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April 09, 2021 7 min read

How to choose a candle, especially online, can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. So, we've put together our comprehensive buying guide on how to choose a candle for your home. There is a lot that goes into a candle and each element has its different options and benefits. By thinking about all the different types, you'll be able to narrow down the perfect candle for you.

 

How To Choose A Candle - The Different Candle Elements

Here is our breakdown of all the things to consider when choosing candles.

Fragrances

One of the most desirable elements of a candle is the beautiful fragrances they create in our homes. But not everyone loves certain scents or fragrances. The first thing to decide is whether you want a scented candle or a scent-free candle. Some people are sensitive to smells and find them overpowering, so if the glow of the candle is more important than the smell, look for a fragrance-free candle.

 

Fragrance families

If, however, you love the fragrance of candles, there are countless options. It's all about personal preference and what scents you love. There are general fragrance families that can help you find a candle in the right scent style for you. Some perfumers use different variations on these families but most feature these four types.

  • Fresh - Fresh fragrances usually comprise of citrus, water and green scent notes. They have refreshing, zesty and vibrant smells producing an uplifting and energising vibe.
  • Oriental - Oriental fragrances are warm, sweet and even a little spicy. They are often warming, rich and may have hints of food flavours such as vanilla or chocolate. They are luxurious and sensual
  • Floral - Floral fragrances have a large range from being light and delicate to more complex and intense. They have, as the name implies, a floral profile but can vary greatly. Floral scents are generally fresher and lighter smelling but can move towards more woody scents with aromatic herbs such as lavender or rosemary.
  • Woody - Woody fragrances are a warm family with earthy, woody and leathery aromas. They can be lighter in scent when mixed with citrus or floral notes or be reminiscent of oriental scents when drier.

If you are choosing candles online, look for a company that provides sample size testers. You'll then be able to try out the right fragrances for you. Our Signature Scent list features scents from all the main fragrance families. See our full list of signature scents.

 

Wax types

There are several materials a wax candle can be made from.

 

Paraffin Wax

By far the most popular, paraffin wax candles are usually mass-produced by large companies. They are cheap to make and come in a variety of sizes, scents and designs. However, paraffin wax is made from Petroleum which comes from oil. A lot of energy is used to extract the oil and then turn it into paraffin. When you burn the candle, this releases oil and carbon once more into the atmosphere. As such, paraffin wax candles are not very good for the environment and are very bad for your health. Paraffin candles release a plume of carcinogenic materials into the air whenever they’re lit and can leave soot damage behind, even with a properly trimmed wick.

 

Beeswax and animal fats

A more eco-friendly alternative to paraffin wax is beeswax. Hundreds of years ago, candles were made from animal fats, including pig and beef. Their fat was rendered down and made into candles, which were particularly favoured by rats, who chewed on them to get the fat. Nowadays, animal fat candles are rare, but beeswax which has also been used for centuries has taken its place. Beeswax is a natural, renewable material produced by bees when they create honey. They undergo no chemical processing so their production is better for the environment and they are biodegradable. Plus, they are Hypo-allergenic, benefiting those with environmental allergies, sensitivities, and asthma. However, as beeswax is an animal product, it is not suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

 

Soy Wax and other vegetable waxes

Soy wax is our wax of choice. They are better for the environment because it is a natural and sustainable resource. It's better for your home and better for your family because it doesn't release toxins. Soy produces 90% less soot into the air, allowing you to reuse your container and keep your walls and ceilings safe in your home. Soy candles burn slower, meaning fragrance is released gradually, rather than an instant hit of scent which doesn’t last. Wax made from soy is also biodegradable so if it spills on your tablecloth or clothing, it's a lot easier to clean than paraffin.

