Life

You're burning your candles all wrong, experts reveal

Posted by
Megan Murray
Published

Want to make the most of that scented candle? Read on

As well as smelling lovely and creating an ambient glow in the corner of a room, we’ve found that for us, candles have become a symbol of adult life. While they were once something our teenage selves would consider to be a naff gift or a boring stocking filler, they are now one of our most coveted beauty treats.

With this in mind, fellow candle-lovers, it’s important to be in the know about the tips and tricks that will help you keep your precious candles going for as long as possible.

We’ve spoken to representatives from some of the best brands in the business, from Sisley to Miller Harris, about how to treat your candle right - from ensuring they burn as long as possible to choosing which fragrances have the best staying power.

Here’s everything you need to know to give your candle a good home.

Do I need to clean my candle?

We spoke to Jo Malone London’s Lifestyle Director, Debbie Wild, who gave us an easy and simple tip for keeping your candle in the best possible condition. The secret?  Cleaning it. 

Wild says: “To make the most of your candle, keep the wax pool free of debris cleaning the candle only once it has cooled. Remove dust and excess wax on the sides. Ensure the candle is cold and use a soft cloth.

“You may also see a little smoke appear when you first light your candle. Simply give the wick time to draw up the liquid wax properly and this should cease. However, if excessive smoking appears any time during burning, extinguish the candle, let it cool thoroughly, trim the wick to a quarter of an inch and relight to help maintain a good candle.”

Debbie Wild also recommends the Jo Malone London Green Almond & Redcurrant Christmas Candle for fragrance layering

How long should I burn my candle for?

Dr Johanna Ward, founder of ethical beauty and wellness brand ZENii, gave us the scoop on not just how many hours we can leave our candles burning, but how long we should leave them burning.

Dr Ward says: “To get the best out of your candle always burn it for at least for two hours and a maximum of four, to ensure the oils burn evenly and the scent beautifully fills your room.”

Do I need to maintain my candle’s wick?

Sue Harmsworth, founder of luxury spa brand ESPA, explains the importance of taking care of your candle’s wick. According to Harmsworth, you should trim the wick every time you reuse it.

She says: “Always trim the wick by 3mm before relighting a candle – this will help the candle burn evenly, but also optimise burn time and minimise smoke.”

When buying natural candles, which scents will last for longer?

Kate Protopapas, founder of ethical skincare and wellness brand Isla Apothecary, gave us some insight into which scents to choose when buying natural candles crafted with essential oils. 

Protopapas says: “When it comes to aromatherapy candles, which use essential oils, floral, woody, herbaceous blends will usually linger the longest as they are middle and base notes and their aromas take longer to evaporate.

“A base note, such as patchouli, is a fixative, and will hold the aroma together well. Most citrus oils, which are top notes, will provide the least scent throw, especially if the aroma is exclusively made up of citrus oils.”

ZENii Hope geranium and orange scented candle, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

How do I stop my candle smoking?

Covent Garden’s luxury perfumer Miller Harris advises that the cleanliness of your candle, as well as the size of it’s wick, can be a cause of smoking. Sarah Rotheram, CEO of Miller Harris, recommends keeping your candle’s wick a very specific length to address this problem: “We recommend trimming your wick to 0.5cm to ensure the flame does not create any smoke, or mark the candle pot.”

They also shared another much-needed tip with us: “It’s difficult to keep dust of your candle but the best way to protect the wax is to use a candle lid.”

I’m looking for a relaxing scent, what should I choose?

Harmsworth, founder of ESPA, also made us privy to her knowledge of calming and relaxing fragrances, for those who like many of us, use a candle to help them de-stress after a long day at work. 

Harmsworth says: ” If you’re looking to calm your mind and body, look for candles that contain essentials oils such as Lavender, which has a calming effect on the mind, such as the ESPA Restorative Candle.

“But if you need to relax and unwind, choose a candle that contains ingredients such as Sandalwood, Frankincense and Myrrh. Frankincense has a very calming and harmonising effect while Myrrh helps to quieten the mind.”

I’m looking for a scent that makes an impact, what should I choose?

If there’s any brand that can provide authority on resonant fragrances, it has to be luxury Parisian beauty brand, Sisley. UK Training Manager, Lorna Hura, gives us her expertise on the notes that really pack a punch. 

She advises that the smokey aroma of whisky is one to go for when trying to create some serious ambiance. She says: “Due to the intense notes in the Tuberose candle such as bourbon vanilla, jasmine and benzoin, this particular combination of scents tends to linger the longest.”

Sisley’s Tuberose candle

We reckon these tips couldn’t come at a better time, and we can’t wait to stock on candles to get extra cosy over the months. Hygge for everyone, we say!

Images: Pinterest / Jo Malone / ZENii / Sisley