Fragrance Showdown: Wax Melts vs Candles

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Lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka compares candles vs wax melts on Diary of a Debutante

I work from home, so I’m pretty much always looking for easy ways to make our space more cozy. My home office also happens to be a small, all-white converted attic, so it can quickly start to feel like a prison if the atmosphere is uncomfortable or the ambiance is stale. That said, I’ve found that the best way to create a relaxing environment is through “happy scents.” Happy scents can not only stimulate your mind but improve your mood and productivity, too. So, I thought it’d be fun to do a wax melts vs candles “showdown” and share why I’m a newly-turned wax melt fanatic in today’s post. Keep reading for a comparison of candles vs wax melts– and, for fellow wax melts fans, Happy Wax vs Scentsy! I’m also sharing my some of favorite scents, along with tips on how to melt wax with and without a warmer. 

Candles vs Wax Melts

Look, I love a good candle– and I’m definitely not saying that I’ll never burn one again (that’s crazy talk), but soy wax melts really are hard to beat. Not only are they generally less expensive, they’re flame-free and have significantly more burn time than candles. Plus, they’re natural, environmentally-friendly, and free of harmful chemicals and pollutants, which can aggravate allergies and, even worse, asthma.

To be fair, obviously not all candles contain harmful ingredients. Many do contain phthalates and paraffin, though, which releases carcinogenic chemicals (similar to the fumes released from a diesel engine) when burned. Also, some scented candles (approximately 30% according to this article) have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead, which is horrifying. We’ve got two precious fur babies– and we hope to have kids in the near future, so overall, I greatly prefer the safety, in both the flame- and chemical-free regard, of soy based wax melts over candles.

Heart-shaped scented soy wax melts shared by Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a DebutanteBlogger Stephanie Ziajka shares why Happy Wax is the best brand of wax melts on Diary of a Debutante

How do you use wax melts?

Wax melts are a little different from candles. There’s no flame, no soot, and no threat to your pets and/or home. If you’re not sure how to use wax melts, it’s super easy, and there are a few ways to do it. Here’s how to use wax melts both with and without a wax warmer– 

With a Wax Wamer

The traditional way is to purchase a wax burner (I love this one from Happy Wax) and then put 1-2 wax melts in its dish. Wax melts are essentially candles without wicks or soot, so my rule of thumb is to start with 1 wax melt and add more as needed to avoid being overwhelmed by any particular scent. Then, turn on the wax burner, set the timer (if there is one), and wait for your wax to melt. Once the wax is melted, a more potent aroma will be released and your house will smelling heavenly!

When the wax loses its scent, swap it out. If your wax burner has a silicone dish, wait for the wax to dry and then pop it out. If it doesn’t, carefully tip the wax into a container (cup, can, or whatever) while it’s liquid and throw it away. Run a paper towel around the inside of the dish to remove any extra wax left over or, if it’s already hardened, put it under running hot water for a couple seconds and then wipe it clean. 

Without a Wax Warmer

If you don’t have a wax warmer, you can also melt them on the stove with 2 different-sized pans! First, bring water in a medium-sized pan to a boil. Then, take the smaller pot and wrap the inside with tin foil to avoid any ugly hard-to-clean residue. Next, place a wax melt or two in the smaller pot and then put the smaller pot inside the larger pan. The heat from the boiled water will slowly melt the wax just like a wax warmer would!

Happy Wax vs Scentsy: Which Brand Is Best?

Blogger Stephanie Ziajka compares Happy Wax vs Scentsy on Diary of a Debutante

Believe it or not, naming the best brand of wax melts is a highly controversial subject. For the sake of time, I’m going to narrow it down to two of the mostly highly rated wax melts– Scentsy and Happy Wax.


I got into Scentsy back in college and really enjoyed their products for a while. My biggest complaints were always that their scents didn’t last long and felt a little overpriced. Although free of phthalates, their wax isn’t soy (they believe soy or vegetable-based waxes can’t produce quality wick-less candles) or free of paraffin either.

