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They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy candles and yes, that's a little jar of happiness. September is World Candle Month. The National Candle Association uses this time to celebrate the way candles enrich our lives. Okay, they probably won’t bring world peace, but candles really can have a positive affect on us and our surroundings. The first candles were used as a source of light. Most early Western cultures made candles from animal fat until beeswax candles were introduced during the middle ages. Candles remained the most reliable artificial light source until the introduction of the light bulb in 1879. If it weren't for Thomas Edison, we might be putting on our mascara by candle light. Candles no longer serve a utilitarian purpose, but they are still very much a part of our lives. You’ll find candles in seven out of ten homes in the U.S. So why this love affair with candles? Candles have been scientifically proven to be soothing. The gentle, hypnotizing quality of their light makes them a perfect aid for relaxation, and adding fragrance only enhances their power to calm us. Think about it. Who do you know that isn't stressed out? We’re all looking for comfort in a discombobulated world, and if we can find it in the bottom of a little jar of scented wax, so be it.
What is it about a candle that drives us to spend $30 on a glass of wax?
Ambiance - It's everything! Nothing can affect the mood of a room like a candle. We want our home to be a place of peace, arguably now more than ever. Studies show that soft light is calming on the body. The illumination of a candle can reduce anxiety and bring relaxation. We also want our home to be inviting. A few well-placed candles can make it feel warm and welcoming. A single candle in a large space can make it feel cozy and intimate.
Home Decor - These days, candles are designed to do much more than simply make homes smell good. They are a beautiful and inexpensive way to decorate and have become an important part of home decor. The fragrance and light of a candle can transform a room and add color and texture at a modest price. Manufacturers have raised the bar on candle presentation, incorporating home decorating trends and pantone colors into container design. So consider the space you are buying for. Choose a candle that compliments the room, so it doesn't feel like an afterthought. Looking to keep the earth green? Some candle companies incorporate sustainability in their products through utilizing recycled materials. Rewined Candle’s Signature Collection is the original wine bottle candle. Each candle is hand crafted from a recycled wine bottle and hand poured with 11 ounces of soy wax. Candle scents mimic the aromas found in your favorite varietals of wine. Made in Charleston, SC.
Fragrance - When choosing a fragrance, consider the space it is intended for. Living room scents should feel welcoming and relaxing. Light florals and scents of vanilla and honey are great. For the kitchen, look for scents that are familiar to the kitchen. Fresh herbs and citrus scents are pleasant and also help eliminate kitchen odors. But scented candles can interfere with the taste of your food so if you choose to use candles in the dining room, it's best to choose an unscented option. Clean scents like linen work well in bathrooms. Lavender is an excellent choice for the bedroom to promote relaxation.
Gifts - I’ll go out on a limb here and say a candle just may be the perfect gift. Why? Because candles are the chameleon of gifts. They're a gender neutral gift that can be very personal or very generic and will adapt to every gift giving occasion. And, as a consumable, one can rarely have too many candles. Just a humble opinion from someone who has been selling candles for twenty years. It sounds like most people agree. 65% of consumers say they have given a candle as a gift.
What could be better than a gift-ready candle? Need a hostess gift? A housewarming gift? Ella B candles celebrate our beautiful city and make the quintessential gift for every occasion.
I’m guessing you’ve heard the term “hygge” (pronounced hue-guh). It comes from an Old Norse word, “hugga,” which means to comfort or console. There is no exact English equivalent to this Danish word but it’s closest translation is “coziness.” It’s the Danish philosophy of living life in a more mindful, harmonious, kumbaya, warm-and-fuzzy kind of way. Candles are an essential ingredient in the hygge world. Danes go through more candles than any other nation on earth – a whopping 13 pounds of candle wax per person each year. The hygge trend has taken our country by storm as people look to disconnect from nonstop news and the glare of a computer screen. Watching the movement and rhythm of a candle flame has a similar effect to watching the twinkling of the stars or the flow of a river. It’s the perfect way to de-stress at the end of a day. Try burning candles as a transition from day to night. It is scientifically proven that reducing harsh artificial lighting before bed can help calm us and also help reset our natural sleep rhythms.
Although there are many different types of candles, they are not all created equal. Most candles contain four basic components: wax, a wick, fragrance, and a container. I know (insert yawn), but work with me people. You may learn something you can impress your friends with at the next cocktail party.
The Wax - There are many types of waxes used in candle making, including paraffin, soy wax, palm wax, coconut wax, and beeswax. There is a lot of debate over which wax is better for a candle and safer for the environment. The majority of candles on the market today are made from either paraffin wax or soy wax. Both waxes have to pass a series of tests and meet certain standards monitored by the US government before they can be marketed as a wax safe for use in candles. Paraffin is a byproduct of the oil purification process and the most commonly used candle material. Paraffin wax tends to hold fragrance better than soy wax. Soy waxes are newer to the market, having been invented in 1992. It is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans and thus a sustainable product. A well-made soy candle burns cleaner and up to 50% longer than paraffin wax. It also burns evenly, minimizing unburned wax left on the walls of the container. As you can see, different types of waxes bring different qualities to a candle. Thus many manufacturers blend two or more types of wax, capitalizing on the strengths of each.
