How to Pick a Candle to Fit Any and Every Mood

Updated 10/25/19

Anita Austvika/Unsplash

Candles are one of life’s simple luxuries that most of us just love to indulge in. While many of us are drawn to specific scents because of our individual preferences, there are other things you should consider before investing in a new candle—like your mood.

Fragrance is scientifically proven to have a psychological influence on you, so the candle you choose to light up could help make or break your mental state. We turned to wellness advisor and former in-house beauty and fragrance expert at Chanel, Matthew Milèo, founder of Miléo New York, to give us some tips on how to pick a candle for any mood. 

Meet the Expert

Matthew Milèo is a wellness advisor and former in-house beauty and fragrance expert at Chanel. He is also the founder of Miléo New York, a luxury skincare brand.

Stress Blaster 

lavendar candle
Chesapeake Bay Serenity + Calm (Lavender Thyme) Candle $11
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“Classic lavender scents are very soothing and calming,” explains Milèo.

candle
Parachute Dusk Candle $49
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However, if you aren’t a fan of the pungent purple flower (because he isn’t!) you can also try something with woodier notes, like sandalwood, and mix with honeyed rose florals like orange blossom, ylang yang, neroli, and jasmine. “My nerves almost take a vacation from my body and I can feel incredibly at ease within my surroundings,” he explains. 

Sleeplessness Aid 

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Brooklinen Nightcap Candle $35
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If you want to take your relaxation, Miléo suggests floral notes. “When I want to relax deep enough to fall asleep, I go for the heavier florals like white lotus, genet flower, chamomile and marigold,” he explains. “Smelling these flowers make your eyes heavy and whisper you away like a lullaby. Pair it with Oud, vanilla, and/or tobacco absolute and you’ll be zzz’ing in no time.”

Productivity-Inspiring 

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Nantucket Luxe Candles Archipelago Botanicals $42
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Sometimes we all need a little mental boost to get our productivity on. Miléo suggests looking for something that will heighten your attention and make your thoughts laser focused. “Rockrose, or Labdanum, does that for me,” he reveals. “It’s sweet smelling amber notes really enhances my concentration, which is perfect for a Monday morning when I need to be awake and start replying to emails from the weekend.” 

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Votivo Black Ginger Candle $28
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He pairs it with Buddha wood, ambrette, and ginger root, “for exceptional grounding benefits when my stress levels start to rise higher than an ocean wave at high tide.”

Mood-Boosting

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Jemma Sands Malibu Candle $68
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If you feel like life is starting to infringe on your happiness and your mood begins slipping in a downward spiral, Miléo suggests reaching for white florals like magnolia blossom, tuberose, and gardenia, to help uplift depressive tendencies. “These florals actually act on the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain to stimulate joy and pleasure,” he says. 

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Home Lights Osmanthus Amber Candle $15
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If you are feeling particularly sad or having trouble curbing a depressed mood, then he suggests Osmanthus blossom as well. “It’s honeyed apricot notes will immediately bring a sense of happiness,” he continues. “Citrus like yuzu and yellow mandarin will act like little rays of sunshine to bring some light to where it’s needed most.”

Energy-Boosting

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Boy Smells Lanai Candle $32
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If you are in need of some energy, make sure to choose a fragrance note that will help perk you up. “When I’m really looking to energize my spirits and lift my mood way into the stratosphere, I reach for pink pepper fruit to stimulate my senses,” explains Miléo. 

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diptyque Geranium Rosa Candle $65
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He himself has never been a fan of mints, so as a captivating replacement, he prefers pink pepper paired with geranium and rose (especially rose de mai), “an alluring pick-me-up that invigorates my mood with volition.” 

Feeling the Love

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Kai Skylight Candle $48
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If you want a more calmer, more love devoting mood, Miléo suggests a classic rose with soft, powdery florals with a violet note, like mimosa, violet leaf, and even lavender, which is especially conducive for bonding. 

Reflection and Introspection 

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Paddywax Rosewood & Patchouli Candle $32
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When it comes time to ponder on the meaning of life, Miléo’s first pick is rosewood, “for its deep woody rose notes.” 

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Nest Hearth Candle $42
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However he points out that is is impossibly to obtain real rosewood, as Brazil has banned all export of rosewood to help regrow the now sparse rosewood trees. “I recommend davana flower, frankincense, and narcissus flower especially,” he says. “These notes have a way of transporting you to a mediative place where your mind clears and you can see the truth of things. It’s especially powerful if you are pondering something and are in need of more clarity, and objectivity.”

Feeling Homesick 

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Homesick Southern California Candle $30
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No matter where you are from or where you are, there is a candle that can help make you feel a little more at home. Every Homesick candle is inspired by a different city, state, country (and even season!) with the idea that you can mentally transport yourself to that happy place!

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