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How to use Palo Santo sticks?

photo credits: cup_of_couple on pexels.com

Palo Santo is best known for its beautiful aroma, energy-cleansing, and purifying qualities. But what are those mystical wooden sticks, and how to use them? In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about Palo Santo.

What is Palo Santo?

Burning Palo Santo
photo: ivan samkov on pexels.com

Palo Santo means holy wood in Spanish, and the name says it all. Used for centuries in traditional energy cleansing rituals, this South American tree achieved the status of sacred. It is worth knowing, that cutting these trees is strictly forbidden (not only by law regulations, but also by tradition), and the wood gains its healing and purifying qualities only long after its natural death. The fallen tree must rest on the forest floor for at least a few years. Just then essential oils and cleansing properties develop in the wood. The natural life cycle of the tree cannot be interrupted. This is why it’s important to buy Palo Santo from ethical sources (the Palo Santo sticks from Candle Time come exclusively from a respectable harvest, and it is always a wood collected from fallen branches).

Indigenous shamans believed every plant has a spirit that carries ancient wisdom and healing powers. They discovered that the smoke of Palo Santo could help with emotional, physical, and spiritual healing and not only remove negative energy but also attract a good one.

How does Palo Santo smell?

Palo Santo has a natural aromatic resin that produces a beautiful, distinctive scent. It has a woody base (not a surprise), with delicate hints of citrus, mint, pine, and amber. The fragrance is potent and keeps hanging in the air for a long time.

How do you use Palo Santo sticks?

Palo Santo smudging stick photo: shvets-production on pexels.com

How to burn Palo Santo? It’s easy. The wood is a natural incense. You only need to light it at one end, let it burn for a moment, and then extinguish the flame (blow it off) to let it smoke. You can hold it in your hand and smudge it around your home, yourself, or items you’d like to purify, or you can place it in a heat-proof bowl or plate.

When burning Palo Santo, the primary focus is on setting an intention during the ritual. You can use it to remove negative energy and attract the positive one, to clear your mind and meditate, or to heal. In shamanic tradition, Palo Santo was believed to have medicinal properties and was used to treat illness and pain.

How to use Palo Santo to cleanse your home?

Palo Santo sticks are used to cleanse the energy of a space, such as homes, workplaces, or meditation rooms. When should you smudge your space? When you just cleaned your home, after having visitors, when someone is ill, after an argument or other emotional event, or when you feel that energy shift is needed. You should listen to your intuition.

How do you clean your room with Palo Santo? Start with opening all the windows so the old energy can find a way out. Take a Palo Santo stick and light it on one end. Let it burn for a moment, and blow it off. Have a little heat-proof plate at hand to prevent ash from falling on the floor. Walk around the room with a smudging stick. You may need to re-light it a few times if the smoke stops. Make sure that the smoke reaches all the corners and doorways. Don’t miss any doorknobs. Walk slowly and mindfully, and focus on your intention of cleansing the energy around you.

Extra tip: Don’t forget about the smoke sensor. Today, most of the living spaces have these installed. You will need to cover it or turn it off for the time of smudging.

How to use Palo Santo to cleanse my energy?

Besides energy cleansing at home, you can use Palo Santo to purify your energy centers (chakras) and to drive negative energy away from yourself. You can practice this technique whenever you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions, need mental clarity, or experience blockages in your life. According to traditional beliefs, Palo Santo can help individuals find inner peace, balance, and grounding. That’s why it’s also a perfect way to begin your meditation.

How do you clean your energy with smudging? Light the stick, blow it off, and smudge with circular moves around yourself. Begin from your feet, moving slowly up. Focus your thoughts on the intention and visualization of any negative energy leaving your body and mind. Find peace in a deep scent of smoke, but avoid inhaling it too much.

How to use Palo Santo to cleanse crystals?

how to use palo santo
Use a heat-proof bowl when smudging Palo Santo. photo: thirdman on pexels.com

You can use Palo Santo sticks to clean the energy of items. People use them to cleanse jewelry or crystals. Our bracelets, rings, and necklaces carry their energy (supposedly), but they also absorb energy from those who wear them. If you believe in that, it is then natural that you will want to remove accumulated energy from them. During emotional o or mentally difficult times, this can be particularly helpful. Some people smudge every piece of new jewelry before wearing it for the first time. Crystals absorb energy from their surroundings and need occasional cleansing too.

How do you cleanse the energy of your precious jewelry and crystals? Just the same way you do it with space or people. You smudge carefully around the item with a clear intention of removing any bad energy. It’s an intuitive act.

Summary

palo santo incense sticks

Palo Santo is a sacred wood harvested from fallen trees and branches in South America. It produces an aromatic, woody smoke, which people believe has purifying and energy-cleansing properties. For centuries, it has been used in rituals to remove bad energy and promote healing and grounding. How do you burn Palo Santo? Like incense, use its smoke to smudge around the place, people, or items, focusing on your intention.

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Why are some scented candles so expensive?

woman pouring wax into beaker
photo illustrating post on why are some scented candles so expensive

Are expensive designer candles worth their price?

Did you ever walk into a home accessories store, find a candle that smelled nice, then saw the price and thought: Whoa!, and you quickly put it back where it was? Did you ask yourself: why are some scented candles so expensive? You immediately thought about all the candles you had seen in a neighborhood chain store like Action or Blokker, where the average candle price goes no more than a few euros, and you don’t understand where the difference comes from. I’ll get back to the cheap candles in a moment, but let’s start with the top shelf.

You may know that some scented candles can cost as much as €400-€500. The price range between €70 – €130 is quite an average for designer candles. Or those sold by celebrities (the infamous Gwyneth Paltrow $75 “Smells Like My Vagina” candle comes to mind!). Of course, it is quite normal that designer brands are far more expensive, it’s the same with clothes, shoes, and perfumes. You are paying for the brand’s logo. But what are these candles really worth? What determines the price?

What determines the price of a scented candle?


