The Best Soy Candles to Liven Up Your Home
The first thing you notice when you walk into a home is its scent. While décor is incredibly important, nothing is quite as direct as what hits your nose. A home’s scent is distinctive. So, it stands to reason that knowing how to scent your abode with the best soy candles (which produce less toxic fumes than paraffin candles) is a part of knowing how to make the best first impression possible on your guests.
The use of candles, of course, hasn’t always been strictly scent- or ambiance-based. While candles themselves were used as far back as 3000 B.C., scented candles were first used by the wealthy in the Middle Ages. Those candles were made from beeswax. However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the technology for candles became efficient enough for mass production. Soon, scented candles were everywhere (however, this is also due to the invention of paraffin, which, as discussed, is not something you really want to burn in your home).
Scent and memory are also heavily linked, at least according to modern science. Most likely, it’s because of their proximity in the brain. According to The Harvard Gazette, “Smells are handled by the olfactory bulb, the structure in the front of the brain that sends information to the other areas of the body’s central command for further processing. Odors take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, the regions related to emotion and memory.” This explains why you associate scents with memories—and, therefore, why you associate memories of homes with specific scents. Whether you want to evoke a memory or create an unexpected impact, Nest Casa has rounded up the best soy candle brands for all your needs.
Editor’s Favorite Brands:
Goop, which started out in 2008 as a weekly newsletter published by Gwyneth Paltrow, has become so much more. Now, it’s one of the most recognizable names in wellness. Goop is a premier destination for information, wellness products, and even homewares. The site is divided into six sections: Shop (where one can buy the aforementioned wellness products and homewares), Beauty (which covers skin care, hair care, makeup, personal care, and bath and body), Food and Home (which features recipes as well as decorative advice), Style, Travel (a section that has a host of city guides), Wellness, and Goop PhD (which hosts science-backed articles on health conditions). Although its abundance of information makes it most popular as a media brand, the brand’s products—including their skin care and candles—are equally well-loved, making Goop a one-stop destination for millions of people.
“Church” may seem like an odd name for a candle but, once you realize that frankincense is a primary ingredient, it makes a bit more sense. A storied scent, it’s meant to evoke something ancient and elemental like fire or the sea. We love it for cold nights by the fire with a good book, but ithe all-black vessel begs for it to be used in a minimal setting around concrete items.
If Church seemed like an odd name to you, prepare yourself for a treat. Perhaps the most well-known of Goop’s products is the brand’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle, made in collaboration with fragrance brand Heretic. It made a big splash when it came out, provoking headlines such as “Why is Gwyneth Paltrow selling a candle that smells like her vagina?” Thankfully, it actually smells of bergamot, cedar, and Damask rose. Goop describes it as “beautifully unexpected,” and whether it’s the name or the scent, we would have to agree.
2. Le Labo
Famed for its rustic aesthetic and wide variety of products, Le Labo is a brand you’ve likely seen everywhere. Its design is distinctive, with rustic labels comprised of off-white paper and a typewriter-style font. While Le Labo is also famous for their perfume and bath products (like deliciously scented soaps), candles make up a large portion of their offerings. With a total of 12 home scents to try, there is undoubtedly one for everyone. Plus, the focus on unisex scents means that they’re great to give as gifts. Personalization of the products is even available directly from the brand for those wishing to make their candles extra special.
Palo Santo isn’t difficult to find, but it is associated with ethical sourcing issues that make it kind of an iffy thing to burn around the house. Plus, it’s a piece of wood, which makes it, well, not so convenient for burning consistently. For those who want a consistent scent that’s close to Palo Santo, this Le Labo candle uses cedarwood and incense to mimic the burning of the precious wood. It’s perfect for a spiritually focused environment like an in-house yoga studio.
Santal 26 is one of Le Labo’s most popular scents. It fills your senses with smoke and leather. This concrete candle begs to be placed in an industrially designed space. Use it in a modern loft, plain on a table next to a leather couch. You shouldn’t decorate around it—there’s no need. It’s beautiful on its own.
3. D.S. & Durga
While D.S. & Durga may still be an independent soy wax candle brand, it’s quickly become a favorite amongst the in-the-know. Recently, it opened shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Founded by a Brooklyn-based couple, the brand is known for their unique scents with equally distinctive names. Browse the selection and you may find “Breakfast Leipzig” listed next to “Rama Won’t You Please Come Home.” Each scent even has its own playlist.
One of the most popular products sold by the brand, “Big Sur After Rain,” touts top notes of “coastal rain” and base notes of “wet wood” with eucalyptus present in the formula all the way down. Distinctive pink glass surrounds white wax, while a minimalistically designed interpretation of the candle’s inspiration (the eucalyptus groves off of California’s Highway 1 during rainfall) adorns the front. It’s certainly not for the most serious or severely designed room but it’s a fun and funky candle to have for everyday.
