Did you know that, as humans, we are biologically hard-wired to react to different scents? It’s true. It’s due to the fact that the olifactory bulbs in our noses are connected to our brain by the limbic system. Scents connect to the parts of the brain, like the amygdala and the hippocampus. These parts of the brain creates associative learning (amygdala) and control our emotional responses ( hippocampus ).

Did you know that we are unable to stop this reaction to scents? It cannot be turned off! This accounts for several facts: aromatherapy candles DO help us control our mental well-being. We cannot stop the fact that certain odors have certain effects on people. These effects can be both positive and negative. This article will be a guide for which scents to use to produce certain physiological responses.

So, there is a biological reason why we all feel nauseous at the “rotten egg” odor of Sulphur or the smell of dirty socks. Scientists have identified scents and done research (mostly at the request of brick-and-mortar retail establishments who employ aromatherapy to communicate with customers) on how certain smells make people react.

I was so intrigued by the above facts I decided to investigate the science of aromatherapy.


The authors of the study that I consulted (cited below ), went on to state that specific states of mind ARE affected to cause changes in people’s thinking, memory and behavior. Scents can effect your heart rate and risk of stroke!

Human brains are affected by aroma. Cognitive performance is positively correlated with the scents of peppermint and cinnamon. This is scientific proof that aromatherapy increases things like your level of happiness or well-being and mood. Odors can even lower your fatigue and stress levels.

We are 100% more likely to remember something that we smelled compared to something that we’ve heard, touched or seen! This is how much our sense of smell determines our mood or predisposition. Mind sets like happiness and disgust are produced by scents: people can feel energized and refreshed, even stimulated by certain odors.

It should come as no surprise, then to realize the scents of nature, both pleasant and disgusting, will affect our moods.


Research shows that there are six major categories of scents that have an effect on our minds:

Pleasant – Our minds feel emotions well-being, happiness – those that associate with awe and ecstacy.

Unpleasant – We react to these odors by feeling irritation or dissatisfaction, combined with possible anger and disgust.

Sensuality – Humans react with emotions of romance, desire, sensual pleasure; it’s almost like being in love.

Relaxation – Soothing effects are produced by certain odors: our minds are influenced to feel soothing effects on our moods; meditative-like feelings, serenity, calm and feeling “light”.

Refreshment – We react with moods of stimulation, purification, and also experience physiological reactions, like shivering.

Sensory Pleasure – This seems to be event-related pleasurable memories, exhibited by the following statement, “It smells just like Grandma’s kitchen in here”!


Below is a short list of natural smells and their effects on human mood,
in no particular order:

creates elevated levels of happiness and generally heightens your emotions

is an aphrodisiac! It could be a good scent for attraction of the male of the species. 40% of male subjects in a study responded positively to the combination of pumpkin and lavender ( discussed below ).


increases cognitive stimuli. It invigorates our brain. This scent even tricks our brain into thinking our stuffed nasal passages are somehow improved.


increases alertness and relieves depressive thoughts. It is stimulating.


is a natural remedy for migranes. Headache symptoms are reduced along with symptom duration. This scent helps control anxiety.


Sunrise over blooming fields of lavender on the Valensole plateau in the Provence in southern France.

treats insomnia and depression. It is popular now in nursing homes and other recuperative and rehabilitative environments.

sharpens our minds. Cognitive responses are heightened.


relieves stress. In Japan, studies have been done that prove walks in pine forests lower depressive and stressful feelings. A good reason to keep the Christmas tree longer!

boosts relaxed and happy emotions. It is proven to prevent mental decline as one ages.

energizes our moods and experiences.

evokes many emotions – well-being and security.

Think of you favorite scents. Aromatherapy candles are found in unbelievable varieties and combinations. They are proven to have these effects on human brains. Their use is beneficial to our mental state. We know these facts are true. Why? because scientific research abounds which relates to odor and the affects it has on people’s reactions. To discover how, keep reading…

Years ago, brick-and-mortar retail establishments discovered the use of scents to produce more cents in their bottom lines. Much research has been done on aroma and its effects on customers.

Manipulating customers by use of scent marketing is big money. The scent marketing industry is a $100 million now. It will reach one billion dollars in the future.


