When it comes to candles, I’m incredibly specific about placement. Each zone of my home must have a distinct scent profile that matches its energy. My living room, for example, should smell warm and inviting, so I reach for candles with woody notes (a recent standout was Boy Smells Cedar Stack), while my room needs to smell luxurious and a little sexy. There, I’m currently burning Harlem Candle Co.’s Renaissance, which has notes of palo santo, bourbon, and dark chocolate and smells like I make more money than I do. My system works for me, so much so that I had convinced friends, family, and a few of my Instagram followers that this was the way to do things — but then I got my hands on Alicia Keys’s Soulcare candle a year ago, and suddenly I wasn’t so sure.
I came across this candle when the brand launched in September of 2020, when Keys Soulcare sent me the candle along with its moisturizer and onyx face roller. I was immediately drawn to the simple-but-sleek packaging: a black votive with a black sticker that says Keys in a pretty serif font. Then I took a sniff. I was intrigued by the warm, slightly sweet, creamy scent. It immediately called to mind the reception area of a fancy yoga studio, the kind that doesn’t try to burn incense in the hopes of seeming authentic. At the time, I was on the hunt for a lighter scent, something that would set the tone for my space. A signature scent. I’d later learn the candle’s two main notes are oat milk and sage, which tracked. I was excited to see the inclusion of oat milk, of which I am a resolute fan. If hot girls are drinking whole milk, then I am not only not hot, I am also violently rebelling against it and hurtling toward the opposite end of the spectrum. The oat paired with the sage grounds the sweetness, giving it a balanced profile. Elegant, subtle, and, dare I say, versatile.
Once I burned the candle, I knew I was onto something good. The throw — or how well the candle’s scent fills the room — isn’t as intense as those of some of the other brands I own — like Lafco or Diptyque. I’d say it takes about 30 minutes for the scent to really take hold. But even at full throw, Keys Soulcare Sage + Oat Milk Candle never overpowers the room. I like that it’s a bit more subtle and less fragrant because it seems like my room is naturally scented. It’s a perfect “I just deep cleaned everything” scent. And those mellow traits make it a fantastic burn-all-day candle, too. I liken Keys Soulcare Sage + Oat Milk Candle to my favorite gloss (for reference, it’s Ami Colé’s covetable lip treatment) — it enhances without transforming. It puts a sheen over what’s already there.
I’ve basically become a town crier for this candle, bringing it up to just about anyone who will listen. I also get lots of compliments on it. On more than two occasions, friends have come over and admired the scent wafting through my apartment. Over the past 18 months, I’ve burned through four of the Keys candles, and I’m currently working through my fifth. I push it on friends and family and gift it as often as I can — three of my friends have said they want them too. I love it so much that I’ve reconsidered my candle stash. A new category has arisen: the burn-everywhere candle, one that can enhance rather than overpower its environment. And while I’m always keeping my eyes (and nose) open, so far, burn everywhere is a category of one.
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