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Snapdragon blog

Things you should know about candles - wax and fragrance.

autumn candle

Autumn is here and with it the drive to snuggle up, hunker down, get the jumpers and cosy blankets out and light a few candles.

That early part of autumn, all woodsmoke and conkers, is one of my favourite times of year and I used to go overboard with cheap Ikea candles all along the windowsills and tea lights everywhere.

It was full on Hygge at my place.

Then I read about what chemicals are actually given off by paraffin wax candles and I stopped all that.

Instead I did what I am trying to do with everything in my life, I slowed down, I paid attention and I changed my habits.

Instead of burning cheap, disposable, chemically candles I bought high quality soy wax candles - they burned more cleanly. Instead of fragrance oils I chose ones with high quality essential oils only.

If I'm going to burn candles next to my bed, or in the bathroom, or snuggled up reading a book then I want them to be adding to my wellbeing - not clogging up my lungs!

What is the difference between soy wax and paraffin wax?

  • Soy wax is a vegetable wax whereas paraffin wax is derived from petro-chemicals.
  • Soy wax burns cleanly, paraffin wax gives off a sooty residue along with air borne chemicals which have been categorised as carcinogenic by many countries.
  • Soy wax is bio-degradable, paraffin wax is not - you can clean out the container of a soy wax candle by washing it in hot water, you don't need to chip out the wax. In the same way spills are easily cleaned up with soap and hot water.
  • Soy wax burns for longer than paraffin wax and also releases fragrances more easily so is better value.
  • Soy wax can only be used easily for poured candles - such as our copper lidded pots - it doesn't work for pillar candles.
  • Soy wax is more expensive to buy.

autumn candle

What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils?

  • Essential oils are created by steam distilling plant matter - flowers, bark, plants etc. - they are 100% pure and related to the natural world. Fragrance oils are synthetically created to smell 'like' certain things like 'chocolate' or 'fresh linen' - most of them are derived from petrochemicals.
  • Essential oils contain the plant compounds which create beneficial effects - lavender is calming, lemongrass energising. Fragrance oils simply smell nice, they will not have a positive physical effect.
  • Essential oils are very expensive due to the process, fragrance oils are much cheaper.
  • Essential oils are natural and tolerated well, fragrance oils are not natural and can aggravate asthma and other lung problems.

So when I decided to create a range of candles for Snapdragon it made sense to have ones which I would happily burn in my own home.

That is why I decided to collaborate with Julie from The Melt Pool - an artisan candle company based in Glasgow - who uses only the best quality soy wax and 100% essential oils.

If you care about what you are breathing in - especially if you or anyone in your home is at all asthmatic - I would say always double check what is in the ingredients of any candles you light around your home.

I was quite shocked when I looked into the ingredients of many of the incredibly expensive branded candles I had been burning in my bedroom - they may have looked swish and smelled lovely but they were sending a streak of chemical soot right up my wall.

You can find out more about the subject here

The candle here is our Autumn Meadow candle, now available over here either as a one off purchase or as part of a yearly subscrition (4 candles)

autumn candle

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Part of that is getting all my fabrics out of the boxes in the shed/garage/attic where they were banished while the space was a production workshop.⁠⠀
⁠⠀ I was wondering whether you would be interested in seeing it as a work in progress, in all its unfinished mess? ⁠⠀
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Or whether you like to just see the pretty finished, tidied, end result?
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Since then that’s pretty much what we’ve done too. 
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I shall be bringing some snowdrops into the house to appreciate them in the dry. ⠀
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I shall be taking a flask of soup⠀
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This weekend I head down to London - to see my girls and to watch the inspirational @marychapincarpenter sing at The Cadogan hall.⁠⠀
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Snapdragon Life continues - just with fewer coffee cups on the rack.⁠⠀
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I wrote about the story of Snapdragon for a newsletter that goes out this morning and now I'm packing up my train snacks, walking the dog and am headed off to spend time with the people I love best in the world.⁠⠀
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(you can also catch a lot of the story in an episode of @me_and_orla's Hashtag Authentic podcast that was broadcast last year)⁠⠀
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About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

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