candle fragrance versus soap fragrance

Candle Fragrance Oils vs. Soap Fragrance Oils: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever shopped for fragrance oils, you’ve probably come across phrases such as candle fragrances, soap fragrances, body safe fragrances, and other terminology. If you’re new to fragrance, you might be wondering what the difference is between these types of fragrance oil. In this post, we’re going to explain what the difference is between soap fragrances and candle fragrances.

What is a candle fragrance?

When you see the term “candle fragrance oil,” this refers to a fragrance that you can use to make scented candles. Almost every fragrance oil on the market can be used to make candles, even if it is not specifically called a “candle fragrance.”

It’s not always clear from the name alone whether a fragrance can be used for candlemaking. Therefore, suppliers will commonly use terms such as “candle fragrances” to highlight the fact that the oil can indeed be used for candles.

What is a soap fragrance?

The main feature of a soap fragrance oil is that it is made from skin-safe ingredients. Soap fragrances can be used for cold process soap as well as melt & pour soap and other soap types. Most soap fragrance oils are also safe for projects such as lotion, perfume, bath bombs, and other products that come in contact with skin. And of course, you can use soap fragrance oils to make scented candles.

The maximum usage percent can vary for different product categories, so you will always want to check the IFRA certificate. For example, a fragrance may be approved for usage up to 5% in soap, but have a limit of 3% for lotion.

It’s important to be aware that while these fragrances are approved for making soap, you will still want to test them in your recipe before making a large batch. Just because a fragrance is approved for soapmaking, it doesn’t guarantee the fragrance will perform the way you want in every recipe. All fragrances use different ingredients, which means each one may behave differently.

soap recipes

Find the recipes for these soaps on our blog!

What is a body safe fragrance oil?

The phrase “body-safe” is a generic term used to describe any fragrance made with skin-safe ingredients. In most cases, the phrase “body safe” is merely used for marketing purposes to make it clear that the scent is approved for skincare products.

Body-safe scents can usually be used to make soap, lotion, deodorant, perfume, bath bombs, shampoo, and various other products – including candles. Whenever you’re making body products, remember to check the IFRA certificate for maximum usage percents.

Can I use soap fragrances to make candles?

In most cases, yes. Soap fragrance oils are generally no different than candle fragrance oils aside from the fact that they have skin-safe ingredients.

When looking for candle fragrances, you might come across information on fragrance oil flash points. Some candle makers (and soap makers) debate over the importance of the flash point. There is a common misconception that adding fragrances to a product like hot soap or hot wax will cause the fragrance to evaporate or “burn off.”

In reality, the flash point really only matters for shipping purposes. Fragrances with a flash point below 140 degrees F legally cannot be shipped via air.

In order for a fragrance to burn off or evaporate, it would actually need to reach its boiling point, not its flash point. In normal candle making or soap making, your mixture would never get hot enough to reach the fragrance oil’s boiling point. If you want to learn more, check out our blog Flash Points 101.

Can I use candle fragrances to make soap?

A fragrance oil may be marketed as a “candle fragrance oil” while also being approved for skincare products. You should only use skin-safe candle fragrance oils to make soap. Be sure to read the product description carefully and check the IFRA certificate for each fragrance you are using. The IFRA certificate will tell you whether a fragrance is safe to use for various skincare products.

If a product listing specifies that a fragrance is for candlemaking only, this means that it does not have skin-safe ingredients and cannot be used for projects like soap or lotion. Some suppliers have separate categories for candle fragrances and soap fragrances so there’s no confusion. Because the vast majority of our fragrances are approved for both soap and candles, we don’t keep separate categories.  

Ready to start making soap and candles? Check out our huge collection of more than 450 fragrance oils! We have all the supplies you need to make candles and soap that look and smell amazing!

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