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why i focus on using botanically based scent over synthetic

Written by Alauna Whelan

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Having spent most of 2021 (and 2020) working on developing new candle formulas, I've had to explore all sorts of scent options.

Back when I first started making candles, I knew I wanted to be botanically based.

I've been thinking a lot about why I chose to do that - it wasn't necessarily a choice, it was more a necessity.

I tried a few fragrance oils out when I first ventured into candle making but they resulted in headaches. I know now that not all fragrance oils are created equal.

collection of soy candles topped with crystals and herbs on silver table

I've discovered that I can tolerate and even enjoy some high quality fragrance oils. I've been experimenting with natural floral waxes (read my recent blog post about them here), natural isolates, nature identical, and even a few fragrance oils in some of the new candle formulas I'm developing. 

Having worked with essential oils and natural essences for over a decade, I love how complex and nuanced they are. You never quite know how they will interact when blended together. They always have a depth that synthetics lack. I find that working with plant essences is deeply healing and ancestral. It keeps me connected to the natural world.

spring equinox ritual candle on wicker table with fresh roses

I don't think naturals are better than synthetics - they are simply the materials I'm most comfortable working with! Since I have to work with these materials day in and day out, I have to ensure that I can do that. If some fragrances result in migraines, those aren't materials I can use.

Focusing on botanical scents has allow others who are scent sensitive to enjoy scented items. I've been told by countless customers how wonderful and joyful it has been to reconnect with scent without having an adverse reaction.

soy intention candles and tealights cooling on workshop counter

I love formulating and experimenting - which is a good trait to have! Botanically based candles require much more testing and the material cost is higher. In some instances, natural isn't an option. For instance vanilla is in very short supply but even if it was readily available it doesn't bond with wax. I've been testing both a vanilla natural isolate and fragrance oil with good results.

I've come to realize that my candles are special because they provide a quiet, soft ambiance - in both mood and scent. They are not overpowering. They are not intended to fill the house with smell. They are meant to be a gentle prayer, a warm hug, and a comforting reminder of the present moment. They are an opportunity to connect with nature and in doing so connect with our own inner landscape.

I look forward to sharing the new blends! Make sure to sign up for my emails to be notified when new scents are released.