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Whether you’re searching for a host present or looking to share a scent with a friend, candles are an incredible and thoughtful gift, as they can help turn a blank space into a cozy and welcoming environment. Unfortunately, many traditional candle formulas can be problematic for our homes and our health.

First of all, the base ingredients of a candle are important—conventional candles are often made from a base of paraffin, or petroleum, a nonrenewable source that can contain carcinogenic substances. When petroleum burns, it can release those substances, including black soot, into the air. So, instead of refreshing your space, paraffin candles add to the potential toxins in your home.

Also important is what the scent of a candle is made from. Often, “fragrance” is a mixture of potentially hazardous chemicals that contain phthalates, or industrial chemicals, that have been linked to organ damage. It may seem like you’re inhaling a calm and soothing scent, but if it’s coming from a synthetic fragrance, it could be doing more harm than good.

That’s why we love candles based in coconut or soy wax, which burn cleaner, don’t release toxins into the air and release less soot when lit. Our selection of all-natural scented candles from brands like Woodlot and Red Flower also stay away from synthetic fragrance or fragrance oils entirely, utilizing essential oils, herbs and botanicals to create mood-elevating, home-enhancing scents instead. These are wonderful candles for gifting, as they’re safer, they help provide a space with scent-sual depth and they last longer than paraffin candles—so your gift keeps giving, over and over again.

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