You know the sense of overwhelm when you're standing in a big box store in front of hundred different candles and don't know which candle to choose.
You're looking for a gift for a friend who just moved into a new home, or you're thinking about your self-care and want to find a quality candle for a cozy night at home.
That was us a few years ago before we started Alaskalux. It was hit and miss with the quality of candles we would bring home.
Some candles left black soot up the wall, which was hard to remove, especially when we were still renting and worried we could clean it off so the landlord wouldn't get upset.
Some candles had weird gaps along the glass walls and strange swirl patterns. Sometimes the flame would bore a tunnel through the middle of the candle and leave a bunch of wax around the edges unburned making us feel like we had wasted money or done something wrong but didn't know what.
The candles would smell great initially and then, after a while, not really fill the house with fragrance when we burned them. So, in short, picking out a good candle was a bit of a mystery.
When you're looking for a gift for a friend or for yourself, you know you want a candle that's made well and has a fantastic scent. We know that you care about the gifts you give, and we also know that you're pretty busy and that a candle choice shouldn't be stressful.
This guide is created for you. Simple, to-the-point, here's what you need to know so you can get that just-right gift, and take those saved minutes and experience a little self-care instead.
1) Why do some candles tunnel down and don't melt the wax on the sides?
There are two reasons this can happen to a candle, and only one of them is something you can control.
Next time you light a candle, let it burn for long enough that the entire top is melted about a 1/4 of an inch down before you blow it out. If you allow your candle to burn for too short of a time, it won't generate enough heat to melt the wax all the way to the edges.
The part you can't control is when the candle size is too large for the width of wick the candlemaker chose for that container. When the wick is too small, it similarly creates conditions where the wax will only melt so far and then bores a hole down through the middle of the candle.
We experiment and test all of our containers, wax, wicks, and fragrance to make sure that when you buy an Alaskalux candle, your candle melts all the way to the edge. Many of our customers remark that they have burned all the wax in their candle down and re-use the tins for plants or little containers for their desk.
2) What is all this fuss about soy wax?
Most of the candles you find in big box stores are made of paraffin wax instead of soy. Paraffin is a product of petroleum and thus doesn't burn as clean as natural soy wax.
Soy wax candles last longer and have a more potent fragrance than paraffin wax.
Soy wax is better for the planet and you because it is entirely renewable and 100% natural because the wax comes from soybeans.
The soy wax we use is vegan, cruelty-free, and biodegradable.
3) Why do some candles look like they have cloudy areas on the side of the clear jars?
Those wet spots you sometimes see on the side of glass jars are when the wax is heated up, expands, and cools and contracts. It often occurs in the shipping process as the candles travel to different climate zones across the U.S.
Purely cosmetic, the frosted areas don't affect the candle unless there are many wet spots that can cause the wax to fall out of the container.
We've chosen the shape of our tins to ensure maximum adhesion of the wax to the container. Also, our Alaskalux tins are shaped so that the cold wax won't fall out of the container.
4) Why does my store-bought candle get all black and sooty around the edges and on the wall - help!
When you see black candle smoke, it is really soot particles. These soot particles are caused by incomplete combustion of carbon when the wick is consuming the wax around it.
You can prevent it by buying quality candles, not candles with additives that don't burn clean.
This is a big reason why we selected 100% all-natural soy wax for Alaskalux candles and why we don't add any paraffin or other wax types to our candles.
5) What do you mean by clean fragrance oil; are there dirty scents?
Clean fragrance oils exclude toxins such as phthalates, chemicals on California's Prop 65 list, and carcinogen-causing chemicals.
We use lead and zinc-free wicks to help ensure that our candles burn as clean as possible.
Dirty scents can mean heavy metals are in the wick or use fragrance oils that contain potentially hazardous chemicals such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, phthalates.
Many of our customers share that they love Alaskalux candles because they tend to not aggravate their allergies. For us, as candle makers, it's important that the candles you use in your home are clean and promote self-care…clean-fragrance oil and wicks are one of many ways we try to ensure you get the best quality candle possible.
Next time you find yourself in the candle aisle, maybe at the end of a long day, and you're looking for a new fragrance to add a sense of coziness and warmth to your home…remember these four questions. Even if you don't buy an Alaskalux candle, you'll be able to quickly identify a quality candle that will leave you feeling restored.
Photo courtesy of @bountyfarm