I am so excited to be sharing my Non Toxic Candles post with you today. This is a topic I get asked about all the time and wanted to put together a post that would answer all of your questions. In doing so, I have learned SO much about the candle industry in general and I have found the best nontoxic candle brands that use natural ingredients, so you can feel good about burning them. I mean, who doesn’t love the coziness that a candle can bring to your home…but the harmful chemicals found in conventional candles aren’t worth it. Thankfully there are better choices out there. I am sharing all the information, along with what I think are the best nontoxic candles, including my honorable mentions too. Let’s dive in!
*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
**Please note that all candles were gifted by the brands. We are extremely grateful for the willingness to let us test out their candles. Many candles were tested and not all were included in our guide. We only wanted to include the best! We will periodically update this list as we are waiting to hear back from a few brands as they confirm the ingredients in their candles**
Are candles actually toxic?
Unfortunately, there are candles on the market that are toxic and release toxic chemicals into the air when they are burned, which ultimately contributes to indoor air pollution. I would even venture to say most candles contain toxic ingredients. I do think it’s important to realize that if you choose to burn anything in your home, there is the potential for toxins to be released into the air even with the safest, most nontoxic choices. However, the good news is that I am going to give you all the information you need to make a better choice for you and your home and help you find the best natural candles!
What to consider when looking for a safe, nontoxic candle?
When looking for truly clean candles you need to consider the wax, the wick, and the fragrance that is used. And, as I researched the candle industry, I will admit there was more to know than I realized. While I was known to burn a vanilla candle throughout most of college, I haven’t always been one to burn candles after switching over to a greener lifestyle. It honestly just seemed like an extra thing and I didn’t want to have to worry about any harmful ingredients. Now that I have done the research and found companies I can stand behind, that is definitely changing for me! I love the ambiance of a candle. And, with the right scent, it can be the best addition to a home, especially in the cooler months. When you are looking into a candle company, you will want to consider the following to ensure the candle has all clean ingredients:
First thing, you want to consider the type of wax that a brand uses for their candles because most conventional candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a derivative of petroleum. The concern with this, and really most petroleum products, is that it isn’t clean burning. We are all familiar with the idea that when a petroleum product like gasoline is burned it releases toxic substances and high amounts of carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. (1) When paraffin candles are burned they can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. (2) This includes benzene, a known carcinogen (3), and toluene, which can affect the nervous system (4). Just like any other toxins, a one-time exposure is so different than if you light a candle daily and are frequently exposed.
Safer, Non Toxic Wax Choices: 100% soy (non-GMO would be ideal but those companies working with American-grown soy wax will struggle to have this as a choice), coconut oil, vegetable oil or beeswax. You may have to inquire with a company to make sure that the candle wax contains ONLY these ingredients.
Candle wicks used to be a much bigger deal than they are currently when it came to finding a non toxic candle.
However, in 2003 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the manufacture and sale of lead-cored wicks and candles with lead-cored wicks. (5)
Despite this, you still want to look into what exactly the wick from your favorite candle brand is made from. Wicks are typically made from cotton, wood or even hemp. You can take it a step further and inquire with the candle company if their cotton wick is bleached or unbleached. You will also want to inquire if it is a wood wick, if it has been soaked in any type of oils and what kind.
Safer, Non Toxic Wick Choices: You will want to look for 100% cotton or hemp that is unbleached or wood that is untreated or soaked in a natural substance.
If you are familiar at all with ‘fragrance,’ you know that if you see it listed on a label or a brand says they use ‘fragrance,’ it is important to dig in and find out exactly what makes up that fragrance. If you want all the details, you can read my blog post Natural Perfume and Fragrance. But, in a nutshell, when you see the word “fragrance” on a label of a product there could be dozens of other ingredients in it as well- and more like hundreds to be exact. A company does not have to disclose the exact ingredients in their artificial fragrances since it is looked at as trade secrets by the Food and Drug Administration.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, at one point approximately 95% of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrance oils were derived from petroleum! (6)
So even if you manage to avoid petroleum in the wax of the candle, if you don’t check out the fragrance, you may still be exposed! My biggest take away when looking for non toxic candles is that it is easiest to choose a candle that is scented with ‘100% essential oils’ or ‘essential oils only.’ If you like a stronger scent, the synthetic candles we tested tended to be stronger, so it may be worth your time to investigate candle brands that use safe synthetics.