And, it creates immediate, emotional responses. Thus, scents are used to silently communicate with captive customers. New car dealerships are known to use the smell of “new car leather” to influence consumers in showrooms.
In addition, the smell of fresh baked goods are often used in real estate when a home is shown to prospective buyers. This list could go on, but I’m sure you’re beginning to understand.

With scent, the brain responds before one thinks – we are wired this way. With all other senses, people will think first and react later. Wow! I wondered about how ethical it is to use people’s reactions, unwittingly, to improve their profits. I guess these retailers are not mired in the morality of the thing: if a certain scent is proven to make shoppers feel more relaxed in your stores so they browse longer and spend more, it will be employed.


Using aroma therapy is scientifically proven to help elevate your mood. Our brains respond to scents automatically, before we have a chance to think about it. Scientific research proves that brains respond to certain odors by evoking emotions and memory to induce people’s feelings. Brick and mortar retail stores employ methods of using odors to silently affect your behavior while in their places of business.

This indicates that aroma therapy with healthy candles will help what ails you – whether it’s insomnia, stress or well-being and happiness, aromatherapy will have an affect on your reactions.

Isn’t it better for your health to stay at home, learn and shop online and create the mood you choose for your environment? I hope all readers benefit from the information I have provided here. I have researched this, so you don’t have to.

I would enjoy hearing any comments or questions about this blog. Be sure to stop by regularly, as I intend to keep adding information and buying opportunities as time goes by.


All new site at


Bradford, Kevin D. nd Desrochers, Debra M. (January 2009)The Use of Scents to Make Cents.



My first experience with Yankee Candles came in the early 1990s. After the 1991-2 holiday season, I went to visit a friend. As we sat down, my friend lit a beautiful orange colored candle in a large glass jar. After a few minutes of conversation, I remarked about the heady fragrance coming from the candle. My friend agreed that he was enjoying the scent as well. He remarked about how he recently received the candle from his younger sister for Christmas. His sister lived in a town hours away; they had just had their annual visit. I remember my friend saying that candle was the best gift he had been given that season. Then, he smiled broadly as he remembered some half-forgotten memory he shared with his sister.

Since that time I’ve become more familiar with Yankee Candles – hasn’t everybody? It has come to be my preferred brand of candle. And, I am NOT alone: The Yankee Candle brand is the most popular brand of scented candle in the world.

I decided to investigate the creation of this brand. Wow, the story has all the elements of the American Dream! And, it all began with a teenager who wanted to give his mom a Christmas present.

In December of 1969, a sixteen year old boy named Mike Kitteridge realized it was practically Christmas Eve and he was without a present for his mom. Unfortunately, he was also without money. Mike thought creatively as he looked around his mom’s kitchen. He spotted an empty milk carton and remembered saving some old, used crayons from his childhood. Suddenly, he came up with an idea to melt the old crayons and pour them into the milk carton. For the wick, he used a household candle and crushed up the wax slightly. He placed this candle in the center of the milk carton and voila – he had an original, good-looking present for his mom.

I guess his mom never lit the creation, because Mike was able to sell it to a visiting neighbor for $1.36. Like a true entrepreneur, he reinvested his money and was able to purchase a slab of real candle paraffin wax and create two more candles: the first for his mom, the second one for sale.

He continued on this way, but the demand for the candles suddenly appeared. Relatives, friends, and neighbors loved and bought the candles. Word of mouth spread through he town where he lived in Massachusettes. The business of candle-making had begun to take over the garage and then the basement of his parents’ home. Mike put a lot of work into his business.

IN 1973, MIke’s candle business was so popular, he decided to move production to an old paper mill site . The site in Holyoke had a building with three floors. It was enough to house Yankee Candle for the time being. Mike worked alone for the first year. He worried that the location in Holyoke was too remote from town to be very profitable. He needn’t have worried: he was able to hire help and continued growing his brand.

In retrospect, he must have put everything he had into his business, financially and emotionally. Mike spent most of these days developing scents and producing better quality candles in the morning. Then, by afternoon, he changed his clothes and ventured out to market his products to gift shops and small stores. Evenings would find him wrapping candles and preparing them for the next day’s deliveries.

