CANDLE IN THE BIN
But – and it’s a big but – not all candles are created equal. Some of the more conventional ones are made with paraffin wax, a petroleum-based product, which is almost akin to burning fossil fuels in your home. Chemicals like benzene and toluene are released into the air as paraffin wax candles burn and these are, not surprisingly, linked to all kinds of health issues. That’s issue number one.
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT… AND DEATH
Number two is that some candles use synthetic fragrances that contain a whole host of toxicants, with some using up to 4,000 unlisted chemicals. There’s an industry loophole, whereby companies are allowed to include toxic chemicals without disclosing them. All they have to do is label the ingredients as “fragrance” or “parfum”.
(NOT AN) ETERNAL FLAME
And three, despite being made illegal in 2003, and banned in most countries, with Australia being the first in the world, some candles still contain lead wicks, which can actually cause lead poisoning in children, as well as a whole host of other health problems.
With all that in mind – we know, it’s A LOT – what should you look out for when buying your next candle? Beeswax is said to be the best because it actually cleans the air as it burns, while coconut wax is a really great plant-based option. Soy wax isn’t necessarily the best option, because of the chemicals used to turn soybeans into wax, but it’s still a great, clean burn, especially when compared to paraffin. As for fragrances, look for candles that use natural essential oils and/or synthetic fragrances that are explicitly free from phthalates, parabens and other toxic chemicals. And always choose candles that have lead-free cotton, hemp, and/or wood wicks.
Below, five of the finest natural candles, where you can find us waxing lyrical (ahem) on why they’ll make the season ahead that little bit more special.
Each candle is hand-poured in the Mornington Peninsula, Australia, using fine fragrance and essential oils, mixed with pure soy and coconut wax. They have natural, non-toxic wicks and come in reusable jars.
Developed and designed in Los Angeles, these all-natural coconut and beeswax candles are instantly recognisable in both aesthetic and scent. Each candle is hand-poured (and hand-labelled) into a reusable glass tumbler, combining high-quality natural oils and fragrances. Check out the festive Broken Rosary, which is only released during the holiday season.
Born out of a need for luxury non-toxic fragrance options, Ellis Brooklyn began as the brainchild of The New York Times columnist Bee Shapiro in 2015, when she was pregnant with her first daughter, Ellis. Her small-batch, artisanal creations are all paraben- and phthalate-free, and the elegant, natural formulas are blended in New York.
Lumira is a luxury niche fragrance house based in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 2013 by creative director Almira Armstrong, LUMIRA designs artisanal scents that transport the home and self, and lead the way as a sustainably conscious brand. LUMIRA candles are crafted using a blend of coconut and non-GMO soy wax which gives a beautiful and long-lasting burn while also being eco-friendly and cruelty-free.
Inspired by nature, Cocolux luxury scented candles and diffusers are made using earth-friendly coconut oil. The idea came about when Meisha Strykowski, Cocolux founder and creative director was pregnant with her second child. “I had an obsession with scented candles. It was at that time that I started to look into the composition of the candles I was burning and discovered that wax paraffin was a bi-product of petroleum hydrogenated … It took a year of trial and error mixing in my kitchen to develop the pure coconut-based wax for our candles.” Cocolux candles are free from toxins and the use of pesticides, and all their products are made in Australia from local and carefully sourced materials.
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