The power of candles
In this modern time where we all rely on electricity and light bulbs that come in different shapes and sizes, candles continue to prosper in popularity. Many people use it for relaxation, setting the ambience either indoor or outdoor, or simply as house decor. While there are different claims about their origin, candles have a long history of making the world bright. It has been through a couple of transformations and styles, from being a valuable source of light to being used as a decorative accent. But amidst those changes, it didn’t stray away from what it symbolises; light in the darkness of life, divine illumination of spirits, glow in the afterlife, religious representation of Gods, and symbolises celebration.
Not all candles are created the same. When buying or making candles, it is essential to know which ones are non-toxic and which ones are bad for you and the environment. Here are some materials to look for when buying or making a candle:
- Wax – Candles are made differently, and you’ll know that you’re using a clean-burning candle if the base or the wax used are plant-based. This includes beeswax, coconut wax, and soy wax. While shopping for candles can be tricky as there are some manufacturers that label them incorrectly, one safe way to know that you are buying a harmless candle is by looking for the label that says 100% natural wax;
- Wick – Before it was banned, lead wicks were widely used in candles, and their fumes were seen to cause lead poisoning to children. At the present time, many other materials are used to provide a safer environment. Materials such as cotton, twine, and hemp are better options for wicks. Always check the label if it indicates that the product contains 100% of these materials;
- Fragrance – Many of the good-smelling products present in the market have ingredients referred to as fragrance regardless of whether it is naturally sourced or not. The reality is, many products use fragrances that are synthetically made, which means they are made of petrochemicals which, of course, are not beneficial to our health. When choosing a scented candle, always go for the ones with essential oils and not aroma oils or synthetic oils. The best way to ensure this is to look for labels that say the candle is phthalate-free and has a full list of ingredients.
- Paraffin – Before this wax reaches its colourless and waxy state, it goes through the process of deodorising and bleaching. The bleach used in attaining paraffin’s state is ten times stronger than the average household bleach. According to science, the unwanted by-products of bleach are known to cause bad effects on the reproductive and immune systems. In addition, when paraffin wax is burned, it releases carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as toluene and benzene;
- Heavy metals – The wicks in candles may look innocent, but they can produce heavy metals in the air. Before the modern options of wicks, lead was used in candles which were later found to be a potential culprit of lead poisoning in children. Nowadays, some candle manufacturers still use wicks such as zinc and tin wicks which still produce heavy metals into the air when lit;
- Artificial scents – While fragrances make many products appealing, not all good-smelling stuff are harmless. In candles, synthetic fragrances are often derived from petroleum. Using synthetic fragrances can be harmful as it emits phthalates and other harmful substances such as limonene, alcohol, formaldehyde, and esters into the air when it’s burned. These may create health implications like liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive damage.
Benefits of candles:
- It can give therapeutic benefits through aromatherapy;
- It gives you a sense of self-care. It uplifts your mood and can make you feel relaxed;
- It changes the atmosphere inside the house, making you feel better about the space;
- It can energise you;
- It makes a unique accent and stylish ornament in any room;
- It supports meditation and promotes relaxation;
- It calms the mind and supports a night of restful sleep;
- It sets a romantic vibe that enhances moments.
Whether you are buying or making a DIY candle project, it is important to know that you can infuse other amazing ingredients into your candle. These add-ons can provide great effects not only on your body but also on your mind.
- Essential oils. Adding essential oils to candles gives the amazing benefits of aromatherapy. Since there are many kinds of essential oils, they can be added to candles depending on the therapeutic effect that you want to receive. If you want to feel relaxed and at peace, lavender, patchouli, and bergamot oils are the favourites to bring this outcome. They are said to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep. For invigorating essential oils, oils in the mint family are the best. This includes peppermint, spearmint, and eucalyptus essential oils. To feel energised and focused, citrus oils such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit are an excellent selection. Keep in mind that essential oils are different from aroma oils which are diluted in carrier oils that may contain artificial ingredients;
- CBD oil. CBD oil is known for its many therapeutic effects. Whether in the form of a CBD bath bomb, capsules or gummies, many people use CBD oil for pain, inflammation, stress, and anxiety, amongst many other ailments. CBD oil is also seen to condition the body and ease any skin irritations such as redness and breakouts. You can find candles infused with CBD oil that can be used as massage oils when they are melted. This creates a great combination of relaxation by the infused essential oils that promote healing through the senses and the therapeutic effect of CBD oil when used in the body afterwards. You can even combine your southing ritual with some a calming CBD coffee or CBD gummies.
- Spices and herbs. Dried spices and herbs can also be added to your candle if you want to introduce the scent of nature in your home. For example, when it is cold during winter or autumn, and you would want to make the house smelling warm and cosy, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg are great ingredients in your candle as the aroma of these spices are soothing to the senses when they are diffused in the air. They also have notes of woody and peppery scents, which brings in the Christmas feels. Also, adding vanilla extract to candles creates a sweet-smelling home that can also uplift your mood.
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