Here are some commonly-asked questions and some answers to them that you'll hopefully find useful!

Q: What does "fragrance notes" mean? What are top, heart/middle, and base notes?

A: In fragrance, "notes" are the individual layers of scent that make up the finished product. Single "simple" aromas like vanilla, lavender, and amber are all notes that combine in a fragrance blend. Notes are divided into three categories (head/heart/base or top/middle/base) to describe the development of a scent over time.

Top notes are what you smell first, such as when you open the lid on a candle or first apply a perfume. These notes tend to be stronger and fade relatively quickly. Common top notes are citrus and herbs. 

Heart notes are so-called because they are the heart (the middle, or the core) of a fragrance blend. These notes make up the bulk of the scent experience, become noticeable as the top notes begin to fade, and are typically not as aggressive as top notes can be. In candles, the heart notes are most of what you'll smell as the candle is burning. Common heart notes are florals such as rose and lavender, green scents like ylang ylang and lemongrass, or spices like cinnamon.

Base notes are the lingering end of a scent and represent the final stage of development. They typically don't become noticeable until at least half an hour of burn time. Most base notes are described as "rich" and provide depth to the overall fragrance. Common base notes include amber, musk, and tonka bean.

Q: What is scent throw?

A: Scent throw refers to the scent being put out by the candle or wax melt. "Cold throw" refers to what you can smell when the wax is cold/unmelted, and "hot throw" refers to what you can smell when the wax is melted. Poor cold or hot throw means you can't detect much, if any fragrance.

Q: What do I do with empty candle containers? How can I get rid of excess wax?

A: Containers of all types can be reused, especially glass, ceramic, and stone jars, which make excellent pencil holders and can simply be displayed somewhere in the home if you like them enough! Tins can be reused for storage of small items (but shouldn't be used for food). If you don't want to hang onto your empty containers, they can be thrown away and in some cases recycled. Check recycling centers in your area to see if they accept the materials used in these containers.

If you just have a little bit of wax left in a container and want to get it out, put it in the freezer for a bit. Once the wax gets sufficiently cold, it should become more brittle, and can be lightly chipped out of the container. Wicks are adhered with a special sticker and can be carefully pulled off the bottom of the container. If you're having trouble cleaning out a container, pop me an email and I'll be happy to help you find a solution.

Q: Why don't you only use all-natural waxes? Isn't paraffin toxic and bad for the environment?

A: The short answer is that I find natural/paraffin blends the easiest to work with and find that I get the best look and scent throw with them, and that paraffin wax is not inherently toxic or actively harmful to the environment-- or at least not more so than any other wax product.

The long answer: natural waxes, and soy in particular, are notorious for being difficult to work with; many makers struggle to get nice smooth tops on their candles and get satisfactory scent throw. Personally, I was frustrated by the finish of soy wax more than the performance, and have used vegetable waxes that I very much enjoyed (coconut and apricot-coconut blends especially), but paraffin/soy, or simply parasoy, has given me the best ease of use and the best scent results. I'm not at all opposed to natural waxes, and am likely to switch to them in the near future due to the rising costs of my usual waxes, but in general it's just about how easy it is for me to work with and how well it performs for my customers. 

100% paraffin waxes are likewise very difficult for me personally to use efficiently, and I don't like the look and feel of my finished products when I use straight paraffin, so I choose not to use them.

There's a lot of conflicting information out there about natural waxes vs paraffin wax, and I highly encourage you to do research on your own.

Here are my takes-- these are my own opinions, formed after significant research on the soy vs paraffin debate.

  • Paraffin wax doesn't inherently produce more soot than soy or other natural waxes, nor are natural waxes "soot-free." All flames produce soot. Natural waxes often produce lighter soot that is harder to see. 
  • There is little to no credible evidence that melting paraffin wax in the form of candles or wax melts is harmful to humans or animals. 
  • It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for chandlers to make a truly eco-friendly and/or vegan product.
    • Paraffin is petroleum-based, and we're all familiar with how the petroleum industry has damaged the planet. However, paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct, which means it actually reduces the overall amount of waste by using material that would otherwise be discarded. Not quite a net zero, but nobody is drilling for oil specifically to make candles.
    • Soy and other natural waxes are made from plant products, and in many cases we'll be looking at problematic agricultural practices in terms of labor, deforestation, pesticides, etc. The process of making wax in quantity, natural or otherwise, is an industrial one, and unless one is rendering their own humanely-harvested beeswax, there's no real way for a single creator to use materials that are not somehow damaging to the environment somewhere along the line. 

All of this said, I do take as many measures as I can to minimize my environmental impact in my products, including:

  • When using glitter, I only use biodegradable, plant-based glitters that use materials that are both sustainable and ethically harvested, and have been tested to biodegrade in wastewater environments within 5 years. I don't use any glitter that I cannot verify the composition of.
  • I do not use palm wax, palm oil, or any other palm products. The palm industry is one of the most actively harmful at this point in time, and deforestation for palm harvesting is happening at an alarming rate-- in terms of urgency, it far outstrips any concerns I might have with either paraffin or other plant products. 
  • I use recyclable and post-consumer packaging whenever possible.

Q: I have another question that isn't answered here! Can you answer it?

A: Maybe! If you have a particularly burning question, slide me an email and I'll see what I can do!