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What is a Votive Candle?

Nothing creates a sense of tranquility and calm quite like a beautiful candle display. However, with so many choices in the candle market, how can you choose the best product and candle type for your space? Let us help! 

votive candles

What is a Votive?

Votive candles are a versatile option that can spruce up any room in your home or office. Votives are small, short candles, often confused with tea light candles, but the two types vary in several ways.

While both tea lights and votive candles are smaller and easily interchangeable, tea lights come in self-contained cups. Votives, on the other hand, are often sold independently, meaning you'll need a votive container to burn these candles safely. Sometimes, votives come pre-poured into containers, which you can reuse and fill with new candles once the wax melts completely.

Tea lights are shorter, giving them minimal burn times. Votive candles come in varying heights but are often at least one inch high. Because of their larger size, votive candles have longer burn times than tea lights. 

Both tea lights and votives have a diameter of about 1.5 – 1.75". You can easily use the same candle container for both tea lights and votives.

Do I Need a Tea light or a Votive?

Deciding between tea light candles and votive candles comes down to three factors: burn time, clean up, and cost. 

First, consider the burn time of each product. Because tea lights are smaller, they will have a limited burn time, usually less than four hours. A votive candle is taller – at least one inch high – and will therefore burn longer. The choice between the two depends on your décor and the amount of time you need the candle to last. For instance, short-term uses, such as yoga classes, religious services, or ceremonies, might call for tea lights. But longer-lasting activities like weddings, receptions, meetings, or romantic dinners call for votive candles.

Next, you'll need to think about the clean up of each option. Because they come in self-contained metal or plastic containers, tea lights are easy to burn and discard without any clean up. If one tea light burns out, you simply remove the metal tin from the candle holder and replace it with another. Votives, on the other hand, melt into the container itself. Therefore, if you want to replace the votive, you'll have to melt the remaining wax and safely remove it from your candle holder. 

Finally, consider the cost. Tea lights are much more affordable than votive candles. Some clients, like religious institutions and spas, order candles in bulk. If you need a large quantity of candles, and only need each candle to last a short time, tea lights are a good option.  

Votives are more expensive per candle, but they last exponentially longer. The type of candle you need depends largely on your intended use and needed burn time.

what is a votive candle

Votive Candles and Ambiance

Candles are an easy and inexpensive way to create a warm, inviting atmosphere in any room. Votives are small, making it easy to change the color scheme, scent, or ambiance of a room quickly and simply.

Votives are popular because they are versatile and classic. Light a few in the center of a coffee table for an added bit of charm, or fill an entire room with an array of votive sizes, colors, and scents for a tranquil and relaxing experience. 

No matter the atmosphere you're trying to create, votive candles help you add a touch of class and calm to your space, whether in the bathroom or the breakroom.

Choosing a Votive Candle

Votive candles come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, and scents.

Typically, a votive candle is less than three inches tall, with a base no wider than 1.5" in diameter. However, sizes and shapes vary depending on the manufacturer.

Deciding which votive is best for your space depends entirely on your personal preference, décor style, and desired ambiance. Some people only need one or two votives to add a hint of fragrance or a simple, elegant touch. Others might choose hundreds of votives to line the walls or floors for a special occasion. Votives are the perfect addition to any décor because you can easily create and recreate different looks and atmospheres simply by adding new votives to your space. 

Votives and Containers

Votives are incredibly versatile because you can use them with nearly any décor, in nearly any space. No matter the size or feel of your space, votive candles can spruce up a room and add a touch of class.

Many votive candles come separate from a container. To prevent a waxy mess, you'll need to choose a votive holder for your candle. You can find votive holders from your favorite home goods store, purchase one at a craft market, or make your own. The options are endless, and you can reuse the same votive candles even as you change the overall décor of your home.

Another option is to purchase a pre-poured votive. These candles are already in glass containers, ready for you to light and enjoy.

Scented and Unscented Votives

Some people are incredibly sensitive to scents and therefore prefer unscented candles. Others want to use candles to incorporate aromatherapy into their home or business, or they simply want to freshen up their space with lightly-scented votives.

Choosing a fragrance for your votive is largely about personal preference. However, be aware that some manufacturers use artificially-derived scents in their products. We choose to scent our candles with 100% natural, plant-based essential oils like calming lavender, refreshing lemon verbena, and cleansing eucalyptus citrus. 

Unscented candles are ideal for those purchasing large quantities of votives. Too many scented votives in a small space can create an overwhelming aroma, negatively impacting those who are sensitive to fragrance. Likewise, restaurants or other businesses that rely on taste or smell may choose unscented candles to prevent impacting the customer's overall experience. 

scented votives

Where to Use Votive Candles

Votives are incredibly popular in a variety of locations around the world: private homes, businesses, restaurants, religious establishments, and self-care facilities. Because these candles are extremely versatile, the applications and uses are endless. 