D.S. & Durga’s range of candles also includes “’85 Diesel” (featuring notes of leather, suede, and vinyl), “Portable Fireplace” (featuring notes of dwarf pine wood, atlas cedar, and smoke), and “Spirit Lamp” (featuring notes of hot metal, peach water, and petitgrain). Each of these fragrances has both feminine and masculine characteristics, creating moods that are enchanting, memorable, and strong.
Glasshouse has a scent for everything. Given that each candle features three wicks and an accompanying lidded glass candle holder, the luxury brand is extremely reasonably priced. Most of Glasshouse’s products have enticing, location-based names like “Diving into Cyprus” and “Secrets of the Sistine”—but you’ll find “Rendezvous” and “Flower Symphony” in there, too. The women-owned brand is now Australia’s leading fragrance company, first founded by a New Yorker who went to New South Wales and discovered a rich culture of scents.
Notes of vanilla and caramel characterize this sumptuous candle. Although it’s meant to take you to the beaches of French Polynesia (and the coconut and pineapple certainly do), the base fragrance suggests a decadence that would be at home in any richly decorated abode. Don’t limit yourself to tropical décor for this semi-tropical fragrance. In fact, this scent is for any moment you want to be swept away in.
With top notes of citrus, including bergamot and fresh lime, this candle is certain to give a fresh and light scent to any room that it inhabits. Camellia and lotus give credence to the name “Kyoto in Bloom,” as the flowery scents fill out the middle notes. Base notes of amber, sandalwood, musk, and vanilla uplift the aroma without making it too earthy. Overall, it’s a great scent for a bright and sunny day.
Homesick is a trendy, millennial brand that launched in 2016 with the goal of developing scents that genuinely capture the essence of a destination. For each candle, 30 to 100 people were interviewed about their associations with each of the areas. For some of the candles, they even went so far as to extract scents from foods. Their Los Angeles candle is particularly bright and does a great job of capturing the city with notes of orange, ylang ylang, and jasmine.
The brand Brightland may be known for its olive oil, but we’re fans of this candle, called Digestif. Its key components are all ethically sourced like the brand’s oils, and they even integrated olive oil into the candle to increase how far the scent reaches as well as preserve the fragrant oils. Even the vessels are sustainably made with recycled glass. Neroli, vetiver, and black pepper swim with the olive oil scent to create something truly one-of-a-kind.
This candle is something magnificent—and that’s even before you smell it. Made of ceramic, the lidded vessel creates a decorative piece that’s enticing all on its own. While the scents of leaves and trees certainly uplift the candle, it’s the main notes of warm fig that do the heavy lifting for this item. It’s perfect for a sunny day with the windows open and curtains flowing in the breeze.
Another beautifully decorative candle, this is one that we’re not sure whether to burn or to leave out for the world to see. Even Food52’s description of this item suggests repurposing the brass tin as a vase. It’s that cool. Made by tea brand Bellocq, this candle comes in options such as mint and black tea. It’s the unexpectedness of the piece that makes it such a welcome addition to any home (as long as brass is your main metal).
Magic Hour is a rose-based candle from direct-to-consumer home goods brand Brooklinen. Each candle is hand-poured in Brooklyn and they’re all clean-burning and natural. They even have a natural wick! Plus, the brand’s use of perfume-grade oils means that you’re sure to love what you smell.
Tom Ford is considered a king of scents: his perfume line being one of the most lauded and sought-after on the market. Rose prick,which launched as a perfume in 2020, has garnered so many fans that the company decided to turn it into a candle. Bulgarian rose and Rose de Mai collide with spicy sichuan pepper in a manner that is as lovely as it is unexpected. The candle, itself, was designed with similar care. A rose pink, square vessel contains black wax for an objet that’s just as shocking as its scent.
Another concrete candle, this one is a bit more elevated and great for giving as a gift. A red, bedazzled insect adorns the metal lid, while a hand-painted box gives the packaging an authentic touch. Geranium, leather, and amber create an unexpected combination that is both floral and exotic.
It’s an artisan candle that reads “Artisan” on its packaging. Because, why not announce your good taste? The result of a collaboration, this candle is hand-poured by candle brand Joya Studio for home cleaning brand The Laundress. The scent is, at once, herbal and earthy with eucalyptus and rosemary pulled down by scents like wood and patchouli. Buy one for your laundry room—or, as a wink-and-nudge gift for that friend who really loves artisanal everything.