As we slowly but surely head into the autumn season, countless days and evenings spent cosied up at home are on the horizon. And what better way to create a perfect homely atmosphere than with a beautifully scented candle that matches the mood and the season we are in.
However, there is some caution to be taken when burning scented candles. Mainly because many scented candles on the market are made with paraffin wax, a petroleum by-product from gasoline production. And when burning, this type of wax releases potentially harmful chemicals into the air such as toluene (a known carcinogen), as well as soot. And while it’s not clear whether the amount of these chemicals is enough to cause any serious damage, staying safe and turning to plant-derived alternatives like soy or coconut wax can’t hurt. On top of that, these are better for the planet too as they come from renewable sources which are not connected to environmental disasters such as oil spills.
Luckily, there are many independent candle companies out there that turn to natural waxes which are better both for our health and the environment. And while we wish we could mention them all, today, we would like to start by introducing you to a collection of 15 of our favourite natural candle brands.
But remember, inhaling any kind of smoke too much is not the best for your health. Therefore, it is recommended to light candles in a well-ventilated room, avoid burning candles in a drafty area, trim wick after use and instead of blowing out a candle, use a candle snuffer or a metal lid that candles very often come with.
Launched in 2018 by founding duo David Heffernan and Mathew Thomas, Aery Living focuses on wellbeing and self-care through the power of aromatherapy, a practice known to help with reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep. The UK-based brand develops its own unique scents, made by marrying nature with science and mixing non-toxic synthetic fragrance and naturally derived essential oils. These are then mixed with hand-poured non-GMO soy wax with a hint of rapeseed and put into minimalistic glass or clay vessels, inspired by clean Japanese and Scandi aesthetic.
The company’s focus on self-care is evident also in the names chosen for the brand’s candles, such as Happy Space and Heavily Meditated, the latter of which is perfect for the upcoming season with a blend of patchouli, thyme and frankincense.
Aery Living has a strong emphasis on ethics and sustainability. It is proudly vegan, cruelty-free and entirely plastic-free. On top of that, the brand partners with Ecologi and plants one tree for every product sold on its site.
Earl of East
Earl of East was founded in 2014 by Niko Dafkos and Paul Firmin for the simple love of fragrance. What started with just three candles has now grown into a range including scented candles, incense, home mists and bath and body products, as well as two lifestyle stores in London – one in Hackney and one at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, where customers can watch the brand’s soy wax candles being hand-poured into the amber glass jars right before their eyes and where they host candle-making workshops.
The cultured inspirations behind each candle range from the scent of the gardens of Versailles in the case of Jardin De La Lune to the Japanese ritual of forest bathing which inspired the Shintin-Yoku candle. The scents are made using both natural essential oils and lab-created fragrance oils, free from phthalates.
Earl of East is another brand that shows its commitment to protecting the environment by donating to Ecologi and contribute to reforestation of Madagascar, as well as by using sustainable materials like biodegradable candle lids and FSC-certified cardboard packaging.
While the multiple lockdowns, brought upon us by the global pandemic, were hard for most, it is amazing how many people were inspired to turn the situation into something positive. One of them is Ricki Lawal, now founder of London-based Selfmade Candle. Ricki knew about the power of aromatherapy and how scent can create a sense of home from her years spent travelling around as a global marketing manager, always carrying a candle in her carry-on.
And so in lockdown, Ricki started making her own candles to lift her spirits, reusing jars she already had at home. This led to the launch of her vegan and eco-friendly brand to lift the spirits of others with Selfmade’s scented candles, made with soy wax, essentials oils and wood wicks, packaged in amber glass jars with plantable seed labels and paper boxes, free of any plastics. The labels can be planted in the jars once the wax burns out in the spirit of recycling. Selfmade also offers candle-making kits so you can get crafty and make your own candles with season-themed scents such as Pumpkin Spice or Chai Spice.
Founded by husband and wife team Sam and Poppy Wall, Eym Naturals strives to elevate your mood through its delicious scents such as relaxing and earthy Mellow with lavender and vetiver or calming Home with camomile, geranium and rose.
It all started when candle-loving Poppy was pregnant with the couple’s first child and found out about the toxins scented candles release when burning and their potential negative effects on one’s health. So she, along with her graphic designer husband, decided to start their own all-natural candle brand, using only sustainably-sourced pure essential oils and soy wax to make their candles.
Equally, the brand prides itself on working solely with British manufacturers and uses only eco-friendly paper packaging. The UK brand is not only clean in terms of its ingredients and materials, but in its clean and simple aesthetic which looks extremely stylish in any home.
