Photo-Illustration: El Corte; Photos: Retailers
When you’ve spent what seems like a small fortune on a candle that smells like the most expensive place you’ve ever been, you want it for last. So instead of using it occasionally when you have guests over, like expensive dinnerware, we’ve got some expert advice from Eduardo Valadez, Diptyque’s director of marketing. (While this applies to brand name candles, it’s also pretty universal candle advice.)
First of all, candle preparation is key. Before you even grab the lighter, you need to trim the wick to about a quarter inch long. “By shortening the wick, it allows it to burn more slowly and also prevents unsightly black smoke marks around the rim of the glass,” explains Valadez.
Valadez suggests that the first time you burn it, keep it burning for at least two hours until the entire top is liquid wax. “This will help your candle burn more evenly next time and keep the wax from sinking around the wick.”
After blowing out the candle, you must make sure to realign the wick and trim it before use to prevent smoking and the wick from falling out. Valadez recommends burning candles for no more than four hours. Here are some that are worth it.
This candle is one of style director Jess Willis’ favorites because Carrie burned it in the fourth episode of the fourth season of Sex in the city. “When I got my first apartment in New York, this was the first candle I bought to feel the essence of Carrie,” she says. One of her most popular scents, Baies, is a blend of rose and blackcurrant berry notes. The smallest size (70 grams) will give you around 20 hours of burn time. There is also a large version.
This is a personal favorite because it smells really, really good even if you don’t turn it on. The fragrance has notes of Rose de Mai, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Geranium, Leather and Amber. What sets it apart is the container made from Limoges porcelain and brass, rather than the usual glass, making it a prettier piece to reuse when you’re done. With this, you will get about 90 hours of recording time. If this is too minimalistic for you, check out their maximalist options with similar scents.
Fans of the cult favorite fragrance can purchase the scent in its much more affordable candle form. With the same floral and woody notes of jasmine, saffron, and cedarwood, you’ll get around 55 hours of burn time from this subtle yet luxurious fragrance.
Photo: Courtesy of the retailer
Like Diptyique’s Baies candle, Le Labo’s candles have gained a huge following. Offering around 60 hours of burn time, you can opt for the soy wax candle in one of your favorite scents, including Santal 26, a smoky, leathery blend.
I bought this solely for the packaging, and a year later it has a handful of makeup brushes on a shelf. In fact, many of Overose’s candles are just ridiculously pretty and come in great packaging. Other than that, this is a stronger floral scent with notes of blackcurrant berries, dewy rose petals, and fresh lychee fruit, with the rose scent being the most evident.
The candle replicas are very elegant and minimalist, with aromas that go straight to the point. Beach Vibes smells like the beach with notes of exactly what you’d expect, a fresh scent with hints of coconut milk and bergamot.
Similar to the Baccarat Rouge 540, this is a steal, considering that a Tom Ford fragrance can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 for a standard size. This is a spicier floral scent with notes of rose de Mai, Bulgarian rose, and Sichuan pepper if that’s your thing. As someone who personally loves Tom Ford fragrances but not how they smell on me, I think candles are worth the splurge. The seven ounce candle offers around 50 hours of burn time.
Stylish, minimalist and affordable, these candles are a favorite among many employees. Most fragrances, like this one with notes of bergamot and white ginger, are light and have a burn time of around 60 hours.
Byredo candles are another favorite you’ll find in the home of any candle or fine fragrance lover. “I have been a fan of these candles for a long time. The jar and candle wax are sleek and black and the scents are soft yet bold,” explains Willis. Her favorite is this woody blend of patchouli, vanilla, and violet.
These Loewe candles are both the candle holder and the candle holder. Willis says they’re a fun option for alfresco dining and have a mild aroma that transforms as it burns. The candle has notes of ivy and about ten hours of burning time.
These London-based candles come highly recommended by Deputy Style Editor and candle enthusiast Joanna Nikas. Containing a blend of paraffin-free waxes, they are hand-poured into a reusable ceramic container. August & Piers standard candles provide about 60 hours of burn time and have a beautiful scent; this one has notes of vanilla, bergamot and geranium.
Very few brands have an energy healer involved in the creation process, but that’s pretty much the norm for Vyrao founder Yasmin Sewell. With notes of Turkish rose oil, violet leaf, and patchouli, this one is meant to promote self-love, and you’ll get around 40 hours of that good energy supercharged by the company’s healer, Louise Mita.
Another Nikas pick is these handcrafted Dior fragrances. Created by the company’s top perfumers, these candles are as luxurious as you’d expect. There are several scents with different intensities to choose from, and they are all housed in these minimal containers.
As well as looking incredibly great on your table or shelf and smelling great, this candle features a blend of notes to lift your mood and relieve stress. Uplifting notes are Brazilian vetiver, cypress root, and wild jungle flora. You get around 60 hours of burn time and you can keep and reuse the very fresh container forever.
Pro Tip: Buy a fancy wick cutter that will ensure you get the most out of your candles.