top view of wax melt stars melting in wax warmer

Fragrance without a flame

Many people enjoy lighting a candle to add a warm fragrant ambience to their space.  But candles are not for everyone, and there is growing popularity of alternatives such as wax melts. 

So, what are wax melts exactly and how do they differ from candles?

What is a wax melt?

A wax melt is essentially a candle without a wick.  They originated when chandlers (fancy name for candle makers!) were looking for something to do with left-over wax.  These pieces of fragranced wax are produced using the same method as a candle – wax is melted, fragrance oil is added, and then poured into a vessel to cool and harden.  They can come in pretty much any shape imaginable and are sometimes coloured and adorned. 

What are they made of?

Like candles, there are a variety of waxes used to make wax melts.  At Tenfire, our wax of choice is soy wax which comes from soybean oil, as it is a naturally derived wax from a renewable source.  But you can find wax melts made of paraffin wax, beeswax, or sometimes a combination of waxes.

Also, like candles, fragrance oils are used to create the scent in a wax melt.  We use the maximum amount of fragrance oil allowed in our Star Melts so you can be sure of a good strong scent!

How do wax melts work?

Wax melts work, as the name implies, by being melted! The wax melt is placed into a wax warmer heated either by a tea light or a small light bulb.  Once the warmer heats up, the wax softens and melts, and the fragrance oil is released from the hard wax.  Unlike a candle, which uses the lit wick to evaporate the wax and release the fragrance, the wax melt itself acts as a carrier for the fragrance oil and will not evaporate when melted. The fragrance will eventually fade away, but the unscented wax will still remain in your warmer until you replace it with new wax melts. 

Wax melt v. candle?

For some people, an open flame in the form of a candle at home can pose a danger for children or pets – and in some settings such as a workplace, a candle could be a downright hazard!  An electric wax warmer could be used safely in these situations whilst still filling your space with fragrance. 

There is also a bit more creative flexibility with wax melts.  They can be added to for a stronger fragrance hit, or even mixed to create a totally new scent.  The convenience of small packaging and no need for matches is also appealing to some people.

Life after melting…          

Once the fragrance has dissipated from a wax melt, there will still be some unscented wax left in your warmer.  To easily remove this, wait till the wax has gone solid and place the container in the freezer for a few minutes, the wax should slightly shrink with the cold and easily lift out. 

Rather than throwing out those leftover bits, we like to repurpose them as fire starters.  Gather the left-over wax, a cardboard egg carton and lint from your tumble drier or shavings of wood – melt the wax scraps in a pan, fill the egg box cups with the lint or wood shavings and pour over the wax – Voila!! Homemade fire starters!

Wax melts certainly offer a great alternative to candles for those who want to enjoy fragrance without the flame.  Here’s to finding the smell of happy!


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