During its time in Holyoke, he and his first investors devised a “heated room”. This development made it possible to buy larger, cheaper wax deliveries and store them until they were needed for production.
In addition, a co-worker devised a turntable taper wheel, which doubled the production of candles daily. At the same time, the device dramatically slashed the cost of production by reducing the amount of labor necessary to run it.

by 1982, Yankee Candle Company had 30 employees and had completely outgrown the old paper mill location. While sales of his candles continued to boom, Mike decided to move the business to its own, specially-built 1,600 square foot facility/store, complete with a 10 space parking lot in front. It wasn’t long before the parking lot became too small for all the customers’ vehicles.

Always growing, the company began to add other retail locations in his area. Everyone was in love with The Yankee Candle brand. Many opinions believe the reasons for the brand’s continued success is the creator’s passion for using only the highest-quality fragrance ingredients. As improvements were made and the business expanded, Mike always had the reputation of his brand at the forefront of his mind. He handed down his long-standing methods of candle production to employees throughout the development, production and marketing cycles of his products.

Mike’s passion became his legacy. His creation of and devotion to the Yankee Candle Company resulted in his selling it, in 1998, for $500,000. That’s a half a billion dollars!


The Yankee Candle Company was started by a teenager in 1969 in his mom’s kitchen. His commitment to quality and dedication to hard work is responsible for the creation of one of the world’s most beloved brand of scented candles. Forty years later, Yankee Candles come in over 150 fragrances (some offered only at special times of the year). Retail outlets total over 500 all over the world. Today, the Yankee Candle brand still is known for high-quality scented candles all over the world. The brand is now owned by Newell Brands, but is still producing extremely popular scented candles and wax.

I love this story because it proves the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. Mike deeply cared about his products and customers. This fact showed in how careful he was with his products and how deep his beliefs about the quality really were. He remained true to his vision and continued to work hard. Finally, his fortune was made – the stuff of American Dreams.


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As previously stated, I have always been interested in candles. I’ve helped friends make candles, but have always wondered about wax and the best type for candle use.  I grew up with mostly paraffin candles, as most of us do.

Recently, I have been hearing about natural ingredients for candles. I looked into it.


Throughout history, wax has been made with all kinds of fats and oils taken from animals, plants, insects and rocks. The National Candle Association taught me that waxes are defined as materials that:

  • are solid at room temperature, but at higher temperatures, they will liquefy.
  • primarily hydro-based carbon, structurally.
  • are NOT soluble  in water – they are water-repellent.
  • have a smooth texture – slight pressure is needed to buff it.
  • have low toxicity ( toxins are poisonous).
  • emit low odor.

Waxes are used for many things. For example, wax is used not only in  candles, but also:

  1. packaging
  2. food
  3. cosmetics
  4. polishes
  5. crayons
  6. inks
  7. adhesives
  8. chewing gum

Different kinds of waxes burn at different temperatures: thus, all kinds of wax can be used in making candles. Some other kinds of wax are so flame-resistant that they are used in packaging of delicate electronic instruments. Most waxes for candles have a very low melting temperature.


Some wax that has a high liquefying temperature is used to coat the outside of Hurricane Candles. Hurricane candles are made of wax, but not all of the wax is the same. The wax near to the wick will be the type of wax that has a much lower melting point than the wax that’s used to coat the hurricane candle. The hurricane candle is not burned. It is used to protect a smaller, much lighter in weight candle than the hurricane candle holder. These candle holdlers are meant to protect the smaller candle burning inside from wind and weather.


The flame of a candle will always burn yellow. Do you know why? It’s the carbon burning that makes it yellow. You chemists will probably understand this better than we do. But, it is true. The flame is yellow and it’s from carbon burning.

The paradox of paraffin. 

I grew up around paraffin candles. However, sometimes paraffin wax is looked down upon by candle purists. It seems paraffin is a petroleum-based product. Some people think using these products is bad for the environment. These candle fans prefer to use an organic based wax, usually from soy, coconut, vegetable or hemp oil and, of course, beeswax. Soy and beeswax candles burn slightly longer than paraffin based candles. They burn cleaner and do not produce smoke, while giving off a good illumination.