Safer, Non Toxic Fragrance Choices: Candles scented with pure essential oils, 100% essential oil blends, fragrance oils derived from natural essential oils, or safe synthetic fragrances. If it says fragrance anywhere as an ingredient, this is something that you MUST inquire of the company and get more information on. Being made with phthalate-free fragrance oils isn’t enough!
What are the best non toxic candles?
I am sharing the GGG Team’s Picks for Best Non-Toxic Candle Brands. Please note that we are giving input on which candles meet our nontoxic standards. Scent is such a personal thing, so while we may like the scent of one that doesn’t mean it will be your favorite. Our team tends to be drawn to lighter, more natural fragrances overall. Nothing too heavy, strong or perfumey.
Best Scented Non Toxic Candle Brands
Wax: Beeswax, Coconut Oil
Wick: Wooden wick (untreated)
Fragrance: Pure Essential Oils
What makes Fontana Candle Company Standout: Katie, the co-founder of Fontana Candle Company, reports that they are proud to have complete transparency of the ingredients in their candles, which are printed right on the candle label. They are MADE SAFE certified and the first candle to receive this certification.
This nontoxic seal is for products we use every day, from baby to personal care to household and beyond. It certifies that products you use on your body, with your family, and in your home are made with safe ingredients not known or suspected to harm human health. (7)
It took the MADE SAFE team over 6 months to comb through every ingredient and every supplier that Fontana uses. They audit them every year, so consumers can be assured that their candles are as clean as they claim.
GGG Team’s Review: These are really one of the best scented candles out there. The ingredients used in their candles are top notch. For someone who doesn’t love heavily scented products, I thought the scent intensity was just perfect! And with so many choices of different scents, you are bound to find one you love too. Plus the wood wick was a unique addition that I didn’t experience with many of the other candles I tested, it even slightly crackles when it’s burning which adds to the ambiance.
Wax: Rice Bran Wax and Coconut Oil in tea lights & Coconut Wax (coconut and vegetable derived) in the aromatherapy candles
Wick: Unbleached Hemp Core and Cotton Braid
Fragrance: 100% pure essential oils and plant extracts
GGG Team’s Review: Terralite has quite the array of aromatherapy candles! And they have considered it all when making them. Not only are the ingredients top notch, but the packaging is zero waste. I love the amber glass containers they use, which come from 60% recycled glass. The candles are so chic and modern. They include a metal lid that is left unpainted and is recyclable. Even the label is able to be recycled. Like I said, they have considered it all when it comes to non toxic, zero waste candles! Plus, Terralite also has just the perfect amount of scent for me, not overpowering but just enough.
Best Non Toxic Candle With No Added Fragrance
Wick: Unbleached Cotton
Fragrance: No additional fragrance added
What Makes Bluecorn Beeswax Candles Standout: Despite the simplicity of the candles, there has been every attention to detail given to these products to bring the consumer only the very best. Bluecorn was founded in a one room cabin in 1991. Since, these candles are giving all of us an opportunity to (even for just a bit) return to a more simple life in an all but too chaotic world at times.
GGG Team’s Review:
I love these 100% beeswax candles! It’s so nice being able to have a candle that you can buy in a variety of sizes and add to whatever candle holder you have. I love the simplicity of the Bluecorn Beeswax candles- they really go well with anything! They give off a subtle honey scent from the beeswax but that’s it. I love how there isn’t a strong scent. Such a great gift idea too!
Wick: 100% Unbleached Cotton Wick Coated in Beeswax
Fragrance: No additional fragrance added
What makes Welch Candle Co. Standout: Their 100% Beeswax candles are not only great for the ambiance of a candle, they also provide health benefits! Examples of these benefits include:
- Releases negative ions leaving the air free of chemicals, pollutants, allergens, and toxins making it a natural air purifier
- Helps relieve headaches, allergies, depression, and seasonal depression
- Promotes relaxation and helps your body absorb oxygen better (8)
GGG Team’s Review:
In our opinion this is truly a top non toxic candle choice. With beeswax having potential health benefits and the use of no additional essential oils/fragrances, those that are sensitive to any type of scent will have the least possibility of having any issues when burning these candles. While it has no additional fragrance added, you do still get a light, sweet aroma from the beeswax, almost like a honey scent. Such a great candle company that has truly considered everything in making one of the healthiest candles out there!
