1. Guide to different candle types.
2. How to pick the right scent.
3. Tips to make candles burn better and last longer.
For most men the world of candles is a daunting one. With tons of questions and nowhere to turn, we’ve compiled a complete men’s guide to help you navigate the overly complicated, but thoroughly enjoyable world of candles. Let’s begin.
With so many choices available give or take 20, let’s just focus on the ones relevant to us men.
- Taper Candles – Fair warning, taper candles do not stand on their own. These are the ones usually sitting on the table for a nice candle lit dinner. Use these at dinner time when you’re trying to put in a little extra effort with the senorita. Grab some holders and set these out to take date night to the next level.
- Pillar Candles – Pillar candles can be used in almost any situation without too much maintenance, but it may be difficult to find anything but basic scents here. In recent years pillar candles have been replaced by the more effective container candle, however, there could still be some deals to be had here.
- Tea Light Candles – Tea light candles are small and light weight. They burn for about two hours, and are typically unscented. These are best suited as accent lighting. If you’re going to be entertaining, toss of a few of these around your place and watch your guests ogle at your interior decorating skills. If you really want to step it up, grab a candle holder made for tea lights. Yes, there are manly options available, like this reclaimed wood holder from Wayfair.
- Candle Pots – Candles pots also come in a variety of shapes and sizes and burn for quite a while, anywhere from 12-14 hours. The sturdy pots make these candles ideal for outdoor décor. Toss a few on the patio or around the pool to give your outdoor space some calming accent lighting. Again, perfect for entertaining, especially on those warm summer nights.
- Tin Candles – Container candles are a non-flammable container filled with wax. If you only have one option, this would be the one. Container candles don’t drip and don’t require a separate holder to use. The non-flammable container makes them a much safer option and most will come with a lid, which is key in putting the candle out without setting off the fire alarm. Just open the lid, grab a light, good to go.
If you can only go with one option, we recommend just grabbing some great tin container candles. Classy, functional, and low maintenance equals a win in our book.
Now that we’ve nailed down the basic types and when to use them, it’s time to stock up. But how do you know which candles are high-quality? Well it’s all about the wax. Here’s how to tell if you’re getting a quality product.
- Paraffin Wax – Paraffin wax, also known as straight wax, is the most commonly used and least expensive wax. This wax is cheap, meaning they will typically be the least expensive, but also the lowest quality, making them difficult to burn correctly. Because of the lower quality they also typically give off an overpowering aroma which can be less than desirable. If your budget allows, avoid Paraffin wax.
- Palm Wax – Palm wax allows for unique textures on candles, in most cases, a crystallizing pattern. These candles are typically used for décor only due to their intricate design and sub-par burning. The candle that’s been sitting on your parents mantle for the last 20 years collecting dust, probably palm wax.
- Beeswax – Beeswax is a 100% natural wax, and one of the best on the market. Typically used to make tapers, pillars, and containers, this is a great option when looking to purchase higher quality candles.
- Soy Wax – Soy Wax is another 100% natural wax, and is ideal for container candles. Soy wax provides the cleanest burn of any wax. Also, soy wax requires no special additives to load the chosen scent. Because it bonds better with the fragrance, soy wax candles smell the same from the first burn to the last. When you have the option, go soy. It’s the best of the best.
The wick controls the burn, much like the engine controls the car, so choosing the right one is pretty important. First decide if your candle with be functional or decorative, this plays a major role in the type of wick you should choose.
- Braided Wicks - Most high-quality wicks are made from braided, plaited, or knitted fibers to encourage a slow and consistent burn.
- Twisted Wicks - Often lower quality than braided or knitted wicks, twisted wicks burn much faster because their loose construction allows more fuel to quickly reach the flame.
- Wooden Wicks - Although they provide a nice crackling sound effect, and a nice rustic design, when it comes to functionality woods wicks typically don’t evenly distribute the heat, which leads to an inconsistent melting, shortening the shelf life of the candle.
