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No doubt, a candle can transform the energy and mood of a room. Candles have a rich history in human culture, used at everything from celebrations and religious ceremonies to providing a small source of ambient light in a cozy living room.

Aromatherapy candles, essentially candles crafted with essential oils, can stimulate your senses. They can help relax and calm the mind and body.

The market is flooded with options for all kinds of candles for aromatherapy. We rounded up some of the best aromatherapy candles out there to help you make your selection.

The base of the candle is wax, the essential oil, and a wick. The mixture is poured into a container and then cooled to dry.

There are many natural scents available. For example:

  • lavender
  • eucalyptus
  • orange
  • lime
  • lemon
  • sage
  • roman chamomile
  • rose
  • myrrh

Various scents have been shown to have a calming effect on anxiety, even leading to better sleep. That being said, studies on aromatherapy’s effects are scant and mixed in results.

  • A 2017 review showed lavender oil exhibited “desirable properties of an anxiolytic agent, including a calming effect without sedation, as well as a lack of dependence, tolerance, or withdrawal.
  • A 2015 study found lavender oil diffused into the rooms of patients with coronary artery disease had a positive improvement on sleep quality and anxiety.
  • Peppermint oil has been shown to have a positive impact on gastrointestinal issues when inhaled, such as irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, and nausea, according to this 2018 review.
  • Tea tree oil is used as a topical antiseptic because of its antimicrobial properties. It’s commonly used to fight acne, dandruff, or skin fungi infections. 2015 research showed tea tree oil is highly effective against various types of bacteria and fungi that thrive on the human epidermis.
  • A 2012 study of 40 males who were given sweet orange essential oil, tea tree oil, or water, and then submitted to a model of anxiety showed that sweet orange oil had an effect in reducing anxiety in the study’s participants.
  • A 2014 study of 22 menopausal women in their 50s showed that inhaling clary sage oil significantly decreased the women’s cortisol levels.

Humans have about 300 active olfactory genes devoted to detecting thousands of scents. A 2016 review of studies discussed the effects that inhaling fragrances have on spontaneous brain activities and cognitive functions, measured through an electroencephalograph (EEG).

“The studies have suggested a significant role for olfactory stimulation in the alteration of cognition, mood, and social behavior,” the article said.

To compile this roundup of candles, we looked at online reviews, price, and the quality of ingredients. Essential oils (if they’re not the quality kind) could have additives like synthetic fragrance or inexpensive filler oil. The majority of these companies used only “pure essential oils,” meaning extracted directly from the plant.

If any synthetic fragrances were used, which often include endocrine-disrupting phthalates, we noted it. As for the wax and wick, we looked for certified organic materials. Also, If the company was registered with the Better Business Bureau, we noted it.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $25–$50
  • $$$ = over $50

Best overall

Bluecorn Beeswax

  • Price: $

These candles are hand-poured or hand-dipped and made with beeswax. They come in a variety of aromatherapy scents, such as Clarity (eucalyptus, orange, and lavender), Relaxing (lavender), Sensuality (palmarosa, ylang ylang, and patchouli), and Tranquility (lemongrass, cinnamon, and rosemary).

Containers come in clear or frosted glass. The ingredients are natural, which are a great option if you tend to have any allergies to fragrances. Bluecorn uses 100 percent pure essential oils. They acknowledge that the distance the aroma travels may seem less intense as a candle with synthetic fragrance.

According to Bluecorn, 95 percent of the wax is sourced from U.S. beekeepers, and only premium beeswax cappings are used to make the candles. Bees wax cappings are a sustainable byproduct of a honey harvest that leaves the comb intact for the bees to reuse.

An added bonus is that you can purchase these candles in a sampling of sizes: tealights, various sized pillars, tapers, and a travel tin.

Best organic option

Sanari

  • Price: $$

Sanari aromatherapy candles comes in about 11 different scents of certified organic essential oils and made with organic cotton wicks. Some scents include: Sorbetto (blood orange, coconut, and vanilla), Aria (tangerine, ylang ylang, and lavender), Biscotti (vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon), and others.

