How Much Fragrance is Too Much? The IFRA

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Some articles on the internet give set recipes or directions for making products, which is really great for beginners!  However, once you start altering your process, many new makers get confused about how to determine the amount of fragrance they can use in a product.   The goal of this article is to help our customers more fully understand how much fragrance can be safely used in a given product. 

Luckily, the International Fragrance Association has established standards for fragrance manufacturers to use in order to determine and disclose safe usage rates for end users.  As the end user, it is your responsibility to abide by these guidelines in your products in order to protect yourself, and your customers from harm.  Community Candle Supply posts the IFRA document for each fragrance under the product description for each fragrance we offer for sale. You can find this document by clicking on the “IFRA Data” tab in the product description.

In that document,  different types of products are broken down by type and a maximum usage rate is listed for each category.  The maximum safe usage is NOT necessarily the amount of fragrance you should use for your formulation, it simply the most of that fragrance that has been determined safe for those products  based on the components of the fragrance.  As the maker, it is up to you to research and test your product formulations to determine the desired amount of fragrance that is within the limits provided on the IFRA.  If you want to use more fragrance than the maximum amount on the IFRA, you need to find a different version of the fragrance, or you risk harming your customers.

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It is important to conduct proper testing prior to selling your products.


Most candle makers use between 6-9% fragrance for their candles, although some makers use as much as 12% fragrance. So here is an example of the formula I use to calculate the fragrance for a batch of 5 candles, where I am using 5 ounces of wax per candle and want a 7% fragrance load.

  • {# oz of wax} X {percentage of fragrance in decimals} = amount of fragrance per candle

Plugging in the numbers: 5 X 0.07 = 0.35 oz per candle.  Since I am making 5 candles, I would then multiply this times 5 to determine the amount of fragrance needed for my batch.

  • Batch: 5 X 0.35 = 1.75 oz fragrance for the whole batch of 25 oz of wax.

Soap Making:

Most lye calculators include a fragrance calculator, so when plugging your oils in to the lye calculator you can also plug  your desired fragrance level in to determine the amount of fragrance needed.  The important thing to do is to be sure that the percentage of fragrance you intend to use is allowed by the IFRA. Remember, you can find the IFRA on our site on the “IFRA Data” tab of the product description.  Other vendors may post a fragrance calculator, or you may have to request the IRFRA.  If your vendor cannot provide an IFRA, you might want to consider using a different vendor.  **Again, if your desired usage rate is higher than the IFRA rate, choose another fragrance for your project.

You can find more information about the International Fragrance Association and IFRA on their website which is here: