Winter will be soon here and we dream of the warmth of fireplace. Unfortunately, not all of us have the opportunity to enjoy by the fireside, but we still have the candles …
You light a candle to create an atmosphere, to relax, to perfume your interior or for the comforting glow of the flame. In summer, we will instead try to repel mosquitoes using outdoor candles made with lemongrass or geranium (even more effective).
So how do you choose your candles? Instinctively, I have always chosen my candles on the following criteria:
- A perfume that smells good, quite elaborate, not too heady
- A pretty pot that matches my decor or that of the person to whom I offer it
But as I became more and more concerned about the quality of the air in my home, I realized that candles, and more broadly home fragrances, have an impact on the air I breathe every day.
The different candles
For candles, this is mainly a matter of quality of wax. There are several waxes used for making candles but they are not all of the same quality:
Vegetable wax: extracted from plants (soybean, rapeseed, palm, etc.) is entirely natural, ecological and respectful of the environment. It has no odor, which allows the scent to diffuse without any alteration. However, the wax is not always full white.
Animal wax: only beeswax
Wax from petrochemicals, also called paraffin. Paraffin is the whitest of waxes, it is unnatural and of course, it is the cheapest wax and the most harmful to the environment and the body.
Natural waxes (vegetable and animal) diffuse perfumes better and for longer. Yet another reason to turn to natural candles.
The wicks are also important, ideally made of cotton, they will burn better. Synthetic wicks are less expensive. Sometimes you can find wooden wicks, they crackle a bit, which gives a nice little sound.
Getting more information about candles, I was amazed to see that some of the top brands of upscale interior design or luxury home fragrance still use paraffin waxes. How disappointing is it? So, what justifies their higher price?
Most candles have a label indicating the type of wax used. If there is no detail, trust the color of the candle. If the white is uniform and bright, there is a good chance that the wax is paraffin. Do not hesitate to turn to the wax craftsmen who are responsible for the traditional processes of making candles and their quality.
To go further and be sure to buy quality candles that will not produce toxic black smoke, you can also trust the labels:
- Nature & Progress
These 3 labels are guarantees of safety.
As for quality standards, there is the RAL-C standard created by a German organization which certifies that the candle does not produce soot smoke, burns evenly and does not drip.
Essential oils and incense
To avoid the risk of accidents with candles when you have children or pets, you may be tempted to turn to incense, essential oils or perfumes to spray in the air or on fabrics.
But, is it really better?
Essential oils are only for use with a diffuser that will vaporize micro droplets into the air. Essential oils are powerful and very concentrated and should especially not be heated because they are irritating to the eyes, the respiratory tract.
Incense has been used for millennia and by all civilizations. Be careful, however, to choose them because they are qualified as carcinogenic, because they contain benzene and formaldehyde. In cone or stick, choose the purest possible incense, that is to say, the least chemically transformed.
Again, trust the labels and tags. If you are not sure, go your way.
The alternatives: Armenian paper, white sage stick
Armenian paper has been around since the 19th century and its manufacturing process has not changed since. Armenia’s paper leaflets are made from leaves impregnated with benzoin. Armenian paper is well known for combating strong odors such as tobacco for example. Nevertheless, it is advisable not to burn more than 4 leaves per week and to always ventilate the room.
Widely used in Native American culture, the white sage fumigation and purification stick burns like Armenian paper. Again, because of the smoke that emanates from the combustion, it is advisable to open windows when using it.
Home fragrances are everywhere, in wardrobes, on the pillow, in the bedroom, and of course in the living room.
Isn’t it dangerous to multiply the perfumes?
Indoor perfumes or candles do not replace the daily airing of your home. Renewing the air is essential on a daily basis and favor the most natural fragrances. Our grandmothers used to prepare sachets of lavender to put in the cupboards, let’s keep it simple.
Seasonality of home fragrance
In winter, the scents of orange, gingerbread, ginger, wood (pine, sandalwood, musk) comfort us.
In spring, the scents of white flowers, linen, cotton and cut herbs energize us and prepare for summer.
In summer, we look for refreshing scents like lemon and sea scents instead. The fruity scents of coconut or monoi.
In fall, fig, amber, cinnamon, leather are the perfect scents for this transitional season between summer and fall. They will create the cocooning spirit.
And you, which home perfume will you choose now? Are you going to offer candles for Christmas?
Photos: Cotton Bro, Eva Elijas, Karolina Grabowska, Malina Sirbu