The literature implies that paraffin candles are not popular with people in the U.S.  but are still available in cheaper versions, like those at dollar stores and discount houses.

Remember, there is no “best” wax for candle use.   No wax has ever been proven to be toxic.

The consumer or maker gets to decide that for themselves these days. All high quality candle wax today is usually organic, and all quality made waxes have been proven to burn safely and in the same way. So, choose your candle ingredients to your hearts’ desire.

I once heard some people were worried about the amount of soot given off by the wick. For those concerned with this, know that soot-free wax doesn’t exist. Even organic compounds emit carbon when burned.  How much soot you  produce depends on the wick length and amount of flame disturbance.




You don’t need to spend a lot of money and fancy products to enjoy candle light. For most people’s tastes and checkbooks, paraffin wax candles are the perfect choice for use in the home. Whether or not the wax drips when it melts depends on how big the wick is – combined with the type of wax used to make the candle. Wax that burns at lower temperatures, combined with too big (or the incorrect type of wick ) could cause some candles to drip. EVERY candle will drip, if placed in a horizontal holder.

Did You Know?

  • 1,000,000,000 pounds (billion) of wax is used, each year, to supply the demand for candles in the United States?  it’s true!

9 out of 10 candle users say they use candles to make any environment feel “cozy”!

Aromatherapy, home décor and creation of a stress-free, relaxation-inducing environment are the 3 main reasons people use candles, even on stay-at-home  evenings.

There is a wax for every need or intention. Candles can be made and used for many reasons.

  1. floating candles
  2. jar/container candle wax
  3. utility candle wax
  4. liturgical candle wax
  5. novelty candle wax
  6. birthday candle wax
  7. scented candle wax



Wax has been used to make candles for centuries. Different cultures in various geographical locations used naturally-occurring waxy-like plant animal, insect and other materials found in their regions to produce wax for candle-making.

Over these centuries, but mainly since the 1800s, waxes have been developed from many sources. Waxes have different melting temperatures and are used for everything from candles to food.

Waxes come in a variety of colors, also. I researched a wax that is transparent, allowing the candle-designer to incorporate flowers or other substances in the wax.

Candle wax is available for every use, taste and budget. Wax can be put in anything from a jar or glass to set in Hurricane Candles, whose outside, although made of wax, is not meant to burn. It is meant as a shelter for a smaller, lighter-weight candle which is placed inside it.

Candle wax can also be scented. Scented wax is conducive to use in candles or burners for the creation of a relaxation-producing, stress-free environment.

For more information on wax development please refer to “A Brief History of the Candle” on this website.

This country uses a billion pounds of wax, annually, to supply our need for candles. Wax is used for many purposes and comes in  many varieties.

This site is constantly under construction Please feel free to comment and check back often for any, more recent posts and replies to your comments.




Many people enjoy candlelight, but are conscious of the environment. Some people have a sensitivity or allergic reaction when the materials that make up the candle are not pure and safe. Thankfully, we know a lot about what ingredients to use and which to avoid when choosing candles.

If you have already read my Brief History of Candles, much has been learned about what to use to make the best candle. Like most things these days, people are happier to simplify and use natural ingredients. We are grateful to the discoveries and improvement leading us to the ease of benefiting from candles in these modern times.

Burning candles will make you feel more relaxed; they might even lower your blood pressure. They certainly help me in many ways, including helping to sleep easier and meditate for mental health. Read on to learn the most pure and beneficial way to “healthily” burn candles without worry.


Don’t forget, the candle holder you choose to burn your candles in is a very important part of getting the most part out of your candle enjoyment. I intend to show ways of decorating and setting moods with the use of candles. Check back often to see how the site progresses. I’m always happy to hear from others in the online community. Feel free to communicate with me via the comments section.


We are all aware of the pollution quotient when using petroleum-based ANYTHING. So, if you are looking out for the people you love or the environment, never burn paraffin wax candles. They are toxic and burning them produces petro-carbon soot – something we all want to stay away from. We always want to stay away from thick, black, heavy smoke and lots of left-over wax that doesn’t disappear. Candles that burn like this are not good for us or the ones we love.



