Candles & Wax Melts | Crafts | Gifts

The Best Fragrance Oils for Candles (That Actually Smell Good!)

A curated list of the best fragrance oils for candles to make your home smell amazing!

Ever since I began making candles, I’ve been on a mission to find fragrance oils that actually smell good and have a good scent throw.

I do have a sensitive nose, but I was surprised at how many of the fragrance oils I tried had stinky chemical odors and didn’t resemble the natural ingredients they were supposed to at all.

After trying many, many different brands and hundreds of scents, I finally have a list of winners. And I’ll continue to add to this list as I test more fragrances.

Fragrance Oils vs. Essential Oils in Candles

When I first began making candles, I was excited to make all-natural candles with essential oils.

But after wasting A LOT of expensive essential oils, here’s the conclusion I came to: You can pour as many essential oils as you want into your candle wax, but you’ll just be wasting your expensive oils.

The heat from the candle flame breaks down the essential oils (and so does the heat used in the candle-making process). Bottom line: It’s just not a good use of essential oils, and it’s not an effective way to scent your home either.

Natural Fragrance Oils for Candles

BUT. And this is a big but. You can get all-natural candle fragrance oils that are made entirely from plants. My favorite brand of natural fragrance oils is Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.), and I’ll list a lot of my favorite scents from them below. But this post is not sponsored and I’m only sharing my own honest opinions.

2 fragrance discovery kits with 10 bottles each of candle fragrance oils from The Wooden Wick Company

When I was first starting my candle making journey, I just assumed that fragrance oils from companies with names like “Plant Guru,” or “Essentials” would have all natural ingredients.

Not so, and it can be difficult to find lists of ingredients. But you should assume that any fragrance oils that don’t specifically claim to be naturally derived are chemical-based, even if they have natural-sounding names.

How to Make Candles

Making scented candles is fun and easy. This quick-start tutorial will tell you everything you need to know, and the basic recipe will work with any of the fragrance oils in this post. I’ll also include links to individual recipes and projects as we go.

How to Make Soy Candles: A Beginner’s Guide

overhead view of glowing soy candles on a white background

If you want to take a deeper dive into the best candle waxes, wick types, containers, and wax dyes, this post will answer all your questions:

How to Make Candles: A Beginner’s Guide

hot candle wax being poured into candle tins with wicks and wick holders in place

How to Make Wax Melts

I also love to make scented wax melts! These make perfect gifts and I like to pair them with an inexpensive wax warmer in a gift basket.

That’s what everyone is getting for Christmas this year. Shhhhh!

Check out the simple tutorial below for DIY wax melts. You can use this recipe with any of the fragrance oils listed below.

How to Make Wax Melts: Everything You Need to Know

Common Candle Fragrance Mistakes

If the fragrance coming off your DIY scented candles is underwhelming, this article has my best troubleshooting tips: How to Make Candles Smell Stronger: 6 Tips for Great Scent Throw

Candle Fragrance Oils

Now, on to the best candle fragrance oils I’ve found for each season and occasion…

Fall Fragrances

Autumn scents are an important part of the Fall experience, from pumpkin spice to cinnamon & clove, to apples & chai tea. I’ve tested several new Fall fragrances this year and added them to this list.

And of course a few of these scents could be great for Christmastime too.

Spiced Pear & Whiskey

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) This is probably my very favorite Fall scent. You can see it in this scented soy candle tutorial. This one would be great for Christmas time too!

diy scented candles with spiced pear fragrance oil and pears

Pumpkin & Persimmon

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) This is the best pumpkin spice fragrance I’ve found. And trust me, I’ve tried A LOT of them! Here’s my recipe for DIY Pumpkin Spice Wax Melts.

orange gummy bear shaped wax melts with a bottle of Pumpkin & Persimmon candle fragrance oil from The Wooden Wick Co., pumpkins, and cinnamon sticks

Pumpkin Harvest

From Nature’s Oil This is another nice pumpkin spice-type fragrance.

hand holding a small bottle of Pumpkin Harvest fragrance oil for candles from Nature's Oil

Here’s the tutorial for the Fall scented candle below using Pumpkin Harvest.

large orange 3 wick candle made with Pumpkin Harvest fragrance oil burning with pumpkins and cinnamon sticks

Maple Chai & Sweet Cream

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) This one reminds me of something sweet and freshly baked.

