Like many of us, my indulgence for luxury candles — which in the before days used to be a once in a while, I've-earned-it type of splurge — has bulldozed straight into a mental health necessity. Especially since outdoor activities are still limited.
Choosing a morning candle was as important as brushing my teeth to set my intention and tone for the day ahead. Anxious? Go for lavender notes. Can't focus? Sandalwood's your guy. Putzing around? Light something peppermint-y to get energized. And there aren't many better ways to unwind than reaching for a warm, rich aromatic candle that just makes you feel happy.
So if you're having a hard time in winter quarantine too, we've rounded up some gorgeous scents to kickstart your search for candles that speak to you.
Here are 12 of the latest launches and cult classics that look as good as they smell.
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Mutha F* Racism
F* Racism is a strong, natural wax candle with something to say. Starting with spicy floral star anise and celery top notes, then blending into heady, provocative tuberose, sweet jasmine, and warm mimosa middle notes, and finishing with grounding vanilla, this candle is a powerful, full sensory experience. And this Mutha puts its money where its mouth is. One hundred percent of profits support The Conscious Kid, a nonprofit that offers research and resources to parents and classrooms that address race, racism, and resistance.
To shop: $60; mutha.com
House of Chiji New Beginnings Crystal Energy
Taking self-care to the next level, this crystal energy candle radiates peace in nearly every way, beginning with the striking set of ethically-sourced crystals set in the soy wax. Angelite, fluorite, and crystal quartz's cool blue tones radiate healing spiritual vibes, enhanced with marine, amber, and citrus notes — and it doesn't stop there. Scoop the large Angelite crystal out of the melted wax to use for your meditation practice or to keep negativity at bay.
To shop: $40; homeofchiji.com
It's no surprise that a former fashion director launched a new line of clean, sustainable candles encased in custom glass blown vessels. These fragrances are made in Italy by a 75-year old family-owned business, and they are so impossibly beautiful and feel so personal, you'll keep it around as decor far beyond the candle's last flicker. All four of the brand's debut candles have sold out at least once, and Supernatural, one of their most popular, is a truly sexy scent: woodsy without the smoke, spicy without the sweet, and balanced with musky patchouli culminating in an earthy, deep haze
To shop: $68; nettenyc.com
UMA Pure Calm Wellness
If there is a candle more luxuriously escapist, more immediately triggering to relieve body tension (I kid you not, I could feel my shoulders reflexively drop down from my ears as I breathed in) and more evocative of a healing spirit than UMA's Pure Calm Wellness candle, I haven't heard of it. Grounded in the centuries-old Ayruvedic tradition, the brand's powerfully peaceful candle was crafted with utter relaxation and calm in mind, tapping botanicals of chamomile, lavender, and vetiver to quiet the nervous system and soften physical signs of stress, and rose and geranium essential oils to evoke a harmonious calm.
To shop: $68; revolve.com
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Ellis Brooklyn Superego Terrific Scented Candle
Both nostalgic and hopeful, Superego's striking and energetic fragrance was inspired by life-changing adventure, travel, and dreams. Featuring a collection of aromatic ingredients sourced around the world, from Iran's saffron top notes to Southeast Asia's musky oud to Centifolia rose from The Netherlands, Superego begs you to grab a journal and start writing.
To shop: $60; revolve.com
Urban Apothecary London Fig Tree
Sometimes what really hits the spot is a bougie candle that feels decadent, yet isn't a show off, but rather, it's paired with a surprisingly and pleasantly neutral scent. Fig Tree's fresh, unassuming scent is about as close to universally pleasing as fragrance gets, with a brew of fruity-floral violet, outdoorsy cedarwood, and one of the world's rarest perfume ingredients, the peppery-raspberry vibes of powdery orris, to create a lovely fragrance that you could very happily burn all day.
To shop: $52; cieluxe.com
goop Edition 03 Incense
In pure Gwyneth Paltrow fashion, goop's third fragrance, Edition 03 Incense, is composed entirely of natural elements designed to be "a perfume of spirit" concocted with fragrant healing essences to benefit our spiritual, mystical, and emotional sides. Cedar notes manifest mystical and emotional harmony by cleansing sacred spaces, driving away negative forces and evil spirits, to create harmony and reconnection with the Earth, while Frankincense inspires strong spiritual sensibility and leafy labdanum rebalances inner peace. So even if you're not a woo woo person, the tendrils of poofy smoke from the slow-burning wick and full-bodied billows smelling like the pure, unfiltered, natural outdoors does spur a sacred kind of experience.
To shop: $72; goop.com
Venus ET Fleur Rose Blanche
For a romantic and feminine olfactory experience, this candle was made just for you. The brand known around the world for their wildly Instagrammable bouquet of bloomed roses nestled together within a chic box, promising to live wilt-free for an entire year, has finally entered the world of candles with their first drop, Rose Blanche. Delicate, syrupy sweet, and oh so rosey, the fragrance conjures a single white rose, symbolizing hope and new beginnings.
To shop: $39; venusetfleur.com
Here For The Burn Social Distancing From My Family
Lighten the mood and the room's scent with a luxury candle that is labeled and inspired by a popular culture reference or meme. There truly is a packaging option for every mood — and IG meme — from the dozens of saucy options ranging from "Social distancing from my family" to "We are never getting back together" to "I'm not like a regular mom, I'm a cool mom!" that are available in two scents. The tropical OG Mango Guava that smells like a fun, fruity daiquiri and the recently launched deeper option, Spices & Evergreen, with notes of zesty citrus, along with clove bud and cedarwood for a middle-of-the-road fragrance that's not quite fresh yet not quite woodsy.
To shop: $35; herefortheburn.com
Maison Francis Kurkdjian View of the Park
View of the Park is inspired by the famed French perfumer's "home away from home," his inviting New York City apartment, defined with warm notes of Eastern red cedar, cinnamon, and cognac's unique tobacco-tinged floral profile. Gentle and not overwhelming, this fragrance hits the perfect balance of soft sweetness, along with impressive 'throw,' aka how fully the aroma wafts throughout the space, and this cozy flame leaves behind a hint of warmth long after it's blown out.
To shop: $75; franciskurkdjian.com
Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous
Looking to make a statement in every way? Tom Ford will never let you down, and definitely not with his instantly iconic Fucking Fabulous status candle. Sensual, decadent, and wildly aromatic, the fragrance notes flirt between sweet gourmands and dark woody spices to elicit a smooth, raw-smelling scent, brought to life by a heady broth of bitter almond oil, and accords of leather and orris.
To shop: $132; sephora.com
Cire Trudon Ernesto Classic Candle
One of the classic brand's most popular scents, Ernesto — the man more commonly known by his nickname Che — is bold, invigorating, and paints an olfactory masterpiece of sun-drenched, smoke-tinged Havana streets bordered by tobacco plantations during the revolution. Illustrated via a cocktail of amber, leather, moss, and tobacco base notes, steeped with the heart note's extracts of clove, oak wood, and patchouli, all spiked with Caribbean rhum, bergamot, and grapefruit top notes for an intense aroma from another world.
To shop: $105; saksfifthavenue.com
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