Everything is Illuminated: Candle Care and Opulent Picks to Try

Mindfulness should have a place in our hurried worlds. Take some time today to light a candle and empty your mind and live in the now.
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Whether you call it self-love, self-care, or me-time, moments of mindfulness have become an essential part of life over the pandemic. With the barrage of news and digital alerts that at times can feel so overwhelming, it is important to carve out time for yourself and relax.

From what used to function as mere lighting and accessories to commemorate occasions, candles have become synonymous with completing an environment, invoking a particular mood, and being wellness essentials for self-care and relaxation. Be it a weekend or a pre-bedtime ritual, lighting a candle can signify a start for rest and recovery. It can also help set the mood for activities like yoga, meditation, and more.

In this guide, we aim to answer the questions you might have, from how to make your candle last longer or how to know if a candle is of good quality to how to best light your candle. Let’s get lit!

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Candle Anatomy

Candles are made of two things: wax and a wick. Seems simple really, but there are various types of both. Scented candles come with the addition of fragrance oils into the melted wax.

The Types of Waxes


This is the most common ingredient used in making candles. It is a by-product of petroleum, inexpensive, and readily available. There have been articles and claims, however, that say paraffin can be harmful and emit carcinogenic substances such as benzene, toluene, naphthalene, tri-decane, tetra-decane, penta-decane, and hexadecane.

The National Candle Association (NCA) of the U.S. says, however, that a widely-referenced article by the South Carolina State University has “never been published in a journal and peer-reviewed. The researcher who conducted the study [apparently] never verified that the candles he looked at were actually paraffin or soy candles.” The original study is also not accessible online anymore.


Soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil and is said to be a safer and eco-friendly option compared to paraffin. Some candle makers prefer it as well as it burns slower so you get a longer candle life. Most brands we also encountered use this type of wax.


This wax is derived from honeybees and is said to have been one of the earliest materials used to make candles. It’s also said to be the healthiest as it doesn’t release toxins or fumes. It can even neutralize the air when it is lit as it releases negative ions that can help eliminate dust, mold, or nasty odors.


This is one of the newer types of waxes used for candles. Harvested from coconuts, it is perhaps the most sustainable among all types and is able to hold fragrances and colors well. The downside? It is most probably the most expensive from the lot.

Some candles are made by combining two waxes.

Whatever you choose, we encourage you to act with caution especially if you are asthmatic. All candles emit smoke and soot plus with scented ones, there is also a possibility that the fragrance may trigger you.

Wicks and More

Candle wicks are either made from cotton, wood, or zinc core. There was a time when wicks were made with lead which is a toxic substance. Since 1974 however, the use of lead in making wicks has been banned.

Want to be extra safe? Test it by doing this method as recommended in a House Beautiful article: rub a piece of white paper on the wick of an unburnt candle. If you see gray streaks or what looks like pencil marks, don’t use the candle as this indicates it has lead.

If you want an extra element to make your space cozy, try a candle with a wood wick for that crackling sound.

Burning Questions

What are the benefits of candles?

Designer and candlemaker Mariane Perez says that “scents, though unseen, can instantly transform a room, make it more special and magical, and even feel posher. Scent is really subtle, but it can be the most powerful trigger for memory. So I think your favorite scents can make you remember pleasant memories, and if you keep lighting a candle when you are relaxing, I think it can also remind you to chill.”

The differences between cheap scented candles and premium ones?

Patricia of local candle brand Muse Lifestyle says that you can tell which candles are premium from its scent throw (see next pages for details). “An important factor is scent throw. Usually, the higher the percentage of fragrance oil used in making a candle, the stronger the scent will be when the candle is used.”

Lit Lifestyle founder Lady shares, “the uniqueness of fragrance is a key indicator of a good quality candle. There are admittedly a lot of similar scents in the market but more established candle brands offer more distinct scent notes. This may usually be attributed to their access to a wider selection of ingredients and essential oils, or at times the brand would even have their own R&D to develop specific scents. The complexity of blends also signals the quality of craftsmanship put into the candle, you’ll find it interesting to discover unexpected notes combined for an exquisite olfactory experience–which gives you exactly that, a whole experience rather than just another home fragrance.

She also says that candle life is also a factor. “Quality scented candles would retain their fragrance longer. You’ll find that lower quality candles tend to lose their scent over some time even without using them,” she explains.

