elevate your home and your mood

From Jo Malone London to Diptyque, welcome to your ultimate guide to the best luxury candles money can buy

The best luxury candles (be that a designer perfume candle or an aroma candle) are incredibly versatile. They are a transformative interior accessory.

Whether you want to add some ambience to your living room mantle, have a relaxing candlelit bath, or create a cosy, relaxing sanctuary at home as the seasons change, it’s a jack of all trades. They’re a mood enhancer. And they also make the perfect gifts. Either for yourself in an act of self-care, as a birthday present (we stand firm on the opinion that no one in this world could be disappointed when presented with a beautifully scented candle) and they make an ideal hostess gift to say thank you when you’ve stayed at someone’s house.

In fact, we think having a luxury candle in your arsenal is as essential as having one of the best eye creams in your skincare routine. (Yes, really.) Because although they might be deemed a little expensive, these days we need all the self-care treats we can get. Luxury candles also don’t have to cost the earth. There are so many affordable options that still deliver a little piece of luxury, without the hefty price tag.

Emma South, Jo Malone London’s Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert, had this to say: ‘Over the last two years, our homes took on a great deal of additional purposes, functioning as offices, classrooms, workout spaces. All whilst remaining the same size and at a time when we need our homes to be a sanctuary of calm. Scent has such a close relationship to memory that it influences our mood and perception in a profound yet often unconscious way. The art of home scenting is about channelling this to add to the spatial dimensions of a property, creating and delineating new spaces within an open plan area and also helping to structure the day, creating scented signals that direct us from work to leisure, day to night.’

So we thought we’d go ahead and round up the best luxury candles money can buy – because let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a minefield out there. Whether you prefer the light fragrances of clean cotton or the rich aromas of neroli and spices, we’ve got a divine-smelling candle for everyone. And if anyone asks: yes, you absolutely DO need another one.

What to look for in a luxury scented candle

When splurging on a designer candle, you want to know that it will last. Aside from this ingenious candle hack that will ensure you burn your new candle properly (and thus ensure it has a long lifespan), there are a number of things to take into account when shopping for the best luxury candles out there. Here’s what to look out for if you want to make sure it will go the distance.

Wax: The three most common types of candle wax are paraffin, soy and tallow. Though a lot of candles are made with a combination of all three, luxury candles don’t tend to contain tallow – the beef industry byproduct common in cheaper alternatives.

Paraffin is an ingredient widely present in candles, and although it’s less environmentally friendly than, say, beeswax or soy, it’s great for diffusing scent throughout a room. Where burn time is concerned, soy candles are almost unrivalled – so ensure to read the make up of a candle’s wax before making the splurge.

Wicks: Wick count can intensify a candle’s scent – so if you’re a fragrance lover, try opting for a luxury candle with multiple wicks. Most wicks are made from braided cotton, but if you’re after a lovely, crackling sound (self-care ASMR, anyone?), look for a designer perfume candle or aroma candle with a wooden wick.

Luxury candles: the must-have accessories

Boy Smells Wick Trimmer, £19 | Space NK
Wick trimmers help candles burn for longer and brighter. And a long wick also creates more soot, which in turn leaves black marks on walls. No candle connoisseur would be seen dead without a wick trimmer.

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Senior Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas, is keen to remind you to light your beautiful candles. ‘Candles are made to be burnt, not kept hidden away in a cupboard ‘for a special occasion’. These beauties serve a purpose and that purpose is to scent a room with the most heavenly smells. We’re all guilty of it. I’m in the process of moving house and I’m not lighting any of my candles until we get into the new place. But I shouldn’t do that, I want gorgeous scents now. Next time don’t question whether to light one or not. Just do it, you won’t regret it.’

With all that in mind, are you ready to shop some of our all-time favourite luxury candles? From cult classics to coveted new releases, here are the designer candles you absolutely need in your home. Team Marie Claire, who are all complete candle obsessives, took home each of the below candles and then set about deciding whether they should make the cut. They paid close attention to the burning time, the vessel and, of course, the scent.

Don’t miss our guide to the best sustainable candles, while you’re here – and happy unwinding.

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