The best candle wax ingredients are made from natural plants and insects, like 100% beeswax, hemp oil, or soy wax. Sometimes, these natural, clean-burning ingredients can be combined when making your own candles. There is as wonderful selection of soy candle kits online, if you are the “do it yourself” kind of person.

Wicks are an important part of a healthy candle. In the past, lead-based wicks were used in mass-produced candles. They are outlawed in the U.S., but still can be found in cheap, dollar-store candles – we should avoid lead-based wicks because burning them produces carcinogens, toxins and polluting petro-carbon soot. Wicks should be made of cotton or hemp, which burns with no residue.



The easiest way to identify lead-free wicks is by the use of the label on the candle, if there is one The label will proudly proclaim the candle “lead-free”. However, with any candles you have laying around, look at the wick: do you see a metal shine under the cotton. If you do, that means lead is in use in the wick. Throw these out. They’re poison. Remember the carcinogenic properties of petro-carbon soot!

to test unburned candles, rub the edge of the wick on a sheet of paper. If it leaves a gray, pencil-like mark, there is lead in the wick. Toss it out!

Beware of cheap candles from overseas; they are most likely to contain lead wicks. There are plenty of pure, healthy candles on the internet, with wicks that leave no residue.

Sites abound for the purchase of ready-to-use,   ‘healthy’ candles, available in both scented and unscented varieties. I love to burn my soy candles in my bathroom and bedroom.

I love using  wall sconces in metal to decorate my walls and illuminate my home in a low-lit, relaxation-producing environment. I use mainly wrought iron wall sconces on my largest wall. The holders that are decorative and hold more than one candle are my favorites.

These candle sconces are available at Etsy, Amazon, and countless other outlets online. I will provide my favorites as time goes on. Mrs. Meyers is another source of finely made candles.




There are so many candles available, it really is up to you to choose how much you want to be involved with your candles. There are other considerations, of course, like how much space do you have available and how much time you are looking to spend, before enjoying all the benefits of lots of candlelight.

Making your own candles can be pretty easy. Online availability of soy candle making kits make it simple to begin this as a new hobby. Craft-making skills can always be incorporated into using candles, so what better way to personalize gifts or products with candles of your own making. Kits for making soy votive candles are available, too. Scents are an option, too.

As someone who has put time in candle-making back in the 1990s, things have really gotten easier with the availability of the kits. Now I would rather spend my time buying soy candles and enjoying the light from holders that burn several candles at one time. Wooden candle holders and sconces are a great way to have a rustic attitude inside or outside while enjoying more than one candle.

There are so many choices for candle holders made of metal, bronze, even glass. With the links I plan to design in here, it’s a breeze to shop and get decorating ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Way Out Wax – 100% natural beeswax, vegetable wax, and hemp oil candles. Cotton or hemp wicks, too.
  2. AVA – source of peppermint, organic candles with cotton wicks and infused with pure oil extracts.
  3. Mrs. Meyers Candles – a source of fine candles.
  4. Bayhouse – another source of quality candles.




My obsession with candles has always me curious about how they were discovered. Imagine the impact that was made by finally lighting ancient man’s world after dark. When I started investigating the first candle uses, I learned the use of candles did NOT come about as easy as flicking on a light switch (  pun intended ). There were thousands of years of development and improvement before candles were the source of joy they are today. I hope you enjoy reading the review I wrote about the candle in history.


The candle has been used by humans to illuminate ceremonies and light the way for the last 5,000  years. The Egyptians used light to their advantage. This ancient civilization is credited with the first use of torches in their early form, called rush lights. Rush lights were made by soaking the pithy parts of reeds in melted animal fat, called tallow, then burning the entire thing. They were  placed in holders, as illustrated above.

As you can imagine, this combination of ingredients gave off a putrid-smelling smoke while not providing very effective lighting  for the nighttime. I could not be sure if the  Egyptians used these inside their dwellings, due to the smell and smoke. But, torches and rush candles are not technically considered candles, because their use does not involve a wick.

