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LAFCO’s Guide to Non-Toxic Candles & Ingredients to Avoid

When you’re relaxing in a hot bath or enjoying a quiet evening with a book, a scented candle adds to the ambiance. That gently flickering flame paired with your favorite fragrance helps melt your worries away.

But what if the very thing that helps you unwind and forget about your problems causes problems of its own—hidden dangers you may be unaware of. In this guide, we’ll explore the harmful ingredients used in certain candles and how to choose non-toxic alternatives.

How to Identify a Non-Toxic Candle

The delicate scent of a candle has the power to transform the atmosphere of any room, invoking a sense of calm and relaxation. However, the fragrance that fills your space can sometimes carry hidden costs to your well-being.

What if the pleasant aroma masking stale air was simultaneously tainting it with a cocktail of chemicals? It’s a concern worth considering: some of the compounds used to create those favorite scents have been associated with a spectrum of health issues, from the mild inconvenience of headaches to other serious risks.

To ensure that your candle-lit evenings are not only cozy but also safe, becoming a discerning shopper is key. Here’s a more in-depth look at how you can identify a non-toxic candle:

  1. Read Beyond the Label: The allure of a scented candle begins with its packaging and promises. Yet, the truth lies in the fine print. Always read the ingredients list carefully. If a candle boasts being “scented with essential oils,” ensure that no synthetic fragrances are hidden in the list.
  2. Understand Fragrance Formulations: The word “fragrance” on a label can encompass numerous chemicals. Due to trade secret laws, companies aren’t always required to disclose every component that makes up a fragrance. Opt for candles that specify “100% essential oils” or “all-natural fragrance ingredients.”
  3. Know Your Waxes: Candles can be made from various waxes, each with its own burning properties and health implications. Paraffin is commonly used but is a petroleum byproduct, which can release harmful pollutants. Instead, look for candles made from soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax, which are renewable, burn cleaner, and are kinder to your indoor air quality.
  4. Assess the Wick: A good burn starts with the wick. Wicks should be made from natural fibers without any metal core, which can lead to the release of harmful particles. A cotton or wood wick is a safer option and provides a clean burn.
  5. Check for Color: The vibrancy of a candle can be appealing, but bright, unnatural colors may be a signal that synthetic dyes are used. These dyes can add unnecessary chemicals to the candle that, when burned, may emit toxins. The natural, creamy color of non-dyed wax is often a sign of a purer candle.
  6. Transparency is Key: Companies that are proud of their non-toxic candles will be transparent about their ingredients and processes. They may even provide additional information on their websites or product packaging about the origin of their ingredients and their commitment to health and the environment.

By arming yourself with this knowledge, your next candle purchase can be made with confidence, knowing that you are choosing a product that contributes to a healthy, harmonious home. As you light the wick and the flame begins to glow, you can breathe deeply—not just to relax, but with the peace of mind that the air around you is as clean as nature intended.

Decoding Candle Composition: LAFCO vs. Common Candles

When selecting a scented candle for your home, the ingredients list is where the true story unfolds. It’s here that you can discern the divide between the ordinary and the exceptional.

Let’s illuminate the contrasts between the composition of LAFCO candles and common candles found on the market.

Wax: A Tale of Two Sources

  • Common Candles: Many commercially available candles use paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining. This wax is inexpensive and has a strong scent throw but at a cost. When burned, paraffin wax can emit toluene and benzene, two chemicals that are recognized as potential carcinogens.
  • LAFCO Candles: In contrast, LAFCO opts for a soy wax blend. Soy wax is a vegetable wax derived from soybean oil. It burns cleaner, producing little to no soot, and is biodegradable, making it a more environmentally friendly option. Its slower burn rate also extends the life of your candle, ensuring a lasting sensory experience.

Fragrance: Synthetics vs. Nature’s Essence

  • Common Candles: The “fragrance” label can be deceptive, often representing a cocktail of synthetic chemicals. Some of these can be allergens or irritants, especially for those with sensitivities, and contribute to indoor air pollution.
  • LAFCO Candles: LAFCO’s approach to scent is grounded in nature. We use pure essential oil-based fragrances, providing a natural and authentic aroma. These essential oils are sourced conscientiously and are free from harmful chemicals, offering a safer inhalation experience.

Wicks: The Burning Issue

  • Common Candles: Wicks in some lower-quality candles may contain heavy metals like lead, used to keep them standing straight when lit. Burning such wicks can release harmful particles into the air, compromising indoor air quality.
  • LAFCO Candles: We use natural cotton wicks that are completely lead-free, ensuring a clean burning process and maintaining the purity of the air in your living space.

Colorants: A Spectrum of Safety

  • Common Candles: Brightly colored candles may owe their appeal to synthetic dyes, which can release harmful chemicals when burned and have an environmental impact when produced.
  • LAFCO Candles: The elegant simplicity of LAFCO candles is maintained by avoiding these synthetic dyes, favoring the natural color of our high-quality wax. This choice reflects our dedication to both aesthetic and purity.

Packaging: More Than Just Appearances

  • Common Candles: Standard candles often come in disposable containers that contribute to waste and are not designed with sustainability in mind.
  • LAFCO Candles: Each LAFCO candle is housed in an artisanal handblown glass vessel designed to be repurposed, embodying both luxury and a commitment to sustainability.

LAFCO’s dedication to purity, responsibility, and artisanship stands in stark contrast to the commonplace. By selecting LAFCO, you are not only embracing the tranquility of a flame that burns with integrity but also supporting a philosophy that values health, the environment, and sustainable luxury.

LAFCO’s Commitment to Candle Safety

LAFCO prides itself on not just meeting but exceeding industry safety standards. Our dedication to crafting a superior product extends to ensuring that each LAFCO candle is compliant with the strictest safety regulations.

Here’s how we adhere to these vital benchmarks:

  • Comprehensive Testing: Each LAFCO candle is rigorously tested to ensure optimal burn quality and safety.
  • Transparent Fragrance Standards: We provide full fragrance disclosure, avoiding the use of generic “fragrance” labeling to ensure our customers know exactly what they are bringing into their homes.
  • Educational Labeling: We believe in educating our customers. Our labels include detailed safety instructions, ingredient lists, and guidelines to ensure the best and safest use of our candles.

By aligning with these safety standards, LAFCO not only provides a product that elevates your living space but also upholds the highest benchmarks of product safety and integrity.

Learn More About LAFCO

Founder Jon Bresler launched LAFCO with a mission to create products that look, smell, and feel good and that are good for you and your family. LAFCO is committed to transparency, so you’ll find detailed information about ingredients, processes, and partners on the brand website.

To learn more, discover our newly released Source & Story Collection which captures the spirit of LAFCO’s artisans and the places they call home.

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