Apple Rind & Cinnamon

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) This one is a lovely classic apple cider scent!

apple cider scented fragrance oil in front of fall leaf-shaped wax melts

Christmas & Holiday Fragrance Oils

This is where it all began- me trying to find a convincing Christmas tree scent to make scented candles. I was trying to make up for the fact that I finally got a fake tree last year. I’ve tested at least 9 different fir and tree scents trying to find the perfect fresh cut tree scent.

And then as I was testing more oils this year, a giant fir tree came crashing through my roof during a wind storm! It turns out THAT is the way to get your house to smell like a Christmas tree. But I digress.

I’ve come to the conclusion that you really can’t beat the real thing. But these three candle fragrance oils are the closest I’ve found.

Cloudberry & Balsam

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

Christmas tree scented candle with a bottle of Cloudberry & Balsam candle fragrance oil

Juniper Spruce & Balsam Fir

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

Juniper Spruce & Balsam Fir scented candle burning with fir boughs in the background

Tree Sap & Fir

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

close up of green and white Christmas tree shaped max melts  using Tree Sap & Fir candle fragrance oil

Peppermint Swirl

From Nature’s Oil. This nice strong peppermint scent is perfect for Christmas time!

large soy candle in a jar with wood wicks and candycane pieces embedded in it, scented with Peppermint fragrance oil for candles

Candied Citrus Peel

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

overhead view of white soy candles scented with with Candied Citrus Peel fragrance Oil and bits of orange peel, dried orange slices, and cinnamon sticks

Warm Gingerbread & Masala Chai

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

Raw Cinnamon & Clove

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

Floral Scents

I honestly didn’t think I liked very many floral scents until I got Makesy’s Floral Fragrance Discovery Kit. There are a lot of lovely subtle scents in there that don’t remind me of stinky 90’s potpourri at all! Here are a few of my favorites thus far:

silicone wax melt mold with 6 different varieties of floral scented wax melts and dried flower petals

Lilac & Mimosa

From Makesy I just discovered this lovely floral scent. I’ve used it to make room spray, and plan to use it in a candle next. This is my favorite of the floral fragrance oils so far!

Lavender Leaf & Balsam

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

wax melts with dried lavender flowers embedded in them scented with Lavender Leaf & Balsam fragrance oil for candles, from The Wooden Wick Co.

Star Jasmine & Santal

From Makesy

natural soy wax melts with dried jasmine flowers scented with Star Jasmine & Santal Fragrance oil for candles

Orchid & Black Amber

From Makesy

purple flower-shaped wax melts made with Orchid & Black Amber fragrance oil from The Wooden Wick Co.

Fruity & Tropical Fragrances

Pink Sands

From Candle Lynn on Etsy. This is probably my all-time favorite candle scent! It transports me to a spa at a Caribbean beachside resort, and it’s a very convincing copycat for Yankee Candle’s Pink Sands. You can see the recipe for these Pink Sands Wax Melts below:

wood cutting board covered in bright pink flamingo-shaped wax melts made with Pink Sands fragrance oil

Tangerine & Peach Tea

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) This one is nice and fruity, yet authentic and sophisticated.

light orange gummy bear shaped wax melts with a bottle of Tangering & Peach Tea fragrance oil

Muskmellon & Strawberry Bellini

From Makesy

small bottle of muskmelon & strawberry bellini candle fragrance oil with strawberry shaped soy wax melts

Calamansi & Tangerine Blossom

from Makesy

Beachy Scents

Sun Lotion & Sea Breeze

From Makesy

blue ombre scented candle with sun lotion & sea breeze fragrance oil

Citrus & Herbal Scents

Lemon Verbena & Thyme

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) I really love this fresh clean scent in the kitchen! Or actually anywhere, and I just ordered a big bottle of it.

natural soy wax melts made with Lemon Verbena & Thyme candle fragrance oil from Makesy. and a lemon

Sweet Citrus & Tonka Bean

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.) What is a tonka bean, you ask? I had to look it up too, and I’m still not exactly certain. But they sure smell good!

