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Fragrance & Essential Oils

Everything You Need To Know About Chinese Star Anise Essential Oil

Chinese-Star-Anise

As we continue our review of some of our most popular essential oils, I wanted to take some time to talk about another of my personal favourites, Chinese Star Anise (also known as Illicium Verum).

Chinese Star Anise is a highly fragrant oil with a wide range of uses and benefits and is used extensively in cooking, soaps, mouthwashes and skincare.

At this point I should note that not all essential oils are food grade, so before you add this to your favourite recipe be sure to check. We are pleased to say that our star anise is food grade and is therefore safe to use in cooking.

Star anise is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-oxident. The fruit is star shaped, radiating between five and ten pointed sections. These sections are the seed pods. The star-shaped fruit is picked before it can ripen, then dried and the oil removed via steam distillation. It is a process, but the end result is well worth the effort!

Most of us would recognise the very strong and distinct liquorice aroma that the Chinese Star Anise radiates. This powerful scent enhances sleep patterns and can help alleviate tiredness and weariness both mental and physical.

It will come as no surprise then that this amazing essential oil is both a relaxant and calmative and helps maintain emotional balance.

Used as a massage oil it can help relieve sore muscles, stress and insomnia.

Chinese Star Anise also has medicinal benefits. Used in a diffuser or in chest rubs it is particularly effective in alleviating the symptoms of coughs and colds and other respiratory conditions.

One of the lesser known facts about this product, and I have to admit I was surprised and even a little skeptical until I tried it out myself, but it is a very effective insecticide and is commonly used to drive away mosquitoes and other small insects. You can use it as a substitute for, or use in conjunction with citronella. I bet you didn’t know that!

Star anise blends well with Rose, Lavender, Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Coriander Seed, Pine, Spearmint and Sweet Orange.

As I said, this is one of my personal favourites, and I urge you to give it a try…you will not be disappointed! You can find it on our site right here.

 

Fragrance & Essential Oils Trouble Shooting

FAQ: Why doesn’t my candle smell strong?

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The scent of your candle is what is going to sell it first and foremost! Do not be fooled into thinking however, that the ‘smellier’ your candle, the better it is. Not everyone likes a ‘stinky’ cloying smell.
When choosing fragrances, especially if you intend on selling your candles, make sure you offer a wide range of choices to your customers including some more subtle pleasant scents as well as the strong throwing more overpowering ones.

The ‘throw’ or ‘smelliness’ of your candle depends on many factors – the type of wax you are using, the actual strength of the fragrance, the size of the jar and the size of the room and how long you have been burning it for.

1. The type of wax – some types of wax eg soy and paraffin throw differently when compared to each other as does each brand of waxes.

2. Strength of the fragrance – some fragrances are designed to be ‘stinky’ and will fill the room with fragrance almost instantly. Some on the other hand are more subtle and you may only get a hint of the smell (depending on the size of the room) If putting a candle in the toilet you want to be able to stand the smell for the time you are in there and as it is a small enclosed space a very smelly candle may not be the right choice.

3. The size of the room – do not expect a small candle to fill an open plan lounge room. Again the specific fragrance will play a role here as you can put a subtle fragrance in a very large candle and still only get a smallish scent throw.

4. Length of time of burning – after around 10 minutes or so we experience what we call ‘sensory overload’ or ‘olfactory fatigue’. This means our brains have had enough of that one particular smell and switch the brain off so we no longer smell it. It is a protection mechanism and one that most of us are glad of (our work place is particularly ‘stinky’ with a rainbow of scents permeating the air daily. None of us can smell it, but customers that come in always comment on how ‘nice’ it smells.) If you can no longer smell the candle it does not mean the scent has disappeared, more than likely your brain has had enough. Leave the room for 10 minutes, clear your nostrils and go back in and you will notice the smell immediately.

For more interesting reading on scent perception and how to educate your customers click here to read our article about fragrance perception.

Fragrance & Essential Oils

Everything you need to know about Lemon Essential Oil!

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I love Lemon essential oil, it’s one of my favourites. Lemon oil is very versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes from skin care to detoxing the body to cleaning.

Lemon is a great astringent with beneficial antiseptic properties. To help reduce skin oil and acne mix lemon oil with baking soda or raw honey to make a great natural homemade face wash. Lemon is also a calmative for both the mind and the body. Taking lemon water first thing in the morning not only helps to detox the kidneys but can help with stomach ailments such as cramps, indigestion and heartburn (use real lemons in your water not essential oil).

