The 10 Best Scented Candles for Creating a Serene Space
The relaxing aromas have kept me going on even the toughest days of 2020.
Six months ago, I started working remotely from my couch when the coronavirus pandemic began. I thought I’d be sharing this cozy workspace with my dog for a few weeks and wanted to create an ambiance of relaxation and zen, so I lit a candle and enjoyed the aroma as I settled into my temporary home office. Because I was home all of the time, I quickly burned through my first candle, and after a few days, I promptly moved on to another.
Since then, I’ve gone through dozens of candles, and on most days, they play an important role in keeping me sane. While some people resorted to at-home workouts, eating healthy, and meditation, striking a match in the morning and blowing a candle out before bed has been the only constant forms of self-care I’ve practiced since March. And, IMHO, even small acts such as this can be enough just to survive the day-to-day. (Related: Why I Bought My Own Tibetan Singing Bowl for Meditation)
After the reality of the pandemic set in, my anxiety started to grow, so I turned to one of my all-time favorite brands (and a recurring character on my coffee table) for comfort: Bath and Body Works. The Fresh Balsam Candle (Buy It, $25, bathandbodyworks.com) — which always gets me into the holiday spirit, thanks to notes of balsam, eucalyptus, fir, and cedar wood — burned and calmed me as I sat in front of my TV, glued to the news. I’ve since burned through nine of the brand’s candles, each recorded alongside every other candle I’ve gone through (with my thoughts on the scents) in a series I call Quarantine Candle Reviews, which can be found on my Instagram highlights.
Other candles from Bath and Body Works, such as Winter (Buy It, $25, bathandbodyworks.com), which washes over you like a cup of mulled wine (due to the spiced clove, pine needle, and sparkling clementine scents), and most recently, the autumn staples Pumpkin Apple (Buy It, $25, bathandbodyworks.com) — that seemingly fills your home with the smell of fresh baked pies with a hint of cinnamon — and Leaves (Buy It, $25, bathandbodyworks.com) have gotten me through pandemic-induced panic attacks, periods of depression, and even the passing of my dog, who I had prayed would live to keep me company through this. (Related: How My Lifelong Anxiety Has Actually Helped Me Deal with the Coronavirus Panic)
I relied on the coconut and soy wax blend Otherland Rattan Candle (Buy It, $36, otherland.com), which features sandalwood, golden amber, and warm musk and reminds me of the transitional time between winter and spring and new beginnings, to help boost my mood as the days warmed up. I also lit the Homesick New York City Candle (Buy It, $34, homesick.com) when I was feeling ~extra~ nostalgic, reminiscing on the days I took the train into the city from my apartment across the river. The satisfying scent captures spring in Central Park with notes of bergamot, lemon, jasmine, concrete, water lilies, and oak moss.
Molton Brown’s Orange & Bergamot Three Wick Candle (Buy It, $75, moltonbrown.com) transported my mind to one of my happy places — the spa — and brought serene vibes into my space with fragrant bergamot, mandarin and lemon. And I'll now always associate the cheerful yellow of the DW Home Wild Honey Nectar Candle (Buy It, $23, amazon.com) with the hectic-but-happy first week with my new puppy, Freddie, who loves to pose with my candles (when they’re not lit, of course). (Related: This Jacket Will Help Calm Your Dog’s Anxiety During Thunderstorms, Fireworks, and Travel)
I’ve even experimented with candles embedded with crystals in hopes that they spread good energy, including the Wakeheart Healing Candle (Buy It, $36, wakeheart.com), which smells like a fresh breath of mountain air and features clear quartz, a known universal healer. I've also tried the Scented Quartz Candle (Buy It, $55, amazon.com) by beauty expert Joey Healy, and love how it smells exactly like his brow studio in Greenwich Village — an intoxicating mix of musky amber and French rose. (Related: 11 Celebrities Who Swear By Crystals for Good Luck, Positive Energy, More)
These (and so many other) carefully crafted fragrance combinations have eased my mind and my soul during these uncertain times, and I’m so thankful for the privilege of working from home as I enjoy these little luxuries. Whenever I sit on my couch with my laptop perched on my legs for the next few months — or even for another year — you’ll find me with a soothing candle nearby.