I can pinpoint the moment I realised I was a major candle collector. During the first lockdown, I became obsessed with lighting a candle to mark the end of the work day; during that time, what else was there to signify the cut-off point between work time and chill time?
I bought a USB lighter from Amazon and took out every single candle I had been saving for having guests over or for special occasions and finally lit them. I didn’t even wait for one to finish before lighting a new one; I mean, who knew what would happen next in the pandemic? If I wanted to fill the flat with a woody scent one day and floral one the next, I just went for it.
Before I knew it, I had over 30 candles littered around the home – in short, once I got going, I could not be stopped. Even now, with the world back to semi-normalcy, the urge I feel to light a candle every single evening hasn’t left.
In fact, I think I rely on the ritual more than ever now. After a day of interacting with others IRL, a night at home with my candles is absolute bliss. It not only sets the scene of a relaxing evening, the scents help to melt away any built up frustrations from the day.
How to find the best affordable scented candles
Naturally, I have tried a wide array of candles in my time, priced anywhere between a fiver and £100+. And while I love a boujee candle, I need to preface my ode to them with this; you don’t have to take out credit to get a good, long-lasting candle.
The best scented candles for £15 and under
I’ve found some of my best candles in TK Maxx and, in there, I have never paid more than £15 per buy. However, as you often don’t know what you’re going to find in there, I get that discovering a favourite and not being able to re-buy it easily is a concern.
Sand and Fog Eucalyptus Spearmint Candle, £7.99
One of my all-time best buys from there has to be ‘Sand and Fog.’ Their eucalyptus-scented candle also has a fresh, summery aroma and the three-wick size is only £12.99. See – I told you candle bargains exist.
How to find the best luxury scented candles
But while I don’t have a favourite among my candles, some pricier picks really do stand out for all the right reasons. If you’re going to invest a little more in a scented candle, here are a few tips to consider first.
How to find the strongest smelling candles?
If you’re ready to spend a little bit more on a candle it’s good to consider what will make your purchase worth the extra cash.
While I love a clean floral scent as much as the next millennial, if you want a strong, long-lasting aroma you should steer your money towards woody and musky notes. They tend to be the most potent scents and carry well even in smaller travel sizes, which are more affordable.
The best strong-smelling scented candles
Diptique Ambre scented candle, £31
One of the most powerful candles I have ever smelled is Diptyque Ambre. The notes of Egyptian incense and spices are so strong that when I lived in a double room in a dubious flatshare, I never even lit my 70g mini candle that sat on my bedside table, and it still effectively scented my room.
Pomegranate Noir Travel Candle, £25
The Jo Malone travel size Pomegranate Noir candle is also a top tier choice. The combo of pomegranate and deep woods is an elite combination that is rarely beaten.
What’s the difference between paraffin, beeswax and soy candles?
Prior to really understanding what the wax had to do with candle quality, soy, coconut and beeswax candles were kind of just lit interchangeably in my household. Then I found out that the wax plays a huge part in how cleanly your candle burns and how long the scent lasts for, too.
Which is the best candle wax to go for?
For a long time, paraffin wax was the norm for me. However, I now know that the best to look out for are soybean, coconut, vegetable/plant and beeswax-based candles.
Should paraffin candles be avoided?
Paraffin is a cheap base for a candle and carries scent well, so you’ll normally find this at a lower price point. But do you know what will pay the price, other than your bank balance? Your once-white walls.
Paraffin wax does not burn cleanly, often emitting black soot into your environment that can cling onto plastics and walls.
So, while it does pack a punch with scent, most luxury candle brands avoid using this wax so that the customer experience is more pleasant overall. If you’re unsure how to distinguish what your chosen candle is made up of, a quick look at the base of it should give you the wax makeup.
Which is the cleanest burning candle wax?
Blended bases like coconut and beeswax or plant and vegetable wax candles tend to be a little pricey, but will hold scent well and burn cleanly at a varied pace. Boy Smells, a beloved mid-range candle brand, uses a mix of beeswax with coconut wax for their bases, which carries scent perfectly and the cold throw (the smell of a candle when it’s not lit) is pretty good too.
The best long-burning scented candle
Millennial fave Overose Paris uses rapeseed wax, also boasts a mid-range price point, and has a lengthy burn time too (around 60 hours).
Two of my other favourite brands, Kalmar and Loewe, are slightly on the pricier side (and do burn a little more quickly) but use vegetable wax at the base and smell incredible across the board.
The best luxury scented candles
Loewe Cypress Balls small scented candle, £70
The Loewe Cypress Balls scent emits a beautifully woody note of the cypress tree. It’s a scent that builds gently, so I’ll burn it for a few hours from the afternoon to evening; perfect for a lingering summer day.
Kalmar Large Scented Peace Candle, £55
Kalmar’s Peace Candle is another favourite but the scent is better for a night-time chill. The warmth of the amber and earthy hints of moss make this a wintery bath companion.
Are three wick candles worth the money?
If you have more of an open-plan living space then I’m going to put it out there: you cannot light a smaller 170g candle and expect it to fill the room impactfully. For this, I would suggest a three-wick candle, which I believe are worth the investment despite their higher price point.
Best three wicker with an impressive scent throw
Granted, there are some extortionately-priced large candles out there, but Boy Smells’ Magnums are incredibly scent-heavy even unlit, and give a cool 110 hours of burn time. I light mine for around an hour and it fills the entire house. The Kush family of scents are warm and inviting, but the one that really engulfs your surroundings is ‘Ash.’
The best scented candles overall
Best for a floral scent
If you’re a fan of the smell of Ouai hair and body care, you’re going to want this candle in your home. The scent is fresh and floral but not overpoweringly so, and the jar is so chic and can be used again.
Best for de-stressing
Another stunning vessel, this candle will be your new go-to for peace and calm. The notes of petitgrain, frankincense and wild chamomile aid in stress relief and restoring calm.
Best for a a deep, rich fragrance
Looking for a deep, sensual scent with a hint of sweetness? This ticks all of the boxes thanks to the rich amber and warming vanilla notes.