If a trip to your local candle shop leaves you feeling queasy, you’ve experienced synthetic fragrance in action. Not exactly the vibe you want to give off around your home.
Not only are synthetic fragrances nausea-inducing, but they can cause real health issues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even released a report stating scented candles made with paraffin, contaminated oils, synthetic fragrance, and lead wicks are big-time sources of indoor air pollution.
But candles do add instant ambiance to any room. The flicker of a flame and the smell of a yummy scent create a cozy and inviting environment for you and your guests—you can just do it without the unhealthy junk.
Here’s what you’ll want to avoid when buying and burning candles, plus seven nontoxic scented candles you’ll love.
These Are the Top Ingredients to Avoid in Scented Candles
- Paraffin wax: Most traditional candles are made with paraffin wax, a petrochemical byproduct that undergoes chemical processing and is often contaminated with carcinogenic compounds, according to a 2009 study. It is considered an indoor pollutant when burned in candles.
- Artificial fragrance ingredients: Chemical fragrance brews are a mixture of many fragrance ingredients. They cause a wide range of health issues, from headaches and dizziness to asthma, and are even linked to some types of cancer. One 2001 EPA study found that candles with more fragrance in them produced more soot.
- Metal wicks: You know how some candle wicks have that little wire inside? Those can release heavy metals, including lead, associated with neurological and behavioral issues, hormonal imbalance, and reproductive problems.
Look for These Nontoxic Scented Candle Ingredients Instead
You can have your pretty candles, lovely scents, and a safe home, too. Nontoxic scented candles are made with healthier waxes, like soy, coconut, rice, uncontaminated vegetable oils, and beeswax. Natural scents come from essential oils and botanicals.
Not all candles include an ingredient listing, making it difficult to know if you are purchasing a safe candle. Makers of safe candles usually display whether or not paraffin or safer waxes were used to make the product. As for fragrance, if there's no determination of where the fragrance ingredients come from (e.g. “essential oils”), steer clear.
5 Best-Smelling Nontoxic Scented Candles for Your Home
Lighting a candle creates instant mood. And when you light up one of these beauties, you'll know you're enjoying that flicker and yummy scent safely.
Unlike most scented candles that don’t want to display their proprietary blend of fragrances, goop lays it all out by disclosing the full ingredient list in its candles. (Hallelujah!)
Here’s the full list for the Scented Candle Edition 01 - Church by goop.
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Wax, Pongostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Leaf Extract, Juniperus Virginiana (Red Cedar) Oil, Cyperus Scariosus (Cypriol) Root Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Olibanum) Gum Extract, Myroxylon Pereirae (Balsam Peru) Oil, Cupressus Sempervirens (Tuscan Cypress) Stem Oil, Cistus Ladaniferus (Labdanum) Resin Extract, Vanillin, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract
This nontoxic, soy-based candle features a scent meant to invoke clarity and focus. The line of candles also features Shiso, Incense, and Orchard scents.
From the Organic Authority Files
This Goop exclusive may have a surprising name, but there's nothing shocking about its ingredients list. Made with 100 percent pure soy wax, a lead-free, organic cotton wick, and a combination of cruelty-free scents like geranium, bergamot, cedar, Damask rose, and ambrette seeds, this candle is the perfect way to set the mood.
This dreamy candle scented with rose, agar wood, and vanilla shows that nontoxic doesn’t mean you have to compromise on scent. Made from coconut wax and featuring a cotton wick, this hand-poured, handcrafted Rosewood Vanilla Candle from Shiva Rose will make your day every time you light it.
Crafted using Ayurvedic essential oils including rose and geranium and chamomile, lavender, and vetiver botanicals, the Uma Pure Calm Wellness Candle features a powerfully soothing scent. All of the botanicals used in the candle (and the brand’s line of beauty products) are grown on a centuries-old farm in India that also supplies organic oils to some of the biggest beauty brands in the world.
Only the grass is dirty in this clean, soy-based candle infused with a fresh, green, smoky scent and full-spectrum CBD oil. With notes of black pepper, lemongrass, and hemp, it's the ideal way to bring the outdoors into your inner sanctum.
This article contains affiliate links that are independently sourced and vetted by our editorial team which we may earn a commission on. We are here to help you navigate the overwhelming world of consumer products to source and uncover thoughtfully made, conscious clean products for you and your family.
This article was updated in October 1, 2020 with fresh product picks.
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