I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of scented candles. I don’t hate them but in the past if I’ve burned a scented candle it’s usually been gifted to me. I love scents and really do believe in aromatherapy but until recently, scented candles are not my preference for incorporating scent in my home. However, like many of us, I’ve been working at home since last year so my surroundings there and the ambience that I create there have become more important than ever. I never thought scented candles would become so much apart of that but it has.
It started when one of oldest and best friends texted me asking if I knew of any Black owned candle companies. It was something I never even thought about before. So when I went to search Black owned candle companies I was surprised to find a pretty impressive list. My first purchase of a scented Black owned candle was from Posh Candle Company, which I learned about on Youtube. I love the fun, smart, and Black culture affirming names they have for their candles. That’s definitely what pulled me in. I mean how was I not buying a candle called Black Girl Magic with notes of brown sugar, coconut, honey and spice?
That candle has become my staple scented candle. It is so warm and familiar and comforting and delicious and it’s not too cloying, at least not for me. I loved this candle immediately. I’ve bought it a couple of times now in addition to a few of their other candles but Black Girl Magic is hands down my favorite. It’s also a high quality hand poured soy candle, which is important to me and is radically different than the corner store botanical bodega candles, which I have purchased for many years. They burn evenly, and don’t darken the glass like most cheap mainstream candles. My husband also has several favorites from Posh Candle Co, like Birthday Cake, Do Nothing and Chill and Allergic to Bullshit. We both ordered a bunch for ourselves, friends and family over the holidays last year.
I like to burn Black Girl Magic in my bedroom on my night stand/altar even when I’m not in the room because I love the way the scent welcomes me when come in. It inspires me, makes me feel good and is more than just a moment for me. I burn it, listen to music, sit and write or clean or declutter. It’s a whole love vibe.
Another one of my oldest friends turned me on to candles made by friend of his in Brooklyn where all good things come from LOL! Neatly Nestor Cleaning is a small, Black owned family affair, a cleaning company which includes scented candles as a part of its cleaning service package. I just purchased two candles for them a few weeks ago; Zen with notes of jasmine, patchouli and lemon and Zest (one of their most popular) with notes of lemon peel, orange and lime. Zest is the one I’m burning now and it just raises my spirits and makes me feel joyful and lifted. It’s just a joy to smell Zest, even when it’s not burning. If I keep the top off I get brief wafts of it throughout the day. I [personally love citrus notes. They have a very energetic and calming effect on me. The smell of fresh oranges, is also deeply tied to the childhood memory of having my parents make fresh orange juice for my brother and I every morning as kids. The fresh small of lemon peel (I use a lemon peel pad exfoliator in my skincare routine) and lemon oil is also a scent I love. And lastly lime gives just the right amount of sweetness to make me feel like a cold margarita might be on the way. LOL! It’s just fresh and clean and wonderful. .
The next candle company on my list to try is Harlem Candle Company. I mean the website alone is just dripping with Black Renaissance excellence and sophistication. They truly seem to fit the bill of a luxury candle and I am here for it. I love how they honor Black Renaissance artists like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin Duke Ellington, Lady Day and Josephine Baker in the names of their candles. Because I believe in the ritual of honoring of ancestors while burning candles, I can just imagine that burning them is like honoring each of the incredible artists and giving thanks for what they contributed and still contribute to culture, art, civil rights, style and much more. It occurs to me that Black people and candles are kind of a no brainer combo in terms of spirituality, creation and commerce. My mom burned and dressed candles with oils and glitter since I was a baby so candles as a form of spiritual practice and a symbol of divine presence has always been around me. However, scent in candles is something I’ve only just started to appreciate and love as a result of sheltering in place. Scented candles have become very central to making our home as cozy, inspiring and soothing as possible for as long as this goes on. And while it does seem like a phase at the moment, I do hope to continue adding more things to our living space that make our home a source of comfort, healing and restoration no matter what happens.