Manchester-based Cedar Lifestyle exudes tranquility with its paired-back aesthetic and calming scents of its candles in order to remind us all to slow down. That is especially true with the woody Torii candle, as torii is a traditional shrine gate in Japan, representing a transition to the spiritual world. And it is perfect for autumn with its blend of patchouli, ho wood, jasmine and mandarin.
The choice to use natural rapeseed wax was made consciously for sustainability reasons, as it is grown locally in Europe. The wax is mixed with aromatherapy-grade essential oils and hand-poured in small batches into frosted amber glass vessels.
The brand is vegan-friendly and committed to sustainability and puts the best interest of the environment first by banning plastic from its production and packaging, using only FSC-certified paper and donating £1 for every order placed to the Tree App to support reforestation around the world.
Eden Glory Company
Launching in October 2020, Eden Glory Company has been around a little less than a year but we have already managed to fall for its handcrafted vegan soy wax candles scented with high-quality non-toxic fragrance oils free from parabens, phthalates and dyes. The brand launched with six candles in simple yet elegant frosted glass vessels, giving a room a radiant glow when lit, accompanied by a bamboo lid. Each candle represents a different scent family, be it fresh, floral or woody.
Last month, the London-based brand released a second range, titled the African Collection, influenced by the founder Toyin Peters’ motherland of Africa. Each of the four candles comes in an amber glass jar and is inspired by a different region of the continent, be it the scent of cocoa butter, amber and musk of Accra to Lagos or oud mixed with velvet peony in the Souk Marrakech candle.
Essence + Alchemy
With her background in environmental science, it is no surprise that when Lesley Bramwell started her brand of scented candles in 2015 from a small garden laboratory in Sheffield, it was deeply rooted in sustainability. Essence + Alchemy pays homage to the natural elements, such as the warming and woody Smoke candle as smoke represents transformation from the physical into spirit. The appreciation for nature is even reflected in the company’s name, as essence stands for natural scent and energy of plants, and alchemy represents Lesley’s scientific background.
Everything that goes into an Essence + Alchemy candle is 100% natural – rapeseed wax and steam-distilled or cold-pressed essential oils that is, nothing else. The wax is then poured into a mouth-blown clear glass with an FSC-certified paper label and finished with a wooden wick. And in the name of sustainability, the brand sells refills in order to not create any unnecessary waste.
Lesley herself doesn’t limit herself to only making candles. She has also authored a book about home and scents published this April, titled Fragrance Your Home.
Nette is a New York City-based candle brand founded by Carol Han Pyle. Carol wanted to create candles that were environmentally friendly with scents that were inspired and different, while looking beautiful enough so that customers would keep the vessel long after the candle ran out. And that she did.
Nette’s candles are made with a blend of coconut and soy wax, infused with scents like a blend of violet leaf, suede, cardamom and sandalwood of the Suede Fringe, inspired by a vintage suede jacket that the founder wears every year come autumn. The candles come in pearlescent glass vessels that are hand-blown in Italy and make for beautiful decorations.
Sustainability was high on Carol’s list of priorities when creating Nette, which is why the wicks are made with GOTS-certified organic cotton, packaging is crafted from recycled shoe boxes, 1% of the brand’s annual revenue is donated to organisations protecting the environment and, just like Aery Living, Nette plants one tree through Ecologi for every order placed on its website.
Good Candles is another good thing coming out of last year’s lockdown. And while many of the brands that we’ve listed here thus far opt for a clean minimalistic style, Good Candles approaches its candles with colour and humour while supporting serious causes. Each of the hand-poured soy wax candles supports a different cause and the brand donates 10% of the sales towards that given cause, whether it’s planting trees for the Forest Fire candle or improving child literacy with the Reading Books candle. And their scents are also just as unique, as the brand doesn’t provide traditional fragrance notes, but rather a brief illustrating the scent, such as a warm camp fire on the beach with a charred log smell and a hint of whisky.
And you known Ecologi, the organisation that plants trees in order to offset your and other brands’ carbon footprint and that we’ve already mentioned a couple of times throughout this post? The founder of Good Candles, Olly Rzysko, is also the co-founder of this organisation.
Based in Maryland, US, Peacesake was founded in 2016 by husband and wife duo Elias and Valencia Morr with a vision to create something that wouldn’t end up in a landfill. Sustainability remains top priority for the couple and we don’t think anyone would dream of throwing away the hand-thrown ceramic vessels many of the brand’s vegan candles come in and that perfectly double as tumblers, made locally in partnership with Jimmy Potters Studio.
