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Orange Essential Oil in Soap and Candle Making


Picking oranges

From the grove to your soaps and candles

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If there was an essential oil that could add happiness to your candles and soap scent blends, it would be orange. It’s uplifting aroma stands well on its own and also blends incredibly well with other essential oils.

It’s very affordable, so adding it to your essential oil pantry is easy to do – and you can use it in blends all year round. It works as well in a wintertime holiday blend as it does in a summertime blend.

Orange essential oil is most often cold expressed by hand or machine from the outer peel of the fruit. If you’ve ever peeled an orange and seen little droplets of luscious orange-scented liquid oozing out of the peel – that’s the essential oil. The essential oil is also produced by steam distillation of the peel – though the distilled oxidizes quickly so antioxidants are added.

Scientific Name for (Sweet) Orange Essential Oil:

Primarily Citrus sinensis

Orange Essential Oil Smells Like:

Uplifting is the word I find most commonly associated with orange essential oil. It’s sweet, tangy, sunny, and bright, with a characteristic citrus “tartness” – though not as much as lemon, lime or grapefruit. Like other citrus oils, it functions as a top note, but has some of the rich, rounder, stable characteristics of a middle note.

Orange Essential Oil Blends Well With:

Orange essential oil blends well with lavender, orange blossom (neroli), lemon, clary sage, and spice oils like cinnamon and clove. I also love blending it with more “green” essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint and “earthy” oils like patchouli and cedarwood. A little bit of orange in your essential oil blend will add some brightness and sweetness.

Orange Essential Oil Safety:

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless, lists orange essential oil as generally "non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing.” The limonene in it has been known to cause dermatitis in some individuals. Orange (as well as other citrus oils) are sometimes thought to be phototoxic – however this concern is primarily with the distilled oils only, and is eliminated by using a folded oil. (Most orange essential oil available to soap and candle makers is generally 5-fold oil.)

Primarily From:

Expressed orange essential oil is primarily cultivated in North America (Florida and California), Brazil and Italy.

Orange Essential Oil Usage in Soap and Candles:

Orange essential oil can stand all by itself or is marvelous in practically any blend - whether that be a citrus, spice, floral or earthy blend. Try adding just a bit (10-20%) to any blend to give it a bright sweetness that doesn’t overpower the rest of the primary oils in the blend.

Some of my favorite blends using orange essential oil are:

Lavender Dream Blend

  • 1 part orange essential oil
  • 1 part patchouli essential oil
  • 2 parts lavender essential oil
Patchouli and Orange Blend
  • 6 parts orange
  • 2 parts patchouli
  • 1 part peppermint
Citrus Soother Blend
  • 3 parts lavender
  • 2 parts orange
  • 1 part lime
  • 1 part rose geranium
  • 1 part patchouli
Summer Grove Blend
  • 2 parts grapefruit
  • 2 parts orange
  • 1 part lime
  • 1 part lemon
  • 1 part cedarwood
Mirthful Blend
  • 1 parts clary sage
  • 2 parts orange
  • 1 part eucalyptus
  • 1 part patchouli
These blends work really well in soap, but with candles, you'll need to test the individual blends to see how they burn and throw. Some people have reported an unpleasant or "chemical" kind of scent when using citrus essential oils in candles, but my experience has been generally good - especially when using the orange essential oil along with other oils.

More About Orange Essential Oil:

Orange essential oil is used widely in aromatherapy applications for skin care, balancing, digestive disorders, cold and respiratory ailments and to affect mood.

Like other citrus oils, in soap, it can tend to fade more quickly than other essential oils. There are several ways to help mitigate this. First, be sure to add in some base note oils to your blend, even if just at a small quantity. 10% cedarwood or patchouli in your blend can give it greater stability and staying power. Another reputed way to help give citrus blends more staying power is to use litsea cubea in the blend. Litsea, another citrus essential oil, has a more lemony scent – but like the base note oils, can be used in small amounts in a blend without affecting the overall scent significantly. I have used both of these methods with good results.

With its versatility, affordability, and overall delightfulness, the best advice I can give for using orange essential oil in your soaps and candles - is just to use it often!

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