11 Cool, Inexpensive Candle Brands You Should Know About

Spoiler: You won't find Yankee Candle on this list.
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Pinterest-bait candles that also smell good. Photo: @paddywax/Instagram

Pinterest-bait candles that also smell good. Photo: @paddywax/Instagram

In this Pinterest- and hygge-obsessed time, a dominant shopping trend — across multiple categories — is the idea of nesting. Wrapped up in the cliché of millennials choosing to stay in and watch Netflix over going out is the fact that they also seem to absolutely love stocking up on cozy home goods. Fancy-looking scented candles, evocative of oh-so-2017 self-care, play into this theme. So perhaps that's why it seems like every single millennial I know has asked me about my favorite candles over the course of the past few months.

Well, fellow millennials, I'm no traitor to my generation, so I'm here to deliver. Sure, I could suggest classic home-scent standbys — Diptyque, Byredo, Jo Malone, Le Labo, all of which I certainly love — but there's actually a whole new crop of candle brands you should catch a whiff of, for a number of reasons.

For starters, many of them are far easier on your bank account than the aforementioned companies. In fact, not one of the candles listed below costs more than $50. It also just so happens that they're all highly Instagrammable. Just saying.

Wik Studios

Reasons to love it: Well, for starters, LOOK AT THAT MIDDLE FINGER CANDLE. Every single one of Wik's candle styles — from those inspired by innocuous emojis, like the wave and cactus, to the more controversial weed leaf and one that just says "fuck" three times because why not — is just as winky and fun. The zeitgeisty, in-your-face designs are complemented by lovely, thoughtfully crafted and comparatively subtle scents.

Our favorites: Fuck You candle, $35, available at Wik Studios.
Triple Fuck candle, $30, available at Wik Studios.
Cactus candle, $35, available at Wik Studios.

Maison Louis Marie

Reasons to love it: Launched in 2013 to pay homage to the founder's French botanist ancestor, Maison Louis Marie is often pointed to as a less expensive alternative to Diptyque. The inventive floral blends and chic votives certainly carry a similar sensibility. And if Need Supply sells it, it's undeniably cool.

Our favorites: No. 09 Vallée de Farney, $34, available at Need Supply.
No. 07 Dame de Boumois, $34, available at Need Supply.

Boy Smells

Reasons to love it: Founded in 2014, Los Angeles-based indie brand Boy Smells uses a blend of beeswax and coconut oil for its candle base, which supposedly makes for a "rich" burn. With moderately priced scents neatly organized into four categories ("floral," "fruity," "herbal" and "woody"), the entire line is accessible yet fully covetable. The fact that the boxes and black glass containers happen to feature a lovely shade of Tumblr Pink is merely icing on the millennial-bait cake.

Our favorites: Kush candle, $29, available at Boy Smells.
Coin candle, $29, available at Boy Smells.
Lanai candle, $29, available at Boy Smells.

P.F. Candle Co.

Reasons to love it: Also based out of L.A. (West Coast, you have cool candles on lock), P.F. Candle Co is a range of handmade soy candles with an apothecary aesthetic. The simple amber jars and brass lids will appeal to the more rustically inclined, and the impressive array of scents is vast enough to cover almost any taste.

Our favorites: No. 28: Black Fig candle, $18, available at P.F. Candle Co.
No. 11: Amber & Moss candle, $18, available at P.F. Candle Co.
No. 04: Teakwood & Tobacco candle, $18, available at P.F. Candle Co.

Sunday Forever

Reasons to love it: Ashli Stockton initially created Sunday Forever, a line of Kimono-inspired robes, as a way of celebrating her love of Japanese culture. As the brand expanded, it also delved into home fragrances, now offering six straightforward scents with cheeky names like "Rich" and "11:11."

Our favorites: 11:11 candle, $36, available at Sunday Forever.
Rich candle, $36, available at Sunday Forever.
Morning candle, $36, available at Sunday Forever.

Basalt

Reasons to love it: Other than Tumblr Pink, the surest way to pique a millennial's interest with packaging? Make it marble! Basalt, which makes lip balms and perfumes in addition to six different candles, took that idea and ran with it. Each candle is housed in a mini metal paint can — it's the stuff of Instagram dreams. Oh, and with varieties like White Blonde (which has notes of almond, white musk and vanilla) and Saint Moss (which features cedar, moss, amber and leather), they smell heavenly, too.

Our favorites: Sweet Mimosa candle, $30, available at Basalt.
Saint Moss candle, $30, available at Basalt.
White Blonde candle, $30, available at Basalt.

Brooklyn Candle Studio

Reasons to love it: Made in small batches and hand-poured (are you noticing a theme here?), Brooklyn Candle Studio's offerings are equal parts earthy and chic, both in terms of their appearance and aroma. Scent blends include California Dreaming — which melds bergamot, mandarin and lily — and Sea Salt + Surf, which has a fairly self-explanatory appeal. And if you find a variety you become truly addicted to, you can choose to "subscribe" and have it delivered monthly

Our favorites: California Dreaming candle, $25, available at Brooklyn Candle Studio.
Lavender Amber candle, $35, available at Brooklyn Candle Studio.
Sea Salt + Surf candle, $25, available at Brooklyn Candle Studio.

Paddywax

Reasons to love it: One of the most established brands on this list, Paddywax has actually been around since the '90s. Based in Nashville, the company's inexpensive (typically between $20 and $40) yet adorably giftable candles are sold at major retailers like Urban Outitters, Nordstrom and even Whole Foods. Bonus: It also just came out with an entire "Hygge" collection.

Our favorites: Olive Tree and Thyme candle, $37, available at Paddywax.
Salted Grapefruit candle, $21, available at Paddywax.
Tobacco & Vanilla Hygge candle, $29, available at Paddywax.

Woodlot

Reasons to love it: Vancouver-based soap, skin-care and candle brand Woodlot is a small "apothecary studio" that now sells its products in more than 200 stores. Its philosophy is all about being environmentally friendly, so the candle wax is a petroleum-free coconut version that's supposed to ensure a cleaner burn. Each of the candles is understated in both its appearance and aroma — exactly the kind you'd want to light before a chill at-home yoga or meditation session.

Our favorites: Wildwoods candle, $36, available at Woodlot.
The Original candle, $36, available at Woodlot.

The Sphinx and the Priestess

Reasons to love it: If dark, trippy spiritualism is your thing, The Sphinx and The Priestess is the candle company for you. Founded in 2014 and based in (where else?) Brooklyn, the self-described "occult-driven lifestyle brand" draws on tarot, hermetic tradition and alchemical magic (sure) for its line of five ritualistic candles. If you're in the New York area, you can also stop by its "studio/coven" for a tarot reading or a crystal reiki session.

Our favorites: The Death Candle, $44, available at The Sphinx and The Priestess.
The Star Candle, $44, available at The Sphinx and The Priestess.

Catbird

Reasons to love it: Brooklyn-based jewelry boutique Catbird is behind many of our editors' all-time favorite jewelry pieces. And while it fully deserves all of the acclaim it's garnered for its dainty earrings and stackable rings, it's woefully under-celebrated for its line of candles. The collection includes six different scents; "some old, some new, all, a quixotic love letter to our quixotic city," per to Catbird's website. One whiff of the summery "Rooftop, Saturday" (with notes of orange blossom, gin fizz and bergamot) and you'll find it hard to disagree.

Our favorites: Neighbor's Fig Tree candle, $38, available at Catbird.
Rooftop, Saturday candle, $38, available at Catbird.

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