To calculate the price of a candle you need to add the cost of wax, fragrance, wick, container, and label. Then there are packaging costs (for example a box), production costs (you need to have equipment to work with, and you need to pay bills to use electricity), location costs (you have to have space to produce anything), logistics (like transport), and human work cost (someone has to make the products and supervise the production).


The cost of wax depends on the kind (paraffine, soy wax, bee wax, etc.) and the amount you order from suppliers (the more you order, the cheaper it gets). The same with fragrance, although it can get more complicated here. A candle manufacturer can use essential oils, fragrance oils, or perfumes. As a rule, scented candles with essential oils are the most expensive (even though not necessarily better; read more on the subject here), but some perfumes can be pricy as hell, too, especially if they’re some exclusive, original fragrance created for the brand. The sort of container can also have a great impact on the price; a single container’s cost can differ between €0.40 and €40. And if the producer decides to go for fancy, high-end packaging… Well, you see where I am going with this.

Are cheap candles worth buying?


We have then the expensive scented candles, but on the other end, we have suspiciously cheap candles. Go to Action and see. Now you should ask yourself: how is this possible that you can buy a candle for as little as a few euros? Think again about all the variable costs I mentioned above.

If a candle costs €5, and the average purchase margin of chain stores is between 2.0 -3.0 that means that the manufacturer sold this candle to the store for somewhere between €1,66 and €2,50. Let’s take the middle price with a margin of 2.5. That would mean that Action purchased this candle for €2 (so they can make €3 profit – VAT). So, you think the manufacturer made €2 on this candle? Now, here you have to deduct what it costs to make it. The average decent margin for the manufacturer should be somewhere between 40-60%. So let’s assume that the manufacturer wants to have 50% profit on each candle. If he sold it for €2 to Action, there’s €1 left to cover the cost. And this is all before taxes. Don’t you think something here smells fishy?

It is simply impossible to use any good quality, ethically sourced ingredients, with a production cost this low. When you see a candle unrealistically cheap, think about the lowest quality ingredients, wax of unknown origin, unhealthy and dangerous for the environment chemical fragrance, harmful additives, and underpaid people who worked in the production process. A bit depressing, right?

What is the reasonable price for a scented candle?



Now, you’re probably wondering: what is the reasonable price to pay for a scented candle? First, ask yourself, what size of candle do you need, and what qualities does a good candle have? (Read more on what is a good quality candle in our post here). If it’s important for you that your candles are sustainable, ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and vegan, you most probably go for natural plant-based candles with longer burn time. In my opinion as a candle maker, the reasonable price range for a good quality scented candle is somewhere between €12 – €40. There are variables like size, container sort, and fragrance, that will move the price a bit down or up.

Before you buy a candle, remember that if it’s too cheap, there must be something wrong with it. If it’s ridiculously expensive, you are most probably paying for the brand. I’m sorry for being blunt, but it’s not okay to pay €500 for a candle. Unless it also cleans your home and does the dishes, and groceries for you. The guy who made the candles may say: “But they smell just so beautiful! And oh, how they look!”. I’m telling you, there are plenty of wonderful, high-quality candles that smell heavenly and they cost no more than €20-€30!

Don’t get fooled by big companies



And a side note question: what feels better for you – being one more fish in a sea of millions of anonymous customers for a billiard dollar company, or becoming a respected and welcome customer for a local brand that gives so much love and effort to their products? 🙂


Summary:
Some of the scented candles are extremely expensive, while others are suspiciously cheap. Don’t let the big companies make a fool of you! The most expensive candles are not really any more special than those in a reasonable price range, which is anywhere between €12-€40 (this is not a fixed indication though). Listen to your heart and don’t let the cheap candles seduce you either. There’s quite a chance that they’ll give you headaches or make you feel nauseous. Choose a candle brand that tries to make a difference; make sure their candles are vegan and cruelty-free, and that ingredients are coming from ethical resources. For the best scent quality, go for plant-based wax. In case of doubts, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer and ask them questions. If they won’t reply, you know you’re not important to them. You have the right to know what you are paying for.

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The Smell Of Good Memories: How scents and memories are connected

How scents and memories are connected

A while ago I came across a scent named Old Wood. When I smelled it for the first time, it occurred to me as strange and heavy. It was earthy and dusty, reminding me a bit of an old basement and moist blocks of wood. It was not a beautiful scent in an obvious way. It was intense and overpowering. However, when I smelled it for a second time, it came to me as more pleasant and relaxing. Some distant memory from childhood appeared in the back of my mind. First I thought about my grandfather smoking his pipe in the armchair; then about our family’s summer house when opened for the first time after a cold winter. The scent brought it all back in a few seconds, and I wanted to smell it again.

The connection between scents and memories

Rainy and sunny days’ memories smell differently. Photo credits: Donald Tong via pexels.com

Scientists agree that we create most of our scent-related memories already in childhood. Our early experiences have a lifelong impact on our fragrance preferences in adulthood. The smells we experienced as pleasant in our young years, will feel pleasant our whole lives. And the other way round, if we connect a smell with a bad experience, it’s gonna stay like this probably forever.

Of all our senses, smell is the most closely linked to memory, but it has an impact not only on the kind of perfume or candles we choose – it can be an important factor in life decisions like choosing the right partner. Besides that, did you know that smell is actually connected with taste, too?

Taste and smell go together

The smell of coffee is just as important as its taste. Photo credits: Polina Tankilevitch via pexels.com

“When you chew, molecules in the food make their way back retro-nasally to your nasal epithelium,” meaning that essentially, “all of what you consider flavor is smell. When you are eating all the beautiful, complicated flavors … they are all smell,” says Venkatesh Murthy from Harvard University.

This means also that when we think about tastes, in big part we actually use our smell-related memory. In fact, if your sense of smell is damaged, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your food.

