Get Lit (with Candles)
Always a little late to the literal and metaphorical party, I've only just gotten into candles.
If you're not a candle person, let me tell you why that should change.
If you're already convinced about their greatness, you may want to skip down to where I detail how to choose the best candle (hint: no carcinogenic burn is mucho desirable).
Candles can make you feel better
It's hard to separate the various parts of a candle as they are all intertwined. Yes, on a superficial level, fresh linen or chai tea candles can make a place smell great. But they can be more deeply transformative.
Our sense of smell is connected to memory. There's a convoluted explanation involving the olfactory receptors, limbic system and odour molecules but I prefer this straightforward Healthista explanation:
"Smells stimulate nerves in the nose which send messages straight to the brain, directly affecting our emotional state... When we smell something nice, the receptors in the amygdala [part of the brain] respond by releasing dopamine and serotonin."
Essentially, certain fragrances elicit certain emotions. This is why I developed an unnatural obsession with Bleu de Chanel - an ex boyfriend's signature scent. To this day, I can detect it anywhere, like a sick little party trick. I know, I'm very impressive.
Candles can reduce anxiety
If you're feeling anxious or depressed, a candle could be a good addition to your life, due to the aforementioned reasons. I'm not so naive as to believe a candle can solve serious mental illness. But I do think lots of little positive changes add up.
They smell bloody good
Worst comes to worse, the candle does nothing for your mood. At least your place will smell like a choc chip cookie or freshly cut grass. Mmm choc chip cookie. When it comes to choice of scents, it's an ice-cream store. That is, there are many many delicious flavours and you will have a hard time choosing. You can go gourmand (caramel, vanilla, choc chilli - you know this is what I do), citrus, floral, oriental, whatever. There are even candles for really specific scents, like cotton candy and monkey farts. So if you're super into brand new leather or hot buttered popcorn, you're covered.
Depending on the type of candle, you can also use your source of gently flickering light to promote good sleep before bedtime. I could go into a whole other post about the validity to these claims but I'll spare you. This time.
Finally, candles rock because they create ambience. They change the lighting in a room; they make dark untidy spaces (not that I know many of those...) look warm, cosy and inviting. They cast a soft gentle glow on their surroundings, so that you can star in your very own well-lit movie.
If you are not fully convinced about the benefits of candles, do not worry. People love gifting candles. You will get yours soon. They are the ultimate impersonal gift, like chocolates or a photo frame. Except not impersonal for me because now you know exactly which candles I like :)
One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was because my Instagram captions were getting very long (kind of like this post). But I had so much information I wanted to share! Like how could I stop at telling you about the eco-friendly nature of the Face Halo without also disclosing how it performs in the washing machine. I wouldn't. I can't.
So here's the original inspiration for this blog - a little look into what makes a good, safe candle. Only 3/4 of the way in. Well done for hanging in there.
At the start of my candle burning career, I focused on scent. Raspberry or vanilla caramel? Vanilla caramel. Drool. I also paid a lot of attention to the case the candle came in. Glass is elegant and simple. And exploding. More on this later.
When I spent a bit more time researching candles, I found out some (paraffin) candles are carcinogenic when burnt (see: benzene & toluene). This is why I like soy or beeswax candles with a paper, hemp or cotton wick. Scented with essential oils.
An anecdote about an exploding candle (trim the wick, for goodness sake!) hasn't quite turned me off glass casings. But it has encouraged me to follow proper candle protocol. If the wick tips and heats the glass... BAM! Glass. Everywhere.
After I burnt through my first candle, I realised, endurance really does matter. A $10 candle isn’t cheaper if it only lasts 5 hours. This week, I also learnt that you can increase candle burn time. Make sure that you burn your candle evenly so that the melted wax covers the entire candle surface (1-2 hours). Otherwise you create a border of wax that will never burn.
I thought that was the end. But then I was asked about the origins of the candle ingredients - namely the ethics of beeswax. I still eat honey - hell, I still eat meat - so I can't get up on my high horse. If concerned, go for soy.
The candle making company I went with is a social enterprise. You know I love a business that intentionally tackles social or environmental problems (leggings made out of plastic bottles, bombshell jewellery, shirts which raise money for cancer research). This candle company, Autism Candles, promotes equal opportunity and inclusion in the economy, employing individuals with Autism all across the spectrum.
So you won't be surprised that I just put both the Chocolate Chip Cookie and Crème Brûlée in my cart. After which I spent fifteen minutes scouring the net fruitlessly for Amazon discount codes. Do you ever do this? I purchased the candles, with no code (sad face) only to scroll down to the description and see they had a 10% discount code on the bloody page. It pays to read. It really does. Naturally, I cancelled my order quick-smart, saving myself that sweet $1.78. I like to think all these little savings make parking fines that little bit more bearable. Logic.
Finally, finally, I got my all in one candle. Safe, smells like a cupcake bakery, burns on and on. Now off you go, get lit.
Some other candle options:
18 scents to choose from, candles with 50+ hour burn, eco conscious packaging.
Massage candle that melts into massage oil. Dream.