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How to pick the best scented candles

Love scented candles? Here’s what to know the next time you shop for one

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By Gerry Cupido | October 11, 2021 | Diy

I’ve just recently discovered the joys of scented candles. To be honest I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about until I received one as a gift and eventually decided to light it. Well, I was kind of forced to light it, thanks to load shedding. So it was more of an accidental discovery.

Even though the fragrance was subtle, I instantly fell in love with how the delicate scent filled my bedroom. I was amazed at how such a simple addition to my bedroom could create a different ambience. I used to use stick diffusers but they certainly didn’t provide the same Zen-like sense of calm.

Because I was using it so often (every day) the candle sadly didn’t last very long, which meant I soon had to head off to the shops to buy a few more. Yes, a few more! With five new candles in hand, I couldn’t wait to get home and “try” them. Like a woman with a new bottle of perfume, I anticipated the same aural satisfaction that my first scented candle provided.

Unfortunately, they didn’t. After much research, I soon realised that there’s more to buying a scented candle than simply sniffing it! Here’s what I found out about shopping for scented candles.

Know your wax

Candles are made from a variety of waxes but opting for natural, environmentally friendly wax is best. These include soy wax, coconut wax or bees wax. A great percentage of candles are made of paraffin wax because it’s cheap and easily accessible. But because it’s a by-product of petroleum, it means it is toxic waste.

Soy wax is a far better alternative, but bees wax is of the highest quality, and because it has a high melting point it burns for longer. Check the ingredients and look out for words like natural, pure or organic.

It’s all in the wick

Candlewicks can be made of different materials like hemp and cotton. You’ll find cotton braided wicks to be the most common. The thickness of the wick determines the size of the flame. Thicker wicks create wider melting pools. Bigger candles often have more than one wick.

The perfume

Finding the perfect scent is easy, just be guided by your nose. Knowing how intensely it’s going to burn is the unknown part, and you’ll only find that out once you start using it. With some candles the scent is more pronounces in the top layers and less further down.