There’s also the whole “pyramid scheme” element, which is probably the biggest drawback. I do still own a few of their standard wax burners, though, and they’re adorable. I’ve had the owl-shaped Whoot Warmer for over 10 years now– and my mama got me the pineapple-shaped Southern Hospitality Warmer as a housewarming gift last year. So, while I’m not the biggest fan of their wax melts, their standard warmers are super cute and well worth their $35 price tag! 

Happy Wax

Happy Wax, on the other hand, is a much newer operation run out of Durham, N.C.. Above all else, I love that they make environmentally-friendly and sustainable soy wax that’s free of phthalates and paraffin. Even better, their wax melts are shaped like adorable little teddy bears (and these are even shaped like hearts!), and I’m a big fan of their no-scrape silicone dishes. Instead of adopting an awkward heat-wipe-scrape technique, I just wait for the wax to dry and then pop it out to switch out scents. Their wax warmers aren’t quite as cute as Scenty’s, but they are chic and practical. I own both the marble Signature Wax Melt Warmer 2.0 and the white terrazo Mini Tabletop Wax Warmer, and I love that they have 3, 6, and 9-hour timers built in.

Also, you can also use code STEPHANIE5 for $5 off any purchase! As an FYI, I’m not an affiliate. They just gave me a discount code!

Stephanie Ziajka shows how to use wax melts on Diary of a DebutanteStephanie Ziajka discusses why use wax melts on Diary of a Debutante

What are some of the best wax scents?

I’m not sure anyone can definitively list the best wax scents, since everyone’s noses are different. On a personal note, Kyle and I love Happy Wax’s Aromatherapy Collection. Focus, Soothe, and Refresh, which are all infused with essential oils and always on rotation in my office, are probably my top 3. I’m also a big fan of floral scents, so I love their Floral Favorites Mix, too. Garden Rose and Spring Bouquet are pretty strong, though, so I recommend putting in one wax melt at a time to make sure you’re not overwhelmed by the scent. 

Other popular wax scents are lavender, vanilla sandalwood, lemon verbena, and anything beachy (like coconut or sandalwood). In the fall, apple harvest and pumpkin are sure bets– and in the winter, anything cinnamon or pine is, too. Experiment with lots of different aromas and seasonal scents to find your favorites!

Happy Wax review and breakdown of why Happy Wax's safe wax melts are better than Scentsy wax melts by Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

So… candles vs wax melts. What are your thoughts?! I’d love to know in the comments! Also, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions about how to use wax melts or why I prefer Happy Wax’s soy wax melts over Scenty’s (or any other candle or wax melt brand). I’m happy to help!

PS- Don’t forget to use code STEPHANIE5 for $5 off any Happy Wax purchase! Again, I’m not an affiliate. They just gave me a discount code, and I wanted to share it with y’all!

I was sent these products as part of a sponsored social campaign with Happy Wax a few months ago. I loved their warmers and soy wax melts so much that I decided to feature it them my blog, as well, although I had no obligation to do so. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photography by Catherine Rhodes


3 thoughts on “Fragrance Showdown: Wax Melts vs Candles

  1. Ashley

    I switched to wax melts within the last year. I think that if I forget to turn off the warmers I won’t burn the house down, lol, and there are so many scents to choose from. I currently use Scensy, but will have to check out Happy Wax. I like that they are soy and I love those fun shapes!

  2. Sarah

    Hi Stephanie! These wax melts look great! Would you let me know where your blue sweater is from in this post? Thank you!!

    1. Stephanie Ziajka Post author

      Hi Sarah! So sorry I’m so late getting back to you– your comment hit my spam folder for some reason, and I’m just now seeing it. If you’re still curious, my sweater is from Amazon (commissioned link:, and I’m wearing a small. Hope that helps!



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