are scientifically supported and monitored by a group of experts. Some options include phthalates, a group of chemicals used in personal care products to carry fragrances. It is important to note that diethyl phthalate (DEP), the type used in fragrances, is generally considered safe. However, if you don’t want to use them, I’ve listed below which options are phthalate-free.
Before making candles, you should calculate the fragrance load (the percentage of the scent a wax can contain). Most wax suppliers state this on the label. However, if you’re not sure, stick with 5 or 6%. This calculator can also help you determine the correct odor exposure for your project. And while it’s a specification that’s not always listed, some brands give the oil’s flash point, which is the temperature at which it can ignite if exposed to an open flame. Keeping the fragrance load in a normal range will prevent the oil from burning at its flash point during candle making.
Read on for the best scented oils for candles, grouped by scent profile below.
Flowers & Tropical
1. A set with jasmine, rose & more
This floral fragrance oil set contains six fragrances – Gardenia, Freesia, Lilac, Violet, Rose and Jasmine – and each oil has a highly concentrated formula for the richest bouquet. This set has received more than 3,600 five-star reviews on Amazon, but the brand has dozens of other collections including bakeries, tropical, and nature-inspired.
A glowing review: “I love all fragrances, but lilac is my favorite! They came well packaged in nice [little] Bottles with a plastic stopper that controls the flow rate so there is no waste. They smell very natural – not an artificial or “perfumed” smell – it’s 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 mixed together for a unique fragrance. The Tahitian vanilla oil smells of tropical flowers, while the coconut cream oil contains notes of burnt sugar, cinnamon and peach. It’s a popular and affordable set with 1,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon.
A glowing review: “That is amazing quality and good value for money. The smell is soooo good! I mixed the two together and I feel like I’m on the beach. I also like it when they’re apart. “
3. This amber mix with hints of citrus and vanilla
Starting from a vanilla and powder base, this dragon’s blood scented oil is infused with a mixture of amber and floral notes, including patchouli, rose, jasmine and a hint of citrus. The multi-layered formula has received more than 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon and is also available in a smaller 10 milliliter size. This brand also has many other rich scents, including fruity Adriatic figs and delicious chocolate.
A glowing review: “This is the real stuff. The scent I remember when I was younger and had incense. Dragon blood smells very exotic and sensual. A very deep amber, woody, spicy fragrance. You can really smell the patchouli too. This oil is very strong and concentrated […] The oil itself differs from the other fragrance oils I have in that it is deep brown in color and the consistency seems to be heavier. “
4. A range of oils with relaxing scents
The scents in this soothing oil set will help you create relaxing candlelit vibrations with scents inspired by nature. The six earthy scents include lavender chamomile, ylang ylang, mountain rain, ocean breeze, eucalyptus, and sandalwood. The brand also makes additional inspired sets like Island Getaway, Woodsy and Mysterious.
A glowing review: “[Exactly] what i was looking for! I got these to add fragrance to my candles and they smell amazing. ”
5. An energizing citrus blend
If you’re looking for an invigorating option, this energizing scented oil mixes the scent of California lemon with orange sweet oil. This oil is also supplied in a generous 60 milliliter bottle. Other fragrances available in this hard-to-find size are Rose, Amazing Grace (a fresh floral scent), and Clean Cotton.
A glowing review: “[Citrus-y] more on the lemon side, and the dash of orange blossom makes it very complex and enjoyable. “
6. The scent inspired by a fan favorite body mist
This highly rated scented oil with citrus top notes blended with melon, apple, kiwi and jasmine was inspired by the scent of Victoria’s Secret’s classic Love Spell body mist. The brand also offers other fragrant blends such as tropical coconut-lime-verbena and warm tobacco-vanilla.
A glowing review: “I loved this fragrance as a body spray and I was hoping it would make a great candle scent. I was absolutely amazed that my house smelled so good. “
7. Those food-inspired fragrance oils that smell so delicious
Make candles that smell of your favorite snacks with these highly concentrated fragrance oils from NatureAnne. In addition to Lemon Pound Cake, the brand also makes more than a dozen other fragrances, including some that foodies will love. For example: Fruit Loops, Almond Biscotti, and Apple Cider Donut.
A glowing review: “I love the smell of this premium lemon poundcake. It works very well with our candles that we make. ”
8. These vacation-themed oils that will put you on your mind
When the festive season comes, these holiday spice scents can make your home extra cozy – and they’re perfect for making DIY Christmas gift candles. The set contains six concentrated fragrance oils: Cinnamon-Orange-Clove, Merry Mistletoe, Cranberry-Spice, Sexy Cinnamon-Clove, Cozy Cottage as well as chestnuts and brown sugar.
A glowing review: “Love them! Cozy little house is by far my favorite, makes our house smell like holidays.”
9. A Halloween collection with your favorite autumn fragrances
This set of highly concentrated perfume oils brings out the favorite fragrances of autumn, including candy corn, autumn wreath, pumpkin pie, marshmallow, night air and caramel corn. With fragrances like this, it’s no surprise that this mix of sweet and flavorful scents has garnered more than 1,700 five-star reviews on Amazon.
A glowing review: “I bought these to make some scary candles for Halloween and loved it […] I honestly will never buy scents for candles from another company again, P&J is hands down the best and I love all of their different sets (I have 6 now)! “
10. A set of 14 oils suitable for all seasons
This set from P&J Trading contains the brand’s most popular fragrances with options for every season. The range of fragrances includes lilac, vanilla, peppermint, Scots pine, fresh cotton and much more. Use them alone or combine fragrances to create your own unique fragrance blend.
A glowing review: “It was my first time making candles and these were an excellent choice for the fragrances! They give the candles a great scent and are not too overwhelming at all! “
You Might Also Like: This Candle Making Set
This candle making kit contains almost everything you need to get started – all you need is your favorite fragrance. The kit includes a durable stainless steel ladle and mixing spoon, 12.4 ounces of soy wax, 50 cotton candle wicks with glue, and two wick centerers. The handy kit has received more than 1,900 five-star reviews from candle aficionados on Amazon.
A glowing review: “This is a great set for beginners. I had never made a candle before and could make a pair with relative ease on my first try. All I needed that wasn’t included were holders (glasses / cans) and fragrance. “
Studies to which reference is made:
Api AM (2001). Toxicological profile of diethyl phthalate: a vehicle for fragrances 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