Turn the lights off, save on your electricity bill and create the perfect cosy night in with the best winter candles 2023 has to offer
It may seem odd to connect the world of beauty, and more specifically the best winter candles 2023, with economics but in fact, the two are inextricably linked. For example, in previous times of global recession and financial downturn the sales of lipsticks have increased, a financial phenomenon that Leonard Lauder - beauty brand guru and heir to the Estée Lauder company - coined the lipstick index. (Side note: ever wondered what the best lipsticks of all time according to beauty experts are - we found out.)
Whilst we don’t consider ourselves to be whizz financial analysts, it doesn’t seem that much of a stretch that as we face another cost of living crisis this winter and energy bills still soaring that candles are going to play an even more important role than ever before. In fact, we believe there’s never been a better time to switch the lights off and opt for a candle instead. Not only do they create the perfect ambient lighting to calm and relax but they will scent your room, and potentially your whole house, at the same time. They are the perfect accompaniment for a moment of mindfulness or meditation, for the perfect bath or simply for when you’re sitting relaxing on the sofa watching some TV.
This is why we’ve hunted down some of the best winter candles 2023 is serving up in the hope that they will bring you some happiness and joy - that is the power of a great candle.
How to care for your candles
If anyone knows how to get the most out of a candle it’s Jo Malone CBE. Follow her tips to make sure yours burns right and bright.
- Long first burn. “The first time you burn your candle, make sure you light it long enough to ensure your candle has a nice, even burn. For a regular-sized candle, you need to give it 1-2 hours, if it’s a bigger three-wick candle then that will need 2-3 hours.
- Prime position. “Make sure you burn your candle in a well-ventilated room and keep it away from drafts. After each burn, use a candle snuffer (which reduces the impact of the smoke) or blow out your candle.”
- Wick rules. “Always recentre the wick once it’s cooled down and if your candle comes with one, replace the lid. This will prevent any dust or debris from falling into your candle.
- Keep it trim. “Once your candle has cooled you will want to trim the wick, ideally using a wick trimmer or you can pinch off the excess wick with your fingers. You should always leave approximately 4mm of the wick and just remove the excess soot head from the previous burn. Keeping the wick at this length will help your candle burn evenly, prevent it from burning too fast and increase its throw (how the candle scents a room).
- Soot free. “If you notice any soot on the inside of the glass of your candle just wipe it away with a damp cloth.
- Know when to stop. “Always stop burning your candle when approximately 10mm of wax is left.
- Safety first. “You know this already, but never leave a lit candle unattended.”
16 of the best winter candles 2023
Best limited edition winter candle: Goutal Paris Christmas Candle, £83
While this is very much a limited edition - once they’re gone they are gone much like the best beauty advent calendars 2023 - this gorgeous candle proves so popular every year that it returns every year. So it is a limited edition but on repeat and has such a cult following there are those who wait for it to go on sale every year to snap it up. And it’s not hard to see why there is such a frenzy around this candle. Containing notes of pine, orange and tangerines; this is the best of winter all wrapped up and poured into a gorgeous festive red glass jar that you can then keep and upcycle for next year's festivities.
Best cosy winter candle: Neom Organics Hibernate, £50
Has there ever been a more apt name for a wintery candle than this?! This substantial three-wick candle is all things cosy and comforting and once it’s lit you will not want to go outside - and why should you? It will fill your house with creamy and reassuring notes of vanilla pod for hours on end. It is also available in a smaller travel size - and who doesn't love a travel size toiletry - should you wish to try that out first before committing to the larger version.
Best winter party candle: Discotheque Crisco Disco, £54
Planning on hosting a few soirees this party season? Then this is the candle you need to set the mood. Discotheque candles are named after famous night clubs and the energy and vibe they evoked. Crisco Disco was an iconic nightclub in the meatpacking district of New York the 70s and 80s and this candle has that slightly retro but fun and glam feel to it. There are floral notes of gardenia and frangipani that add a slightly far-flung element along with creamy vanilla and muskiness from cedar wood and suede.