Personal experiences vs. scent preferences

Scents remind us of pleasant moments from the past. Photo credits: Pixabay via pexels.com

As a candle maker, I have the opportunity to see how differently people react to the same scents. There is a group of fragrances that are universally liked, primarily floral and fresh. But there is also a group of distinctive, more complex aromas, which are usually adored by individual memory associations. Scents and memories are strongly connected. For example, patchouli scent, heavy and intoxicating, might seem unattractive for a teenager, but for someone who remembers the 70s when it was one of the hottest scents of the Epoque, it will be a sentimental, and beautiful scent of the counterculture. I remember my grandmother had a little round wooden box with a tiny hole carved inside, filled up with a patchouli-scented creme. Whenever I smell a patchouli candle, I think of this little box at my grandma’s home.

In the same way, we buy more Apple & Cinnamon candles during cold weather months because it reminds us of a warm apple pie that we used to smell on this or another occasion years ago. We buy Lavender candles or shower gel because it feels relaxing to us. The vanilla scent is universally liked and well-known as a mood improver because most of the sweets we have ever eaten have at least a drop of it; all the ice cream, cakes, and cookies have something vanilla-like in them. The vanilla scent brings all the sweet times back somewhere on a subconscious level. It has anti-depressive, anxiety-removing, and relaxing qualities.

The smell is stronger than the sight

The smell of good memories can help to relax. Photo credits: Pixabay via pexels.com

Scents and memories are connected so strongly, that smell brings back memories much easier than sight. That means that sometimes you can get an unexpected endorphin boost from perfume or the scented candle before you even realize why you like this smell so much. So the next time you suddenly get happy feelings and some distant memory throwback gets you, sniff around and let your nose lead you. And when you need to relax, try to find a pleasant thought and think if there’s a smell that comes to your mind together with it – this might be a good starting point for your next candle shopping :).

If you’d like to learn more about aromatherapy and the psychological benefits of scents, read our article here.

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How to recognize a good quality candle

What is a good quality candle?

(Scented) candles are extremely popular for a good reason, but how do you choose among all the brands on the market? The first step might be to choose a good quality candle! You want to know what you pay for and you have the right to expect the highest standard from the product you buy. But how do you know if the candle is worth its price?

In this article, I’ll tell you how to recognize a good quality candle. Let’s start from the basics.

How to recognize the quality of a candle

Here is a general list of things that you should pay attention to when choosing a candle:

  • type of wax used
  • type of wick
  • type of fragrance
  • traceable resources & safety standards
  • ethical & eco-friendly approach
  • scent throw
  • burn quality
  • label and safety warnings
  • usage and care instructions
  • design
  • creators

It may seem a lot, but at the end of the day it all comes down to some simple knowledge, and once you know it, you know it forever. The more of the points from the list above will meet the expectations, the better. Actually, they should all go together.

But first, a side note:

Are cheap candles bad?

Yes. There are plenty of cheap scented candles on the market and they are hardly ever good quality products. Mass production with cheap, chemical subproducts, often from unknown resources, and very often manufactured by underpaid people in an abusive environment. Moreover, because of the overuse of chemicals, synthetics, and artificial subproducts, cheap candles emit toxic fumes and carcinogens. They’re harmful to your health (they can cause allergies and lung diseases) and the planet. The only people who really profit from them are big corporation owners.

A good quality candle can not be too cheap because it implies that the ingredients used to make it must be of poor standard.

What are the qualities of a good candle?

Now let’s have a brief look at all the points from the list. When you want to recognize the quality of the candle, you should take all these into account.

soy wax flakes and beads photo
soy wax burns clean and smoke-free
  • type of wax – what kind of wax does the company use in the candle: paraffin, bee wax, soy (or another plant-based) wax, or maybe a blend? If you look at the label and see merely information “wax blend” then you probably should not buy it. Who knows what’s really in it? If you’re looking for a high-quality candle, you will pass on paraffin candles. Yes, they are cheap and you can get them even in the supermarket. But this is not good at all. Read our article on the differences between paraffin and soy wax to learn more. The best candles are those made of plant-based wax, like soy wax, because they’re ethical (vegan and cruelty-free) and have less negative impact on the environment, but also because they’re not harmful to your health and simply smell better.
ready-made cotton wicks photo
wicks in Candle Time candles are hand-made and paraffin-free
  • type of wick – in general, there are two most popular types of wicks: made of cotton and made of wood. The type and size of the wick used in a particular candle can be crucial for its performance. The ones to avoid are wired wicks from mass production, as they contain various micrometals, a.o. zink. This is to make the wicks more stiff and straight, but it’s just unhealthy and unnecessary. The best wicks are hand-made cotton wicks, with organic cotton from ethical resources. Wooden wicks are eco-friendly as well, but the flame is sometimes difficult to maintain. Read our article about wooden wicks to learn more.
natural scents are the healthiest choice but are not always strong
  • type of fragrance – scented candles can be made with the use of essential oils, fragrance oils, and synthetic perfume. While essential oils are 100% natural and plant-derived, they tend to be very expensive. There’s only a certain number of fragrances possible to extract this way. Fragrance oils contain both natural and synthetic ingredients. Synthetic perfumes are artificially created with the use of chemicals; this way is the cheapest way to create an imitation of basically any scent. Even though your first choice might be essential oils, it’s worth noticing that they often have quite a poor scent throw. Fragrance oils tend to smell best. They are prepared specially to bond with wax in the most optimal way and have the best scent throw. The best-smelling candles will usually be soy candles containing a mix of essential and fragrance oils. Read our article about the differences between essential and fragrance oils to learn more.
The IFRA certificate assures that a fragrance is safe to be used in a candle
  • traceable resources & safety standards – it is good to know where the products you use come from. Candle manufacturers can get their supplies from plenty of different wholesalers and it’s good when it’s possible to trace them. With most products, there are certain safety regulations that have to be met. Like with fragrances in candles. Every fragrance oil must have an IFRA certificate which states what it can be safely used for. The certificate ensures that the fragrance was manufactured in a process compliant with industry standards. Additionally, it’s good to know if the fragrances and other ingredients of your candle are vegan and cruelty-free if they come from fair-trade companies, etc. For example, in the case of soy wax, it’s important to check if it is GMO-free. To ensure the best quality, in Candle Time we use only 100% GMO-free soy wax manufactured in Europe.
California Orange medium
All our candles are vegan and cruelty-free
  • ethical & eco-friendly approach – similarly to the above, a general ethical approach of the brand counts a lot. Why would you like to deal with a company that abuses human labor or lets animals suffer for a product if there are so many ethical, kind, local makers who care and want to make a difference? There are plenty of vegan and cruelty-free brands with planet-friendly attitudes and plastic-free packaging. They collaborate with fair-trade, and eco companies, and take big care of the high standard of their products.
photo of vanilla and coffee soy candle burning
well-balanced scent throw is crucial for a good quality candle
  • scent throw – obviously this is a very important thing in a scented candle: a perfect scent throw. You can recognize a good quality candle from its scent. It’s all about the balanced fragrance release. You may think that the stronger the scent the better, but it’s not exactly like that. Strong fragrance may give you headaches and nausea; it can also make you tired. Best-scented candles smell just right. They release fragrance slowly and in a balanced way. It is easily noticeable, but it’s not overpowering, not dominating. It should keep on hanging in the air for a while after you blow the candle off.
wax should melt to the edges of the container leaving no wax waste
  • burn quality – it’s crucial for a candle performance. Good burn quality means that the wick has a proper size to the diameter of a candle and gives a nice, calm flame, which is not too high or jumpy. The wax should melt all the way to the edges, leaving the walls of the container clean. A candle should burn slowly and calmly, and the flame should not produce smoke. Note: don’t forget to trim the wick before each burn! If you don’t keep wicks short, you can’t blame the candle company for poor burn quality.
candle labels should state wax type and burn time
  • labels & safety warnings – each candle label should state the most important information about the product. Besides the company name, it should give the type of wax used, estimated burn time, and scent. Every candle should also have a safety warning sticker with basic safety info.
white label candles
attractive design makes candles nice to eye
  • use & care instructions – separate candle care & safety instructions are also a good addition. This way customers know how to get the best out of the candles and enjoy them most.
  • design – it is obvious that the look of the product and the brand’s image is essential. You’re not going to buy something you don’t like or can’t imagine on your shelf. The more neutral and simplified the look, the better, because it will make it easier to match most of the interiors. High-class luxurious candles tend to have a minimalistic, hip design.
  • creators – who are the people behind your candles? Small to middle-sized companies tend to care most about the quality of their products and their customers. They have a more personal touch because they don’t lose it in a mass production process. Like in Candle Time, which consists of only two people; you can always reach out for personal advice or special orders.

