Incense vs Candles: Which Should You Choose?

A fragrant home creates a perfect ambiance and feels welcoming. The fragrance is often overlooked in home décor, though using it can create the right feel. So, what’s the better choice on incense vs candles, the two most commonly used methods for a fragrant home.

Both candles and incense need a match to light them, followed by releasing the fragrance. That is a common trait. They differ in aspects like composition, longevity, cleanliness, benefits, and shortcomings.

What Does Incense Offer?

The word incense comes from the Latin word incendere which means “to burn”. Incense in the shape of sticks and cones is made of fragrant oils derived from tree resins, flowers, roots, and seeds of plants. The oils are then mixed with a combustible material that also acts as a binder to hold it all together. The moment the stick or cone is lighted, it releases the scent of the oil.

If you wish to enhance the effect of aromatic smoke released from incense, you have to know which incense scent is well suited for you.

Burn The Incense That Suits Your Need

Sandalwood incense is a great stress and depression pacifier. When you relax in its calming aroma, you feel your senses calming and it improves mental well-being. You can also try lighting lemongrass, lotus, and white musk incense sticks for the same purpose.

Cinnamon scents are a great way to boost concentration. Complement romantic dinner dates by lighting incense releasing jasmine, rose, and lavender fragrance. 

In church rituals, the use of incense dates back to ancient times. Sometime around the 5th century, incense became a part of ordinary Christian worship. Frankincense is a classic scent burnt during religious practices as it has biblical connotations. The range of scents is wide and one can find many more fragrances according to his preference.

Woman meditating with incense

Why Choose Incense

  • Incense is a convenient way to make your home fragrant.
  • You can mask odors at home by simply burning incense near the spot.
  • It is one of the best ways to get a quick aroma in your surroundings.
  • It is quite affordable.
  • It has a lower risk of fire compared to burning a candle.

Safety Hazards And Downside Of Incense

So far, you have known the benefits of choosing incense, however before you make a final choice, go through the few limitations:

  • Burning incense without proper ventilation affects the quality of air indoors.
  • People with respiratory problems should abstain from lighting incense.
  • The soot emitted from incense can deposit on home fixtures, curtains, etc.
  • As the incense burns, it deposits ashes near the place it is lit.
  • Never leave the burning incense unattended.
  • Keep a burning incense out of the reach of children.

Scented Candles And Why They’re So Popular

Adding scented candles is a perfect way to add fragrance and decorate your home. These are available in many scents, which come from fragrance oils and essential oils. You just need to pick the one that suits your requirements. Here let’s briefly talk about their composition and working mechanism.

The scented mixture consists of fragrant oil and melted wax poured in a jar around the wick at an optimum temperature. Paraffin, beeswax, and soy wax use specific temperatures to have the right ‘scent throw’. Other factors which determine the scent throw of a candle are its wick, diameter of the pool, and the kind of wax used. 

To get the best results, try to let the candle burn for several minutes before you blow off the flame. Candles need a few minutes to spread the scent. As the wax gradually melts and surrounds the wick, the scent throw intensifies. 

For the uninitiated, scent throw represents how strong the scent from the candle is and how far it can travel.

Destress Yourself  And Enhance Yoga And Meditation Practices

Like incense, you can get many benefits from a scented candle too. It’s all about knowing your specific requirement. If you need relief from stress and depression try burning soy wax candles. The scents that soothe stress are eucalyptus, spearmint, chamomile, and rose.

Candles with a mild scent like lavender are great for use during meditation. Lavender has a sedative effect on the mind. A beeswax candle is also used during meditative practices. Yoga sessions get more enjoyable by lighting candles that give aromas of lemongrass, jasmine, lotus, and rosemary. These scents prevent the mind from wandering. 

Choose natural wax candles like beeswax and soy wax for better results.

Scented Candles And Some Health Effects

Scented candles are a great way to improve your physical well-being too. If you suffer from physical pain, then lavender can be helpful. Besides, it helps to overcome the insomnia problem. Candles with rose and eucalyptus scents may help with some respiratory issues.

The natural extract of Ylang-ylang flower in candles like lavender is said to give many health benefits ranging from insomnia to cardiac problems. Jasmine scent heightens libido in a quiet and dim-lighted environment. Another scent that can offer health benefits is lotus. The eucalyptus scent is a great natural remedy for cough and scientific investigations to its benefits are underway. 

More Uses For Scented Candles

All candles emit soot and if this is the reason that prevents you from buying the one, then soy wax should be your choice. It burns cleaner and results in less soot emission. You can use scented candles as a good gifting option and as a part of home décor.  

Candles are an indispensable addition to prayers in churches. There are candles available with scents that resonate with biblical notes. To name a few like frankincense, myrrh, fig, and sea scents.

Why Choose Scented Candles

  • Few candles like beeswax and soy wax emit less soot and are smoke-free.
  • The scents emitted from a candle stay on for a considerable long time.
  • Candles have a long shelf life.
  • Combat stench with scented candles. 

Safety Hazards And Downside Of Burning Candles

Like incense, we cannot overlook a few safety concerns after lighting candles. They are:

  • A burning candle carries a risk of fire.
  • It is very important to place the candle on a heat-resistant surface.
  • Be careful to keep candles away from inflammable materials like curtains and bedsheets.
  • Keep a burning candle beyond the reach of children and pets.
  • Blow off the candles when you leave the room.
  • Scented candles take time before the fragrance spreads.
  • They may be more expensive than incense.

Indoor Ventilation And Other Aspects For Incense vs Candles

Be cautious about indoor ventilation to reap the best benefits of burning incense and candles at home. Not paying enough attention to ventilation could be quite problematic. 

In homes, where incense is regularly burnt, there is a  possibility of smoke and soot deposition. Besides volatile organic compounds ( VOC) are released which results in indoor pollution. 

Smoke inhalation poses a greater risk to people with respiratory dysfunctions like asthmatic patients or pregnant women. Pets too are vulnerable to smoke and need care.

incense burning outdoors
Incense is often strong enough to make its presence felt even outdoors.

It is observed that continuous smoke emission from incense and candles mixed with scent stays on furnishings like curtains, bedsheets, and other surfaces. Stale scents and residual smoke could eventually give the room a bad odor. They’re awesome, but use them in moderation!

So for candles vs incense, which is the better choice for smoke emission? Incense creates more smoke. However, it would be wrong to assume that candles are smoke-free. Paraffin wax candles emit smoke and release chemical compounds. Keep in mind, paraffin wax is a petroleum product.

Thus, next time you want to light incense or scented candles make sure your room has some ventilation.     

What To Choose Between Incense And Candles?

After this discussion on incense vs candles, you will be in a position to choose better. I think they’re both excellent options, keeping in mind their specific strengths and options. Mix and match their aromas and create your signature scented home.

Light incense when you need instant aroma. Burn candles when you want to relax in a dim light environment with a fragrance that calms your mind. 

Besides incense and candles, you can also try reed diffusers and air freshers to make your home fragrant and pleasant.