Scented candles and 'relax' go together like salt and pepper - provided that the candle is an ecological one. However, most (scented) candles are made from paraffin, which release ultra-fine, harmful dust particles as well as toxic substances like benzene and toluene. Some wicks contain heavy metals such as lead, which is unhealthy especially in small, poorly ventilated rooms. It's best to opt for good scented candles made from 100% natural materials and essential oils for their pure fragrance.

Natural fragrances versus synthetic fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are created by combining various chemicals, most often based on petroleum. Irrespective of their toxic aspect, synthetic oils have no physical or mental effect on us. Natural fragrances are derived from essential oils from plants and flowers. As soon as a scent enters our nostrils, the brain registers its various components and then has an effect on our bodies. For example, lavender is relaxing, lemon is refreshing, etc.

Organic beeswax or soy wax candles

Fortunately, there are excellent alternatives to paraffin candles that contain synthetic fragrances. There are beeswax and soy wax candles. Beeswax or cera alba is a fatty substance that bees secrete and use to build their hive walls out of. At the moment, busy bees have a hard time just surviving, so organic soy wax candles have our preference. These are also cheaper than beeswax candles (and only slightly more expensive than 'normal' candles).

Advantages of soy candles

- The candles have a longer lifespan.

- Almost no soot is released when the candles are burned.

- 100% natural and safe to use for those with allergies.

- Spilt wax can be easily removed.

- Natural fragrances diffuse well in soy wax.

- No unpleasant odour as sometimes is the case with paraffin candles.

- It is a vegan product; free from any animal cruelty.

Wax melts, small scented candles without a wick

Wax melts are the latest trend when it comes to fragrance diffusers. They are small scented candles without a wick. You can place them on a burner so that the wax melts, or you can put them on a dish, between your potpourri or, if you feel like being nice and old-fashioned, in between your folded underwear.

The advantage of wax melts is that, unlike scented oil, they don’t burn until they dry up and therefore don't need to be refilled.

Vegan candles from The Munio

Letting heat and light emanate from candles which have stories to tell. For Elina Cima this idea marked the start of Munio Candela in 2008. She fashioned her first collection of scented candles in her atelier in Latvia. With the advent of new products such as incense sticks and wax melts, Munio Candela has recently changed its name to The Munio. Each candle is lovingly handcrafted by Latvian artisans using only 100% natural soy wax and scents derived from essential oils.