Burning lemon oil in oil burners or diffusers helps to remove mental fatigue and uplift the mood creating positive emotions.

We all know the effects of citronella but mix lemon oil with eucalyptus and peppermint and you have a great insect repellent, all natural.

Finally create some lemon bath salts and with the added advantage of magnesium from the epsom salts the lemon essential oil will help you to relax and reduce stress.

Lemon oil can be blended with lavender, rose, sandalwood, eucalyptus, geranium, fennel, juniper and neroli.

Caution: Keep out of reach of children. For external use only. Keep away from eyes and mucous membranes. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, seek medical advice prior to use. If applying topically avoid direct sunlight for up to 24 hours as it has a high phototoxicity.

Fragrance & Essential Oils

What is the difference between fragrances and essential oils?

essential-oils

Essential oils are plant based and entirely derived of natural plant matter. Unless mixed with other carriers they are 100% natural.

Fragrances are synthetic and in most cases are blended with essential oils. They are not 100% natural and are man made. Both can be used in candles but like some fragrances, some essential oils will affect how your candle sets and burns so testing is essential.

All ACS fragrances are sourced from the USA. WHY?

They are best! We work closely with one of the USA’s leading fragrance manufacturer who supplies some of the best known brands of candle manufacturers. Our manufacturer has a huge team of scientists, specialists, perfumers and chemists who work specifically on the creation and production of top quality fragrances. We only sell the best quality and therefore will only work with the best quality. Our manufacturer has been around for over 40 years and has a fantastic reputation in the US.

The USA has also some of the toughest, strictest quality control and ingredient regulations in the world: to the point where the rest of the world looks to the state of California for guidelines. Our manufacturer complies with the Californian standards for fragrances so you are safe in the knowledge no ingredient is used that has not been passed and certified first.

Australia is self regulated. We do not have to follow any stringent guidelines as to what can be added to a fragrance or if it needs to follow any safety standards. Australian fragrances do not have IFRA certificates and are not tested by any regulatory bodies. You don’t know who is manufacturing, just how much knowledge they have or just how safe their products are. Some fragrances made in Australia contain ingredients that have been banned in the US.

Fragrance & Essential Oils

Everything you need to know about Bergamot Oil!

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Bergamot oil is a very understated and under used oil. It is a wonderful oil with fantastic healing properties!

Bergamot oil has many uses. Components of the oil are antibiotic and disinfectant in nature and thus help to inhibit the growth of germs and viruses. It is used quite a lot in soap for this reason, helping to eliminate acne, disperse oil in the skin evenly and clear up surface germs. It’s germ fighting ability is also the reason it makes a great deodorant, refreshing and inhibiting odour producing bacteria. Bergamot is cicatrisant in nature which is an essential component for the oil to be healing. This makes Bergamot oil great for reducing the appearance of small scars or pigments in the skin.

Bergamot oil can also used to reduce the feeling of pain by stimulating the body to secrete certain hormones which reduce nerve sensitivity. It is commonly used in headache remedies or where the body has sustained injury such as sprains or muscle aches.

Bergamot oil is wonderful as a relaxant and sedative. The flavonoids present in bergamot oil soothe nerves and help reduce nervous tension, anxiety and stress while stimulating hormones in the body responsible for relaxation like dopamine and serotonin.

Being a citrus, this oil must be protected from sunlight. Unless stated otherwise, Bergamot oil contains the component bergaptene which becomes poisonous when exposed to sunlight. It should be stored in dark bottles in a dark cool place. If applied topically to the skin exposure to sunlight should also be avoided.

  • Bergamot oil can be added to baths in water or bath bombs and bath salts for a relaxing, stress detox.
  • Add it to vapourizers and inhalers to relieve congestion and respiratory issues.
  • Apply it topically to soothe insect bites and reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Blend Bergamot oil with Frankincense, Jasmine, Mandarin, Ylang-ylang, Sandalwood, Rosemary, Orange and Clary Sage oils
Fragrance & Essential Oils Trouble Shooting

The Perception of Candle Fragrances

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The perception of fragrance is very personal. Every human grows up surrounded by certain stimuli that they associate with either fond or unsettling memories. Who doesn’t smile (and perhaps start salivating in anticipation) when exposed to the odor of Grandma’s cookies baking in the oven? And who doesn’t recoil from the odor of a smelly gym bag that hasn’t been opened in a week? Unless you are anosmic, which means that your sense of smell has been compromised, you probably are only marginally aware of how much you use your sense of smell in your everyday life.

