Though you wouldn’t bat an eyelash at them now, “clean” candles are a relatively new trend. Before the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of lead in candle wicks back in 2003, the poisonous ingredient ensured they’d stand up straight—yes, really. “You’d light it, and then you’d immediately be breathing in lead emissions, which would cause elevated levels of lead in the bloodstream,” explains Tara Foley, founder of Follain. Moreover, some candle brands still use refined paraffin—a petroleum-based wax that may release carcinogenic soot when burned—and synthetic fragrance, which can emit potentially dangerous VOCs.


This is why many are turning to clean candles when it’s time to cozy up for the evening. For those shopping around, Foley recommends looking for candles made from vegetable wax (like soy, beeswax, or non-GMO corn). “If it doesn’t list a plant or vegetable wax, you should assume that it’s a paraffin wax,” she explains, adding that the wick should always be cotton, and preferably organic. “If you see a wick that’s coated in a heavy coating, inquire as to what the coating is,” says Foley, noting that it could be coated in paraffin. “As a customer you have a right to ask questions. You just need to know what questions to ask.” Ahead are seven cleaner candles that are still ultra chic.

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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