Kindling Clean Light- By Gina Dostler
Seemingly overnight, Christmas lights now outline roofs and trees, giving night a special glow. The declaration is everywhere – Santa is on his way. Many homes prepare for December celebrations with family gatherings and holiday parties highlighting good food and a comfortable home.
But a home isn’t complete without the wonderful holiday scents of pungent pine or savory spices found in burning candles.
Candle makers Romely and Josh Levezow’s Makana Candles conjure a special kind of soy candles with exquisite scents. Romely’s passion for creating eco-friendly and clean-burning candles began after a medical scare prompted her to look into holistic alternatives, organic eating and green living. After two years of extensive research and experimenting with a multitude of natural waxes, wicks, fragrances and essential oils, she developed the cleanest burning wax and fragrance formulations. Her husband Josh, a sculptor and digital artist with an interest in Polynesian culture, created distinctive packaging and designs. Their collections draw inspiration from diverse sources as vintage Hawaiian fabric prints, old world chocolate labels, and the natural beauty surrounding their Laguna Beach candle studio. Josh presented some interesting facts to consider before venturing out to purchase candles for the holidays.
Q: Not all candles are created equal?
A: Both Romely and I did a lot of research on all the different candles available on the commercial market and the majority of traditional candles were particularly toxic in all aspects from the paraffin used to the wicks, dyes and fragrances. Burning paraffin wax is essentially toxic to our health. Paraffin is derived from petroleum and when scented with synthetic fragrances derived from petroleum as well, the air in the room gets filled with chemicals such as cancer-causing toluene and benzene and hydrocarbon chemicals called alkanes and alkenes, which are components of gasoline. We found that even the high-end candles sold in department stores still contained some toxicity to them. Unfortunately there is no regulation for candles and even though the label might say it is soy, it may contain as little as 25 percent, the rest mixed with other waxes. When we decided to make candles it was essential to us to not only make them green but to create an optimal candle that hits both ends – healthy and beautiful.
Q: What are the ideal ingredients?
A: We use 100 percent soy candles, essential oils and fragrances that do not contain paraffin, phthalates, dyes, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, inhibitors, enhancers, preservatives or harmful metals. We are very aware that phthalates can interfere with the body’s hormone system so the fragrances we use do not contain them. Soy wax has many benefits — it’s a sustainable source, 100 percent plant-derived, which makes it non-toxic and biodegradable. It burns cleaner and because it burns at a lower temperature it gives much less soot than ordinary candles. Soy candles also last 50 percent longer than the typical paraffin candle and is very soft, which makes it easy to clean. Just wash with warm water and dish soap. Soy wax candles produce a lovely scent that is not too strong or overpowering
Q: It’s okay to use fragrances for a non-toxic candle?
A: Our fragrances are composed of phthalate-free premium fragrance oils blended with pure essential oils. Quite often, perfumes and fragrance oils contain toxic chemicals called phthalates, which are also commonly used in plastics, paints, building materials, electronics, glues and abrasives. Various studies show that phthalates are linked to birth defects, neurological disorders, diabetes and cancer. We choose to only use fragrances that don’t contain this toxic chemical. Unfortunately, using only essential oils aren’t the best oils to scent candles. Because of their natural state, essential oils evaporate quickly, especially in heat, thus not making their scents last in a candle. That’s why we use a blend of fragrance and essential oils. After all, what is the purpose of a scented candle if you can’t smell and enjoy its fragrance?
Q: Soy candle care?
A: Before lighting a soy candle it’s essential to trim the wick to ¼ inch. To burn your candle evenly, always try to burn the candles at least one hour for every inch in diameter. So for a 4” diameter, burn it for approximately 4 hours, or at least until the entire top layer of the candle has liquefied. Let the candle cool for at least an hour, trim wick and re-light. To discard excess wax, pour out in a trashcan or similar container. Soy wax burns at a low even temperature that won’t burn a whole in the plastic. Never pour wax down sink drains.
Q: What holiday scents do you have in your collection?
A: Our Cranberry Clove captures the fragrance of fresh cranberries lighted with orange peel, cinnamon and clove. The Orange Pomander reflects the centuries-old tradition of using fresh citrus, clove and spices to perfume the air. Pine and spruce in White Fir can bring the mountain air straight into a yuletide gathering.
Josh andRomely Levezow,
PO Box 9035,
Laguna Beach, Calif.,92652