On the surface, the term "luxury candle" denotes elegance, exclusivity, and craftsmanship -- but that’s far from all. There are important qualities, both tangible and intangible, that make a candle a luxury candle.
Whether you’re venturing into the world of luxury candles for the first time or looking for a special gift for someone who appreciates the finer things in life, you might be wondering: just what is a luxury candle and what makes it different from any regular candle?
WHAT MAKES A LUXURY CANDLE?
Merriam-Webster defines luxury as “something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary.”
When candles were first invented over 5,000 years ago, they fulfilled a basic need for light and warmth. But nowadays, the pervasiveness of incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, and LEDs have all but made the original purpose of candles obsolete. Today, most people love to buy candles for 3 main reasons: decor, ambience, and aromatherapy.
Modern candles are indeed a luxury in this sense, but not all candles are luxury candles. If you're wondering what makes a true luxury candle, here are some qualities that set them apart from regular household candles..
1. THE FRAGRANCE
A luscious, specially-curated blend of fragrance oils is what creates the intoxicating aromas that entices and attracts people to luxury candles.
General store-variety candles usually come with one or two basic scents, making them overpowering and one-dimensional. In comparison, luxury candles contain a symphony of scents, balancing a combination of top, middle, and bottom fragrance notes that harmonize with one another to create a full-bodied olfactory experience.
2. THE WAX
Great wax makes great candles. The type of wax filling the container determines how long a candle lasts and the way its scent is released.
Most candles use paraffin, the most inexpensive type of wax. Although paraffin is suitable for holding fragrance and color, it tends to create soot as it burns. It’s also not very eco-friendly, as paraffin is a non-degradable byproduct of petroleum.
Luxury candles tend to use higher-end alternatives to paraffin, such as coconut wax, beeswax, and soy wax. For example, our candles are made with natural soy wax, which burns less quickly than paraffin and allows you to savor the ambience and aroma up to 50% longer. Soy wax is also a wonderful fragrance carrier that doesn’t require chemical amplifiers to give your candle a strong, well-balanced scent throw.
3. THE WICK
Candle wicks might seem like a modest, inconsequential piece of a candle, but the choice of wick actually makes a huge difference in the way a candle burns and fills a room with fragrance.
With a luxury candle, you can expect a clean burn at a consistent, moderate temperature that gives you the perfect, no-hassle experience. The right wick makes all of that happen.
The thickness of the wick, its material composition, and the way it’s braided (or not) are all meticulously designed to complement the size of the candle, the type of wax, and each particular blend of fragrances.
4. THE CONTAINER
The container is the “face” of a luxury candle.
Unlike the common, mass-produced varieties of candles, a luxury candle is designed to be as much a treat for our eyes as it is for our noses. The material, color, weight, and design all play a role in creating a holistic sensory experience that tells a multi-faceted story.
Each luxury candle brand takes its own approach to container design; some feature interesting geometric shapes, while others use hefty, high-quality materials.
At the Harlem Candle Company, we spent months carefully choosing the perfect candle glasses to craft an appearance and hand feel that pays tribute to the classic, elegant style of the Harlem Renaissance.
5. THE PACKAGING
Packaging also plays an important role in setting luxury candles apart, especially when presenting them as a meaningful and memorable gift for loved ones.
Companies invest a significant amount of time, effort, and money into crafting purposeful, high-quality packaging that lays down a proverbial red carpet for the luxury candle inside.
The colors, shapes, materials, and storytelling elements come together to create a memorable first impression of the brand and helps build anticipation for what’s to come.