How to make your house smell like a very expensive spa

Aromatherapy candle
Scent can powerfully and positively enhance our mood and wellbeing – that’s why it’s called aroma-therapy. Discover what aromatherapy is, how it’s used, and how to turn your house into an aromatherapy sanctuary with scented candles

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic essential oils – natural plant extracts –  to improve the health of body, mind, emotions and spirit. The ancient healing art of aromatherapy goes back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, Japan and China, with aromatic plant compounds used in oils and balms, as perfumes, for effect on mood, for medicinal benefits, and in ancient rituals and sacred ceremonies. 

Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell – such as scented candles, incense, diffusers, room sprays and bath oils and salts – and absorption through skin, such as body oil, body lotion, massage oil, balms, hair masks and face masks. Different flower and plant fragrances create different moods and have different effects on our mental and emotional wellbeing, so as well as choosing a scent you like it’s worth learning a little about these different effects.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are extracted from plants and are very concentrated, so have a stronger smell than the whole plant and contain higher levels of active ingredients. The oil is extracted by distillation (passing steam or water through the plant to pull out essential compounds) or cold pressing (mechanically pressing or squeezing plant matter to release its oils or juice). 

What to look for in aromatherapy candles

Why do some candles smell more expensive than others? How do luxury spas and hotels create a signature fragrance that subtly but unmistakably pervades the air and marks them out as luxury, helping to create a sense of place and a deeper sensory experience for guests?

Exclusive spas, hotel and perfume houses know that it has to be a distinctive and unique blend, unlike anyone else’s, and that creating this takes a long of time and specialist expertise to develop. When it comes to scented candles, you get what you pay for. 

Aromatherapy essential oils

The first consideration is the essential oils. The fragrance is the most expensive material in the candle, and to get a deep, lasting fragrance, scented candles need a lot of essential oil. 

Candles with a weak smell usually don’t contain enough essential oil, as using less keeps the cost of manufacture lower. Fragrances can also be synthetically made, and generally these are cheaper (and smell cheaper) than high-quality essential oils. The cheap, synthetically scented candles from high street retailers don’t permeate the room as well or last as long as expensive scented candles that contain pure essential oils. 

Notes: the layers of the fragrance

Then there are the notes: top, middle and base – the layers that make up the fragrance. Top notes are the aromas you smell first, the lightest and most volatile, which evaporate quickly. They’re often fresh, citrus-y or herby.

Middle notes are the heart of the fragrance and emerge after ten to 20 minutes. They’re the most prominent notes in a burning candle, creating 40-80% of the aroma. They are pleasant, well-rounded scents such as rose, ylang ylang, neroli, lemongrass, pine and black pepper.

Base notes give a candle its deeper, lasting qualities. They’re smooth, rich aromas such as musk, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood and vanilla. They come through after the top notes have evaporated, and linger after the candle has been blown out.  

Candle wax blends

Next, the wax blends. When a scented candle is lit, the wax melts, vaporises and combusts, which produces heat and light. Many types of oil can be turned into a wax, with differing effects. 

Paraffin wax gives a strong fragrance, is cheap and is used by mass-market brands. It is not an environmentally friendly choice because it’s a petroleum byproduct and the mining and production of crude oil has destroyed the natural habitats of endangered animals and plants and caused oil spills. It is toxic for health as it releases multiple harmful chemicals into the air.

Soy wax can have the longest burn time, but is also ecologically unsound because of industrial-scale deforestation, soil erosion and the use of pesticides and fertilisers in the soybean industry. Plus, soy candles may contain bleach, paraffin, dye and synthetic fragrance.

Natural candle waxes such as beeswax, coconut wax, rapeseed and other and plant/vegetable waxes are safer and release the lowest amount of potentially dangerous chemicals. Beeswax is natural, chemical-free and non-toxic, naturally made and processed.

We use a combination of organic wild African beeswax, organic Sri Lankan coconut oil, organic sesame oil, organic olive oil and organic hemp oil. Our blends were developed by hand by our founder, Jess, during a year of research and testing at her kitchen table in Hackney. She has created the perfect wax blend, wick and essential oil combinations to give the best throw (how far the scent extends) and be safe for skin (Lune and Gaia are massage candles as well as aromatherapy candles). 