Best winter candle to gift: Jo Malone London Orange Bitters Candle, £59
Whether you’ve got a tricky person to buy for this Christmas or you’re looking for something to take to a party that feels more exciting than a bottle of Chardonnay, this candle works a great gift whoever the recipient. The scent is based around a bitter orange winter cocktail and combines zesty notes of orange with the sensuality of rich sandalwood. Delicious!
Best surprising winter candle: Miller Harris Scherzo Scented Candle, £75
This beautiful candle is the newest addition to the Scherzo collection; there is already an Eau de Parfum, shower gel, hand cream and hair mist. The scent is inspired by an excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel Tender is the Night which describes the glamour of the 1930s French Riviera. It is a mix of sensual red rose, bright narcissus and a rich and deep oud base - so almost a little bit of everything which makes it quite a surprising blend but absolutely wonderful.
Best smells-like-Christmas winter candle: Ishga Sonas, £44
Meaning good fortune, prosperity and happiness in Scottish Gaelic this is a candle that smells like hope and joy all rolled into one. There are comforting notes of frankincense, cinnamon and cedar wood as well as the fresh notes of Scots pine to fill your home.
Best smells-like-the-outdoors winter candle: Bamford Geranium Christmas Candle, £35
Based on the classic geranium scent that Bamford uses to scent their dreamy spa spaces, this is a slightly more wintery version with the added notes of eucalyptus and peppermint. It smells like walking through a winter wonderland on a crisp, cold day and will bring that sense of everything great about being outdoors at this time of year into the comfort of your own home.
Best budget winter candle - M&S Apothecary Calm Scent Candle, £10
This strikes the perfect balance between being fragrant and herbal without being over-powering. It’s a mix of calming lavender with uplifting orange and an undertone of cedar wood which makes it smell a lot more expensive than what it is. It comes housed in an expensive-looking amber glass pot which you can use for storage after you’ve finished burning it, making this a brilliant budget buy.
Best multi-purpose candle: The Knude Society Melt Massage Candle, £25
The brand calls this a 2-in-1 candle but we think it’s even more multitasking than that. First up it is a candle (obviously) and it has a sultry, wintery scent of black pepper and raspberry - not too sweet and sickly but not too intense either. Then it can be used as a massage oil with a partner or it can be used on yourself as a regular body oil. This is thanks to it using natural oils such as jojoba and sweet almond as well as cocoa and shea butter which all leave skin feeling soft and supple. As the candle burns you can dip your fingers in and rub it in or wait until enough oil has formed, blow the candle out and then pour it into your hands. And finally, when you’re done with the candle it makes a super handy jug or pot. Nothing goes to waste with this candle and that is brilliant.
Best luxury winter candle - Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper, £85
If you are a fan of Molton Brown’s iconic shower gel in this very same scent then this candle is a no-brainer for you whether you’re treating yourself or asking it from someone else. If you’re not familiar with the scent then it’s spicy and peppery (as the name would suggest) and whilst it is very cosy and comforting there is also something very energetic about it. The sort of candle you might want to have lit if you’re working from home with a looming deadline or to scent your house for a night of festive partying ahead. It has three wicks, which doesn’t always mean triple the scent, but as you would expect from a British brand and powerhouse like Molton Brown, this candle does exactly that and will fill your house with its amazing scent. You are also getting a lot of candle for your buck - it weighs 600g - and will keep on burning well into 2023.
