What Candle Scent Is Most Popular? The Sweetest of Them All

Have you ever found yourself chilling at home, enjoying the flicker of a candle, when suddenly you wonder, “Hey, what’s the most popular candle scent out there?” That at least makes two of us. It’s the sort of burning question that gets lodged in the mind of anyone who loves to burn candles – from the casual to the DIYer. So what’s the answer then?

The most popular candle scent is vanilla due to its soothing and comforting qualities. This scent is cherished for its versatile appeal, blending well with a variety of other aromas, creating a homely and welcoming atmosphere. It accounts for 11% of the global market share of candle scents.

Getting to the bottom of the most adored candle scents isn’t just about satisfying our curiosity. No way, it’s about more than that. It’s like a map guiding us to a treasure chest of incredible smells, a secret formula for the DIY buffs, and a candle shopping list for the scent-hungry among us.

If you’re looking to get into candle making, definitely consider one of our top 5 recommendations for candle kits – at the top of the list is SoftOwl, which you’ll find throughout this article.

This article is going to unwrap the mystery of candle scents – from the most popular and luxurious to the most therapeutic among them. Think of it as your personal guide to the world of smells.

Exploring the Art of Candle Making and Scents

Making candles is more than an activity; it’s an experience. So welcome aboard the waxy hobby train. Our destination? The magical realm of candle making and the intoxicating smells involved. We’ve been navigating these wax-filled waters for quite some time now, introducing countless enthusiasts to this delightful craft. We still teach readers how to make candles to this day – there’s no end in sight either because it’s one of the more fulfilling experiences on our end.

Ever watch someone’s face light up (no pun intended) when they un-mold their first handmade candle? It’s a sight to behold! We’ve seen it time and time again, the joy, the sense of achievement, and above all, the satisfaction that comes with creating something beautiful from scratch. There’s a certain tranquility that accompanies candle making, a quiet hum of happiness that we’ve seen resonate with every hobbyist we’ve had the pleasure of guiding. Trust us, it’s a hobby that warms the heart as much as it lights the room.

The most enjoyable part of this teaching journey is scent selection – guiding hobbyists through the captivating world of scents. You could go for the classic lavender, or maybe try something wild like the ocean breeze. The choice of scent can make or break a candle. It’s the soul of your creation, setting the mood and ambiance. And guess what? Mixing and matching different fragrances can lead to some surprising combinations. This is how you become an alchemist of scent – which is an art form that adds a truly personal touch to each candle.

Why Do People Use Scented Candles?

Have you ever walked into a room and felt immediately enveloped by a sense of tranquility? That’s the power of a well-chosen candle scent. And it’s one of the primary reasons people decide to burn one scent of candle versus another.

People use scented candles primarily to foster relaxation, cultivate a cozy atmosphere, and elevate their mood. According to Happi, 50% use them to unwind, 35% for a snug ambiance, and 30% to uplift spirits, showcasing their broad appeal.

Motivation and popularity aren’t necessarily the same thing. While motivation most likely changes at a slower rate, trends of scents are in a constant state of flux. So for the 50% of people who want to light a candle to relax, what are the main factors that influence their choice of scent? In other words, what are the primary components that make vanilla the most popular scent of candles today?

What Makes a Candle Scent Popular?

Choosing a candle scent isn’t just about picking a nice smell. It’s more like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, where different pieces come together to create the final picture. As a candle maker, it’s handy to understand these pieces so you can make candles that people love.

  • Seasons Matter: Just like we choose different clothes or foods for different seasons, we also prefer different scents at different times of the year. Think of the bright smell of lemon in summer, or the warm scent of cinnamon in winter. And you can’t think of the fall season without pumpkin coming to mind. Each season has its own set of smells that can be captured in your candles, making your hobby a year-round adventure.
  • Personal Tastes and Cultural Influences: Candle scents can remind us of personal memories or our cultural background. For example, the smell of jasmine might take some people back to their childhood summers, while the smoky smell of sandalwood could be significant in someone’s culture. Incorporating these personal and cultural preferences in your candles can make them more special, turning your hobby into a meaningful art form.
  • Therapeutic Benefits of Scents: Some scents are known to have health benefits, like helping to reduce stress or increase focus. Picture the calming smell of lavender or the energizing scent of peppermint. By using these therapeutic scents in your candles, you can turn your hobby into a way of creating a healthier and happier environment at home.

What Are the Most Common Candle Scents?