Non Toxic Candle Honorable Mention Brands
If you’ve been around for any sort of time, you know I love Follain for its clean beauty! So when I started testing candles, I knew I wanted to try theirs. And they definitely didn’t disappoint! Candle No. 1 has notes of lavender, creamy vanilla, sandalwood, and a touch of fresh bergamot. Candle No. 2 has a blend of white tea, fresh fig leaf, basil and a touch of lavender. Not to mention the size of their candles was unmatched by any others I tried, giving you more bang for your buck! Check out Follain candles here!
Wax: A blend of soy, coconut and cottonseed oil
Wick: Unbleached, US-woven cotton wick
Fragrance: Essential Oil Blend
Bee Lucia: Use Code SUZI25 to save 25% off your order!
Bee Lucia believes candles should contribute to a healing home environment, not take away from it. And each of their candle infusions is crafted around a specific intention (with their most popular being Relaxed, Cleansed, Loved and Healed) with natural crystals included! Check out Bee Lucia here and use code SUZI25 to save 25% on your order!
Wax: Beeswax and Coconut Oil
Wick: Unbleached ‘Eco’ Cotton Wick
Fragrance: Therapeutic-grade, pure organic essential oil blend
Natural Crystals: They have the neatest addition to their candles, ethically sourced, natural gemstone crystals! Such a nice touch and there was nothing like this with any of the other brands we tested.
Business owner Jaimie Lara worked for a huge luxury candle company for 3 straight years clocking in long hours. He had to eventually leave the company due to constantly being sick from the chemicals he worked with. After leaving this company he knew he wanted to start a business, and from that Cellar Door was born! Cellar Door uses top notch ingredients from making the actual candles to even the packaging. Check out Cellar Door here!
Wax: Coconut and Beeswax
Wick: Unbleached, 100% cotton wicks dipped in beeswax
Fragrance: 100% essential oils
Kristi started this brand after working in the industry for over 10 years and always being ill from being around so many candles! After learning about “fragrance secrets” she started Lite + Cycle with 100% transparency. Check out their full list of ingredients here! Kristi’s love of elegant aesthetics shines through not only in the choice of candle scents, but also the “extras” that she has designed to go with her candles. Lite + Cycle would be a great addition to any home! Get your Lite + Cycle Candles here and receive 10% off your order!
Wax: American Grown Soy Wax Only
Wick: 100% cotton, unbleached wicks
Fragrance: 100% Plant & Flower Oils
This brand is owned and operated by individuals looking to embrace “health, life, balance and this beautiful planet we all share.” And, their 11 aromatherapy candles reflect that sentiment exactly. With names like Celebrate, Inspire and Embrace, who wouldn’t want to give these candles a try?! Check it out here!
Wax: 100% Natural organic coconut wax
Wick: Cotton Wick
Fragrance: 100% pure essential oils and/or natural plant-based aromas
This is a brand that was started in 2016 with a commitment to sustainability. It is one of a few brands that does contain synthetic fragrance that we tested out. If you are looking for a scent that is stronger than a candle that has been scented with essential oils only, this is a great choice! Check it out here!
Wax: 100% all-natural soy wax that does not contain genetically modified material
Wick: Unbleached cotton and paper threads woven into the cotton
Fragrance: A Blend of Essential Oils and Synthetic Fragrance (Free from phthalates, styrenes, polycyclic musk, nitromusk, musk ketone, and petrochemicals)
So many great choices! It does take some digging to find candle brands that are truly non toxic. However, we definitely found some great options out here!
Did we miss your favorite non toxic candle brand? Share it in the comments below.
If you liked this post, check out past posts:
- Society, N. (2021). Petroleum. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/petroleum/
- Empowering the World to Breathe Cleaner Air | IQAir. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.iqair.com/us/blog/health-wellness/hidden-dangers-scented-candles
- Benzene and Cancer Risk. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/benzene.html
- Toluene – ToxFAQs. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tfacts56.pdf
- CPSC Bans Candles With Lead-Cored Wicks. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/News-Releases/2003/CPSC-Bans-Candles-With-Lead-Cored-Wicks
- Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace, Reported by the Committee on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Sept 16, 1986. (Report 99-827) Retrieved from https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015043251746&view=1up&seq=1&skin=2021
- MADE SAFE® certified products: safe for humans & ecosytems. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.madesafe.org/
- Behind Our Beeswax. (2021). Retrieved from https://welchcandle.company/pages/behind-our-beeswax