"Fragrance throw" is the nomenclature given to assess the strength of scent dispersed from wax melts and candles. In the melting community, fragrance throw is classified into two categories: “hot” and “cold” throw. “Cold throw” is the release of fragrance when the wax melts are at room temperature, not yet warmed, and solid (i.e., just out of the package). “Hot throw” is the release of fragrance once the wax melts have been warmed. Generally, the difference between hot and cold throw is classified in terms of the strength of scent and also in terms of the character of the scent.
Most 1-oz wax melts will warm in an electric warmer with a strong scent throw ranging anywhere from 8–12 hours, depending on the scent type, size of your wax melt, and whether you're burning your wax melt continuously or in intervals. Here are a couple of things that can also affect how long your wax melt scents last:
#1. Type of Warmer Used
The hotter your wax warmer gets, the more intense your scent will be, but it will have a corresponding shorter time for scent release. Similarly, if you have a wax warmer that is colder in terms of warming temperature, it will release a milder hot throw, but the scent will last for a longer period. If you’re experimenting with using a potpourri crock, they can get too hot for your wax melts and quickly burn the fragrance out of your melt, causing it lose scent quickly.
We recommend pairing the branded wax melts or tarts you prefer with their corresponding wax warmer. This is because no two companies have the same recipe for their wax melts; different combinations of oil-to-wax ratios require different temperatures to melt. Most wax melt brands will set their wax warmers to a pre-manufactured temperature specific to their wax melt recipe. For example, this company elicited a similar response when replying to customers who noted that the wax melts they ordered smelled different in one wax warmer vs. another.
Also, if you have a wax warmer without a timer, make sure you set an alarm so that you don’t waste your wax melts' scent. Another option is to get a wax warmer with an integrated timer so that it turns off automatically. We offer a warmer with settings for 3, 6, and 9 hours with a light-up main button that allows you to easily manage the duration of your fragrance delivery.
#2. Oil-to-Wax Ratio
Typically, most candle companies use 1 oz of fragrance oil per 1 lb of wax. That’s about a 6% fragrance oil concentration; the amount of fragrance oil concentration in your wax melts can directly affect how long your wax melts last. This is because—depending on the type of wax—the fragrance oil can only bind itself to a certain amount of wax. When comparing three different companies' wax melts, we estimate that Yankee Candle Wax Melts have a 6% fragrance oil concentration and Goose Creek Wax Melts have an estimated 11% fragrance oil concentration, while our Happy Wax Melts include a 12.5% fragrance oil concentration.
This also applies to the size and shapes of the wax melts or tarts that you wish to melt. Some companies will sell their wax melts in terms of wax bars, brittle, cubes, or shapes. While wax melt bars or cubes may be bigger in size and weight, we recommend that you break up cubes any bigger than 0.55 ounces. This is because cubes that are denser are meant to last for a longer amount of time. In some cases, this isn’t the best use of your money if you don’t plan to wait around for more than 10 hours. Another option is to use wax melts or tarts that have been scaled to a smaller size so that you don’t have to break them up. That way you can more accurately adjust your preferred “hot throw” concentration, reducing your amount of “wax waste” and dollars spent! We recommend these cute little bears that you can build on top of each other.
#3. Essential Oil vs. Fragrance Oil
The type of oil mixed into your wax melts can also affect how long your wax melts last. There are two types of oils that most wax melters and candle makers use to give you those luscious scents: fragrance oil and essential oil.
Fragrance oils are a mixture of various chemical compounds, some natural and some synthetic. They are carefully formulated and blended to create a high-quality perfume. Fragrance oils are commonly used as the “carrier oil” or base when making candles or wax melts. Because fragrance oils are synthetically made, they are not volatile and generally last longer than essential oils.
Essential Oils are natural oils that contain the essence of the plant. They are the liquid or the resin from the plant that is distilled, pressed, or extracted from different parts of the plant—flowers, root, bark, berries, etc. It usually takes hundreds of pounds of plant material to make a pound of essential oil. For example, it takes over 2,000 pounds of rose petals to make a pound of rose essential oil (which is why it’s so expensive).
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, as they are extracted from certain aromatic plants to promote emotional and physical well-being. Their powerful aroma molecules are diffused into the surrounding air as the wax melts. When inhaled, the fragrance can help soothe and revitalize.
#4. How You Store Your Wax Melts
The way you store your wax melts or tarts can directly affect their character, duration, and scent throw. To ensure that you get the most out of your wax melts and their shelf life, make sure you store your wax melts in a cool, dark place. We find that storing your wax melts in a bathroom cabinet above the sink or in a drawer most convenient to your warmer makes sense. Refrain from exposing your melts to direct sunlight for an extended period, as this exposure to heat will begin to affect the fragrance binding to the wax. When you choose where to store your melts, make sure you move the older melts to the front of your wax melt stash so you remember to use them next.