Are Scented Candles Toxic? The Truth

Doom scrolling again? We’ve been there.

If you’ve stumbled on a theory that your favorite candles might be filling your home with unnecessary toxins, take a deep breath. Your favorite scented candles aren’t going to kill you, but it is important to know which options might be better for your health than others.

At Snif, we know the ins and outs of a healthy burn and have purposefully curated our candles with non-toxic, vegan ingredients to remove the scaries from your candle browsing. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to non-toxic candles. 

Your Burning Questions Answered

I’m Freaking Out: Is Candle Wax Bad for You?

When it comes to candles getting a bad rep, paraffin wax is typically the number one reason. Paraffin wax is a cheap way to make candles that can amplify fragrances and boost burn times, which is a reason why other companies opt for paraffin candles.

While Paraffin can be a more affordable option for candle production than alternatives like beeswax candles, it comes with a long list of other costs. Here’s the gist: 

  1. Paraffin is the leading cause of indoor air pollution, containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like toluene, benzene, phthalates, and formaldehyde. We don’t know about you, but we like being able to pronounce the ingredients in our candles.

  2. Paraffin is also a by-product of petroleum emissions. That’s right, diesel fuel — like the stuff you put in your car and likely don’t want to be inhaling at home. 

  3. Paraffin is scraped right out of environmentally harmful oil refineries all over the world, causing a number of issues for the Earth.

At Snif, we know that’s a list of issues we don’t want to be a part of. The type of wax used by candle manufacturers matters, since VOCconcentrations and petroleum can affect your indoor air quality. 

That’s why every Snif candle is 100% paraffin-free and instead made with a clean blend of soy wax and vegetable wax. You know, ingredients you actually recognize. 

Moral of the story: Stay away from paraffin candles when you can, and it’s likely worth the splurge to invest in vegetable wax, coconut wax, palm wax, or soy candles. 

Okay, Are Scents in Candles Bad for You?

Alright, we have wax covered — let’s talk about the scents and fragrances used in candles. This one’s a little less scary thanks to the International Fragrance Association, the global representative body of the fragrance industry. 

One of the IFRA’s main objectives is to represent the industry's collective interests and promote the safe use of fragrances, from candles to diffusers and everything in between. They do this by managing the safety of use and self-regulation of ingredients in the perfume industry, like synthetic fragrances, essential oils, and dyes.

While the IFRA does not legally regulate products like the FDA, it partners with major fragrance houses and companies to ensure these standards are met. Following the IFRA's code of practice establishes the basic rules of good practices for manufacturing and using perfumery ingredients, such as fragrance oils.

At Snif, we partner with top-tier fragrance houses to create our fragrances and candle scents to the IFRA’s standards. When shopping for candles, check if the company and fragrance products are FRA-compliant fragrance to ensure it is safe for the intended use. 

What’s the Deal With Candle Wicks? 

Picking the right wick is a more simple decision, as most wicks are safe for you to use. The #1 thing to do is beware of metal core wicks, such as lead-core wicks. 

Luckily, your chances of coming across these wicks in modern candles are close to none as they were banned in the US years ago by the National Candle Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

Personally, we opted for cotton wicks at Snif for a guaranteed clean and more even burn. 

Got it! Now, How Do I Find the Right Candles? 

Let’s take it home, shall we? No, your favorite scented candle isn’t going to kill you slowly. Still, you can make candle-buying decisions that are better for the earth and for your general wellbeing. 

Here are the top two things to do when shopping for non-toxic candles: 

  1. Look out for paraffin in the ingredients (typically on the bottom of the candle) and beware of other unknown chemicals that might cause health problems. 

  2. Opt for vegan, cruelty-free natural wax blends like soy and vegetable wax which will be healthier for you and better for the environment 

Burning candles shouldn’t be stressful. Snif is dedicated to creating only vegan, cruelty-free, preservative-free, and paraffin-free candles that follow industry clean standards. 

With Snif candles you’ll have hours of safe candle burns when trying to hype up your work-from-home space or create the right ambiance for canceling Saturday night plans. Whether you want your home to smell like an ocean oasis or a South Carolina summer night, Snif has got you covered.

Well, look at you — you’re basically a candle connoisseur. Now, candle shopping will be a total breeze.



Study: Some Types of Candles May Pollute Indoor Air | CNN

Helping You To Enjoy Fragrance With Confidence | The IFRA Standards

The Food Chain's Weakest Link: Slaughterhouses | The New York Times

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