Historically, the Ancient Romans are credited with the development of the wick candle. They devised a method of rolling many layers of papyrus, thus forming the wick. These wicks were then dipped in melted beeswax  (preferred, but not easily available) or tallow ( which involved the use of boiling the suet of animals ) again giving off an acrid, thick smoke. Beeswax candles were the better choice, but tallow candles were used extensively before the mechanical production of the candle.


Beeswax candles were used by Romans for religious ceremonies only because they were very expensive. Beeswax candles could be found only in the living quarters of the wealthy, inside churches and  ceremonial gatherings. By 3000 BC, all global civilizations were using wicked candles made with whatever was locally available, usually tallow. The geography of the places these civilizations lived in determined the materials used to produce the wax and wicks.

  1. The ancient Chinese made candles by pouring melted wax into paper tubes. They used rolled rice paper for the wicks. The wicks were put into the wax from some indigenous insects, mixed with seeds from local bushes.

2. The ancient Japanese civilizations used wax they extracted from tree nuts. The also discovered that boiling the fruit of     the cinnamon tree gave off a pleasing aroma. This could have been the first inspiration of the scented candle .

3. Around this time, candles were becoming extensively used in religious ceremonies. Hanukkah, The Festival of the Lights, centers around the lighting of candles. This practice dates back to 165 BC.

4. For those interested in finding Biblical references to the use of candles in religious ceremonies, they abound. For  example, in the 4th Century, Emperor Constantine ordered the use of candles as part of the annual Easter Service.



By this time, most Western civilizations were using candles. It was discovered that the use of smelly,  tallow could be replaced by beeswax. The benefits, explained previously, were less offensive and smoky than tallow candles, but they were expensive, used mostly in churches and the residences of the wealthy. In Europe, tallow candles were still used extensively.




16th Century

The frontier and pioneer women are credited with the discovery of the scented candle. Women discovered that when you boiled the fruit of the Burberry bush berries the wax emitted a pleasing scent. Popularity eluded this invention because separating the wax from the mixture proved too tedious using the tools of the day. Most people still had to deal with tallow, instead of beeswax. Candle making still had a long way to go.

The 18th Century

During the 1700s, the burgeoning whaling industry brought the first major change to candle making since the Middle Ages. Chemists discovered that wax could be made from crystallizing sperm whale oil produced spermaceti wax. This was used to replace the bad-smelling tallow. It burned cleaner, gave off a brighter flame and was more durable than beeswax. It didn’t bend in heat and didn’t soften in transport. The first “standard” candle was made from spermaceti wax.



The 1800s saw the biggest change to impact candle making. In 1830, when a French chemist discovered how to extract stearic acid from animal fat. From that time on, stearic wax was used. It burned yet cleaner and was more durable. The Industrial Revoution’s effect on candle-making was the invention of a machine that produced candles mechanically.The machine poured wax into a reuseable mold. It also employed a plunger that forced the finished candle out of the machine.  The invention of mass-produced candles made them affordable to most  households.


1850 brought the introduction of paraffin wax, when chemists realized naturally-occuring petroleum could be refined into cheap wax. This really made candle use popular and enjoyable. in these times, lighting the darkness was more important than the environment. We now realize the burning of petroleum-based products emits petrochemical soot. Petrochemical soot emits carcinogens. The burning of it is toxic.


Today, we can enjoy a variety of candles, made from our choice of wax and wicks. Just imagine, we have candlelight at our control these days. We can enjoy them day or night; scented or unscented. Compare this thought to the image at the top of the page: ancient rush light holders. These were used to hold the first man-made light by burning tallow and weeds. I realized how lucky I was to have come along when my passion was so easy and affordable to enjoy and share with others.





Candles and their holders have been in use throughout history of man. They have gone through many changes and improvements over the passage of time. Candles have a long and involved history for something that is so simple and convenient to us. Sometimes it took thousands of years to develop the next improvement for producing candles. Still, due to the need for light, civilizations persisted.

Many humans had to live with poor lighting, heavy smoke , danger and terrible smells throughout the ages. Today, candles are made out of a variety of materials, safe, easy to use and produce light and mood that have given hope, marked both happy and sad occasions, and produced mood-enhancing environments that calm and delight ( pun intended ).