However, there are many things that can affect your sense of smell. Perhaps you have a cold or allergies and your sinuses are inflamed — you might notice that your sense of smell is not as strong in this situation. You may notice that your first “sniff” of a fragrance will give you the strongest first impression – this is normal! It doesn’t take long for the olfactory receptors to become saturated by a certain odor and then you have trouble detecting it later. How many times have you been near someone who seems to have bathed in cologne and you wonder, can’t they smell how strong that cologne is? The answer is, no, they can’t, because they have become essentially immune to the odor – their olfactory receptors have been overloaded with that particular scent and they cannot smell it anymore. Pregnancy is known to enhance a woman’s sense of smell, and the theory is that it is vitally important to the survival of the human species for the mother to be aware of what foods she should avoid as they might be harmful.

Then there is the role of the brain in odor perception. Perhaps someone gives you a yellow candle but does not identify what the odor might be. Automatically, your brain expects one of certain fragrances – perhaps a lemon or citrus blend, perhaps a citrus-floral blend, perhaps a lemon-vanilla blend. But what if that yellow candle smells like blueberry? How do you think you would respond? You would probably think that something was wrong because your brain was already expecting a fragrance from a preconceived group that your brain conjured based on the candle’s color. Or perhaps your brain goes even farther and tricks you into thinking it’s some sort of exotic lemon.

There is also the issue of scent memory. Perhaps you have used that last bit of your favorite cologne, and you buy a new bottle. You feel that you know this fragrance well as you have worn it many times, but perhaps the day you open your new bottle you feel that it does not smell the same as the old one did. You may have the impression that the manufacturer changed the formulation. The only way to know for sure would be to analyze the fragrance through gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, but most of us do not have that luxury, so we rely on our scent memory to guide us. However, scent memory can be erroneous as it is based on our (often fuzzy) memory about the fragrance. The only way for us to compare 2 scents (other than through expensive analysis) is to put both fragrances on a blotter and compare them side by side, and even that method must be handled with care. Each fragrance should be dipped into the fragrance up to the same amount – if one fragrance covers more of the blotter than the other, the perception will be that one is stronger than the other. Also, you have to smell each blotter with both nostrils as one nostril might be more congested than the other. Of course, it’s always best to do a blind test when evaluating fragrance so that the brain’s preconceived notions do not come into play.

In fragrance evaluation, we are faced with perception challenges every day. We are constantly evaluating fragrances that are very similar or perhaps the same. We find that it is very easy to “trick” each other with regard to fragrance perception. Even something as simple as saying, “Do you think these 2 fragrances smell the same?” can prejudice the evaluator into either looking for a difference or looking for a similarity, depending on what he or she wishes the outcome to be. Naming the fragrances is also deceiving – I can’t tell you how many times we have giving an evaluator the same fragrance under two different names and the evaluator automatically assumed that the fragrances were different because the samples were named differently.

So the next time one of your customers says, “This candle doesn’t smell as strong as my previous purchase”, bear in mind that they might be right – or they might not!

Fragrance & Essential Oils How To

How to work out fragrance load when making candles

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Although it seems a little confusing at first it is quite easy to do.

Determine what percentage of fragance you want to start with, between 6-10% of fragrance oil is best.  If using essential oils use a maximum of 6-7%.  Put this figure in the first blank box.

Next measure out how much wax you are going to use for your candles.  (It doesn’t matter if you have a little left over, they make perfect tealights.  Always better to be slightly over than slightly under). Put this figure into the second box of the calculator.

Press calculate and viola!  That is the amount of fragrance you need to use (doesn’t matter if you choose mls or weight for the fragance as long as you stick to one method).

An Example Calculation

8%  of   395 gms of wax   =    31.6 mls of fragrance for 395gms wax

Every fragrance and essential oil will affect your soy wax differently.  You may find one particular scent causes your wax to dry lumpy or ‘curdle’  If this happens drop the scent percentage back and try another candle.  Keep doing this until you strike a balance.  Don’t forget to also experiment with the pour temperature.  Try hotter.


 Percentage Calculator

 what is % of ?

 Answer: