Scented Candles

In recent years, I have not been one for smellies. In my youth I used to drench myself in Body Shop Dewberry, and then progressed to YSL Paris, Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, Calvin Klein Escape, CK be, and Estée Lauder Pleasures. I used to spray quite liberally and think back in horror at how many people I probably almost asphyxiated as I wafted past. Luckily I never went for the very heavy 80s scents like Giorgio Beverley Hills or YSL Opium.

For the past 15 years I have almost eschewed perfume altogether. I use unscented or lightly scented skincare and hair products,  I hardly ever wear perfume (maybe once every two years) and if I do, it’s Antonia’s Flowers. And I have never liked toilet spray, room spray, or perfume diffusers.

Since we have moved into our new apartment though, I have been using scented candles in the evening for a relaxing spa-like feeling when I have my hot bubbly bath and get rid of stress and aches and pains. I turn the lights off and have just the flickering candles.

I knew nothing about scented candles and just bought nice smelling ones wherever I found them. Turns out, not all candles are created equal. And there is also an art in using them properly.

Some of them smell nice in the tin, and horrible when you burn them. Or they have very little smell, or throw.

I have recently learned that you need to have a long burn the first time you use the candle, so that the wax melts all the way to the edges of the container. This is to set the burn area for future lightings. A newbie mistake I made was burning it just for the shirt time I was in the bath, which then created tunnelling, where the centre burns down, leaving wasted wax all the way up the sides. Another error I made was not trimming the wicks before each burn, for a clean flame. The things you learn…

My favourites so far are Voluspa, Le Secret Manon and Zara. Least favourite are H and M. They smell nice but not strong and the wax is not the greatest. It seems a bit hit and miss with their candles. Some are nice and others seem really cheap and nasty.

From left to right

  • HM Home Tomato Blossom (this is amazing to have in the kitchen)
  • HM Home Velvet Fig — did not like3 this one
  • Åhléns Björk (Birch) — reallt nice
  • HM Home Fresh Cut Flowers – I love this one. It smells like a bunch of flowers and has good throw
  • Le Secret Manon – one of my favourites and really smells like fig. I was so sorry when I finished this one!

Left to right

  • Winstone and Elle Fig – lovely packaging and wax but almost no smell
  • Zara Home – not sure what smell it is but it is lovely with great throw and the packaging is lovely.
  • Voluspa Panjore Lychee – it smells like lychee and pear and is in a lovely glass jar. The pale pink of the candle and the patterns on the glass are very soothing.
  • Voluspa Mandarino Cannela  – this is an old favourite. It was given to me as a gift and is not a scent I would have chosen for myself but I love it. Great throw and the multiple wicks really help lighting the room, dispersing the scent and giving a clean burn of the wax.

Do any of my readers like scented candles? Any recommendations? I am keen to try Yankee Candle but I am afraid it may be a bit overpowering for me as I still am not fond of strong smells.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 thoughts

  1. Have you tried the Diptyque candles? They are my favourites and I’ve been using them for decades. I always burn one in the kitchen when I’m cooking fish or cauliflower and one in the lounge or bathroom to relax. And yes, one of the common mistakes people make is not to trim the wicks.

      1. My favourite scents are oud, feu de bois, canelle, feuille de lavande, bois ciré, jasmin and chêne. I also like the Jo Malone ones and especially the wild berry and bramble and lime basil & mandarin.

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