Add a few votives to a centerpiece at the family dinner. Place lavender-scented votives in your day spa or yoga studio to create a relaxing and calming atmosphere. Or add unscented votives throughout your restaurant for a romantic ambiance. Whether you place one candle or one hundred, votives are guaranteed to add an extra flair to your area. 

Of course, candles play a large role in religious services as well. Votives offer a longer-lasting alternative to tea light candles used in some establishments. Many faith traditions light candles as symbolic gestures or sacred ritual. However, when considering what candle to use for religious practices, it's also important to consider what's inside the wax.

Why the Wax Matters

With so many options in the candle market, does it really matter which company you choose?

The short answer is yes. But don't just take our word for it.

Many candle companies manufacture votive candles with paraffin wax. Studies have proven that burning paraffin candles in your home can be harmful to your health. When researchers burned the paraffin candles and compared them to natural waxes, the paraffin candles emitted chemicals like alkans, alkenes, and toluene, all of which can be harmful to humans. Over months and years, exposure to these chemicals could lead to complications like cancer, allergies, and asthma, according to the study.

The harmful characteristics come from the source of the wax. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum, the same substance used for common gasoline. If you've ever burned a candle and noticed a thick film of black soot on the ceiling afterward, the candle was likely made from paraffin. These same chemicals that discolor walls and ceilings also make their way into your lungs.

Many consumers choose paraffin candles because they are incredibly affordable, and most consumers aren't aware of the dangers these products pose to consumers.

Plant-Based Candles

As more users learn about the dangers of paraffin wax, manufacturers are turning to safer wax sources. Beeswax, soy, and palm wax candles are all gaining in popularity.

We believe in creating candles that not only look beautiful but are also safe and healthy for our customers. That's why we use all-natural palm wax  in our votive candles, responsibly sourced in Southeast Asia. Palm wax is completely safe and does not contain any chemicals or additives.

Palm wax derives from the oil palm tree, the most effective and renewable source of palm oils. This plant produces up to ten times more oils than any other oil-producing crop, making it an excellent sustainable resource for our votive candles. 

Of course, every natural resource has its downsides, and palm oil is no exception. Consumer-driven deforestation has dramatically impacted the rainforests in Southeast Asia, home to 80% of the planet's  palm oil production. The demand for this resource is causing massive habitat loss to the animals that call these forests home, specifically the Orangutan. 

At GoodLight Candles, we recognize our responsibility to protect our planet's valuable resources. We do our part by promoting sustainable farming practices, conservation efforts, and social responsibility. 

Promoting Sustainability

Our paraffin-free, non-GMO, 100% plant-based votives support sustainable suppliers. We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment by using all-natural materials, from the palm oil used for the wax to the essential oils to the cotton wicks. Everything is designed with environmental consciousness in mind.

GoodLight is recognized by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil as a sustainable certified business. This designation acknowledges our commitment to support sustainable palm oil farmers who focus on renewable energy, wildlife conservation efforts, positive social efforts, and conservative farming practices.

We also work closely with the Orangutan Land Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the natural habitats of Orangutans in Southeast Asia. Irresponsible palm oil farming practices have threatened the Orangutan's habitat. The OLT works closely with local leaders to protect these creatures, through initiatives that protect Orangutans in the wild and in captivity. Each year, GoodLight donates 1% of our  annual sales to the Orangutan Land Trust.

Finally, we take steps, both big and small, to reduce our carbon footprint. We partner with Carbonfund.org to offset our environmental impact by planting trees, creating recyclable and compostable products, and reducing carbon emissions in our shipping process. 

Health-Conscious Votive Candles

In addition to promoting a healthy planet, we also believe your votive candles should promote a healthy home or office. While some manufacturers use toxic paraffin wax, chemical additives, and metal-trimmed wicks, we believe in providing all-natural, completely chemical-free products.

Our scented votives have absolutely no artificial fragrances. Every scent is derived from essential oils. Each candle also has cotton wicks, free of harmful dyes, or other additives.

It's our firm belief that chemicals have no place in your home, office, or place of worship. 

When Your Votive Stops Burning

While votives last longer than their tea light counterparts, there will inevitably come a day when your flame will burn out. However, votives burn in votive holders or other containers, so you'll likely need to clean out the melted wax before you can replace your votive.

To safely remove the votive wax, heat your oven to the lowest setting. Place the container on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove with oven mitts and remove the residue with a paper towel.

You can compost the leftover wax at any industrial or municipal composting program. Our commitment to environmental sustainability means nearly every part of our votive candle can be reused, recycled, or composted.

Simply replace the melted candle with another votive and keep the flames burning.

To learn more about our brand, our products, and our commitment to environmental sustainability, visit our website at GoodLightCandles.com.

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