The Secret To Buying Candles Online (When You Can’t Smell Them!)


How on earth do you find the perfect candle fragrance when you can’t smell before you buy? We’re spilling our secrets to shopping for candles online…

We love online shopping (obviously). But it does come with its disadvantages, especially when buying products that depend on the senses. We’re talking about scented candles!

The good news is, finding the perfect fragrance doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are some helpful tricks we’ve learned along the way.

Find the right fragrance

You might be familiar with the colour wheel, but what about the fragrance wheel? It’s the key to matching your sense of scent with the perfect candle fragrance.

Many candle makers will mix and match these scents into gorgeously unique blends, but it’s helpful to know which notes speak to you!

candle fragrance wheel

Pick the best quality candle wax

Choose the right wax to make sure you’re getting a candle that suits your needs. Not all waxes are made the same!

Soy wax

An all-natural wax derived from soybeans, commonly considered an eco-friendly option because soybeans are a renewable resources.

Because soy wax is a natural material, the burn is cleaner and has a lower melting point meaning the candle will produce a faster, longer-lasting scent.

Paraffin wax

There’s a common misconception that paraffin wax candles are bad for your health, but they’re actually non-toxic. Fully-refined paraffin wax is totally safe and clean-burning.

In fact, paraffin wax produces excellent candles that burn bright and long. Gotta love that!

candles zanui
Ecoya candles are made from pure soy wax with lead-free cotton wicks! Shop all home fragrances on Zanui here.


This wax has been used to make candles for centuries, and it’s harvested from the combs of beehives as a by-product the honey-making process making it all-natural.

As a natural wax, these candles burn cleanly but they do have a slightly sweeter scent than other waxes (due to the honey).

Palm wax

Palm wax is derived from palm oil which is a major reason for deforestation and the loss of rainforest and animal habitats. While palm wax burns long and bright, it’s generally best to steer clear of these, as they’re not very good for the environment.

candles zanui
Maison Blanche candles are hand-poured with soy wax with zero chemical additives. Shop all home fragrances on Zanui here.

Read the descriptions!

Once you’ve picked the most appealing scents from the fragrance wheel and know what sort of wax you’re looking for, you can start shopping!

The best way to know which candle to buy is to read the product descriptions and look closely at online images of the product packaging.

Take note of:

  • Burn time (usually specified in hours)
  • Top, mid, and base/bottom notes
  • Blends of scents and waxes
  • Free from harmful chemicals such as PFOA (Perufluorooctanoic acid), BPA (bisphenol A), phthalates (esters of phthalate acid)
  • Handmade or hand-poured candles
  • Pretty packaging, including lids

candles zanui
Inartisan’s ‘Phosphenes’ candles are handmade from non-GM soy wax. Shop all home fragrances on Zanui here.

Kyra Thomsen is a writer and editor from Sydney, NSW. She has experience in copywriting, blogging, journalism, and social media. After completing two degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature in 2013 she began work with the content team at Zanui. Kyra was the winner of the 2012 Questions Writing Prize and her work has been published in print and online for numerous sources, including Writer's Edit, Seizure, and Fairfax Media among others.