We hope that this article will help you to recognize a good quality candle in a broad candle market. Your daily choices really matter, so choose smart!

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5 reasons to choose soy wax candles

Why should you choose soy wax candles?

There are good reasons why you should choose soy wax candles. If you care about your health, the planet you live on, animals, and the environment, you will most definitely want to switch to soy wax. Why?

Here are 5 reasons to choose soy wax:

It comes from sustainable resources

Soybeans. Photo Polina Tankilevitch ( Pexels)

Did you ever wonder where paraffin wax comes from? Paraffin candles are cheap to produce but do you know that they are derived from petroleum or crude oil? The resource of paraffin is thus highly unsustainable and non-renewable. Moreover, oil extraction causes terrible damage to the environment, a.o. through oil spills. It also plays a big part in climate change. It’s all so bad!

Meanwhile, soy wax is not only eco-friendly but also comes from completely sustainable resources. It causes no environmental damage. It’s 100% natural and vegetable, derived from soybeans.

Good to know: in Candle Time we only use GMO-free soy wax manufactured in Europe.

It burns 45% longer than paraffin

Soy wax has a lower melting point than paraffin (it melts already at 45 Celsius degrees), which means that it burns much longer. That assuming you use a candle in a proper way, among others trim the wick before each use.

Read more on how to make your candle last longer here.

It’s vegan and cruelty-free

Soy wax is vegetable and 100% vegan. Its production causes no harm to natural habitats (unlike crude oil and petroleum) so no animals get hurt. Additionally, there are no animals engaged in the production process. Soy wax is produced through soybeans’ hydrogenation.

It’s an excellent fragrance carrier

Due to its low melting point, soy wax is an excellent fragrance carrier. It doesn’t need to be synthetically or chemically improved. It has also a perfectly balanced scent throw. The fragrance is also added at a relatively low temperature, and this helps to prevent it from excessive evaporation during the candle-making process.

It produces no toxins or smoke

soy wax flakes and beads photo
Soy wax flakes and beads

Soy wax burns clean, smoke and soot-free. It releases no toxins or carcinogens thus it has no negative impact on your lungs. You’ve most probably seen paraffin candles producing black smoke during burning – it can be harmful especially if the room is closed / not aired and if you like to burn a few candles at a time. There can also be many hidden negative long-term consequences for your health. You will not experience it with soy candles.

Now you see that it makes sense to choose soy wax above the paraffin. If you’ve ever heard about GMO soybeans that are often used across the USA – you don’t have to be afraid when you choose Candle Time: we use only the best quality GMO-free European soy wax. We also pay the highest attention to all other subproducts we use in our production process: all the fragrances are carefully selected – and we support European manufacturers; we also use bio-cotton to make our wicks.

If you’d like to read more about the benefits of scented soy candles or learn how to find the right fragrance for yourself, read our article here.

For some more info on the soy wax qualities, read our Soy Wax Info page.

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Longer candle’s life – 5 tips

california orange scented candle

How to make your candle last longer

Today I’d like to share with you 5 simple tips for a longer candle’s life. Most likely you think: what’s this about? You just light the candle and enjoy it; blow it off and light it again next time. But like with any other thing, you can use your candles right or wrong way. And there are a few simple hacks that will help you get the best out of your candle and enjoy it longer. Remembering these tips will ensure the best burn and fragrance quality.

