One of my most frequently asked questions is if perfumes, especially perfume oils can be used in a wax warmer. The answer to this question is always a resounding no! While wax warmers pose a fire hazard, the same things I am about to discuss here also apply to diffusers.
Perfumes are made of various aromatic materials, often containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When exposed to heat, these compounds can undergo dramatic chemical changes, leading to the release of potentially harmful substances. Perfumes can contain dozens to hundreds of individual components, both synthetic and natural. Of course, it is up to each individual as to how hypervigilant they want to be when it comes to the subject.
Wax warmers are designed for wax melts which are usually made with fragrance oils. They are not suitable for the controlled release of fragrance from traditional perfumes. Perfumes are meant to be worn on the body, not to be inhaled repeatedly and directly, especially after being exposed to a heat source. Prolonged exposure can effect respiratory health and overall indoor air quality. As someone who has cats, this is something that I am hyperaware of, and I don’t even use scented candles in my home due to how extremely sensitive cats are to fragrance.
Perfumes often contain alcohol, which is highly flammable. When placed in a wax warmer or exposed to heat sources, the risk of danger from fire increases. This poses a serious safety concern, especially in areas where the concentration of heat is high, such as in closed spaces or near open flames. Perfumes should never be exposed to heat or flame, and wax warmers are comprised of both.
Exposing perfumes to high heat can also alter the original fragrance composition. Heat breaks down the delicate balance of notes, which almost always results in a distorted scent. Risks of fire and overwhelming exposure aside, you won’t get any of the nuance of the fragrance, the top notes will burn off extremely quickly, and the scent will be flat.
While perfumes are designed for specific applications, it's important to understand the potential risks of using them in unconventional ways, such as in wax warmers, exposing them to heat, or diffusing massive amounts of them into the air. To ensure a safe and artful fragrance experience, with all of the beautiful transitions and nuances that they hold, always use perfumes for their intended purpose.