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  • Writer's picturecharlotteharley11

Hand Made V's Factory Made - The Difference

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

Once upon a time, I used to buy a lot of candles... supermarket brands, home lifestyle store brands, high end brands... you name it, if it was cheap enough I'd buy it. I'd have them dotted all around the house but it was one particular brand that really disturbed me. I'd be burning this candle on the mantle piece next to a white wall and noticed a dark sooty patch on the wall. When I wiped it clean I realised it was soot. It had only been lit for a couple of hours!

And so the candle making journey began.

I didn't really pay much attention as to how the candles I was buying were made and the materials used to make them. After doing some research I discovered that the soot on the wall was because the mass-produced candles I was buying were made from petroleum-based paraffin wax. What made it worse was I was never really happy with the fragrance coming from these candles, the scent always smelt a bit synthetic and, for want of a better word, like smokey plastic! These candles were being mass produced in factories and sold to people as a premium lifestyle accessory... just doesn't sound right, does it?!

The wax I use is derived from soybeans, and therefore, is made from vegetables grown right from the earth (as opposed to regular oil or paraffin varieties). Not only are soy candles made from a renewable resource, they also burn cleanly and for longer. A longer burn means you get more value for money when it comes to getting a longer-lasting candle.

The truth is, factory made candles are the norm these days because they're cheap to make. Paraffin wax might be used because it's cheaper than soy or any other vegetable based wax. Synthetic fragrance oils might be used because they're cheaper than essential oils and a lot easier to blend with wax. The big brands that are made in factories are made in huge volumes, which is how they keep their costs so low. Each candle looks the same as the next, the colour and consistency are uniform.

Hand poured mini candles

However, this also gives the larger companies a disadvantage in their quality control. Candles that are manufactured in this way tend to have a poorly distributed amount of fragrance that can lead to candles that produce a generous amount of soot. While there are exceptions to this, the fact is you're not getting value for money. Manufacturers use huge machines to process candles and when mixed in large batches, the scent doesn’t always completely bind to all of the wax, causing the scent to be poorly distributed.

Have you ever had a scented candle that only burns fragrance through parts of the candle and seems to lose its scent half way through burning it? This is the reason why.

So what exactly is the difference with a hand poured candle?

Quality assurance. Each candle is personally poured by me, temperatures are specifically noted for each batch and oils are hand mixed to ensure the scent and wax combine fully. Each candle is left to cure for 24 hours in a temperature controlled way. So not only do I have more control over the end product, I have also tried and tested each batch before selling. And not forgetting a personal sprinkling of imagination and creativity going into the process!

When I started my business, I wanted a clean burning candle with minimal soot and a natural scent. I wanted my customers to feel like they were walking through an English country rose garden or a lavender field in Provence. I didn't want my customers worrying about losing scent half way through, or toxins or other nasties that might be in their candles and most of all, I wanted them to feel different when enjoying my candles. More relaxed. More energised. I wanted my candles to enhance well being and have a positive effect on someone's mood and emotions.

Lavender Fields
Image by Léonard Cotte: Lavender Fields

Making candles with essential oils was never going to be easy but I persevered and cracked it after numerous attempts. In the beginning I had countless failed attempts to get the scent throw and burn just right. It's quite challenging with different sized wicks and types of wax, plus the flash point of essential oils is something to consider for safety reasons.

Mixing jug and oils and wax
This is me making candles, mixing essential oils and wax by hand from my kitchen at home. No fancy machinery here!

But looking back I've no regrets about going down the natural path. My candles may not all be uniform, but they are unique. The colour of the candle is determined by the oil - no artificial dyes are needed here! Each one is hand poured by me and made with more care and attention than you might imagine. I love the fact there are only two ingredients - soy wax and essential oils. The simplicity speaks for itself with a long clean burn and as many happy customers have told me, they smell amazing.

If you'd like to give them a try yourself, head over to my online shop here . Would love to know what you think so please get in touch!

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1 Comment

A Biggs
Mar 23, 2019

Charlotte - there is just no comparison! In addition to feeling so much better about using hand poured candles (knowing the love that goes into them) - they are just so much better quality!

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