And now for something a little different! Last year, as I was cruising around the “pretty, glittery, rainbow-coloured things” accounts on Instagram, I ran across an entire sub-culture of men and women (a lot of men, actually) who live and breathe for scented wax. Feel free to go on making that “Whhhuuuhhh?” face; that was pretty much my first reaction, too. So, like, candles? ‘Cause some people be crazy about their candles. Well, sort of. Candles without the wick or jar – chunks or shaped tarts of scented wax that you burn in an electric or tealight warmer heated from beneath. When the wax melts, it releases its scent. When it no longer smells, you change it out for something new (more on that in a bit.) It’s a great way to try out all sorts of fun scents without committing to what nowadays are some VERY expensive glass jar candles with dodgy performance records. And with your little puddle of scented wax, you don’t have to worry about gungy soot, drowning wicks, exploding jars and the inherent danger that comes along with anything involving fire (this obviously doesn’t apply if you melt your wax in a burner lit by a tealight, but my basic point stands.)
You can find all sorts of delicious-smelling wax at mass market stores like Walmart, Target, Canadian Tire and even Home Depot, but I really find this to be one of those retail zones where the more rarefied and “small batch” the product, the better the quality. That’s where the above-mentioned “waxies” come in, a devoted group of small business boosters whose quest for gorgeous (and gorgeously-scented) home fragrance powers an entire indie industry of wax…artisans? I certainly think there’s a great deal of artistry involved here, from beautiful fragrance blending to top notch branding and presentation.
The wax I’m showcasing in this post is from a vendor by the name of Rosegirls. Rosegirls operates a website, which you can find here, but be somewhat forewarned – with the exception of one consistent product line that you can purchase any old time you’d like, items are only made available during time sensitive sale events announced on Rosegirls’ Facebook group page. The RG group is a closed one, but so long as you ask nicely and aren’t a tool about it, they’ll accept you. I understand that in the last year or so the whole timed event/flash opening rigamarole seemingly endemic to the industry has died down a bit, and I think that’s for the best. And while a part of me likes the whole “Surprise!” element to your standard retail transaction (indeed, my second order with Rosegirls was a giant mystery box filled with I-had-no-idea), another part just wishes these vendors would operate an always-open online storefront with products in stock and ready to ship, no Facebook stalking, no stress.
Rosegirls’ main product line are these adorable little multi-coloured wax chunks. Certain popular blends come up time and time again, but for the most part, the little chunks (available in all sorts of formats and sizes, from six-piece brown bakery bags to little two-piece samplers and even whole pies) come in an ever-changing variety of scent combinations, leaning heavily toward the fruity/bakery end of the scent spectrum. Some of my favourites from the photo below include Pomegranate Watermelon Birthday Cake, Blue Cotton Candy and Satsuma, and Peppermint Marshmallow Coconut.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Sandra, that sounds absolutely godawful,” rest assured that I once did, too. I’ve always taken a rather simple approach to both home and personal fragrance, favouring singular scents to fancy, complicated blends, and I was initially somewhat intimidated by the vast assortment of scent notes Rosegirls seems to pack into each wax chunk. But someone at Rosegirls HQ has some serious olfactory skills, because for the most part, the multi-layered blends work beautifully. I never would have thought that peppermint, marshmallow and coconut could be compatible scent notes – rather delighted that I’ve been proven wrong on that one, and so many others.
Rosegirls also operates a small storefront in its home city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s through this shop that they offer their wax in a number of unique formats, from chunk muffins and tarts, to piped, heart-shaped cookies and tiny ice cream scoops (my favourite!) But the holy grail of Rosegirls wax seems to be these adorable little strawberries, here scented like rich, tart and sugary strawberry jam. I came by my extra special Rosegirls goodies by purchasing a mystery box online that I knew would be filled with shop items (I die for those little ice cream scoops; the presentation is just too great.)
Rosegirls also has an offshoot business that deals only in scoopable wax, semi-solid scented wax that you scoop out of jars and burn in a warmer like you would any other type of wax. I received two scoopables in my mystery order, including this pretty green guy, Watergate Cake, which smells like 1950s-style ambrosia salad.
To enjoy this bounty of scented goodness, simply lop off a chunk of a larger chunk and place it in an electric or tealight warmer. I typically use about a half ounce of wax at a time, although I’ve never measured precisely. Then turn on the power or light the candle and enjoy the sweet scent of, say, cherry almond coconut cake with strawberry glaze, just without the calories, guilt or mess.
The wax will eventually lose its scent. This time varies wildly from vendor to vendor, scent to scent (light scents like marshmallow or whipped cream flame out much faster than tart berries and rich bakeries, for instance), although anything in the four-to-who knows range tends to be my performance average. Other factors like the airflow in your house will affect scent coverage, as will the wattage of your burner – it’s basically a fantastically scented crapshoot. Also, unlike candles, wax melts won’t ever deplete. The only way to tell when they’ve had enough is when they cease smelling. But when you want to swap out your wax for something new, simply turn off your burner and allow the wax to cool and harden up. Then pop the warming plate or the entire burner into the freezer. After five or so minutes the wax will pop right out and you can move on with more freshly scented things (if fresh scents are indeed your thing; me, I’m Team Bakery Blend.)
And so there we have it, bits and bobs of my recent wax haul, a fun purchase that’s already provided hours of sniffing good fun and enjoyment – and here’s to many more!