I'm not sure why candles are such a thing in the beauty community, but there is something so enjoyable about a good home fragrance, and it's even better when they double as beautiful decorations too. There are a lot of brands out there and it can be hard to know what to buy when you don't want to sacrifice an arm and a leg, or your soul (I'm looking at you, Tom Ford). It's also pretty disappointing when you buy a nice candle only to find that you can hardly smell it when it burns, which in my experience often happens with the cheaper options. I've tried a few duds before, so I wanted to put together my favourite brands that I feel comfortable recommending and that I've never been let down by.
When it comes to scents I'm either all about the super sweet, pumpkin/vanilla scents, or ones that are more in line with my perfume tastes, i.e. smokey and masculine, think tobacco, patchouli and amber. And if you can blend those two worlds together, all the better. So I don't really like citrus or fruity scents, and I'm not very drawn to florals or to fresh, clean scents. But even if our tastes are different, all of these brands have a huge range I'm sure you could find something you like from any of them.
Would it really be a post about candles if they didn't get a mention? Of course, everyone knows brands like Diptyque, Byredo and Jo Malone make some of the most luxurious, aesthetically pleasing candles around (read: expensive). I haven't tried anything from the others, but I do have two from Diptyque - Vanille and Feu de Bois. Vanille is the most incredible, complex vanilla-based fragrance I've ever come across. When I talk about blending my two fragrance worlds together, this is exactly what I mean. It's a warm, creamy vanilla with a smokey, sandalwood twist, as well as several other notes that I can't pick. Feu de Bois is described as a burning log fire and that's exactly what it smells like. It's very much a unisex fragrance and a lot of reviews online are from women who say their male partners love it just as much as they do. When I burn them the smell fills up the room, and if you plan on using the empty jars for decoration after you've finished, then it can take a bit of the sting out of the investment. Spending this kind of money on a candle isn't for everyone, but part of the experience is the luxury of it and the joy that can bring, so I like to save them for special occasions. A standard sized candle is currently $73 at Mecca. As mentioned, I adore the two I have but but I also have my eye on Ambre which has notes of amber (duh), patchouli, incense and aniseed and to a lesser extent Santal, which is a sandalwood fragrance. The burn time on these babies is around 60 hours.
Paddywax is a bit of a confusing one. I bought a couple from Urban Outfitters a while ago, and I've recently spotted them on BeautyBay and ASOS, but none of those places seem to regularly stock them, or have a very good range. Fortunately, I've just discovered they have an Australian website which, although a bit rubbish to navigate, seems to have most of their offerings. They have a huge range of scents that are really to my taste, and I've enjoyed all of their candles that I've owned. It can be a little confusing because of all the different types of packaging though, for example, the candle pictured is the Blue Apothecary style in Tobacco & Vanilla, and I also have the brown Apothecary style in Tobacco & Patchouli, but on their website I can only find Tobacco & Vanilla in different packaging, and Tobacco & Patchouli as a room spray..? They also have a Library collection which I love, where they created candles that are meant to smell like certain author's libraries. Of course my favourite is the Steinbeck candle which not only has his name on it, but the scent is smoked birch and amber and it's as incredible as it sounds! If only they made a Kerouac scent. Their prices vary across their ranges, but both the Apothecary style and the large Library candles have a burn time of 60 hours.
This Australian brand was created because the founder saw a gap in the market between cheap candles and overpriced imports, and I think they fill that gap really well. Thankfully these days we have a few more options available, like some of the ones in this post, but Glasshouse are probably the best Australian brand I know of. I'm not too sure about their availability overseas, but they're widely available here and their candles are very high quality and their scent throw is off the chain. For my birthday last year I received Pumpkin Pie which was deeply exciting, not only because it smells amazing, but because pumpkin related scents (and desserts) aren't really a thing in Australia, so to have a brand catch on to that made me very happy. It's a limited edition Halloween fragrance so if you like the sound of it you'd better move quick or you might have to wait until next year! The only place where this brand is lacking for me is that they don't really have any woody, masculine scents in their range, or else I'd probably own more of them. Their large candles are generally around $40-45 and aside from Pumpkin Pie the other scent I would purchase one day is Tahaa which is an incredible vanilla/caramel scent - if you've ever walked past a Peter Alexander store they always have one of these burning and you can smell it from outside the shop. Burn time is around 80 hours so you get some real bang for your buck.
4. P. F. Candle Co
Handmade by a wife and husband team in LA, I first discovered P.F. Candle Co on Urban Outfitters who I love buying candles from because they offer free shipping to Australia when you spend over $50. I really like their simple, unisex packaging and they have so many scents I love the sound of so I've built up quite a little collection. They've introduced several new ones since I started buying from them, as well as 3 wick candles and reed diffusers, but my first foray was Teakwood & Tobacco which is still one of my favourites. I'm also a big fan of Pumpkin Spice (of course), Oud & Bergamot and Spruce. I'm most definitely on a candle ban and have been for quite a while, but whenever I let myself buy more I'm pretty tempted by the sound of Love Potion which I've only just spotted, and Nag Champa because I adore Nag Champa incense and I'm sure their candle would be incredible. The burn time on these bad boys is 40-50 hours and at $20US a pop for an indie brand, I think it's money well spent.
5. Bath & Body Works
Apparently a store recently opened in Melbourne so it seems like they're finally branching out into Australia, but a big part of the appeal of this brand for me is 1. Their amazing seasonal pumpkin scents, which I don't know that they would bring across because our seasons are opposite, and 2. The fact that they always have amazing sales and discounts, like buy one get one free. From what I've heard the prices are (unsurprisingly) a lot higher than they are in the US, and of course we're not going to get the same kinds of sales, so tbh I probably wouldn't bother buying from them in Australia unless I really fell in love with something.
So with all of that in mind, I'm really talking about what you can get from B&BW in the US. If you're anything like me, unless you live in Melbourne and are prepared to pay for it, you may not want to look through their website because it'll probably just make you sad/jealous. I bought several of their 3-wick candles when I was in Hawaii in October last year, which meant all the incredible pumpkin related scents that I'm obsessed with were available and I went a little HAM. The scent throw on a 3-wick candle is pretty decent and they really are worth the hype they get. Although they give a burn time range of 25-45 hours, when you're getting them for the US sale prices you can't complain. They don't really have much in the way of masculine scents, but they add new pumpkin scents every year and I fall for it hard. Think Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte, Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow - I could go on, it's music to my ears! If you're lucky enough to get your hands on them easily then I certainly would - they're no Diptyque but they're a lot of fun. But if you're paying upwards of $40 AU per candle I'd spend my money on the other brands I've mentioned as ones like Glasshouse will burn for twice as long.