Vanilla tops the list of most common candle scents, making up 11% of candle fragrances. Citrus and lemon follow closely at 10%, then rose and lavender, each at 8%. The next one might make you think of fall: Pumpkin at 7%. Coconut and cranberry each hold 4% of the candle scent market.

The rest of the candle world is a melting pot of assorted fragrances, making a long tail of various aromas. (BedBible). So, why is vanilla the leader of the pack? The answer lies in its universal appeal and versatile nature.

Why Is Vanilla So Popular in Candles?

Vanilla is popular in candles for its universally appealing, comforting, and versatile fragrance. The scent promotes a soothing atmosphere, easily combines with other fragrances, and often evokes nostalgic memories, making it a favorite.

The aroma of vanilla often evokes nostalgia, reminding us of childhood moments filled with the scent of freshly baked cookies. This comforting aroma creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in any room, akin to a cozy hug on a chilly day. Vanilla also pairs well with almost any other scent, enhancing and blending with them to create appealing combinations. Whether it’s the divine pairing of vanilla and rose or the exciting mix of vanilla and citrus, this versatility contributes to its widespread use in candle-making.

Vanilla isn’t just a pleasant smell; it’s also known for its calming properties. Lighting a vanilla candle can contribute to a relaxing atmosphere, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. A vanilla candle at the end of a long day could be your relaxation ritual.

So, when in search of a comforting, nostalgic, or mood-lifting scent, consider vanilla. Its popularity in the world of candles is well-founded, offering not just a delightful fragrance, but a sense of well-being too.

Best Scented Candles

Personal preference weighs heavily on what’s considered the ‘best’ scent for a candle. After all, a scent that one person finds intoxicating might not hit the right notes for another. So, when it comes to choosing the ‘best’ candle scent, there’s more to it than just a pleasing aroma. Other factors come into play, such as the potency and longevity of the scent. Longevity refers to how long the scent lasts after the candle is extinguished, while potency refers to how strong the scent is when the candle is burning.

But, if you were wondering ‘best’ based on preference, sales data and user reviews indicate a few top-rated scents consistently rising to the top. These include classics like vanilla, lavender, and citrus, along with more unique choices like sandalwood, sea breeze, and eucalyptus. Vanilla, with its warm and comforting aroma, tends to be a universal favorite. Lavender is loved for its calming properties, while citrus scents are popular for their ability to invigorate and refresh. However, unique scents like sandalwood and sea breeze have also gained traction, with many users appreciating their distinctive and mood-enhancing fragrances.

Best Smelling Scents

When it comes to the ‘best smelling’ scent, it’s also a highly subjective matter. The ‘best smell’ can vary greatly from person to person, influenced by personal experiences, cultural backgrounds, and individual sensory perceptions. What one person finds enchanting, another may find overwhelming. So, there is no universal answer to what smells the ‘best’. Instead, it’s more about finding the scent that resonates most with you, evoking feelings of comfort, happiness, or nostalgia.

Looking at popular trends, certain scents seem to be crowd-pleasers. The warm and comforting smell of vanilla often tops the charts, as does the fresh, uplifting scent of citrus. Floral scents such as lavender and rose are also widely loved for their soothing and romantic aromas. Interestingly, complex scents that blend several fragrances like citrus and bergamot or vanilla and sandalwood are gaining popularity, providing a unique olfactory experience. More on trends in a minute, but in the end, the ‘best smelling’ scent will always be the one that brings you the most joy – which is impossible to throw into the public domain as a truth for everyone.

What is the Smell of Luxury?

Close your eyes and imagine walking into a boutique hotel, each corner resonating with an exclusive scent – this is the smell of luxury.

Opulence is not merely about extravagant looks; it’s a multi-sensory experience, and scent plays a pivotal role. In the realm of luxury candles, certain fragrances reign supreme, owing to their rarity, association with high-end brands, or complex scent profiles.

Just think about oud for a moment. Derived from the resinous heartwood of the Aquilaria tree, oud’s rarity and unique scent profile elevate it to the status of liquid gold in perfumery. Imagine lighting a candle imbued with this essence, filling your home with a warm, woody, and slightly sweet fragrance – it’s like stepping into an Arabian tale.

Or take a whiff of the truffle, a perfume staple in the luxury market. Truffles are hard to come by and even harder to cultivate, lending their scent an air of exclusivity. Their earthy, musky aroma adds a layer of intrigue and sophistication to any candle.

