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Lighting a candle can feel like a sacred act. In a world that always seems to being going a mile a minute (how on Earth is it almost November?), it’s a small ritual that reminds us to slow down, take some time, and center ourselves. Candles are important elements in the home, and finding ones you love is truly an act of self-care. Luckily, there’s no shortage of candle retailers to choose from. In fact, the sheer number of choices out there can make it easy to feel overwhelmed, which is exactly the opposite of what candles should do. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 14 of our favorite places to shop for candles, from big-box retailers to small, up-and-coming brands, all with options guaranteed to help you find your moment of zen.
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Nordstrom’s vast selection of candles has something for everyone, regardless of taste or budget. Many (okay, most) of the brands featured in this round-up are available there, and NEST, Le Labo, and Replica are a few others that are well worth checking out. But if you could pick just one candle to take home from Nordstrom, make it Diptyque’s iconic Baies Candle. When it comes to luxury candles, Diptyque is the holy grail, and this jammy scent is the Parisian brand’s most popular.
Anthropologie‘s entire selection of candles is certainly impressive, but one iconic scented candle stands above the rest. Capri Blue’s Volcano is Anthropologie’s signature scent, so if you’ve ever stepped foot inside the store, you know firsthand how intoxicating its notes of tropical fruit and sugared citrus can be. Just as beloved as the fragrance itself are the various decorative vessels the candle comes in, like this shimmering capiz jar with a hammered gold-tone lid.
Urban Outfitters certainly offers plenty of yummy-smelling scented candles, but their selection is arguably most appealing to those who are choosing candles primarily for their look, rather than their smell. Twisted candles are always tempting, and these short celestial candles couldn’t be any sweeter. But this set of taper candles really takes the cake — they are quite literally exploding with color, and you really can’t beat the price.
Homesick candles make perfect gifts (and yes, that definitely includes gifts for yourself). Their candles are thoughtfully formulated to evoke a nostalgic memory, an experience, or, most popularly, a place. For example, the New York City candle is sure to make any native feel warm and fuzzy — it smells like “spring days in Central Park, fine department stores, and concrete,” as Homesick puts it. This beauty is a must for anyone who is missing NYC.
The concept behind Siblings Co. is ingenious: Rather than producing candle vessels that generate more material waste, their kits make it easy to create high-quality candles in jars you already own. After melting the coconut-blend wax inside the plant-based bag the kit arrives in, you’ll use the included wick and wick holder to assemble your candle inside an antique teacup, for example, or that empty Diptyque vessel you can’t seem to let go of. All of their scents are great, so you really can’t go wrong, but No. 8 — a blend of peony, honeysuckle, and amber — is particularly intoxicating.
Based out of Harlem in New York City, The 125 Collection is a Black-owned luxury candle company whose offerings stand out thanks to the phrases stamped on each one. Whatever your mood, the brand offers a candle with a quote and scent to match it, and offerings are conveniently sorted into Sweet and Spicy collections. There’s also a line with sayings in Spanish, as well those with quotes from phenomenal figures. This one from Maya Angelou feels particularly poignant in today’s political climate.
Unsurprisingly, you can buy just about any candle on Amazon. There’s this slow-burning soy candle that comes in intriguing scents like Pineapple Evergreen and Cedarwood-Infused Mango, and there are luxury cult-favorites like NEST and Capri Blue. But the brand that’s always well represented on Amazon’s bestseller list? Good ‘ole Yankee Candle. This giant Lemon Lavender candle, for example, has garnered more than 27,000 five-star ratings. It smells like pure heaven, costs well under $20, and burns for up to 150 hours — what’s not to love?
“Conceived beyond the gender binary,” Boy Smells has rapidly grown from a small, queer-owned candle company to one of the most recognizable (and still queer-owned!) giants in the home fragrance world. And it’s not hard to see why their cult-favorite candles have reached said status: with their unique scents and iconic pink labels, they’re as much statement-making conversation pieces as they are candles. KUSH is the longtime bestseller, smelling of suede, white musk, tulip, amber, and, well, kush. Although there’s no actual weed in the ingredients, the elevated take on cannabis-inspired fragrance embodies Boy Smells’ knack for defying expectations.
Sicily Hill makes luxury candles with scents inspired by craft cocktails, coffee drinks, and teas — and by all accounts, they’re absolutely delicious (to smell!). When commerce editor Sholeen reviewed their Cappuccino Candle for our sister site, Kitchn, she described its scent as “a strong hint of espresso gently followed by a whiff of caramel that deliciously coats the air around my apartment, transforming it into a sweet and salty cocoon I never want to leave.” What more is there to say, really?
Harlem Candle Co. makes luxury candles that celebrate the rich cultural history of Harlem. Many draw inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance, like this one, which is dedicated to Langston Hughes. It takes pieces of the great poet’s life — the worn vintage leather of his favorite armchair, the ambery incense that recalls his many visits to churches in Mexico — to craft an intoxicating scent and an equally rich story to go along with it.
Otherland is among the smaller up-and-coming brands we’re most excited about. Everything about their candles seems thoughtful and intentional, from the unique scents and gorgeous art to the way the names of each candle and collection evoke imagery. Take Cardamom Milk, for example, which is part of the brand’s “Manor House Weekend” collection. Smelling of frothy milk, cardamom, and praline woods, this candle will make your space feel like fall all year long.
P.F. Candle Co. makes their candles using 100 percent domestically-grown soy wax, fine fragrance oils, and cotton-core wicks. So, you would think they’d come with a high price tag. Think again — these candles are actually quite reasonably priced. Plus, their scents are absolutely incredible. Amber & Moss, for example, has a profile of sage, moss, and lavender. In other words, it smells like you’ve found a peaceful mountain oasis.
The best scented candles are really more of an experience, and Anecdote takes that idea more literally than most. Each hand-poured candle has a hilariously specific label that describes the mood its scent evokes, rather than the fragrance itself. For example, this Bottomless Mimosas candle “smells like good vibes and fresh gossip.” For the record, though, the fragrance of blood orange, bergamot, and grapefruit is delicious, and it really will transport your soul to brunch on a sunny patio.