Candles. Ah, the romance, the calm, the unwind, the MINEFIELD OF SYNTHETIC INGREDIENTS DAMAGING TO US AND THE PLANET.
Ahem, WHAT? I hear you say. Why the outburst? Don’t tell me there’s another household item I have to worry about!
Well, sadly, picking a candle, scented or not, requires a little research and investigation before lighting our wicks to unwind.
Here’s what’s in the majority of candles out there
- Many scented candles contain lead in the wick. Mm, just love the smell of lead in the air, don’t you? Best is to buy from a local-to-you candle maker. Most of the lead coated wicks come from Asia where there isn’t any law against the use of it.
- Paraffin is basically a waste product from the petroleum industry. Most candles are made with paraffin. Lots of yucky gasses go up into your indoor space with the burning of paraffin. It’s basically like a diesel engine burning inside your home. Isn’t that gross?
- Soy, is often GM derived and therefore, while ‘better for us’ than petroleum derived paraffin, it’s sadly supporting GM farming, albeit indirectly.
- Fake fragrances containing loads of endocrine disrupting pthalates. If you’re burning a candle and you smell a smell that you can’t put your finger on, it’s probably fake. What on earth does ‘ocean dew’ or ‘portofino’ really smell like? Certainly not like the concoctions we smell when we burn those scents.
How on earth do I navigate candles and choose better!?
- Don’t buy el cheapo candles from a $2 shop or supermarket.
- If you do burn cheap candles, do it with windows open to at least circulate a little fresh air and minimise indoor pollution
- Don’t buy supermarket airfreshener candles. “Arctic fresh” and similarly named Airfreshener candles are definitely doing you more harm than good!
- Check the wicks for metal by pinching two fingers around the wick and seeing if there’s any hiding in there. Most probably lead if there is. Move on!
- Choose unscented candles, unless you can be sure they’re scented with pure essential oils.
- Choose Pure Beeswax candles. These are without a doubt the best option available. Some manufacturers mix beeswax with paraffin, so definitely watch for 100% beeswax.
What about perfuming my home?
- Why not dip a whole bunch of wood skewers in your favourite essential oil blend and pop it by an open window to breeze through?
- Grab an oil burner and some beeswax tea light candles, and burn your favourite natural scents. Rosemary and Rose Geranium is a favourite of mine, or a little grapefruit in the morning.
- Pop a little water in a saucepan and do a 5 minute simmer of your favourite essential oils – The house will smell amazing in minutes!
- Add a few drops of your favourite oils to your shower while the hot water steams up before you turn on the cold and get in. It’s like stepping into a delicious aromatherapy treatment.
So how am I shaping a better world and a healthier me by changing my candles again?
- By saying no to GM farming when not going with soy candles.
- By saying no to petroleum products by not choosing paraffin.
- By minimising petroleum pollution.
- By stopping indoor pollution and low level lead poisoning from possible lead wicks in cheap candles.
- By saying no to pthalates, which are hormone disrupting chemicals found in fake fragrances, used to scent the majority of candles.
So where do I get real candles from?
I’d recommend BIOME eco stores, Great ranges. Beautiful, natural options.
Or you could ditch the candles altogether and go for essential oils and diffusing. There’s Young Living, Doterra, Twenty8 and Springfields to name a few good brands I’ve looked at. I found Young Living to be the best smelling personally and I go with my nose, rather than worry about the weirdo essential oil wars out there that seem to exist between companies. We formed a little oils group for peeps who want to join us and buy a kit like this one and get to know oils a bit better. Zero pressure, just for peeps who might be interested, pop me an email [email protected] – It’s so far from being an internet doctor “oils cure cancer” or pyramid “push you up the ranks” situation… Just a place for oils nerds and talking chakras etc. Lots of fun and artificial candle free!
Low Tox. Happy Us. Happy Planet.
Fancy learning more about what’s in everything? Join the next round of GO LOW TOX. It’s super inspiring and you will come out feeling empowered and a veritable low tox ninja!
Be sure to share your questions or ideas on the best low tox candle strategy with a comment and share this piece if you know a few friends out there who’d benefit from knowing the truth about all those candles out there!
Feature Image credit: Heathmont Money, Australian Honey products website.