People have turned to candles as a source of magic and illumination for thousands of years. According to the National Candle Association, the first candles were made by the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, the Chinese, the Japanese, and other early civilizations. Candles, of course, were beloved not only for their emanating light, but for their usage in religious celebrations.
Today, we fill our homes with candles for not only aesthetic purposes, but to symbolize rest, peace, and brighter times ahead. During the long, cold nights of autumn and winter, candles remind us that the darkness won't last forever. As we light our candles, a sort of ritual act begins; a dancing flame represents much-needed downtime, or it transforms a space into something sensual, fun, or welcoming to guests. Candles also allow us to bring in the elements in a controlled way — to call on fire and its very real power.
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Scented candles, in particular, add a layer of depth to that magic — especially since scent can tell a story by invoking memory and emotion associated with each note. Just like vanilla invokes warmth and sensuality, citrus scents call on the brightness and energy of sunlight. Candles also make great gifts, especially when they tell a tale and are handcrafted with love and intention.
Every candle has something to say — especially the ones lovingly made by the following candle creators.
Marvel + Moon, founded by poet Trista Edward, makes small-batch candles steeped in poetry and magic. Inspired by mythology, folklore, and the natural world, the candles are adorned in crystals and herbs, and may even contain other intriguing tiny treasures like buttons, moss, or coins.
Edward tells Hunker that candles can transport us: "With candles, the simple act of lighting it and the power of the scent transforms your surroundings and makes it feel different — magical. To me, this is a form of storytelling within the home. How do I want to feel tonight? Where do I want or need to go? What is the setting I want to create for myself? Choosing a candle can be a very creative thing."
These are perfect for fragrance lovers who seek intentionality, magic, and aesthetic AF candles.
With candles named Black Girl Magic, Dear Book Hoarder, and "Just Made A Man Cry, Posh Candle Co sets the tone in any room. With sleek, fun designs and beautiful aromas, these candles are perfect for both home decor and gift-giving.
Even cooler, Posh Candle Co is a one woman-owned candle company, run by Tay Watts, whose mission is to inspire women to tap into their authentic selves. In fact, the company gives back to other women and entrepreneurs by supporting organizations and projects with a similar calling. As Watts says, the company's mission is to encourage a "positive mindset, promote self-love, and spark laughter."
Nightwork Candle is woman-owned and designed with the poetic in mind, each candle conjuring a forgotten time, a melody, a mood, or a half-remembered daydream. With candles that invoke the sensual and the mystical — like Velvet Heart or Pink Milk — these feel especially indulgent. From grapefruit and bergamot to black rose and dark plum, their fragrances will whisk you away.
Nightwork Candle tells Hunker, "I'm inspired by art and emotion. Rather than creating a candle that is reminiscent of a certain place, I wanted to create them around different personalities and moods. Whether it's playful or more deep and introverted, I love to weave bits of nostalgia with emotions that inspire whatever the occasion is."
Ignite Your Peace is all about bringing good vibes into your space and letting everything else melt away. With scents of sage, oakmoss, eucalyptus, and lavender, these candles will fill your room with clean, transformative scents traditionally used to remove negative energy. After a long day, light one up and feel the shift.
As founder Kierra Bussey explains to Hunker, it's important to create candles that tell a story of protection and strength. About their Divinely Protected candle, Bussey says, "Considered a symbol for good fortune or protection from the power of any evil or negative energy, our 'evil eye' candle is a welcoming addition to any space — to cloak you and your space with divine protection."
Ignite Your Peace also makes more masculine scents with their brand 7Balanced.
Harlem Candle Company has a knack for eye-catching, deliciously luxe candles. Taking inspiration from the rich culture of Harlem, New York, lighting up one of these candles calls on the mood and magic of the neighborhood and its jazz history. Their Nightclub Map of Harlem ceramic candle, for example, features their "speakeasy" scent, which is a heady and intoxicating blend of dark chocolate, palo santo, pimento berry, and tobacco leaves. With the strike of a match, you'll be transported to 1930s Harlem, where you'll be whisked into a speakeasy to dance all night.
This dreamy escapism is found in all of their scents, like their botanical Dream candle, which evokes the art, music, and poetry of the Harlem Renaissance.
Oh Comadre's candles "celebrate life through a Latina eye." From candles that look like tres leches to candles that smell like abuelito's hot chocolate, these olfactory items tell a story of family, home, and familiar cultural scents. With colorful, fun designs (like their Vicks VapoRub-inspired candle), these candles are sure to spice up any home.
"I wanted a candle to represent my culture and celebrate life through a Latina's eyes in hopes to evoke emotion, comfort, and/or a lovely memory," Oh Comadre's founder, Marcella Gomez, writes on her shop's About page.
7. D.S. & Durga
Founded by husband and wife duo David and Kavi Moltz, the D.S. & Durga brand believes that "a great scent is a world you can return to over and over — a keyhole into another realm." This ethos can be seen in their fascinatingly specific candle scents that will make you ask questions like, "What does concrete smell like after lightning?" and "How do you capture the scent of a portable fireplace?"
With notes ranging from diesel smoke and papyrus to butter and pastry, D.S. & Durga's candles allow you to travel through time and space, in both real and fantasy worlds. Just one sniff is all it takes.