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Non Toxic Candles & Fragrance Alternatives

Organization: Erin Falco RDN, Inc.

Author(s): Veronica Rechten, MSc & Kellie Mendes, RDN

Publish Date: 11/30/22

Loving that Cozy Glow

In the winter, the sun goes down earlier, and we spend a lot more time inside. Sometimes all you want to do in the evenings is cuddle with a warm blanket, and light a candle (or two…or three). Lighting candles can be therapeutic in times when it’s dark and cold.

The Danish have a tradition called “Hygge (pronounced Hooga), which is the concept of “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things.” All practices of hygge include some form of soothing light, mostly in the form of candles. This tradition helps people get through what is sometimes a difficult time of the year, and has been proven to increase happiness.

While we may love candle-light, not all candles are created equal. Fragranced candles often release chemical substances called endocrine disruptors. These chemicals in abundance are toxic to our hormone function.

The endocrine system is composed of glands in the body that release hormones that control many of the body’s functions. Everything from neural development, mood, sexual function, fertility, metabolism, and sleep. Endocrine disruptors impact the function of the endocrine system by mimicking signals to produce or under-produce hormones and interfere with their normal function. Those with endocrine conditions such as Hashimoto's, PCOS, diabetes, infertility, or adrenal insufficiency can benefit from reducing their exposure to endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors that can be found in candles:

  • Paraffin: A petroleum waste product used to max wax for candles. It leaves black soot when burning which can penetrate into lung tissue.

  • Phthalates: Used in the scents for candles, phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, particularly affecting reproduction in both women and men.

  • Formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, toluene, benzene, acetone: These are endocrine disrupters that might be hiding in traditional scented candles and artificial dyes.

So, what can we use instead?

Thankfully, there are a host of less toxic alternatives for your lighting pleasure! Beeswax and soy candles burn much cleaner than paraffin wax, and don’t contain the chemicals that disrupt our bodies. If you prefer a scented candle, those made with pure essential oils are a better alternative to artificial fragrance.

Here are some great non-toxic options!

Unscented beeswax taper candles: When you just want the light and the ambiance without the scent!

Fontana Candle Co.: Made with beeswax and coconut oil and essential oils and scented with essential oils. If you like a milder scent, these are for you.

Brooklyn Made: For those who prefer unscented candles, Brooklyn will give you all of the glow without any of the smell. Made with organic beeswax, these are small and great as a little travel candle.

PF Candle Company: My personal favorite, these are made with 100% soy wax and fragrance oils. The scents are rustic and beautiful and have a great throw.

Fernweh: Translating to “a longing for faraway places,” Fernweh ties their scents to memories and experiences. They use soy and coconut wax blends with non-toxic fragrance oils.

Lite & Cycle: Another great one for those who like bolder scents, Lite + Cycle candles are made of soy wax and essential oils, and they make their wicks specific to the oils used in the candles. Pretty cool!

​​Isle de Nature: Made with a blend of Dominican beeswax, soy wax and coconut oil, Isle models their scents on the smell of beautiful islands. Portions of the profits from their candles go to rebuild bee populations on remote islands.

Flameless alternatives:

Essential Oil Diffuser: Bring in the scent without the burn! Essential oils are one of our favorite fragrance recommendations because they offer more than just scent. Essential oils can provide physical and psychological health benefits when used as aromatherapy. You can achieve holiday scents with essential oil combinations like clove, orange & cinnamon or peppermint & rosemary.

Battery-powered flameless candles: for the ambiance without the worry!

Making one small change at a time can help us feel better in the long run!


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