Updated: Jun 3
From a candle lover to a candle maker! Consider this my Heart of Europe Candles shop origin story and mission statement in one. Here's why I'm offering unscented candles, contrary to all popular trends.
I would like to tell you about why I love candles. But not candles in general. I love UNSCENTED candles specifically. It all started years ago and is intrinsically tied with my health. I am an endometriosis sufferer (or an “endo warrior” as we like to call ourselves). If you have never heard of the disease, let me just say that it is usually a very painful condition (I am in pain for about 10 to 14 days every month) that affects about 1 in 10 women. Chances are that you know someone who has endo.
Even though it is quite difficult to “cure” the disease, it can be managed, and the quality of life of the woman with endo can be improved. It does take a lot of work though. Newest research shows that endometriosis has negative impact on the immune system, plus causes a lot of inflammation (you basically experience internal bleeding every month). In the last few years, a lot of endo awareness campaigns and initiatives cropped up (which is great!), so I will not go into more details here.
How is all this related to candles?
It is related to lifestyle. Trying to manage and improve my endo life has led me to change a lot of my habits: from a healthier anti-inflammatory diet, to better self-care (including enjoying down time and lots of sleep when I need it), to trying to avoid various toxins that can have negative effect on my health.
And that’s the gist of my story. Trying to avoid toxins as much as I can. I assume you are probably aware that there may be various unhealthy substances in our skin and body care products. After all, we are all shifting towards natural non-toxic products these days. A lot of these toxins come in the form of fragrance. When I used to be very strict about my lifestyle changes, my motto was: If you can smell it, there are toxins in it. Now, I’m not saying anyone should be that strict. At the same time, if you are struggling with a chronic health condition, you may benefit from looking into this topic a bit more.
So I shifted towards products that were all-natural (and that are becoming much more mainstream these days), including beeswax candles! When I was really strict about protecting and improving my health, beeswax was the only option available to me. And it was hard (and expensive) to get beeswax candles in Belgium! That’s why beeswax candles will always be very precious to me. I used to have them shipped from Scotland, because I had such a hard time finding a shop that would sell them in Belgium.
Are you fragrance sensitive?
The funny part is that ever since I started avoiding highly chemical products (and make no mistakes, scented candles do fall into that category – that’s why they require a European CLP label with all the chemical substances listed on the label), I grew extra sensitive to smells. Some women may remember the time when they were pregnant, and their sense of smell was heightened. It is similar for me, only it has stayed like that to this day.
The fact that I’m fragrance-sensitive does not mean that I don’t enjoy nice smelling things. I do! It means that my capacity to bear the smell is filled much faster than other people’s. I can have a scented candle on for about thirty minutes, maybe an hour, but then I need to blow it out (or dip the wick 😊 ). Otherwise, the smell becomes too overwhelming. No wonder that a lot of candle makers who create scented candles choose to wear a respirator, and still experience a lot of headaches. If it’s you, try to pay attention to what chemicals and smells are around you in your home, and what could possibly be causing your symptoms. You may be surprised.
Unscented candles that are beautiful, elegant and fun
And that’s the foundations on which Heart of Europe Candles is built. If you are someone who is fragrance-sensitive and tries to avoid these substances, you are not left with too much choice these days. In the past, you could at least buy basic pillar candles of various colours. But nowadays, the trend is shifting towards making all candles scented. I’d like to change that! I’d like to offer you a selection of candles that are non-toxic, yet elegant and fun.
I am not riding the wave of huge popularity of scented soy candles, because it’s not consistent with who I am. There is a huge array of small candle makers who offer scented soy candles. If that’s what you love, perfect! Let me know and I can give you recommendations of small candle makers I have come across here in Belgium. I can’t speak to the quality of their candles but I can point you out to several small local businesses you can try out.
If, however, you suspect that you could benefit from not overwhelming your senses, health and home with chemical fragrances, you are welcome to browse my candle selection. I will do my best to make unscented candles beautiful, elegant, interesting and fun. (I'll add an eco-conscious zero-waste approach to the mix.) They surely lighten up my home and my heart after a long day at work, without the negative effects. They can do the same for you, or your loved ones, who maybe have chronic health issues, like me.
As always, please let me know what topics you’d be interested in! You can send me an email at email@example.com, or send me a message via our Facebook page or Instagram. And share with your friends and family!
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Enjoy your candles, and until next time!