But luxury doesn’t always mean exotic. It could also imply familiarity reimagined in a more refined context, like the comforting scent of vanilla beans from Madagascar, with its deep, rich aroma that’s far removed from your average vanilla candle. Even vanilla, the most common scent of candles on the market, is a luxury scent accessible to everyone.

What is the Trend in Candles for 2024? Nature-Inspired and Eco-Friendly

As we venture into 2024, the candle industry shows no sign of cooling down. In fact, it’s heating up with intriguing trends that are transforming our olfactory experience. Looking at the scents, we’re seeing a shift towards nature-inspired fragrances. Candles with hints of fresh linen, sea breeze, or rain-kissed forest foliage are gaining traction, offering a refreshing escape for those cooped up indoors.

In terms of form, chunky candles with a rustic touch are all the rage. They’re artistic, often with multiple wicks and come in different shapes and sizes, adding not just a fragrance but also a visual statement to your home décor. The trend of eco-friendly and sustainable candles is also blossoming. Consumers are leaning towards candles made from renewable resources like soy or beeswax and packaging that’s recyclable or reusable. This isn’t just a trend – it’s a movement that’s here to stay.

2023 is also witnessing the rise of candle-making as a hobby, which will continue into 2024. With DIY kits readily available, more and more people are discovering the joy and satisfaction that comes from creating their unique scented candles.

These trends not only showcase the dynamism of the candle industry but also highlight how the simple act of lighting a candle can be a source of comfort, luxury, and creative expression.

Getting Started with Candle Making

Why make your own candles? Because it’s a great way to express your creativity. Store-bought candles come in specific smells and styles. But when you make your own, you can play around with lots of different scents, colors, and shapes. It’s also way more affordable to make your candles than to buy them at the store. These are just a few of many reasons to make candles instead of buying them, but in the end, we love how it’s a fun way to change up your home and make it feel more like you. Here are a few of our essential tips to get you started:

  • Wax Is Everything: If you’re just starting with candle making, remember this: wax is key. The kind of wax you choose sets the base for your candle. There are many types of candle wax to pick from, like paraffin, soy, or beeswax, and each one has its perks. For example, soy wax is known for being environmentally friendly and burns cleanly, while paraffin wax is good at carrying scent. We highly recommend the American Soy Organics wax. It comes as 10 lbs which is a nice amount to work with, and you don’t have to worry about any hazardous fumes. You can also try out different waxes like beeswax, the biggest difference will be melting temperatures and how easy they take on scent and molds.
  • Starter Scents: How do you start with popular scents? Think about the times when you walked into a spa and were relaxed by the smell of eucalyptus. Or how the smell of lavender can help you feel calm before bed. These scents are popular for a reason, and they’re a good starting point. As you get more comfortable, start mixing your scents. The goal is to make candles that not only smell great but also feel special to you.
  • Candle-Making Resources: Want to learn more about candle making? We’ve got a million and one resource on how to make candles. Of all the options we have, we’d recommend two starting points for anyone new to candle-making. The first is our product review of the best candle-making kit on the market. You’ll find amazing scents in this SoftOwl Premium Soy Candle-Making Kit. The second stop on your journey should be our candle-making tutorial. With these two in hand, you’ll have the best materials and directions to create the highest-quality candles right from the start.

Keep the Flame Burning: Your Next Candle-Making Steps

We’ve covered a lot in this article, from the basics of candle making to the factors influencing scent popularity. We also discussed the most common and best scents and touched on luxury candles and 2023 and 2024 trends. But there’s still so much more to discover – so, we encourage you to start your candle-making journey. Play around with different scents, colors, and shapes. Create candles that transform your home into a place that truly reflects you.

Candle-making is all about learning and enjoying the process. As you get started, don’t forget to share your experiences with us. Whether it’s a unique scent blend you’ve come up with, or a candle design that your friends love, we want to hear about it.

At New Hobby Box, we’re passionate about exploring new hobbies and learning new skills. We’re excited to hear about your candle-making experiences. Who knows? Your story might inspire someone else to try out this hobby.


Hey - I'm Steve, co-founder of New Hobby Box, and hobby enthusiast. A few years back, I felt like I was getting dull when it came to learning new things. That's why I was part of the original crew who set out to challenge ourselves to learn new things. We liked it so much that we decided to take our challenge public - and that's what ultimately started New Hobby Box. I love going against the status quo when it comes to hobbies, I've tried so many things that I would never have thought to do, that ultimately became part of my life. You'll find quite a few of my hobby experiences throughout the site. Happy Hobbying!

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