 

Wicks

The purpose of a wick is to deliver fuel (the wax) to the flame. The wick draws the liquefied wax up into the flame to burn. Different wick sizes allow for different amounts of wax to be drawn into the flame. Too much wax and the flame will flare and soot; too little wax and the flame will sputter out. It's a balancing act. Scented candles frequently contained lead-core wicks. Fragrance oils soften wax, so the manufacturers used lead to make the wicks stand firm. Most candle companies in the UK stopped using lead in the 70s but that doesn't mean cheaper imported candles do not still use it. It's always best to choose a candle that has a 100% natural wick to avoid releasing poisonous toxins into your home. The wicks of our candles are made of 100% natural fibres and do not contain lead, so are 100% safe to use.

 

Shape & Size

The size and shape of your candle can determine where you use them and how you support them. In general, there are five main styles of candle that have a standard size:

  • Tea Light - These are practical candles because they are small, lightweight, easy to hold and can add lots of light to a room for their size. They usually have a thin metal container and are great to add a flood of little lights to a space but can also be used in burners for oils or wax melts.
  • Votive - A taller version of a tealight. They usually come with a glass holder or container to reflect the light. They are a great additional light source but as they are quite small they don't last too long.
  • Filled Candle - These are the most popular candle shapes for scented candles. Usually contained in a glass jar or other non-combustible material, they normally have a lid to keep the look neat and tidy. They reduce waste, help avoid spills and when cleaned properly, the jars can be reused for other purposes or recycled.
  • Pillar - These are large, container free candles that provide a large source of light. They can come in a huge variety of sizes but are generally a lot larger than votive candles. They can be found in a massive array of shapes, styles and decorations and some are also scented.
  • Taper - A tapered candle is thin and tall. They are usually created to be placed in candle holders and on dining tables or mantelpieces. Ensure the candle is rigid in the holder and will not fall. They are easily knocked over so take care with tapered candles. Like all candles, never leave an open flame unattended.

 

Style

Like scent, the style is subjective and there are endless varieties of designs you can select. Some of the most common things you can decide on include:

  • Colour - What is the predominant colour you'd like to feature? If choosing a pillar, taper or votive, you may want to opt for something that matches the room's aesthetic. If you are choosing a filled scented candle, the look of the container may be more important than the colour of the wax.
  • Patterned or solid - Some candles feature a pattern on the outside or even have internal colour changes. This makes for a very unique styled candle. If you want a more uniform look amongst your candles, select a block colour and make sure it's the right shade.
  • Patterned or shaped - A straight, up and down candle isn't the only option. You can get candles in all sorts of shapes, especially novelty ones that make great gifts. Just remember to choose a shape where the wick will burn evenly. There is no point in a novelty candle if your wick only gets an hour down and then fades out.

 

Packaging & Containers

You may want to consider the container and packaging of your candle when it comes to how to choose a candle. Many people may not consider it but we think how your candle is packaged is just as important. With filled candles, does the candle container match your home style? Our candles come in brown, glass containers that have a threaded lid. We love the look of this and find the screw top very useful when it comes to reusing your candle jar. It's not just about the container though. Choose a candle that comes in simple packaging that is recycled or can be recycled. Not only is this better for the environment, but you will also avoid paying extra for fancy or excessive packaging.

 

How To Choose A Candle Company

Now you have a good idea of all the different elements of a candle, it's time for shopping. You also have your ideal candle in mind, but where are you going to get it from? Here are some things to look for when choosing a candle company:

  • Do they have the style and scents you want?
  • Are the candles in your price range?
  • Have they got excellent reviews?
  • Do they use non-toxic materials in their candle making?
  • Is the company mindful of the environment, animal cruelty and health issues associated with candles?
  • Can you easily contact them and ask questions?

 

Choose your perfect candle

We hope we've covered everything you might need to know when it comes to how to choose a candle. But if there is anything you are not sure about, please get in touch with the Luma team. Our customer care support team is available; Monday to Friday: 9am - 6pm and Saturday: 9am - 12pm (GMT). See our full collection of scented candles and wax melts or shop our bundles to save.

Lorna Middleton
Lorna Middleton



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