Friday, March 18, 2011

Sensuous Massage Candles

Massage candles are quite unique and yet so easy to make. They are not simply candles, but a solid form of massage oil that is melted with a burning wick. The wax melts at a temperature slightly higher than body temperature, and is poured off the candle directly onto the skin. The wax is loaded with skin-loving ingredients like oils and butters and body safe fragrance.

Massage candles are basically soy candles, since soy wax is safe to use on the skin and doesn't require high temperatures for melting. For massage candles, the wax must be high-quality so that it won't irritate your skin. The soy wax is melted and combined with oils and butters to allow it to be absorbed. Without these additions, the wax would cool and harden as it was being massaged into the skin.

Only skin safe fragrances and essential oils can be used. However, not just any skin safe fragrance can be used to scent the candle. It must also be rated candle safe since not all fragrances are appropriate for burning. Colors are generally not used since the wax/oil mixture is applied directly to the skin. If you do choose to color the candle, it is recommended that a skin safe colorant, which is also candle safe, is used.

If you are looking for all natural methods of scenting and coloring your massage candles, there are a few things to consider. Not all essential oils can be used in candle making. In fact, a large number are not safe at all. Here is a list of essential oils that seem to work fine in candles. Be aware that the essential oils must be pure and all candles should undergo a burn test, which simply means that you should burn one candle from each type you carry to ensure that it burns properly.

Bergamot – Citrus scent that promotes a feeling of happiness.

Chamomile - Used for relaxing or exciting, helps with sleeplessness and anxiety.

Eucalyptus - Balancing and stimulating with a woody and camphor-like aroma, it makes a great air disinfectant and relieves muscle tension. It also helps with respiratory problems and boosts the immune system.

Frankincense – Earthy scent which complements meditation.

Geranium - Comforting and healing while also being uplifting with a floral, sweet, and earthy smell.

Ginger – Spicy scent that helps to increase memory.

Grapefruit - Freshly uplifting and refreshing.

Jasmine – Sweet floral scent that uplifts your mood and spirit.

Lavender - Calming and relaxing with a sweet, floral aroma.

Lemon - Invigorating oil which uplifts and relaxes your senses.

Lemongrass - Refreshing and rejuvenating, with a sweet and citrus scent.

Patchouli – Exotic, earthy scent that relieves stress.

Peppermint - Stimulating and refreshing, with a menthol scent that helps with digestive disorders, headaches and muscle aches.

Orange – Refreshing and rejuvenating, with a sweet and citrus scent.

Rosemary - An out of the world oil, which is stimulating and uplifting and good for mental stimulation.

Sandalwood - Warm and relaxing with a woody and exotic smell that relieves stress.

Tea Tree - Cleansing and refreshing with a fresh, medicinal fragrance.

Ylang Ylang - Both relaxing and stimulating with a heavy, sweet, and exotic aroma.

You will not be able to find natural candle colorants off the shelf. In fact, naturally coloring candles is not common, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Many herbs, flowers and other botanicals will clog your wick when added to candles for color. It’s all about method when it comes to coloring candles from botanicals. A simple oil infusion will do the trick.

You have a choice. You can infuse the herbs in the oil you are using, or infuse them to the wax and oil mixture. Place some oil and/or wax in a double boiler and melt. Place an equal amount of herbs in a heat sealable tea bag or a coffee filter tied off with some string. Toss the herbal bag into the pot of wax and allow to steep while over a very low heat until the color of the herb tints the wax. This may take hours. You can also try placing the herbs and wax in a bowl and setting it in a water bath in a crock pot where the temperature can be kept low and you won’t need to continually replenish the water. You can then add this colored wax to your candle mixture to provide a natural tint. You’ll need to experiment with different herbs to get the desired colors.

Here are some botanicals that may be used to color candles using the infusion method.

Alkanet Root – Purple to red color

Annatto Seeds – Yellow color

Kelp – Natural green color

Lemon Peel – Yellow to orange color

Madder Root – Peach color

Orange Peel – Natural orange color

Paprika – Deep, rich orange color

Parsley – Natural green color

Rosehips – Burgundy red color

Rosemary – Natural green color

Spirulina – Warm green color

Turmeric – Bright yellow color

Note: You will need to conduct a burn test to be sure your wicks do not clog and that smoke and unpleasant fumes are not let off. Also, be sure your candle is burning evenly.

Supplies needed:

Double boiler
Candle thermometer
Wooden spoon
High quality soy wax
Containers (glass or tin)
Wick seal
Wick holder
Wicks for soy wax for a 1-2 inch diameter candle
Oils and/or butters appropriate for massage
Skin and candle safe fragrance
Infused colorants (optional)

Wick your candle, securing the wick in the container and the wick holder on top of the container. Determine the amount of fluid your container will hold. Melt 3 parts wax to 1 part oil/butter in the double boiler, making sure not to exceed the recommended melting temperature for your ingredients. You can infuse the mixture with herbs for color or leave natural. Add fragrance according to directions for skin safety, usually at a maximum of 3-5%. Typically, for every 4 parts of wax/oil (3 parts wax to 1 part oil), you can add a maximum of ¼ part fragrance. Pour the wax/oil mixture into the candle container and allow to cool. Trim wick and it’s ready for use.

To use, light the candle and allow the wax to pool. Then blow the candle out and allow the wax to sit for 1-2 minutes until it is cool enough to touch, but warm enough to keep the wax soft. Pour or scoop a small amount of wax into your hands and massage it into your skin. Any left over, can be scraped back into the container, as it will be remelted the next time you use it.

Since these candles are made to be used on the skin as a lotion or moisturizer, you must follow proper labeling procedures including listing all ingredients. Not only is this a requirement, it also allows the customer the opportunity to make sure no allergies exist for any of the ingredients.

These candles make great gifts, especially for couples. Choose scents that create a relaxing or sensuous ambience. Containers that allow for easy pouring or scooping are preferable.


  1. This post was very helpful to me. thank you for the list of essential oils that are appropriate to use in massage candles. I've made one batch of these types of candles and it turned out nice, but I'd never thought about the fact that not all EO's would be usable, so this post was quite helpful.


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