The Wick - Once upon a time most of the metal-core wicks in scented candles contained lead, but in 2003 the United States banned lead wicks. Metal-core wicks are still used in container candles and votives to keep the wick upright when the wax liquifies. But today’s metal-core wicks are made with either zinc or tin, both repeatedly shown to be safe and non-toxic. If you have very old candles that have not been burned you can check for lead content by rubbing the tip of the wick on a piece of paper. A wick with lead will leave a mark much like a pencil would. Wooden wicks are relatively new to the candle scene. They provide a horizontal flat flame and give off a soothing, crackling sound when burning. Wood wicks require a tiny bit more care to keep them burning optimally.
The Container - Most importantly, your container should be heat resistant. But don't neglect the aesthetics of the container. A good candle holder will complement your home decor and be interesting to look at even when the candle is not lit. And size matters. Make sure you have the right size candle for the scent to permeate your room. The fragrance from an 8 ounce candle will cover 10 sq ft of space. Multi-wick designs with a larger surface area create larger pools of liquid wax, releasing a more intense fragrance.
The Scent - "Throw" is the term used to describe the strength of candle’s fragrance. Cold throw refers to how a candle smells before it has been lit. Hot throw refers to how a candle smells when it is lit and scenting the room. All candle waxes have a saturation point, meaning there is a limit to the amount of fragrance that can be added. Overly saturated fragrance leaves a layer of oil on top. Too little fragrance and the candle will have a weak scent throw. Candle fragrances are described in “notes,” a snazzy word referring to the different ingredients that make up a fragrance; floral notes, fruit notes, spice notes. It takes a carefully crafted combination of notes to create the perfect candle scent.
OYSTER CANDLE COMPANY
These triple scented soy blend candles by Oyster Candle Company are hand poured right here in the Lowcountry. Glass jars are accented with oyster shells recycled from local area restaurants.
Every candle has an estimated life span or burn time. How can you make a candle burn longer? You can’t. It burns shorter (sorry). But seriously, you actually can increase your candle’s burn time by caring for it properly.
Burn times are influenced by the height of the candle wick. The longer the wick, the quicker the candle will burn. Trim your candle wick with a wick trimmer each time you light it and during prolonged burning. If you notice the candle flame is dancing or unusually large, trim the wick shorter. Never burn a candle longer than 4 hours.
Always let your candle burn at least until the whole top layer of wax becomes liquid. This takes about an hour per inch of candle diameter. Otherwise the candle will burn a tunnel down the center instead of melting all the way to the edges. A candle has wax memory and will only burn as far as it did the last time. Tunneling shortens the lifespan of your candle and a smaller pool of wax throws a smaller amount of fragrance.
If caught early enough you can usually reset a slightly tunneled candle's memory. Here are four options worth trying: 1 - Use a spoon to remove the wax along the inside wall of the container. 2 - Put your candle under the direct heat of a blow dryer until the wax liquefies and smoothes out evenly. 3 - If you know your container can withstand it - heat oven to 175 degrees, place the candle on a baking sheet, heat for a few minutes until the wax melts and evens out. 4 - Wrap foil around the lip of the candle, leaving a hole in the middle so that the wick can still burn through properly. The heat trapped beneath the foil "roof" will cause the wax below to melt and even out.
Candles burn best in still air. If too much air disturbs the flame it may cause the candle to burn more quickly, unevenly, or cause the flame to flicker and produce soot. Blowing out a candle also produces soot and smoke. And it can create those annoying ash particles that get stuck in the wax. The best way to put out a candle is to use a candle snuffer, which puts the flame out by depriving it of oxygen. Never move your candle while it is burning or still hot.
Always burn your candle within sight, out of the reach of children and pets, and on a stable, heat resistant surface. Extinguish your candle when there is 1/2” of wax left in the bottom. This can prevent overheating the container and potentially burning the surface your candle is sitting on. Never move a burning or still melted candle.
Candles are for more than special occasions. They’re an indispensable part of home decor, and few gifts are more well-received than a candle. “I have too many candles,” said no one ever. We’re living in a world over-saturated with technology and bombarded with stimulation from every angle. Creating a relaxing space doesn't need to be a grand ordeal. The simple act of lighting a candle can transform the mood of a room. So if you’re suffering from FOWEC (fear of wasting expensive candles), stop waiting for a special occasion. Let's dust off that candle and light it.
Light a Candle - Feed a Child!
You'll fall in love with Bridgewater's Sweet Grace fragrance featuring notes of passion fruit, sparkling tea, and classic patchouli. With every Sweet Grace candle sold Bridgewater donates three meals to Rice Bowls, a non-profit organization that provides food for children in orphanages around the world.
Over 10 Million meals have been donated! Made in South Carolina.