Scented candles have become incredibly popular over the past couple of decades, flooding the market with a dizzying array of aromatic options to fill our homes. Yet, unscented candles have carved out a niche for themselves amidst the fragrance frenzy. So why exactly do people buy candles that don’t smell like anything? There are actually some good reasons!
One of the top reasons people choose unscented candles is to avoid unsafe or unpleasant smells. Scented candles contain synthetic fragrances and chemicals that can irritate airways or even be toxic if inhaled too much. Unscented candles avoid this issue entirely. Those with asthma, allergies, or chemical sensitivities often cannot tolerate scented candles at all but can still enjoy the ambiance candles provide by going scent-free. Babies and young children are also very sensitive to their indoor air environment, so unscented candles are a safer bet for the nursery.
Some neurodiverse individuals like those with autism have sensory processing differences that make scents overwhelming. The subtle smells from scented candles, no matter how lovely to some, can be too much for their sensory systems. Unscented candles allow these individuals to still experience the visual beauty and soothing flicker of candlelight without an unwanted scent assaulting their senses. Those recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery may also have temporary sensory sensitivities that make scented candles unpleasant. Unscented options take the pressure off and don’t compete with any therapeutic aromas being used to aid healing.
All About the Vibe
Scent isn’t the only way to create an atmosphere. For some, unscented candles are purely about the ambiance the flame provides by casting a warm glow and creating a focal point. Minimalists and those with uncluttered, modern aesthetics may find overt fragrances disruptive to the vibe they want to cultivate. The clean-burning and subtle flicker of unscented candles integrates into these spaces seamlessly. Unscented candles also allow people to layer their own customized scents from essential oil diffusers, fresh flowers, incense, or scented cleaning products without candle competition.
Unscented candles have practical uses too! Blackout or emergency candles need to burn cleanly without added scent chemicals that can alter the purity of the wax and wick. Survival kits and emergency preparations depend on gear that works reliably without extras. Firestarters and other utility candles also need to avoid fragrances and simply focus on function. Beeswax candles used during religious services or spiritual rituals may be unscented to not interfere with any incense or other elements. For these functional applications, fragrance would be superfluous or counterproductive.
Allergies and Aversions
Scent preferences are highly personal, and many people have aversions to certain common fragrance notes. Florals, fruits, spices, and musk are all popular in scented candles but also very polarizing. Some even dislike or are allergic to natural essential oils! For those who don’t enjoy or react well to certain scents, unscented candles provide a fragrance-free zone. Choosing unscented candles means never having to worry about getting one with an intolerable or headache-inducing aroma. People with scent-triggered asthma, migraines, or nausea especially appreciate this peace of mind.
Kid and Pet Friendly
Babies and young children often stick their hands too close to lit candles, so using unscented options minimizes the risks if they happen to touch the wax. The same goes for inquisitive pets who can’t resist checking out a burning candle up close! Unscented wax also won’t cling to clothes, hair, or furniture the way heavily scented candles can. For households with lots of kids and pets running around, fragrance-free candles avoid some hassles.
Extended Burn Time
Here’s an interesting candle factoid: Unscented candles tend to burn slower and longer than scented versions. The oils and chemicals used to create scents in candles influence the wax composition. This can make the candle wax melt at a faster rate. Those looking to maximizes their candle’s burn time find unscented versions often deliver a better value. A longer burn also means replacing candles less frequently for more convenience.
No Big Finish
One downside of scented candles is they tend to lose their aroma toward the end of their burn time. The final hours can be virtually scentless, which detracts from the candle experience for some. With unscented candles, there’s no disappointing loss of fragrance at the end of the candle’s life. The burn time stays consistently neutral-scented all the way through.
Instead of a built-in scent, some use unscented candles as “base notes” and add other elements for fragrance. Potpourri, scented oils, or fresh flowers surrounding an unscented candle can infuse a space with customized aromas. You can change up the scent profile at will without the candle interfering. Some even melt scented wax cubes in a candle warmer right next to an unscented burning candle to get the best of both worlds.
Finding a scented candle the recipient will like can be a challenge since scent interests are so personal. Unscented candles make great gifts for this reason. There’s no guesswork involved, and the recipient can add their own scents if desired. Unscented also works for corporate gifts, prizes, or giveaways when you don’t know a recipient’s scent preferences. They’re unlikely to offend or go unused.
Kids can safely handle unscented candles for scented craft projects too like making their own aromatic candles. Unscented models provide blank-slate wax kids can then customize with parents’ guidance.
Ethical and Eco-Friendly
Many environmentally conscious shoppers are concerned about the chemicals used in synthetic scented candles. Unscented wax avoids these worries and allows makers to focus on sustainable wax sources and natural cotton wicks. Soy, beeswax, and other eco-friendly waxes burn cleanly without scents or inks. For those wanting candles without unnecessary additives and toxins, unscented options cater to this priority.
Some scented candles contain chemicals that can trigger headaches or allergic reactions in those sensitive. Many artificial fragrance compounds belong to a class considered allergens and respiratory irritants. Clean-burning unscented candles avoid these chemicals entirely. For those prone to candle-triggered headaches or breathing issues, unscented is definitely the way to go. The hamper fewer sensory issues overall.
The minimalist lifestyle movement focuses on simplicity and purposeful living. Followers try to reduce clutter, avoid artificial chemicals, and surround themselves with things they truly need and use. Unscented candles perfectly suit these values! They provide minimal fragrance, make use of natural materials, and serve specific purposes like providing soft lighting and a focus point. Unscented fits seamlessly into minimalist homes without excess.
So if you see unscented candles for sale alongside the multitudes of scented, know they aren’t boring or useless. Fragrance-free candles serve many excellent purposes! Those sensitive to scents or wanting pure function can now enjoy candle benefits too. Whether for safety, health, simplicity or practicality, unscented candles have definitely earned their place. While scented candles flood Instagram, plain options bring their quieter ambiance to those wanting a minimal sensory experience. The right candle for you might just be scent-free.