The bottom line here is if you’re looking for something decorative, the wood wick is a nice touch. If you’re looking for something to actually use, stick with the braided wick for that nice even burn.
Scent “throw” refers to the release of fragrance from the candle. The “cold throw” is the scent released when the candle is unlit at room temperature. The “hot throw” is the scent released when the candle is burning. Keep this in mind when choosing your scent. If your choosing a decorative candle, one that won’t be burned, no worries here. If you’re choosing a functional candle, one you’re actually going to use, remember it could smell slightly different when being burned.
There are two types of scents for candles: fragrance oils and essential oils. Now we’ve all heard the benefits of essential oils, however, when it comes to candles, fragrance oils lead the way. We’ll explain.
- Fragrance Oils - Fragrance oils are formulated from many aromatic ingredients derived from nature and by scientific methods. Natural ingredients include oils, resins, and absolutes; and although synthetic ingredients are man-made, they are reproduced using scientific techniques, which in most cases produce fragrance oils that are 100% organic, phthalate free, paraben free, vegan, gluten free, cruelty free, and IFRA compliant.
- Essential oils - essential oils lose their therapeutic benefits when they are burned in candles because burning them is a completely different chemical process than diffusing them in water. Also, essential oils are generally more expensive than fragrance oils. Not to mention, while they provide a good cold throw, they actually provide very little scent when you burn them.
Arguably the most important decision is the smell test. Now it's easy to go deep down the rabbit hole here. So to save you some time, here's our recommendations.
- Vanilla – According to the Oxford Journal, the smooth scent of vanilla can make you feel uplifted, relaxed, or even sensuous. Not to mention vanilla is a natural aphrodisiac. If you’re looking to go with something everyone will enjoy, this is it. Light this baby with confidence every time.
- Sandalwood – Sandalwood lets you experience the smell of the forest in the comfort of your home. Forest scents can reduce stress and promote feelings of greater well-being.
- Lavender – Since ancient times lavender has been a natural remedy for a whole slew of things. Deborah Weatherspoon Ph. D with Healthline confirms lavender has the ability to relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. It can also be used to treat headaches and insomnia. Whether you want to meditate, uplift, reflect, or simply breathe, this scent will induce calmness in your senses, and help clear your mind.
- Leather – Leather marries rawness and refinement. Immediately recognizable and universally appealing, leather is a texture scent that will inevitably evoke feelings of nostalgia. It also doesn't hurt leather scent has been proven to be attractive scent to women. It gets no manlier than this. If you want a no doubt man candle, leather is the one.
- Clean Cotton – Clean Cotton is a crisp scent of freshly cleaned linens, highlighted with a touch of sweet citrus and a slightly woody bottom note. The best thing about this scent, it makes everything smell clean, and no one will complain about that.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Candles selected and placed, now light and enjoy. Well, not so fast. There are proper ways to burn the candle to not only maximize its life, but also to get the most out of it. Here’s our tips for making sure the midnight oil burns right.
- Wick Size: Trimming the wick is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure a nice even burn. The wick should always be trimmed to within 1/4" of the wax to ensure the right amount of heat is put off by the flame for an even burn. It also helps to eliminate smoke and soot.
- Burn Time: Burn the candle the first time one hour for every inch it is wide (so if it is 3 inches in diameter, the first burn should be 3 hours), and only light the candle when you have time to burn it. Candles are meant to pool at the top, meaning the solid wax turns liquid as it burns. When the liquid wax pool doesn't fully reach the sides of the container on a burn, every burn after that will start to do the same thing. At some point the pool will get smaller and smaller until it won't light anymore. This is called tunneling, and once it happens, it can’t be fixed.
- Proper Extinguishing: If you blow the candle out the whole room will just smell like a campfire, which seems counterproductive. To avoid this, put the candle out with the lid or a small fire proof tray. The best means of extinguishing is to simply use a tool to dip the wick below the liquid wax and then re center. A toothpick will do you just fine here. This keeps the wick where it belongs and eliminates all smoke.
By now you should be well on your way to finding that perfect candle for you.
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