Maybe you don’t spend $200 in candles like I used to. Maybe you spend half of that or even a quarter. The fact is that you’re spending your hard earned money on candles that you can’t seem to get long lasting scent from.
Half way through the candle, the scent is like a balloon that’s hissed all the air out. Scent slowly vanishes from the candle and you’re left with half a jar of putrid wax just sitting there.
You’re wondering what's going on with that, right?
Why is it that you can’t seem to get those popular mass branded candles to maintain their scent throughout the entire burn?
Some people believe that when it happens to them, it’s just that one candle or batch.
Then they go buy another one.
They stop buying the candles and move to the wax melts and get that nice scent, but...
Still no long lasting scent.
How do you explain why you can’t get these candles to pump out the same vigorous scent that they did when you first smelled them?
Many candle companies imply that something as small as keeping your candle covered
Yes, that’s right.
It’s your fault if you pay $30 for a candle and you can’t smell it after you’ve burned it halfway through.
According to Yankee Candle, if you cover the candle with a lid when you’re not using it, it allows less scent to evaporate from the candle, thus keeping the scent in for a longer burn time.
Don’t believe me?
Some people actually believe that it IS their fault when their candles lose scent, so they slap that lid on just before the wax in the jar completely solidifies (they want to make sure that scent doesn’t have any chance of getting out of that jar).
Others might be asking,
“So why is it when I put a lid on my candle and go to burn it a month later, I still can’t smell that same strength?”
A lot of people still find that using a lid isn’t quite as helpful as they’d like. They still end up with weak scent midway through their candle.
“But I could smell the candle so well in the store! Why is it that when I come home and burn it, it’s not the same?”
I’ll get to that.
But First, A Personal Story.
I was once a huge YC fan. So one day, around midday, I walk into one of their mall stores (the aroma of the scents caught me on my way to Macy’s and drew me in). Once I was in, it was like I could imagine what my house would smell like, and I was seriously loving it!
I picked out a few scents and headed toward the counter to make my purchase when I noticed the candle they were burning on the front counter. It was Macintosh Apple. It was only about a quarter of the way burned.
I loved that candle. In fact, it was one of my favorites from their ‘always in stock’ collection. I bought it that day.
Another day, I walked into a completely different Yankee Candle location. It was a larger mall store.
This time, when I made my purchase, I noticed the jar that was burned. It, also, looked like a recently burned candle. I thought nothing of it.
By the third time I visited one of their stores (the first store I went to), I noticed a third candle that looked like it had been burning for a few hours, nowhere near the half mark. I started to think about that.
The fourth time I visited a store, I made it a point to look at the candle burning up front. And what did I find?
Once again, a candle that was burning about a quarter of the way through.
Here’s what I noticed:
- In a span of about five months, all of the Yankee Candles that I saw burned in the store were nowhere near the half mark.
- Each time I bought a candle, I got terrific scent as far down as halfway through the candle, then it fizzled away to nothing.
- When I covered the candle during the time I wasn’t burning it, the candle maintained its scent throw, but only up to around the middle of the candle.
What Does This Mean?
Let’s look at this for a minute.
Now, I’m not claiming that this is the case in all of YC stores, but my experience in three completely different stores over a period of 5 months showed me that Yankee isn’t burning candles beyond the half point.
Why would this be?
Scientifically speaking, the top notes of fragrance are the most volatile or the most “explosive” into the air. So, you get a whiff of these notes first because they’re the strongest.
The top notes evaporate into the air and you start to get the middle notes of the candle’s fragrance. These last a bit longer and fade into the bottom or base notes, which hold it down (so to speak).
Yes, I said base notes HOLD IT DOWN. Base notes are steady and add depth to the fragrance, leaving you with long lasting aroma in the air.
But these notes are not all in the top of the candle. You’ll get these notes the longer the candle burns.
You use more top notes in the fragrance of your candle to create a scent that appears to be strong for a short period of time (or until the top note evaporates).
Hmmm. Could that say something?
If the top notes are the strongest notes that come at you when you first burn a candle. It’s not going to be long before that volatile scent evaporates into the air and you get the middle notes.
So how, then, could it be possible for a candle, that you can smell for hours, to lose its scent after 30 minutes?
According to fragrance chemistry, you can expect the top notes of fragrance to start to dissipate within about 30 minutes into burning a scented candle.
While the top notes are making their statement, the middle and base notes are also blending in with them so that you get a whiff of all three simultaneously, only the top notes are the most prevalent.
So this is why a candle’s scent would still be pretty strong even after that 30 minutes, and then the middle notes take over as the top starts to fade.
So you may, now, wonder, “If I can smell the candle for about 4 or 5 hours, and you’re saying I get all three notes at the same time, how is the scent fading?”
Here’s another thing about top notes.
Top notes are the cheapest fragrances used in a candle because they’re composed of compounds that are made of small molecules that quickly evaporate.
If your scent is fading halfway through your candle, a couple of things could be happening:
- Your candle is composed of more top notes and middle notes and is missing the necessary bottom notes to help it stick (known as linear scents),
- Your candle was poorly made with fragrances that did not properly bind to the wax
In The First Case…
You’ll get those wonderful top notes that quickly become middle notes and give you about a good 5 or so hours of strong scent.
If a base note doesn’t exist, there’s nothing with depth to hold the scent so that it will linger once the others have faded.
In the Second Case…
Candle fragrances need to be added at the proper temperature so that they can bind, properly, to the wax.
They also, have to be mixed while at that temperature to ensure even distribution of fragrance to wax.
You might already see that if your candle is made with fragrance oils that did not bind to the wax properly, the wax will not have scent throughout the candle.
If the mixer ain’t properly mixing the fragrances in the hot wax so that all of the wax is binding to it, then you’re going to end up with wax that’s not scented throughout the entire candle.
Huge manufacturing processes can run into this issue. (I talk about that a little more here.)
So, does fragrance oil actually evaporate from uncovered candles?
Yes, but at a really slow process, depending on various factors. So the likelihood of your candle losing scent in a month, just because it’s not covered, is pretty slim.
To Sum It All Up...
Candles lose their scent for two main reasons:
They’re cheaply made
They’re poorly made
While $30 for a 22-ounce candle really is a cheap price for a candle, if you think you should be getting more for your money, you’ll likely want to go with an option that’s a little more ‘high end,’ or even a handmade option that gives you a better made candle.
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