Intoxicating light and fragrance: scented candles add magic to a room. Photo by Russell Curtis.
Bright, Cheerful & Smelling Of Food
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The best thing to happen to scented candles is the new generation of natural food fragrances. From mango and yuzu to pumpkin spice, fig and olive, there are wonderful scents for every season.
Classics like natural beeswax, gathered from beehives, with their subtle honey scent stand out; they’re pricey but elegant. Paraffin is still around and makes beautiful candles, but soy candles are ascendant and taking punches at paraffin.
Soy Versus Paraffin
Soy candle producers claim that paraffin, which is a byproduct of oil refining, emits soot and creates toxins when burned; that the soot, aside from being unsightly on walls and ceilings, can cause potential damage to an edifice.
In truth, you’d have to be using candles as your major source of light all the time for many years, as people did before electricity, to produce enough soot or toxins (the toxins are acetone, benzene, lead and mercury) to cause damage. Yes, a paraffin candle can leave a soot mark if burned next to a wall; but if you’re burning candles once a week on the dining table, you don’t have cause for concern.
Soy does have some nice advantages, however. It is biodegradable and water soluble and burns cooler than paraffin. It is also slower-burning than paraffin, which means you’ll get more hours of light from the same-size candle. Plus, soy wax is moisturizer. So many people have noticed that they could slick their finger over the surface of a soy candle and rub the emollient soy wax into their skin that, over the past year, products known as body massage candles have debuted. Candles with a wick, most use cosmetic grade soy butter and other ingredients such as vitamin E, aloe vera, palm kernel oil, shea butter, and essential oils. The lit wick melts the candle; the liquefied wax is used as a hot massage oil. Vis-a-vis your regular soy candle: it can multitask for you. Just rub some of that fragrant soy wax into your hands and see for yourself!
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