How To Shop For Clean-Burning Candles

Everything from skincare to home-cleaning products has received a well-deserved eco-friendly upgrade — and the sustainable-living buck doesn't stop there. A rise in clean-burning candles has also made us keenly aware that what goes into those bougies matters a lot more than we thought. Let's break it down below, from base to fragrance and wick.
Many cheap candles are crafted with a paraffin-wax base — an ingredient derived from petroleum which, as we know, isn't great for the environment. Luckily, there are many sustainable swaps for paraffin including vegetable-derived options (like beeswax), coconut, and soy. The next component to consider is fragrance. Synthetic scents aren't just cloying or headache-inducing, but certain artificial compounds can be harmful when inhaled — for example, "parfum" is a catchall term that can include toxic compounds not disclosed on the ingredients list. And finally, the wick: oftentimes crafted with metal cores, or with metal fibers woven into the wick itself, this vital part of the candle can actually contribute to air pollution inside your home. So, to avoid potentially toxic particles, look for 100% cotton wicks (wood ones work well, too!) that are much safer to light up inside your space.
Ahead, we've lined up 11 clean-burning candles worth adding to your eco-conscious shopping carts.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. The product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

More from Home

R29 Original Series