Despite the pandemic causing millions of working professionals to be unemployed and without income, ironically, that dark period also sparked the growth of some new entrepreneurial enterprises.
With everyone being forced to stay in their homes here in New York City, we had nothing but time to learn and teach ourselves new skills. For me, it was the art of candle-making. The process was something I wanted to explore through a DIY workshop, but in the wake of COVID-19, this was not going to be possible. In fact, no one knew how our time in quarantine would actually play out. Therefore, I brought the workshop to my kitchen, watched a few YouTube tutorials and coached myself through the course. And eventually, this self-taught passion blossomed into the idea to start my own candle brand — yasaf, lit.
After months of testing natural waxes and fragrance oils, I mastered the formulas and signature scents that now front the brand’s core collection. Beyond question, picking out which ingredients to include in my product offering was the hardest part (harder even than launching an e-commerce platform). Not only was it important to introduce candles with a captivating smell, but I also had to pick ingredients that provided the best scent throw, wax type and burn time, all while practicing sustainability. Oh, and I wanted my candles to be free of toxins, too.
Outside of my line of candles, there are a number of other candle brands that embody those qualities, which can transform the total ambiance of any room. If you’re a lover of scents, then today is reserved for you. In honor of Scented Candle Day, I have curated a list of calming, slow burners for every intention and sector of the house. As a DIY turned professional candle maker, these are the candles and candle brands I recommend to my own friends and family.
1. Perry Boyce Amber + Wood
Throughout the pandemic, Perry Boyce had me in a chokehold. This amber + wood fragrance is everything and more. Its rich vanilla base left a lasting scent throughout my house and didn’t burn out too quickly. There are lively top notes of citrus and pineapple, balanced with dark musk and sandalwood. Believe me, it’s number one on the list for a reason.
2. Brooklyn Candle Studio Sunday Morning
I’ve gifted this candle by Brooklyn Candle Studio a few times because it’s one of my personal favorites. The Sunday Morning fragrance transports you to a weekend day spent at the market, browsing through delectable fruits and fresh bouquets of flowers. This minimalist, Brooklyn-made candle features hints of pear, bergamot, jasmine and gardenia, that create an eco-friendly, clean burn. The best soy candles have a wonderful fragrance and an even burn, which are qualities you’ll find in this particular candle.
3. Jo Malone London Peony Blush Suede Candle
When I first purchased this Jo Malone candle, I had to pace to myself burning it. I couldn’t get enough of the floral fragrance and didn’t want it to be gone too soon. The peony blush suede is that good, you might just burn right through it once you unbox it. The luxurious perfumed candle has a soft, inviting scent which creates an ambiance of opulence and serenity.
4. Byredo Bibliotheque Scented Candle
Byredo is not overrated, they’re worth every penny. There’s something about the European luxury brand that has the ability to elevate the essence of your space. My favorite scent from them is Bibliotheque and it makes you never want to leave out the house.
5. Diptyque Vanille Scented Candle
The Vanille scented candle from Diptyque is very romantic and elegant. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best offerings from the fancy Parisian brand. A great quality about it is that burns evenly and slowly — up to 60 hours. The fragrance is a bit smoky but strong enough to take full control over your place.
6. Ward Body Essentialism
Ward Body is a black-owned active lifestyle brand that carries a fine assortment of candles. Their top-seller Essentialism ranks the best in the lineup and here is why: Woody leather + brandy is the fragrance, and it sticks like grits. I only burned this a few times and still smelled the scent each time I would re-enter the apartment. So, you get your money’s worth. Also, once all the wax is gone, the vessel can be repurposed for your own personal use.
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7. Malin+Goetz leather candle.
Similar to their leather cologne scent, the Malin+Goetz leather candle hits your nose immediately after lifting the packaging lid. Talk about a scent throw, which refers to how well the candle’s scent will circulate around your room. You’ll fall in love with the top notes — lotus flower, eucalyptus and clove. A unique blend of iris wood, orchid and green violet takes centerstage before the base finishes off with some woody goodness — courtesy of leather, cedarwood, sandalwood, and suede amber notes.
8. D.S. & DURGA Bergamot Superior Candle
This one-of-a-kind fragrance has played a role in my self-care routine. It’s soothing and perfect to burn while you relish in a bubble bath or practice meditating. Notes included in this candle are bee balm, bergamot, coneflower and blue-eyed grass. Highly recommend for those who want to center themselves.
9. Maison Margiela Replica Bubble Bath Candle
The time to burn this candle by Maison Margiela is all in the name. Seriously, this scent reimagines the calming atmosphere of a warm, foaming bath. I call this the ultimate powder room fragrance because it’s one for me time. When I’m spending more time in there to cleanse, relax in the tub or handle my skincare regime — you better believe it’s lit. Key notes in this Replica fragrance include soap bubbles accord, lavender, white musk and coconut milk.
10. Le Labo Santal 26
As someone who has an affinity for all things fragranced, I feel like it should be a rule that you must test out this candle from Le Labo at least once in your lifetime. It’s a bit sweeter version of their signature parfum, but sophisticated and warm. I’ve found out this scent will engulf your entire place. Honorable mention: you can get any candles from the brand, personalized.