The vegan coconut-soy wax blend is hand-poured into a whisky tumbler or wine glass. Every candle is made with certified organic essential oils and 100 percent plant-based ingredients, according to Earth Hero.

A nice perk is that you can use the glass when you’ve burned through the candle. Sanari recommends pouring boiling water into the holder, allowing it to sit for a bit, then grab a pair of pliers to remove the wick from the bottom. Wash with soap and reuse it for your after-work beverage of choice.

One online reviewer commented the flame burns above the container and Sanari responded by saying the wick should be cut before use.

Best unique sent

Heretic Slightly Bitter

  • Price: $$$

The candle’s name says it all: Slightly Bitter. It’s designed by high end perfumer Douglas Little and comes in a sleek black matte vase. It’s described as a candle with a tart, sweet, and citrusy scent with notes of grapefruit, cassis, tomato leaf, lemon, timur berry, neroli, and petitgrain. This is a super fragrant, amomatherapy-forward candle.

While the wick is 100 percent lead-free and unbleached cotton, the candle is made with synthetic fragrances. If you love a strong smelling candle that will stand out in a room, lit or unlit, this one’s for you.

The candle gets high reviews online but some buyers noted the smell is stronger when the candle isn’t lit.

One reviewer noted, “The scent is unusual. I love it, but it’s not your usual citrus. It smells very natural, not manufactured. Once it’s burning, the smell isn’t very strong.”

That being said, if you tend to be allergic to synthetic fragrances, you’ll want to avoid this one.

Best for supporting a good cause

Wild Beautiful Free Organic Coconut Wax Candle

  • Price: $$

These candles are sleek, elegant and make a big statement.

The candle is made with organic coconut wax, an organic cotton wick, and pure lavender and vanilla essential oils. The website’s homepage says all products are “100 percent organic, vegan and cruelty-free.” It burns for about 60 hours.

The candles are meant to bring awareness to three endangered animals: elephants, gorillas, and lions. Some proceeds go to help endangered species organizations, such as The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

The glass cylinder has a gold inlay with one of three endangered animals on it. It’s a 7.5-ounce container and can easily be reused.

One reviewer said: “Very nice quality candle! The glass is solid and beautifully done, candle burns evenly, scent is perfectly done, not too much or too little.”

If you’re looking for a unique gift that supports a good cause, this one may be a good choice.

Best for art lovers

AMASSThe Art of Staying In Candle

  • Price: $$

Artists and introverts will like staying in with this aptly named candle. Its black matte glass with intricate designs is a fitting addition to any artist’s home.

AMASS was founded by a Los Angeles-based distiller and the company sells tons of chic products, in addition to this candle.

The vegan soy wax has a blend of grapefruit, light florals, and cozy wood-smelling scents. The key essential oils in this candle are grapefruit, jasmine, palo santo, rose, lavender, cedarwood, juniper, chamomile, and Haitian vetiver. If you’re looking for a fruity, citrusy essential oil blend, this candle may be for you.

The estimated burn time is 60 hours. When you’re done burning the candle, use the container as a holder for pens, jewelry, or display it on a shelf.

“Takes WFH to the next level. Love love love,” says one reviewer.

Best splurge

Aesop Ptolemy Aromatique Candle

  • Price: $$$

Aesop’s Ptolemy Aromatique Candle mixes a blend of cedar, cypress, and notes of vetiver for a woodsy, earthy scent. It is more spice-forward than some of the other calming scents like vanilla and lavender and not sweet like the citrus oils.

These candles are made with “vegan-friendly ingredients” but it also uses organic and synthetic fragrances.

Per the company’s website: “Our Aromatique Candles contain a combination of fragrance ingredients — of both botanical and synthetic origin — in a base of Paraffin and Rapeseed Oil, which we consider to be an optimum vehicle for carrying a true and long-lasting fragrance, from first use to last.”

Best eco-friendly option

Peacesake Neroli & Musk

  • Price: $$

The candle is hand-poured into a black-matte recycled glass container. It’s topped with a natural cork top.

The scent features an uplifting blend of orange blossom, petitgrain, and bergamot top notes, with a heart of neroli, amber, and jasmine, and a grounding base of musk, cedar, and sandalwood.

