HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW IF THE INGREDIENTS ARE NOT LISTED ?
The truth is, the majority, and I mean all except for the progressive handful, of candle companies do not tell you what is in their candle’s fragrance. Why ? They legally do not have to (see below) - and if they did, it would probably scare the crap out of you (if you dared to google the complex names).
When you see "fragrance" on a personal care product's label, read it as "hidden chemicals." A major loophole in FDA's federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name "fragrance" without actually listing the chemical.
AREN’T TRADE-SECRETS A GOOD THING ? LIKE TRADE-MARKING ?
In theory sure, but here is the thing - every big fragrance house has the ability to reverse engineer any fragrance in the world using Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometer. This is well-known and openly advertised in the industry as a way to duplicate any name brand product (as seen on the AFI website ) So “trade-secret” as a reason to not list fragrances is moot.
ARE ALL SECRET INGREDIENTS TOXIC?
Not necessarily, but how do we know if we cannot see what they are ?
Here is what we do know, the FDA does not have the authority to hold manufacturers accountable for testing the safety of fragrances before they are sold to you, and according to EWG, the fragrance industry has published safety assessments for only 34% of unlabeled (including fragrance) ingredients. Some of which have been linked to hormone disruption among other things.
WHY WOULD CANDLE COMPANIES USE THESE TOXIC FRAGRANCES ?
Because they are cheap and strong and good at masking bad odor! And consumers keep buying them! The low cost of these potentially toxic fragrances allows more room to spend on fancy packaging, good PR and marketing, i.e. more sales and better margins, all at the expensive of consumers. It’s a story we know well, the trickery of capitalism... More on ethical marketing soon.
WHAT IF THE CANDLE SAYS THEY ARE NATURAL OR ORGANIC ?
Check the ingredient label. If they say “fragrance” or don’t display all the ingredients for you to research, then don’t trust it - simple as that. The wax could be natural, but that does not mean the fragrance is, so you are still breathing in potentially harmful ingredients. At the end of the day, if a company is not fully disclosing - why would you trust it? Be aware, many articles and natural focused stores promote “natural candles” that use synthetic and undisclosed fragrances... simply because they use a good wax (nice marketing hook - but not the real deal). WE LIST ALL OUR INGREDIENTS!
THINK OF THIS
No one wants to live somewhere where the air is toxic. Right ? Our breath is life. We quit smoking, We banned cigarettes indoors, there are warnings on vape pens, we wear masks when we use toxic paints, etc... BUT so many well-intentioned consumers are still choosing to pollute their own air by burning toxic synthetic fragranced candles. She buys organic produce, uses clean beauty but still burns her _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ candle (we aren’t brand bashers.. you know the ones).
I believe it is because of a lack of knowledge, the conditioning to like strong scent, and a lack of availability of a better alternative.
I created LITE+CYCLE in 2012 to offer a truly clean, genuine and ethical option for scented candles. Made with only 100% pure plant and flower oils and total ingredient transparent. Our Pure Essential Oil Candles use only 100% pure plant and flowers oils, vegan soy wax and an unbleached cotton wick. Nothing else. Additionally we list each and every ingredient. More here.