Here are the 5 tips for a longer candle’s life:

Trim the wick before each burn

wick trimming
Wicks before and after trimming. Trim the wick for a longer candle’s life.

This might have been told many times before, but it’s never enough: you should trim the wick before each following burn. Why? When the wick is burning, it’s getting longer and it collects black residue from the flame. The bigger the wick, the higher the flame. A higher flame produces more heat and makes the wax burn out faster. It can also have a negative impact on the fragrance, making it evaporate too fast or in an unbalanced way. The wick can also form a so-called ‘mushroom’ – a thick black cap at the top of the wick, which will can make it too heavy to support its own weight (this can lead to the wick drowning in a melted wax pool). The flame can also be uneven.

The optimal wick length is about 5 mm. You can use a professional wick trimmer but small scissors or nail clippers will also work just fine.

Bonus tip: Let the candle cool off completely before trimming the wick. It’s not only safe for you but useful in case pieces of trimmed wick would accidentally fall into the container – it will be easier to remove.

Let the wax melt to the edges by the first burn

A melted wax pool that reached the edges

When you’re lighting a new candle for the first time, remember to let the wax melt to the very edge of the container. Typically it will be about 1 hour per each 2,5 cm diameter (so if the candle diameter is 5 cm, it should burn for about 2 hours for the first time). This is because of what is called ‘wax memory’. Next time you will light the candle, the wax will most likely melt just to the same point as it did the first time. As a consequence, your candle may start tunneling – burning down the wick and forming a tunnel in the wax. This will cause wax waste, shorten the candle’s life, and the deeper it goes, the more difficult it will be for the wick to keep flame.

Keep the wax pool clean

When you trim the wick, try to not let the rest of it fall into the wax pool. It should be kept clean at all times. Dirt in the wax pool can have a negative impact on the burn and fragrance quality. If it happens that something gets into the pool, try to carefully remove it with a Q-tip or a teaspoon (blow off the flame first to not get burned).

Avoid drafts and air conditioning

When you’re burning a candle, you don’t want the flame to dance on the wick and make you think that there are ghosts around 😉 Avoid drafts. Don’t place lit candles close to open windows and don’t turn the air conditioning on. Sometimes the air movements can be even imperceptible for you, but the candle’s flame is very sensitive to it. As a result, it will burn in an uneven way, it will be thrown out of balance, and burn out faster.

You will know that there’s a draft when the flame is unstable, uneven, and acting like someone is trying to blow it off.

Avoid burning a candle longer than 4 hours

photo of lavender scented soy candle burning
Don’t burn a candle longer than 4 hours at a time and it will last longer.

This is especially important in the case of container candles. It is advised to not burn candles longer than 4 hours. Why? First of all, when a candle is burning for a few hours, the melted wax pool becomes deeper and deeper. It can thus happen that the wax will not be able to support the wicks in a vertical position anymore. This can lead to the wick getting too soft to stand upright. It may bend to the side and drown. The second reason is that the carbon will start collecting on the wick and it will form a mushroom. This will result in an uneven flame, that will often become too big and too strong. Then it can start producing smoke or soot that will stain your container with a black, smoky residue. It can also result in a poor fragrance release.

Now you know how to make your candle’s life longer!

As you can see, these simple tips are useful and won’t cost you time or effort. To sum up, all you need to remember is to keep the wick short, keep the wax clean, and pay attention to how long you let the candle burn.

For a more detailed guide on how to fully enjoy candles read our article “Where to place candles to get the best out of them”.

Share this article with your friends; it’s never enough life hacks! 😉

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10 steps evening meditation with candles

Simple 10 steps meditation that will help you relax

This step-by-step meditation guide will help you to relax after a busy day. It will remove the tension and help you to sleep better.
The word “meditation” may sound serious and you may think it requires some secret knowledge to do it, but as a matter of fact, it’s easy, pleasant, and doesn’t take much time. Everyone can do it. Simple meditation practice will help you to relax and bring back your inner balance.
I started to meditate many years ago when I was struggling with falling asleep. Even though I was tired, my mind was always on a full run. I’ve spent some time reading all the classic Zen masters, then went on with modern books. I went through many techniques, but not all of them were working for me. I like simplicity, and I like when things come naturally. Through years of practice, I’ve worked out my daily meditation routine. I’m doing it every evening, shortly before I go to bed. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes, and you can make it shorter or longer, whatever suits you.

Benefits of evening meditation

This simple meditation routine has many benefits:

  • It helps to switch from a busy day mode to a relaxed evening time
  • It removes stress and tensions accumulated during the day
  • It helps to quiet down upsetting thoughts and clear your mind
  • It helps to unblock your chakras
  • It makes you feel more grounded and back in balance
  • It helps to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep.

Find the right space

Before you begin, let some fresh air into the room. Open a window until all the noticeable odors are gone. Then find a space in your room where you feel comfortable. Make sure that other people won’t walk around you. It’s good if the room isn’t messy, but after all, there’s a big chance that you’ll keep your eyes closed anyway 😉 Dim the light; it shouldn’t be too bright. It’s worth lighting some candles – they are a perfect meditation accessory. The ritual of lighting candles will be an excellent beginning of your meditation. Candles will take care of the right atmosphere, warm light, and scent.

Pro tip: if you like to burn more than one or two candles, don’t choose all of them scented. You don’t want to be overpowered by fragrances. For example, light 2, max. 3 scented candles, and mix them with scent-free. Go for classic scents that have pro-meditative qualities, like Lavender, Rose & Lavender, or Sandalwood. Or choose some other scent that you like. However, it’s good to avoid citrusy scents in the late evening – even though they’re natural mood improvers, they also have energizing and awakening working, and you will want to go to bed soon.

Pro tip 2: Don’t burn incense (especially if you’re not used to it) – they will produce a heavy smell that is likely to give you headaches. However, it may be a good idea to cleanse your space from negative energy. The best you can do is to burn some Palo Santo and smudge it around. You can read our post on How to use Palo Santo sticks first.