Are candles pollutants?

Lady of Lit Lifestyle PH says “candles [can] emit harmful toxins when burned, more noticeable with the soot generated by the flame.”

Patricia of Muse agrees: “Some studies say that burning a candle can cause soot or smoke, as well as present the danger of open flame. That’s why we recommend using a candle warmer.”

The U.S. National Candle Association on its website explains that “a properly burning candle produces water vapor and carbon dioxide, the same materials we exhale when we breathe. The bottom line for consumers is that scented candles are safe when used as directed.”

We think that if you have asthma, have allergies, or are prone to respiratory or lung-related diseases, it’s best to use a candle warmer. And if you don’t mind lighting one up, make sure you don’t burn it for more than four hours.

Keep It Lit

Meadow founder and chandler Mariane Perez clues us in on the basics of candle care. 

As with everything, safety first!

Always be careful when using candles! Of course, never leave a burning candle unattended. Make sure to burn on a flat, heat-resistant surface, away from drafts and anything that can catch fire. Don’t move a lit candle as it can be hot! Also, keep them away from pets, or little children! And make sure to keep the candle free from debris like wick trimmings and the like.

We’d like to add that when it comes to fragrance, make sure you ask which ones are in the candles you are purchasing especially if you might have a reaction to it. This goes for all humans—be they adults or babies—as well as fur babies.

Trim the wick and watch your burning time.

Always trim your wick to around 1/4 of an inch before lighting. This is to keep the flame from being too big and creating soot around the candle vessel.

When there is only Iem of wax left, stop burning the candle. This is to keep the flame from getting to the bottom, which can make the vessel too hot and even burn it.

Try and burn for 1 to 2 hours each time, or until the melted wax pool reaches the edge. This is to keep the candle from tunneling. Also, try not to burn for more than four hours at a time, to keep the vessel from getting too hot.

Don’t be afraid to ask.

When shopping for candles, I think you should just have fun.Try scents you normally like, and  ones you don’t normally buy. Ask your candle hoarder friends for tips. Or ask the chandler about their scents. I think any one of us would love to talk scents with you!

Candle Lexicon


The number of hours it takes for the candle to burn (or how many self-care hours you can get from it).


Yes, candles remember where they were last burned. Sounds like a heartache but this just means it will continue to burn the way you last lit it which is why it’s important to trim your wicks to avoid tunneling.


Tools you can use to put out the flame of the candle. Blowing can release fumes and cause soot on your ceiling and walls so if you find yourself using candles often, it’s best to invest in these.




This is what you should aim for when lighting your candles. This means that the wax melts without tunneling and you are able to maximize your candle. Trimming your wick helps achieve this.


A candle’s scent when it is unlit


A candle’s scent when it is lit


This is what happens when you light a candle after around 2 hours and it reaches the edges of the vessel and forms a, well, pool.


The little black balls that form at the end of your candle. Carbon.


Black smoke can cause the black rim on the vessel of your candles and can even affect your walls or ceiling.


This happens when a ring forms around the wick and causes the candle to burn more fuel and unfortunately, waste wax. Here’s a nifty trick we picked up from @sircandleman on IG: Light the candle and wrap foil around it.

It can take maybe 1 to 2 hours for the wax to melt and form a proper melt pool.


Defined by Merriam Webster as “a bundle of fibers or a loosely twisted, braided, or woven cord, tape, or tube usually of soft spun cotton threads that by capillary attraction draws up to be burned a steady supply of the oil in lamps or the melted tallow or wax in candles.” Wicks can be made from cotton, wood, or TK. This allows the wax to melt and release the fragrance.

Jo Malone London Ginger Biscuit Candle


Diptyque Terres Blondes (Golden Lands) Premium Refillable Candle


Maison Francis Kurkdjian Mon beau Sapin Candle Holiday 2023 Edition


L:a Bruket 152 Scented Candle Coriander


Jo Loves A Candle Collection: White Rose & Lemon Leaves, Fig Trees, and Gardenia 


LEV Forelsket Candle


Simoy ng Haraya Kastanyas Soy Candle


The Doctor Chandler Christmas Candle

Landscape Oil Painting by © uniture. Realistic Flower by © Merre 57. Happy Young Woman Making a Scented Candle by © Ekrulila. Person Lighting The Candle by © Vlada Karpovich via canva.com

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