The rest of the GMO-free soy wax candles are housed in clear or black recycled glass. The scents, created with a blend of natural essential oils and phthalate-free fragrance oils, are often inspired by local nature or culture. Such as the newly launched Sun-dried Tobacco, taking cues from the couple’s hometown of Upper Marlboro and its history of tobacco farming, or the California Redwood, paying homage to the redwood trees primarily found on the west coast of the US.
Sheffield-based Lit was founded in 2020 and came from combining its founder Heather Gilberthorpe Pell’s two passions – living a sustainable lifestyle and making scented candles. Heather’s approach is responsible and all-natural. She uses only naturally derived essential oils, which make the candles give off comforting scent whether lit or not, and non-GMO UK and Europe-grown rapeseed wax, which also benefits the bee population as bees pollinate the crop’s flowers. The brand also demonstrates how much it cares for nature by donating £1 for every candle sold to World Wide Fund for Nature that works to preserve wilderness and reduce human impact on the environment.
Their packaging is also completely plastic-free, using clear glass vessels and FSC and PEFC-certified G.F Smith paper labels with the highest environmental standards. Lit is also a champion of Sheffield-based businesses as its design work and printing are all done locally.
Our Lovely Goods
Partners in life and in business, Ebi and Emmanuel Sinteh are forever inspired by the feeling of comfort, familiarity and relaxed easy-going vibes of home when it comes to their brand Our Lovely Goods. That is how they come up with the scents for their soy wax candles, made with fine fragrance oils, with names like Sunday Morning, Home Again or One Evening, which is our favourite for this time of the year, inspired by cosy evenings by candlelight with notes of cedarwood, jasmine and thyme.
Despite being based in Aberdeen, the brand is largely inspired by the couple’s Nigerian heritage and the laid-back approach to life, all the vibrant colours, fun and family gatherings that come with it. This influence is clearly expressed through the scents of the candles, more so than the aesthetic which is paired back and classic with amber glass jars and simple white paper labels. However, the appreciation for home and family life, as well as the desire to make other people’s homes cosy and comfortable with the help of their candles are all demonstrated through the philosophy of Ebi and Emmanuel’s brand.
Founded in August 2020 by Ailis Topley, UK-based Pott Candles puts emphasis on reusability and therefore sustainability of its scented candles. Every candle comes in a ceramic hand-thrown pot, made by potters in London and Perth, which are available in four neutrally-hued colourways. The brand then sells refills for these so that you don’t ever have to buy another one again. That first Pott you buy is a commitment, potentially for life. This stops creating unnecessary waste and each time, you can choose a different scent from the brand’s varied range that suits your mood or the season. At this time of the year, we would go for the cosy Tonka which is the autumn limited edition and mixes creamy tonka bean with earthy patchouli and woody cedar.
Each candle is handmade and hand-poured, using a blend of rapeseed and coconut wax with essential and sustainable fragrance oils. The brand is also vegan and cruelty-free.
Based in sunny Los Angeles, Candlessentials is a brand of coconut wax candles, each hand-poured into their black glass vessels in small batches. When making this brand a reality back in 2012, founder Tashah Johnson was motivated by the vision of spreading light into other people’s lives, as well as creating joyful feelings with its scents, made with blends of essential oils and synthetic fragrance oils. That is what the smell of the brand’s Sweet Earth candle makes us feel with its sweet notes of caramelised sugar, ripe fig, amber and subtle coconut.
Every Candlessentials candle comes with a compostable and recyclable paper label, in a plantable seed-filled paper box which, if planted, will grow into beautiful wildflowers. And in order to support causes close to the founder’s heart, the brand donates 5% of its profits to the Center for Black Equity, an organisation working to improve the lives of black LGBTQ+ people around the world.
Keep Candles and their vessels are designed to be repurposed and reused long after the candle has burnt out. They are first designed as homeware, such as ceramic coffee cups, small egg cups, large multi-wick bowls or glass tumblers, putting as much effort into what holds the candle as the candle itself. But if you do want reuse your container as a candle vessel again, the brand conveniently sells refills too. This idea came about when the brand’s founders, sisters Marnie and Olivia Walker were moving house and came across an array of old empty candle containers that were never again used due to their lack of smart design and usefulness outside of being a candle vessel.
While the ceramics are made in Surrey, the candles are hand-poured by the sister duo in London, using a mix of coconut and rapeseed wax, infused with pure natural essential oils. On top of that, £1 from every order goes to a charitable cause, this month it is Choose Love which helps refugees.