Don’t use cheap paraffin candles or air sprays – they’re full of weird and unhealthy stuff that will be released into the air in your room. When meditating, always choose a plant-based wax candle.

Make yourself comfortable

What’s the right position to meditate? You can sit down or lie down on the floor or bed. A yoga mat or a nice soft rug will work too. If you prefer sitting on the floor, sit in a lotus pose. The most important is that you feel comfortable and the air can easily flow through your body. So no cramped, spiral positions.

Focus on your breath

Lotus pose. Photo courtesy Miriam Alonso (Pexels)

The main point of focus in most meditation techniques is aware breathing. It’s as simple as that: you pay all your attention to something that you normally don’t – even though it’s the most natural thing and we can’t live without it. The air circulation in our body is absolutely necessary for our existence. As it goes so automatically, we don’t give it much thought. Focusing on this wonderful act itself is an easy way to push negative thoughts away and clean your head.

Extra tip: Obviously it would be difficult for you to read the instructions during the meditation, so just read the 10 steps below before you begin. Read it two or three times, so you can see the pattern. It’s really easy. (Psst… You don’t have to be strict with yourself; you can adjust the practice to your own needs so you feel comfortable.)

Step-by-step meditation guide

Let’s start!

Lying pose. Photo courtesy PNW Production ( Pexels)
  1. If you’re sitting, make sure that your belly isn’t pressed on and that you can breathe freely. Sit in a lotus pose (see photo above). If you’re lying down (that’s my favorite!), place one of your hands on your midriff (upper part of your belly) and the other on your chest. Don’t press, just let them rest there.
  2. Breathe in a natural way, let your body do the work. Focus on the air you inhale and exhale. If you’re lying down, notice how your hands are moving up and down when air is filling and leaving your body. If you’re sitting, focus on your body stretching and pulling back when you inhale and exhale. Let your body breathe like that for a few minutes. Listen to the quiet sound when the air is exhaled. Observe the tempo. Note how it’s slowing down with time.
  3. Now take a deep, cleansing breath: be aware of your hands moving up with your midriff and chest when the air fills your body. (If you’re sitting, look at your body movements as a wave going back and forth). Count to 6 when breathing in, then hold the air in your lungs just as long as it feels comfortable. Then count to 8 when breathing out. Let the air slowly leave your body until it’s all gone.
  4. Stay without the air for a few moments – but only as long as it feels good. Imagine yourself as an empty vessel. Now breathe in again, slowly. Count to 6 when inhaling. Fill your lungs with the air again. Hold it briefly and let it out slowly, counting to 8. Imagine the oxygen reaching all your body parts and cleansing them, removing all the stress and toxins. Visualize how the air gets to your throat, lungs, and stomach, how it flows through your arms to your hands and fingers; imagine it is going to your underbelly and both legs, down to your feet and toes. And then going back on its way out.
  5. Repeat these deep breaths up to 5 times.
  6. Now let all the air out from your body until you feel that your hand on the midriff is lying flat. Is your belly empty? Now, start taking a slow, deep breath, but this time only with the upper part – with your lungs. So, not with the midriff, only with your lungs. Do you feel your hand on the chest going up when you inhale? Slowly breathe out. Repeat it 2 more times.
  7. Now do the opposite: inhale only with the lower part of your upper body – with the midriff. Now your chest will stay flat and unmoving, and when you breathe in, your hand on the midriff will go up. Repeat a full breath in and out 2 more times.
  8. Get back to your natural breathing. Let your body do the work and just observe. Focus on the flow of the air. Did your breath get clearer and fuller by now? Do you feel how your lungs have opened and can accept more air now? (It’s the chakra opening!) Is your heartbeat slower?
  9. Inhale with your whole body again. Deep, slow breath in and out, until you’re an empty vessel again.
  10. Get back to your normal breathing. It feels good, doesn’t it?

PS. Meditation can make you sleepy. Never forget to blow your candles off before you go to bed.

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Vanilla & Coffee candles – our bestseller

vanilla & coffee candle

Vanilla & Coffee soy candle with coffee beans

Vanilla & Coffee candles are definitely our bestsellers, and there are good reasons for that. Made with 100% natural vanilla oil and the best quality, GMO-free soy wax of European origin, with fresh coffee beans, and in a comfortable, safe to hold, glass mug – it’s all the best you could expect from the candle. You can also choose from white and brown label colors to satisfy your personal taste.

The scent is amazing too. Soft, pleasant, mild, and well-balanced. It’s a real mood-improver. And when you light the candle, coffee beans start to heat up, and they add an extra aroma of freshly brewed coffee. They mix together in a subtle blend; the effect reminds of a sweet cappuccino. It’s simply delicious.

Vanilla & Coffee candle care and safety

It might seem obvious how to use a candle, but there are a few extra things worth knowing so that you can enjoy your candle longer and in a safe way. It’s all very simple and doesn’t take much time. The most important thing:

Keep the wicks short

This rule applies to all candles but for soy wax candles it’s especially important. Wicks can be thinner or thicker, made of different sorts of cotton, and coated with different wax; but after all, they all need to be trimmed. Why? Because a short wick means longer candle life. If you let the wick untrimmed, it will grow longer with time, it can start mushrooming (forming a sort of black mushroom-shaped residue on the top) and become too heavy to support its own weight. Especially in the case of natural cotton wicks, which are not wire-supported like in some pre-prepared paraffin wicks. This can cause the wick to drown or start to produce smoke and make the walls of the glass black. It’s not the end of the world and it’s all easy to fix, but it’s just easier to keep it nice from the beginning to fully enjoy the candle. A longer wick gives a bigger flame – a bigger flame burns the wax faster. When you keep the wicks short, you get many hours of wonderful fragrance and cozy candlelight.

vanilla and coffee candle
Vanilla & Coffee candle in our original design.

How do you trim the wick? You can use a professional wick trimmer but you don’t really need it. It’s just a fancy accessory. You can simply use small scissors or even your own fingers (you’re going to need a tissue). Each time before you light the candle, make sure the wick is no longer than 5-6 mm. You should also trim the wicks every few hours if you burn the candle for a longer time.