Citronella Fragrance Oils

Last summer I was determined to make effective mosquito-repelling citronella candles for my outdoor living spaces. These oils are the winners from my experiments:

Bug Off

From Nature’s Oil

hot wax being poured into a votive candle jar to make a DIY citronella candle

Citron & Camphor

From Makesy

DIY citronella candles burning on a patio table

Fresh Laundry Fragrance Oils

Who doesn’t love the smell of clean laundry? These fresh linen scents are perfect for candles, wax melts, and DIY room spray!

Washed Linens & Clean Musk

From Makesy

Luxury Fragrance Oils For Candles

Vanilla & Cashmere

From Makesy (formerly The Wooden Wick Co.)

bottle of Cashmere & Vanilla candle fragrance oil with heart-shaped soy wax melts & a heart silicone wax mold

I know I’ll have many more great scents to add to this list now that I’ve discovered a few great fragrance oil companies. I hope this helps you find fragrances you love for your DIY candles and wax melts too!

Fragrance Oil for Beeswax Candles

Bee Balm & Coco de Mer

Yellow beeswax has its own natural scent, so people often make beeswax candles without adding any fragrance oil. But this amazing fragrance enhances the beeswax scent and I love it! This is a great one for Fall and Winter. Here’s my tutorial for beeswax candles and here a tutorial for beeswax wax melts using this candle scent.

More DIY Candles & Wax Melts…

No More Ugly Candle Tops!

What is The Best Wax for Candles? Soy vs. Beeswax vs. Paraffin

The Best Candle Jars & Tins & Where To Get Them

rows of candle jars

The Best Wax Melt Molds For Every Occasion

collage of silicone wax melt molds in different shapes and sizes

How to Make Candles: A Beginner’s Guide

The Best Wax Melters On A Budget

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    1. Hi, thanks for asking! I just got beeswax to experiment and will let you know. From what I’ve read I think it should work, but do know that beeswax has a little bit of its own fragrance, unlike soy wax or paraffin. So my guess is it will go really well with some fragrance oils, and not quite as well with others. Update coming very soon!

  1. Thanks for this post, Jess. It was super helpful! I’ll be doing my own candles after 15 years! Wish me luck 🙂

      1. There are many of them. Little Bee Scents, Stone Candles, Midwest Fragrance Company, Sixteen Seventeen, Brambleberry, Hive and Honey Candle Co and Maryland Wax Club to name a few.

  2. i have been making candles too and really appreciated finding your site. Anything that helps me do a better job is worth reading. I’m looking for a chaparral fragrance oil that works for candles and was wondering if you have ever found one. thank you for any thoughts you have.

  3. Can’t wait to start my candle making journey, with your information. Candles for every occasion:)
    Thank Jess

  4. Thank you for this amazing article ❤️ Can you tell me for soy wax candle -250 ml jar how much oil do I have to use ?

    1. Thanks Reneta! It should be about 1.5 Tablespoons or .75 oz. or 22 ml. I hope this helps! This post has a fragrance oil conversion chart on it- you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it. Good luck!

  5. At what temperature should soy wax be poured with fragrances “Makesy” to make it smell better? Based on your review, I decided to try these oils. I don’t see this information anywhere.
    Thanks in advance.

  6. This article has lots of information about using essential & fragrance oils for candle making. Kudos to the writer for this fantastic guide to fragrance oils for candles. Highly recommend giving it a read.

  7. I had a family member that passed away suddenly that used to make candles that she called China Rose. I bought several boxes of votives and a few larger 3 wick. My supply has dwindled over the last 10byears and I have been unable to match that fragrance. I know that it is little to go on but have you ever heard of that fragrance or maybe have an inkling of what oils might be used to create it? I could send you a sample if that might help. Thank you for any help you can provide.

    1. I wish I could help but I’ve never heard of that fragrance either. My suggestion would be to order the floral sample box from Makesy and see if there’s anything in there that resembles the scent you remember. Sorry I know that’s probably not much help.

  8. Hi Sue,
    China Rose, at least the scent I’m familiar with, is actually from Hibiscus, specifically Hibiscus Rosasinensis. China Rose is unique with its different types of teas infused. MoonDancer Fragrances had a lovely China Rose Fragrance Oil you could start with. There website is & from there just search their Fragrance Oils for China Rose! Hope this helps some. When it involves the memory of a family member, it’s imperative to find what needs to be found! Take care, Sue!
    Christopher John Sorick
    Omaha, Nebraska

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