The Great 2021 Candle Debate

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Long before we started spending so much time at home back in March 2020, we at Hunker have been fans of candles. Their scents transport us, whether around the world or to a bygone era of our lives. In 2021, we saw candle DIY kits, trendy candle shapes, and lots of small biz candle makers. Not only do candles add a sense of coziness to the home, but they also do wonders in the aromatherapy world.

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But not everyone loves the scented variety. Imagine our surprise when we saw a comment on a post about candles in the Hunker Design Club on Facebook: "I hate scented candles! : )))"

Turns out there are ​many​ reasons why people don't like scented candles! For starters, there are those with sensitivities to fragrances, meaning certain scents may induce headaches, congestion, and watery eyes, among other symptoms. And there are, of course, certain smells that many people dislike. (And our pets are sensitive to fragrances too!)

There's also a contingency of folks worried about harmful chemicals that might be emitted by the burning of scented candles, particularly ones made of paraffin wax with artificial fragrances. This became even more of a topic during a year when many people still worked from home — and sometimes enjoyed lighting a candle to make a cozier vibe.

But a recent story in ​The New York Times suggests that while burning scented candles might release ​some​ toxins into the air, it does so in such small amounts that it wouldn't be detrimental to your health. As the article reports, it's still important to make sure you have good airflow while you burn your favorite scent.

Of course, if you'd prefer not to take any risks at all, we totally understand! In that case, so long as you don't have a fragrance intolerance, you might want to opt for a non-toxic candle made of soy or coconut wax with a wood wick. Plus, you can even find ones with all-natural perfumes, so you can still enjoy some aromatherapy — just be sure to check the labels closely.

We don't see the cozy effect of candles — scented or not — going anywhere next year. Pinterest's 2022 predictions include "emotional escape rooms," with search volume spiking for keywords like "home massage room" and "tiny library room." The company points out that candles will likely play a big role in these environments.

So whether you prefer scented or unscented — or no candle at all! — 2022 is all about embracing what makes ​you​ feel cozy.

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