One of the easiest ways to vet candles is to avoid ones made with FRAGRANCE. More here on why.
The tricky part is most candles do not label their ingredients. But the clean ones usually do. So look for candles made with soy, coconut, beeswax (not paraffin which emits toxins when burned). And scented with essential oils only (not fragrance).
And thanks to Jess, founder of Terralite – a super clean and responsibly made candle company – for this buying guide. She says, you can always ask the manufacturer these questions:
- Does your wax contain paraffin?
- Is your cotton wick unbleached?
- Do you use fragrance or essential oils?
Jess also helps us breakdown some of the lingo we will see on candle labels here. She continues;
The confusing thing is, not every company has the same ethics about labeling, so although a
candle may say “natural”, there’s a chance that it might not actually be 100% natural. So how
can you tell the difference? By paying attention to key phrases in product descriptions and on
the manufacturer’s website. Let’s take a look at some of the more common phrases used by
Natural Cotton Wick – Means that the wick is made from cotton but unless it says
“unbleached cotton” the wick has gone through a chemical bleaching process.
Lead Free Wick – Means that the wick does not contain lead. This isn’t a problem for candles
made in the USA after October 2003 because the Consumer Product Safety Commission
placed a national ban against manufacturing, importing, or selling candles with lead wicks.
Natural Wax – Means that the candle wax is sourced or primarily sourced from plants. Unless
a product or company states that their wax is “paraffin-free”, then most likely a petroleum
additive was added to the wax to make the wax harder and increase the melting temperature
(the temperature at which the solid wax becomes liquid).
Fine Fragrance aka High Quality Fragrance aka Phalate-free Fragrance aka Parfume –
Means the product has been scented with synthetic fragrances or a blend of synthetic
fragrances and essential oils. Many synthetic fragrances are 95% derived from petroleum. No
matter how you brand it, unless it is described as being 100% natural, you can assume the
candle contains ingredients that are not natural.
Natural Fragrance – Means that the product was scented with fragrances that were derived
from natural plant sources. This is different than essential oils. Natural fragrance
manufacturers typically do not disclose how their natural fragrances are made or what plant
sources were used to make the fragrance so very little information is known about them other
than they are “natural”. Since there is no official body regulating fragrances or natural
fragrances, including no labeling requirements as to what is in fragrances, there is a risk that
it could include synthetic ingredients unless otherwise stated.
Essential Oils – Means that a product contains oils extracted from whole plants or plant
parts. Manufacturers and distributors will always have information about how the oil was
made (steam distilled, CO2 extracted, absolute, etc.) and the country the plant material came
from that was used to make the oil.
Cruelty-Free – Means that a product has not been tested on animals. Does not refer to
whether or not a product is natural.
Vegan – Means that a product does not contain any animal products or byproducts. Does not
refer to whether or not a product is natural.
Nontoxic Candle Options
Here are some luxe nontoxic candles that are not only beautiful but safe. You really can’t go wrong with any of these!
Terrelite – Coconut wax scented with organic and wildcrafted essential oils, lead free hemp wick and packaged in recycled glass.
Follain’s Candle No. 2 – Vegetable based wax with a blend of essential oils in glass.
Woodlot– Organic coconut and non-GMO soy wax, scented with essential oils, burns for up to 60 hours, packaged in recycled glass,
Kahina Giving Beauty – Vegetable wax and beeswax. Infused with cedar, clove, yang ylang, and orange blossom essential oils, 40 hour burn time.
Josh Rosebrook Spirit Candle – not available right now but check back soon for new 2018 holiday scents!
La Bella Figura – Made with a soy/vegetable wax blend and lead free cotton wicks. 100% plant based, GMO-free and handmade in the USA. Scented with essential oils.
What would you add to this list?
- Cellar Door Candles candle subscription
- Nashville Wax Co
- Big Dipper Wax Works
- Erin’s Faces
- Prim Botanicals
- Red Flower NYC
- Yoso Candle
- Element Candles
- Light Shine Candles
- Natura Soy
- Wright Wood Candle Co
- Effuse Candles
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