One more thing is advised: don’t burn the candle longer than 4 hours. Why? If the pool of melted wax becomes too big, it might not be able to fully support the wicks in a standing position (again: especially in the case of natural wicks). However, if you do so, it’s not a drama, but I’d still advise blowing the flame off, letting the wick cool off for a moment, and trimming it shorter. Then you can light it again. (If you see, however, that the wicks become soft and start to go down, you should let the wax cool down and get more solid before lighting it back.)

What if a coffee bean catches the flame?

Vanilla & Coffee candle burning.

Sometimes I’m asked: what if a coffee bean catches the flame? Obviously, this is not the intention, but there is a small risk that it can happen. As I systematically burn our Vanilla & Coffee candles in our home, I already have a lot of experience (yes, they’re also my favorites, and one of the best perks of being a candle maker is that you have to test plenty of candles yourself 😉 ). It doesn’t happen very often but from time to time one coffee bean or another will come in touch with the wick and if the flame is low, catch it. Don’t worry though! It’s really nothing serious. First of all, it will not be a big flame. It’s safely closed in a glass mug, so unless you don’t kick the glass off the table, nothing bad will happen 😉 All you need to do is slightly press the bean with a teaspoon or a skewer under the wax surface and delicately move it to the side. If you feel that there are too many coffee beans, you can just remove a few with a teaspoon. That’s all!

I don’t have to tell you that you should never leave a lit candle unattended, right? 🙂

For more tips on how to make your candle’s life longer read our article here.

Pssst… Did you know that occasionally we make our Vanilla & Coffee candles in glass bowls?

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Essential oils vs. fragrance oils

The difference between essential and fragrance oil

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between essential oils and fragrance oils. How are they made and used and which one is better?

You most certainly noticed that some of the scented products you use include essential or fragrance oil. You may be wondering what’s the difference and if one is more beneficial than the other. Let’s have a look.

Essential oils

woman smelling flower

Essential oils are 100% natural. They’re pure extracts derived from plants, usually by distillation or cold press. People commonly use them in aromatherapy because of the healing effects ascribed to them. To produce even the smallest amount of essential oil requires an enormous amount of plants. Can you imagine that you need about 1.000 rose petals to make just one drop of rose essential oil? It takes 113kg of lavender to make less than 500ml of essential oil and 1.500 lemons to make 500ml of essential lemon oil. These are huge amounts! Now, you can easily understand why essential oils are so expensive.

Fragrance oils

girl smelling a flower

Fragrance oils are synthetic fragrances created in a lab. They’re often based on essential oils and natural ingredients mixed with added chemical compounds. They’re cheaper in production. They can imitate any fragrance from our surroundings, which means that there’s a broad offer of possible scents. Fragrance oils are common ingredients of daily products like shampoos, creams, lotions, scented candles, air refreshers, and perfumes.

Essential oil vs. fragrance oil

girl smelling a peach

So, are essential oils better because they’re 100% natural? Are fragrance oils bad for you because they’re made in a lab? Essential oils are luxurious products. Because they require plenty of plants to make very small amounts of oil, they can be pretty expensive. They have healing qualities and can be a remedy for some health or mental complaints, and people use them for relaxation, improving skin condition, sleeping problems, etc. However, they still can be harmful: they can cause allergies, irritate skin and lungs, and because of the strong concentration of plant compounds with strong medical working, you should not use them in case of some health conditions (always check with your doctor first). They’re also not always safe for children and can be poisonous to dogs and other pets.

Additionally, essential oils have a weaker scent throw and are not always the best solution for scented products like for example candles. Fragrance oils smell stronger and longer.

woman smelling a flower

Fragrance oils can be produced at a lower cost. Are they bad for our health? Not necessarily. Of course, the producers of essential oils will do their best to make people buy their oils so they try to disregard fragrance oils. But that’s business. Most synthetic oils are perfectly safe, especially because you can apply them only in small amounts (a typical scented candle contains between 3% and 10% of fragrance).

The number of scents that you can produce 100% naturally is small. Not all plants produce scents that can be extracted in a natural way. As far as you can get a natural scent from rose or lavender, you can’t get it from blueberry or a pumpkin. Think about the daily products you use, like a room spray or your favorite bottle of perfume. It’s highly improbable that they contain only essential oils. Or all the fancy scents of the scented candles you saw in the shop. You don’t really think that the Blueberry Muffin or Bubble Gum are natural scents, do you?

What kind of oils we use in Candle Time?

In our candles, we use a mix of essential and fragrance oils. We choose essential oils whenever it’s possible. We usually place the information in the description when the fragrance is 100% natural. In other cases, we use natural fragrance oils, which means that they’re based in a large part on essential oils and natural ingredients, with some synthetic compounds where necessary. We control all our fragrances to be vegan and cruelty-free (not animal tested). Moreover, all of them have an IFRA certificate, which means we are certain that they go with safety and environmental measures.

If you have any questions concerning the fragrances used in particular candles you can always message us via our contact form.

Would you like to learn about the psychological benefits of fragrances? Read our article here.

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How to choose the right candle for a gift?

Candles are always a good gift

How to choose a candle for a gift may be a tricky question. It’s easier when you know the recipient well, but what if it’s someone you don’t know much about? Don’t worry! The good news is that candles are always a good gift. There’s always the right candle for the right occasion.

So, let’s say you’re looking for a present and you thought that a candle would be a good idea. You have probably browsed through the Internet and seen there’s quite a lot to choose from. How to make a selection? How do you pick the right one?

Below you will find some simple tips. Answer the questions and browse in our shop. If you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact us for personal advice!

Choosing a candle for someone else

Gift-giving is a beautiful tradition. We present each other with things of material or emotional value, hoping to bond, to show gratitude or love. Why are candles such a good gift? Because most people use them, and because candles help us to relax, evoke memories, quiet down, to improve our mood. They create an intimate atmosphere. They bring light into the darkness. We all love candles.