Each Peacesake candle is made of GMO-free soy wax. The cotton wicks don’t contain metal cores and only essential oils and fragrance oils that are free of phthalates are used to make the candles. The website doesn’t give more sourcing information, but some homeopathic and natural living blogs have mentioned Peacesake for their nontoxic aromatherapy candles.

Each candle is shipped in recycled crinkle paper and recyclable corrugated shipping boxes that can be recycled. The website suggests using them as a seed starter for your garden, too. If you can’t recycle the container, it can be returned to the company, where it will be recycled.

Best for a spicy scent

Ellis Brooklyn Pseudonym Terrific Scented Candle

  • Price: $$

Ellis is a Brooklyn-based company that has five nontoxic candles. The company takes care to use organic ingredients with a blend of soy and coconut wax.

The Pseudonym Terrific Scented Candle blends essential oils such as fig, jasmine, pepper, and sandalwood.

All Ellis Brooklyn candles are hand-poured in upstate New York, and use a soy wax blend, using domestically grown soy. The container is made by hand from recycled, lead-free glass.

“It’s such a rich and refined musky scent. It’s so simple yet complex. It’s not overwhelming at all,” said one buyer.

Best for long burning

Lafco New York Fragrance Candles

  • Price: $$

Lafco candles come in a reusable hand-blown glass vessels that come in gray, chartreuse, white, and pink, among other colors.

Lafco uses refined and pure essential oil-based fragrances. The oil blends are free of dyes, propellants and other synthetic ingredients. A small amount of paraffin is used in the candle’s production.

Once the candle is burned down, pop the glass into the freezer and the soy will shrink, allowing it to easily snap out. You can compost the remaining soy and reuse the beautiful container.

Wicks are 100 percent cotton and designed to self-extinguish for added safety, according to the company website.

One 5-star reviewer said:

“Lafco makes the best candles! This scent is delicious, not overpowering, just a soft, lovely scent that warms the room.”

Best for overall wellness

Pure Plant Home

  • Price: $$

These coconut wax candles are made from plants from start to finish, and this includes the dyes used to color the packaging.

There are eight 6-oz scents available to buyers and one small tin candle. Some scents include jasmine-vanilla, ginger-vanilla, valencia orange-grapefruit, and more.

All candles are hand-poured. The reason Pure Plant Home chose coconut wax, their website said, is because it’s a renewable resource. At the same time, they are supporting farmers by purchasing it.

It’s essential oils are extracted from plants and flowers and cold-pressed from fruits. No synthetic fragrances are used in production.

Finally, the products are made in a solar- and wind-powered facility and packaged in recycled paper.

Type of wax

There are many types of wax to choose from. Paraffin, soy, beeswax, granulated are just a few. It may be helpful to decide if an all-natural wax is important to you because commercial candles can contain additives. Some mass-produced wax contains byproducts from crude oil. Natural candles tend to be healthier options because they burn cleaner and typically don’t irritate those who have allergies.

Type of wick

There are three types of wicks in most candles: paper, cotton, or zinc. Zinc is the most rigid followed by paper and cotton. If you have allergies or sensitivities, it’s important to research not only the additives in the candle but the wick as well. Some producers coat the wick in substances that make it sturdier over time.

Source of essential oils and other scents

Pay attention to the source of the candle’s oils. Some are “pure essential oil” from plants, while others may contain perfumes or other ingredients.

Container

As with the rest of a candle’s components, a container is something else that varies in quality. You can get containers made of glass or clay, which are more eco-friendly than ones made of plastic.

Candles for aromatherapy are everywhere these days, from grocery stores to clothing boutiques. It’s important to look for quality ingredients because candles can cause indoor air pollution.

The most important factors to examine are the wick’s ingredients, essential oils or synthetic fragrances used, what type of wax make up the base, and the vessel. These candles, in all price points, would make a great gift or an addition to a space you want to illuminate.


Tracee Herbaugh is a writer and journalist who lives in the Boston area. She writes about culture, lifestyle, health, and family relationships. You can view her work online or find her on Twitter.