A Brief History Of Scented Candles

black and white image of a scented candle with a historical look

Scented candles have become a staple in modern-day living, and with their ability to create a calming and relaxing ambience in homes, offices, and other living spaces it’s easy to see why. 

But have you wondered about their origins and how they developed into what they are today?

Well - Let's dive into the fascinating history of scented candles!

Ancient Origins of Candles

The origins of candles can be traced all the way back to ancient civilizations, where they were primarily used for practical purposes such as lighting and heating as opposed to the cosy luxuries they are today. 

The earliest candles were made from whale fat in China during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and in Japan during the Nara Period (710-794 AD). Candles made from tallow, beeswax, and other animal fats were also used in ancient Rome and Greece, where wicked candles began to appear.

The Introduction of Scented Candles

However, scented candles didn’t make an introduction until the Middle Ages. They were mainly used in churches for religious ceremonies and to mask unpleasant odours. Little did they know prevention is better than cure…

The first recorded use of scented candles was in the 13th century in Paris, where they were made from beeswax and naturally infused with the scent of flowers and herbs.

A Rising Popularity in Europe

During the 17th century, scented candles became popular in Europe. (Where the candle market now accounts for $2.5 billion dollars per year and is steadily growing!) 

Wealthy households used them to create a pleasant aroma, with popular fragrances such as lavender, rose, and jasmine being used frequently. Scented candles became a symbol of luxury and elegance.

The Parrafin Wax Revolution

In the 19th century, the invention of paraffin wax from petroleum, coal and oil shale revolutionised the candle-making industry. Paraffin wax was cheaper and easier to produce than natural wax, making candles more affordable and accessible to the masses. 

However, paraffin wax doesn't hold fragrance as well as natural waxes and releases nasty toxins which are bad for your health. Needless to say, something had to change!

A Shift To Eco-Friendly Natural Waxes

Today, scented candles are available in a range of materials, including paraffin wax (unfortunately still sold by many ‘leading’ candle makers), beeswax, and soy wax.

Soy wax has become a popular choice among candle makers due to its eco-friendly and sustainable nature. Soy wax candles burn longer and are cleaner than other waxes. As they are a natural product extracted from soybean plants, they don't release harmful chemicals into the air like the cheaper alternative. Although more expensive, they burn at a slower rate, evening out the playing field!

Therapeutic Benefits of Scented Candles

In recent years, scented candles have become a popular item for self-care and relaxation. 

And it’s no wonder looking at the hectic lives we lead today. The use of specially formulated fragrances has led to the creation of candles that not only smell good but also offer therapeutic benefits. Fragrances such as lavender, oud, and peppermint are commonly used in candles to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

A new wave of companies producing high-quality candles with the customers' best interests in mind has been born off the back of this, such as our very own at self (ish) company!

The Future of Scented Candles

As the candle-making industry continues to innovate and create new fragrances and materials, scented candles remain a popular item in households worldwide. From their practical origins to their current therapeutic benefits, scented candles have come a long way and will continue to be a staple in modern-day living.

We’ve come a long way since purely masking our bad smells in the Middle Ages!

Your Source for High-Quality Soy Wax Candles

So, there you have it. We’ve explored the history of scented candles, and their progression to what they are today. Yet we must stress, not all candles are created equally! 

If you're looking for high-quality, handmade soy candles you can trust to provide a relaxing experience, gorgeous gift, or home decor staple, look no further than self (ish) company. 

Our candles are handmade with care using 100% soy wax and specially formulated fragrances to ensure a clean burn and a delightful scent to help you relax and recharge.

So if you’re interested in finding out what a top notch modern day candle should look and smell like, check out our collection below and find the perfect candle for you today.

After all - You deserve it!

Back to blog

Featured Products