How to choose the right candle for a gift? First, you have to decide what kind of candle will be right. Do you think about a classic paraffin candle? Oops, I hope not! If the gift recipient knows a bit about candles and likes eco-friendly products, they might not be so happy about it. Yes, they are the cheap option – it may be good for your wallet, but it’s not good for the planet and our lungs. The gift receiver may be aware of it.

When you choose a candle for a gift, the best choice will be a plant-based wax. There are a few different sorts of candle wax of vegetable or plant origin and they’re much more sustainable, healthy, and they burn longer. Because you’re picking a gift, you should show some effort and choose a quality product, right?

The second thing to consider is whether you choose a free-standing mold candle or a container one. Loose candles tend to be messy when burned, especially if they have decorative pieces and are not done professionally. Container candles are always a good choice because they’re poured into a glass or other vessel. There’s no wax forming on the sides of the candle. It’s also safer as it’s more difficult for the flame to get in touch with anything because it stays inside. That’s particularly useful when the person owns a dog or cat.

The third thing is the wick. There’s a choice between cotton and a wooden wick. You can learn about the differences in our post here.

Simple tips to choose the right candle for a gift

Now when you decided what kind of wax the candle will be and in what form, let’s get more particular. Below you’ll find a set of simple questions. Answer them and follow our hints on how to make a further selection.

When you know the gift receiver

When you know the gift receiver well, you probably don’t need much help. It’s more intuitive. Still, you can help yourself by asking a few questions:

(Scented) candles are perfect for personal and official gifts.
  • Do you know what kind of fragrances the person likes? Think about perfumes or cosmetics she/he uses. When you visit, is there a particular scent you can think of? Have you seen scented candles at the person’s place before? Do you remember what scents were there? You may also try to remind yourself if there were any moments in the past when you were shopping together or other circumstances when the person mentioned that “something smells great”? What was that?
  • Is the person’s home large and spacious or small? If for example she/he lives in a student’s house and has only one small room at her/his disposal, you should consider a smaller size of candle and a more subtle scent. If the person lives in a spacious house, you may consider a larger size of candle, maybe with 2 or 3 wicks, or a set of candles.
  • Is the person’s home minimalistic and modern or richly decorated, full of patterns, and eclectic? If you can easily tell that someone likes simplicity, for example, their interior is mostly black-and-white, and dominated by plain, geometric forms, you should probably pick a candle that will match everything else. You should choose a modern variation of a classic candle, for example, a scented candle in an apothecary jar – if the interior is monochromatic, you should choose one with a black-and-white label as it will match almost any room. On the contrary, if you know the person likes rich decor or appreciates unique, hand-made products, you may want to search for a decorative soy candle. There are many kinds of them, in different vessels. Have a look for example at our Vanilla & Coffee, California Orange, Rose & Lavender, or Lavender and Himalayan salt candles.
  • Is the gift receiver in good health? Do you know anything about the health conditions of your gift recipient? Think about issues like allergies, asthma, or migraines. If you heard any complaints like that, you should consider choosing a scent-free candle. They burn clean, and (as long as they’re not paraffin candles) they’re usually hypoallergenic too. People who suffer from heavy headaches tend to feel overwhelmed by most fragrances and it’s better to avoid scented gifts. Similarly with pregnant women.
  • Do you have any scent-related memories together? This might not come to your mind immediately, but give it some time. Dig a little bit in your memory. Examples: you’re looking for a present candle for your sister. Think about all the summer holidays or Christmas you’ve spent together when you were young. What’s the smell that memories bring? Try to bring it back: the apple pie your grandmother made, the bouquet of fresh roses that always stood on the table, the jasmine that grew next to your summer house…

When you don’t know the gift receiver

When you don’t really know much about the person you want to buy a candle for, it’s better to stay on safe ground. Whether it’s a person that you just recently met, a friend of the friend, or a new business partner, you don’t want to make your gift too personal. It should be classic, elegant, and in good taste. This may be a bit tricky, but hey, even if you will not really hit the exact preferences of the person if the gift is classy and high-end, it will still be considered valuable.

candle time candles with card
Scented candles from a local candle maker will always make a classy gift.
  • Is the gift recipient a woman or a man? Men and women have different scent preferences. Obviously, fragrance perception is very individual, but there is a general classification of fragrances considered male or female. It doesn’t mean that men can’t like feminine scents or the other way around, but there’s quite a chance that a middle-aged man will not get crazy for a rose or jasmine candle. It’s always safer to choose a woody, earthy, or spicy scent for a man. And as you may guess, rich floral, and fresh citrus fragrances will be a more suitable option for a female recipient.
  • Is the person young or elderly age? Young people often prefer fresh, juicy scents. Elderly people have weaker fragrance perception so you may want to choose a stronger, distinctive scent. Usually lavender or sandalwood is a safe choice.
  • Is this an official gift, for example, for a business partner or co-worker? In this case, you should go classy and choose an elegant and minimalistic option. Pick a unique but modest type of candle with a classic scent that is universally acclaimed, like sandalwood, vanilla & coffee, or lavender. Avoid decorative or fancy candles in unusual forms, as they depend too much on personal taste.
  • Do you want to make an impression or show off a little bit? If you want to make a good impression or show that you don’t spare your money, you can choose two or three candles or a gift box. This is a great solution also because you give the recipient a choice and there’s a bigger chance she/he will like at least some of them. For example, if there are three candles in the set, it’s quite possible that at least one will match the personal taste of the recipient. Everyone would be happy to get an elegant set of candles. If you go for scented candles, make sure that all the scents go nicely together and that they complement each other.
  • Still not sure? You can simply choose one of our virtual Gift Cards and let the recipient choose her/his own candles!

I hope that this article will help you to choose the right candle for a gift. However, if you still need some assistance or have more questions, feel free to contact us. We’ll reply within 24 hours.

Would you like to learn more about the psychological benefits of scented candles? Read our post here.