We know what you must be thinking:
“Burning a candle seems like a pretty simple task. Why would I need an entire guide on how to do it? And is there even a wrong way to burn a candle?”
Well, let us be the first to tell you that the answer is… yes! Getting a bold, beautiful flame from your candle takes more than just the flick of a lighter. We might even go so far as to say there’s a delicate science behind lighting a candle just right! Those who have mastered it can attest that their candles burn brighter, longer, and more evenly to boot. If you’ve ever been frustrated by your candles’ longevity — or lack thereof — it would be helpful to assess how you’re lighting the candle to begin with.
Without further ado, here’s how to properly light your Slow North candles.
Lighting A New Candle
So you’ve just unpacked your mystifying Midnight Garden candle (or perhaps the invigorating Grapefruit + Spearmint?) You’ve found the perfect place for it in your home and you’re ready to let its natural, inviting scent fill the room.
But don’t grab the matches just yet. In order to set your candle up for success, you’ll want to trim the wick a good 3 millimeters (about ⅛ inches) before you light it.
Trimming the wick is an important first step because it prevents the flame from burning too high, which is essential to keeping an even burn throughout the candle’s lifetime. The best way to trim the wick is investing in a proper wick trimmer, which makes the trimming process quick and painless.
Once you’ve trimmed the wick, you’re ready to light the candle. On the first burn, you’ll want to keep it lit long enough to liquefy the entire top layer of wax, which could take between three and four hours — less if your candle is smaller. Doing so ensures an even burn and keeps the candle from tunneling, which is when only the center burns straight down and leaves a ring of wax around the edge. All soy wax candles have a "memory," meaning the next time you light the candle, it will only burn as wide as the time before, so be sure to get the entire top layer liquified before extinguishing the flame!
We also always recommend burning your candle away from drafts or wind as they can agitate the flame.
Continuing To Care For Your Candle
You’ve let your candle burn for a few hours and are ready to put it out. Your first instinct might be to blow out the flame, but that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. (Totally acceptable for birthday candles, though!)
Instead, place the bell of your candle snuffer from your candle care kit gently over the flame until it goes out. This will prevent the wick from smoking and will keep the scent of the essential oils fresh in the room.
That’s it! The next time you want to light your candle, simply trim the wick again, burn for a few hours, and then snuff the flame out. In between burns, be sure to keep the candle free of any dust or wick debris that might fall in from the wick trimmer. This will help ensure an even and smoke-free burn.
Not only will properly lighting and taking care of your candles help them last longer, but it will protect the integrity of their scent. You’ll avoid filling the room with smoke and get the most out of your purchase.
Slow North candles are proudly made from natural essential oils, which means no paraffins or other toxins. Haven’t gotten a chance to find your perfect scent yet? Check out our ultimate guide to buying natural candles here!
Cecilia is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She writes largely about sustainability, especially as it applies to beauty, wellness, and the future of technology. She is a graduate of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is based in Oakland , CA.