Best iconic winter candle - Diptyque 34 Saint Boulevard Saint Germain, £85
Named after the address of the very first Diptyque store in Paris, whilst there are many cult Diptyque scents this one in particular is one of those scents that may seem exceptionally familiar to you. Probably because you’ve caught a whiff of it in a fancy hotel, restaurant or friend’s house and loved it without knowing what it is. There is something comforting and soothing about it but also it has the ability to make a room or place automatically feel warmer and more inviting. There are notes of green moss and woods which give it that real wintery outdoorsy feel and then there is crushed blackcurrant and floral notes that elevate it and give it the ultimate sophisticated edge. This new version comes housed in a gorgeously frosty glass jar but there are others to choose from making it the ultimate in collector's items.
Best winter candle for Christmas - Jo Loves Christmas Trees, £55
As soon as this gorgeous red and gold candle gets burning you can smell real-life Christmas trees everywhere. It’s delicious pine with a little hint of incense and amber too. However not only does this candle look and smell good, but it also does good too. Between now and the end of the year for every candle bought, Jo Loves will donate 28p to the charity, Magic Breakfast which provides nutritious breakfasts to hungry children in schools across the UK.
Best winter candle to scent your entire home - Nest New York Wilderness Scented Candle, £45
Imagine sitting by a crackling winter fire, in a warm cosy room with your drink of choice in hand and loved ones nearby. This candle is all of those things poured into a sophisticated pinstriped glass jar. The scent is a bit smoky, a bit sexy, very warm and inviting. It’s quite heavy making it the perfect candle to burn in winter (you might find it a bit too much in warmer months). If you’re unfamiliar with Nest, this is a brand with expertise and heritage at its core. Founded and created by fragrance doyenne, Laura Slatkin who has created home fragrances for over 100 luxury brands, Laura knows how to blend scents so perfectly that you’ll find one that fits you like a piece of couture. And this home scenting know-how is why these are the candles that you can light in one room and smell in another. Perfection.
Best fashionista winter candle - Liberty Hazy Days Candle, £52
Iconic department store Liberty London is known for their prints and this winter they are imagining, via the power of candles, what they would smell like. Hazy Days is a slightly blurred and dreamlike soft floral print used throughout the store, and it’s that feeling of when you shift from reality to the ‘somewhere else’ that the scent of this candle captures. It’s calming, serene and floaty with notes of patchouli, citrus and cedar. Great for when the darkness outside feels a bit too much to cope with and you need a moment of escapism.
Best cult winter candle - Boy Smells Ash, £44
Boy Smells started as an experiment in the kitchen of real-life partners Matthew and David who wanted to created things they’d want to use on a daily basis. Top of the list? Candles with amazing scents that rejected gender norms. And so a cult brand was created that’s become a global success story and Ash is one of their best-sellers and ideal for winter. It has that smokiness that happens once a fire has gone out with a hint of sexiness thanks to vetiver and a lightness from having notes of lemon and hay in the mix. The perfect candle for a home that doesn’t have a working fireplace, but wishes it did.
Best philanthropic candle - Good Candles Reading Books, £35
With Pat Butcher as his biggest inspiration and the need to create something meaningful during lockdown that would make his daughter proud as his motivation, marketing genius Olly created Good Candles. A candle company with a difference. There are currently five candles (with more to come) on offer and each gives money back to amazing causes such as food banks, suicide prevention and planting more trees across the world. The company’s tagline is ‘setting fire to money never felt so good’ and we couldn’t agree more. If you’re looking for a cosy candle for winter, or you simply want to buy something that will make you feel good in every sense, then Reading Books, which has that amazing old book smell, is a great place to start where at least £3 for every candle bought will go to The National Literacy Trust.
Best niche brand winter candle - To The Fairest Élan Vital, £45
Named after the philosophical notion that élan vital (life force) encourages change and creativity this is a candle that is uplifting, happy and hopeful - something that we all need more of right now. It is described as a woody scent but we think it feels lighter and fresher than a traditional woody scent maybe thanks to the lily of the valley note. And this is a candle that comes from a brand making choices to reduce its impact on the world. The entire supply chain is based in the UK to reduce carbon footprint, they run a limited production minimising waste and prioritising quality.