From burning incense to lighting candles, adding the right scent to your space can go a long way to create the perfect ambiance, enhance indoor air quality, and boost your mood. There’s a distinct way in which our brains process smells, and the sweet-smelling aroma from burning candles and incense will always leave a soothing effect.
With that said, choosing between incense and candles can be a bit overwhelming for anyone since both of them produce a rich, fragrant smell to die for. In this guide, we highlight the main differences to help you select the right scent for your space.
What Is Incense?
Incense is an aromatic substance that produces a sharp, lingering sweet smell when burned. It consists of a combination of natural ingredients like resins, wood, bark, seeds, spices, herbs, roots, flowers, and gums that release a fragrant scent when combusted.
It has been used since time immemorial for religious worship, ceremonies, meditation, aromatherapy, and even aesthetic purposes. Burning incense in your space can dramatically improve the atmosphere by setting the proper ambiance and boosting your mood.
What Is A Scented Candle?
A scented candle is a special type of candle that is made from mixing wax with fragrant oils. It looks like any other normal candle but, unlike the traditional version, it produces an enjoyable, sweet-smelling aroma when lit. When you light a scented candle, the heat produced gradually melts away the wax and as a result, a sweet aroma is emitted into the air through the process of evaporation.
Scented candles offer a wide range of benefits. They not only improve mood but also create a warm and soothing ambiance for any situation. Besides, the scent from the candle can help calm the mind and support restful sleep.
What Is the Difference Between Incense and Candles?
The differences between incense and scented candles are numerous. First, incense produces heavy smoke when combusted while scented candles remain smokeless when lit. Incense is usually made from combustible plant-based materials like bark, wood, and seeds that produce smoke and soot when burned. In contrast, candles consist of a mixture of wax and scented oils that produce little to no smoke when burning.
Another major difference revolves around how they burn. Incense sticks burn quickly and they take a very short time to fill up a room with scent. Besides, the scent produced is stronger compared to that of a scented candle. In contrast, scented candles take time to release fragrant scents into the air since the wax pool has to reach the candle jar. However, scented candles make up for this by adding complex scents to a room over a longer time.
Is Incense Better than Candles?
Choosing between incense and candles is all about time and personal preference. If you want to quickly fill up your space with a sweet-smelling scent, then incense sticks are best for you. This is because they burn quickly and produce strong scents within minutes.
However, you will have to contend with the mess caused by falling ash. You also have to keep an eye on the incense so that you can put it off when leaving the room. But, there is a lot of fun in picking out stylish or decadent incense ashtrays that can easily incorporate a whole new piece of artwork in any living space.
Scented candles are ideal if you want to fill up your space with a steady amount of scent over several hours. The flickering flame creates a warm glow in your space for the perfect ambiance. Moreover, candles are smokeless and you don’t have to deal with falling ash.
Are Candles or Incense Worse for You?
Candles may not be ideal for you if you want an immediate boost of scent. This is because they produce fragrances gradually. The wax pool has to reach the edge of the candle jar for it to emit the scent that you need. Some candles can release harmful toxins or chemicals into the air, however, most candles nowadays are crafted with higher quality materials, so make sure to stick to the all-natural types or those that showcase all the ingredients if you want to be on the healthier side.
Incense may not be good for you if you are allergic to smoke. When burnt, incense tends to produce heavy smoke that accompanies the fragrant smell. Moreover, there is the possibility of dealing with falling ash, which might turn out to be a big mess. Certain types of incense could aggravate different people, so be sure to read the labels and know exactly what you are burning to avoid any adverse effects.
Is Incense Bad for Air Quality?
Consistent use of incense might be bad for air quality. The sticks produce smoke when burning and this might cause indoor air quality issues. Aside from the heavy smoke, you also have to deal with soot and falling ash. To make the most of incense, you must ensure that the room is well-ventilated and you have a proper ashtray to collect all the falling ash and soot.
The Effect of Incense and Candles on Your Health
Prolonged exposure to the smoke and emissions from incense and scented candles can affect your health. People with asthma and other respiratory problems are at a greater risk of experiencing health issues. Headaches, allergic attacks, dizziness, and asthmatic reactions are all associated with prolonged exposure to incense and candle emissions.
Which Is Better – Incense or Candles?
Choosing between incense and candles is a matter of personal preference. After all, both fragrances have their fair share of upsides and downsides. If you need an instant boost of scent in your space, then you should opt for incense. If you don’t mind a little longer to enjoy a long-term boost of fragrance, then scented candles are the ultimate choice for you.