Candlelight is such a ubiquitous and appealing part of Scandinavian-style spaces, whether minimalist city apartments or cozy country cabins. Candles warm and brighten long, dark winter nights and bring romance and ambiance to summer evening garden parties.
All this makes candles decidedly popular: Six out of 10 Danes light a candle “daily or several times a week,” according to a survey by Bolius.dk.
Unfortunately, ambiance isn’t the only thing candles can bring. Paraffin candles release harmful chemicals such as benzene and toluene. Stearin candles have a reputation as “healthy,” but in reality they can give off even more particles and pollutants than their paraffin cousins.
In terms of indoor air pollution, the material the candle is made of matters, but so does the quality of the manufacturing process.
Thankfully, there are numerous candle producers who use environmentally friendly wax and other ingredients that have minimal impact on your indoor air quality and the environment as a whole.
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel has a category for candles, so that can also help you find healthy, eco-friendly ones. (And if you’re really curious, you can get all the juicy details in About Nordic Ecolabelled Candles [PDF].)
A few small candlemakers also stand out. And there are more than five here because I keep adding. Enjoy!
Björk and Berries
Location: “deep forests of northern Sweden”
This producer of bath, body and home products describes itself as an “ecoluxury beauty brand derived from Swedish nature and culture.” The focus, as the name implies, is on birch-derived products, but they also offer a small range of scented soy candles in glass containers.
Scents include White Forest, the autumnal Dark Rain, and Never Spring, a fragrance “inspired by a longing for spring that never arrives.” This company really knows how to sell the dream…
They ship to the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland and the USA.
Location: Roslagen, Sweden
This standout candle company uses rapeseed (“canola”) wax to create their hand-poured candles. Rapeseed is a sustainable source of oil for wax and it’s available within the EU, which cuts down on pollution caused by importing soya wax.
Both scented and unscented candles are available in glass jars and as plain votives. You can choose from a wide range of scents such as blueberry muffin, clean cotton and sunshine, and winter woodland, as well as a line scented with essential oils such as rosemary, cinnamon and clove, and lemongrass. They also offer oil diffusers. International shipping is available on request.
Black+Rabbit by Chanx
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
This Etsy seller hand pours scented soy tealights in heat-safe plastic holders and larger candles in matte black glass holders with white labels for a classy, but young and fun look. Scents include Nordic forest, wild grove, woodland, and vanilla harvest. They also have an unusual feature: wood wicks. Wood wicks crackle as they burn for a calming fireplace sound.
Location: Ikast, Denmark
Another bath and body care company, Meraki offers a range of scented candles in simple white holders. Apricot and fig, and fresh cotton are two of the scents available. They ship to a selection of countries within Europe.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
In addition to their spa products, LuinSpa offers scented candles in glass containers to help you set the mood in your home spa. The red berry and pine scent is called “Because I’m…HAPPY.” I think that would make me happy, too. They deliver to all EU countries.
Location: Saku vald (near Tallinn), Estonia
The soy candles produced by Joik are promised to be true to the scent on the labels, and there are plenty of unusual scents to choose from such as Night, the spicy-floral La Boheme, the summery Strawberry and Rhubarb, and the Christmasy Apple Glögg and Hot Chocolate. Lots of vanilla scents in this line, too. The candles come in minimalist clear glass holders, and some scents are available boxed and ready for gift-giving. (Almost) worldwide shipping is available.
Soys Ecologist Candles
Location: Vejle, Denmark
Soy tealights, extended tealights, and melts are available from this company. The Log Fires and Spiced Berries scents sound especially nice for the cold season. “Notes of smoky woods creates an authentic fireplace experience – without the smoke and soot” is how the Log Fires scent is described. Perfect it you have an old, non-working fireplace you like to stand candles inside.
Duni Candles and Delsbo Candles, both based in Sweden, also have Nordic Ecolabel-qualified products, so those are worth a look if you run across them.