The throw

Lastly, the throw. This is the distance the fragrance spreads and fills the air. The wax, oils, candle design and position all affect the throw. The better quality the wax, the better the throw. Candles made with pure, high-quality essential oils have a wider, more even throw than candles made with cheap, watered-down essential oils. Candles designed to create a wider wax pool on the top – i.e. wider containers or more than one wick – have a wider throw. If a candle is placed in a space with good natural air flow or a fan, the movement of air will carry the scent. 

Aromatherapy benefits of Sacred Space organic candles

We have created our first range of luxury organic candles to bring the ancient healing art of aromatherapy into your home. Our oils are the highest quality essential oils and are certified organic by the Soil Association. Our founder Jess Ince and wild herbalist Jane Wallwork (The Exmoor Herbalist) worked together for a year to alchemise three fragrances that smell completely unique and are multi-layered, lasting and fill the room with their plant power and energetic resonance.

These are the wellbeing benefits of the aromatherapy oils in our candles.

Solaris: our sun candle – uplifing + refreshing

With its fragrant elemental energies, our uplifting sun candle evokes harvest time, fruition, heat and passion. It contains essential oils of mandarin, petitgrain, black pepper, cinnamon,, atlas cedarwood, myrrh  and frankincense.

Mandarin: A sweet, fresh and citrusy top note. Uplifting, calming, positive mood, brings happiness, peace, love and acceptance.

Petitgrain: A top to middle note. For relaxation, mental harmony, comfort, easing stress.

Black pepper: A spicy middle note. Improves mood, soothes nerves, reduces anxiety.

Cinnamon: A warm, sweet, spicy middle note. Invigorating, stimulates mental energy, helps fatigue.

Atlas cedarwood: A sweet top note and woody base note. Grounding, calming, combats negativity, 

Myrrh: A spicy, woody, earthy middle/base note. Grounding, lifts the mood, encourages acceptance spiritual awakening.

Frankincense: A sweet, spicy, woody base note. Reduces stress, improves concentration and memory.

Read more and shop Solaris.

Lune: our moon candle – relaxing + dreamy

Lune creates a calming mood that leads you into dream space and sleep, and nurtures your heart. It contains organic essential oils of jasmine, ylang ylang, palmarosa, elemi (wild grown), rose geranium, patchouli, atlas cedarwood and labdanum.

Atlas cedarwood: A sweet top note and woody base note. Grounding, calming, combats negativity.

Jasmine (non-organic): A floral middle note. Brings positivity, increases intuition and wisdom, calms body, mind and soul.

Yang ylang: A floral middle note. Soothing, calms anxiety, can help sleep, enhances memory. 

Palmarosa: A rosy, citrusy middle note. Relaxing, soothes grief and emotional wounds. Opens the heart to love.

Rose geranium: A sweet, floral middle note. Relaxing, lifts the spirits, calms nerves and anxiety. 

Elemi: A fresh, citrusy, spicy middle note. Grounding, instills peace, helps nervous exhaustion. 

Labdanum: A warm, sweet, musky/amber middle note. Calming, lifts mood, reduces stress, increases spiritual awareness, helps meditation.

Patchouli: A spicy, woody base note. Grounding, emotionally balancing, calming, relaxes body and brain.

Read more and shop Lune.

Gaia: our earth candle – grounding + balancing

Stabilising oils of lavender and immortelle soothe your heart and root you in the present, with gentle florals to refresh and uplift. It contains essential oils of mandarin, rose geranium, lavender, immortelle, Roman chamomile.

Mandarin: A sweet, fresh and citrusy top note. Uplifting, calming, positive mood, brings happiness, peace, love and acceptance.

Lavender: A floral, herbaceous top/middle note. Relaxing, calms body, mind and nerves, improves sleep, promotes consciousness, health, love and peace.

Rose geranium: A sweet, floral middle note. Lifts the spirits, calms nerves, clarifies thoughts, helps recovery from exhaustion. 

Immortelle: A sweet, spicy, herby middle note. Helps sleep, stress, uplifts the subconscious, allows forgiveness and transformation

Roman chamomile: A floral middle note. Soothing, peaceful, helps sleep, reduces irritability, eases anxiety, soothes the soul.

Read more and shop Gaia.

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