I Love Expensive Candles, But These High-Street Ones Are Just as Good

My name is Eleanor, and I'm a candle obsessive. In my time as a beauty journalist, I've amassed quite a collection of candles. I'm a big fan of Byredo's candles (Bibilotheque is one of my all-time favourites), and I've got a sweet spot for Jo Malone. Lighting the warm yet refreshing Wood Sage & Sea Salt candle just hits different, you know? Boy Smells is another candle brand that's recently entered my radar, and so many fellow beauty editors rave about its incredible candle collection. And don't get me started on Diptyque candles—it's become an expensive habit. 

The thing is, at around £40 and upwards, I'm actually reluctant to burn any of these candles, despite how beautiful they smell. Because they are so expensive, they tend to act as part of my home decor and remain unlit on the mantelpiece or my bedside table. Instead, I tend to treat myself by lighting one once in a blue moon, or I'll save them for when I'm having guests over. To be totally honest, if it weren't for my job as a beauty editor, I probably wouldn't have the money spare to burn on an expensive candle. 

@ch.phr8ph: best affordable candle brands



So, it only felt right to break out of my expensive habits and look further afield to explore more affordable candles. I recently wrote about the best affordable perfumes on the high street, which inspired this piece to find some of the best affordable candles on the high street. To be friendly to your bank account, I've scoured Zara, H&M, & Other Stories, Marks & Spencer, Anthropologie and The White Company for their best-smelling candles. They all come in at £20 or under, so you won't feel a pang of guilt every time you light your candle. Plus, I can guarantee that these ones will fill your room with fragrance, and they'll look great in your interior too. Ahead are the best affordable candles that I found.

Best Affordable High-Street Candles

Best Zara Candles

This wouldn't be an affordable candle roundup without mentioning Zara's collaboration with Jo Loves (the brand that Jo Malone founded). These candles smell so much more expensive than their price tag suggests. For £16, you get 200g, which will give you some serious burn time. Jo Malone describes Bohemian Bluebells as "a long Sunday afternoon walk through the English countryside with spring in full bloom." And it smells just like that. It has notes of lavender, sandalwood and musk—it's a fresh floral with warm undertones.

Ebony Wood is another beautiful scent. I was first introduced to this scent via the perfume (all of the Jo Malone scents in this collection have adjacent fragrances to match) and just knew I had to get my hands on the candle. It's moody, warm and spicy with notes of pink peppercorn, ebony wood and clove. This is the ideal candle to light and hunker down with in the winter.

I initially discovered this scent after buying the reed diffuser and couldn't believe how incredible this smelt. If you're a fan of Diptyque's Figuier candle, then you'll like this. It's a refreshing medley of fig coupled with sandalwood and cedarwood. However, it looks like this range is being discontinued, so if you want in, you better move fast.

Best & Other Stories Candles

When I asked fellow candle aficionados on the Who What Wear team what their favourite affordable candles were, & Other Stories came up a lot. So, I hot-footed it to my nearest store for a sniff and discovered some new favourites. Not only are they housed in a minimalistic vessel, but for £17 you get around 38 hours of burn time. This one is citrusy and earthy—think freshly sliced tangerine combined with moss and warming amber.

Perle de Coco was another standout. It's creamy and coconutty and makes you feel like you're sitting on a sun-kissed beach, surrounded by palm trees.

Who What Wear shopping editor Remy Farrell got me on to this candle, and I'll be forever grateful. It smells so expensive. The notes open with guava and pink freesia, which are grounded with rose absolute, saffron and Indian jasmine​. You just have to smell this next time you're in & Other Stories.

Best Mango Candles

I'll be honest: I didn't know that Mango did candles until quite recently, but I'm glad that I found out. This one is a crisp floral scent. Think fresh morning air and a walk amongst flowers in bloom at sunrise.

This candle is also a must-smell when you're next in-store, particularly if you're a fan of floral candles. This one has notes of lily of the valley and jasmine and smells like an expensive bouquet of flowers. I'm also into the minimal packaging and chic typeface, which looks good in any interior.

If you're after an affordable fresh and zesty fragrance. This smells like what I'd imagine it would be like to draw open your curtains and open a window along the Amalfi coast, with the scent of basil and lemon groves lingering in the air.

Best H&M Candles

H&M have so many brilliant candles at an affordable price point. I find it hard to pop into H&M Home without picking up a candle on my way to the till. If you like fresh, woody candle fragrances, then Cedarwood Zen would make a great option. It has notes of cedarwood and eucalyptus, which are great for creating a clean-smelling and inviting home fragrance, and at £13, who wouldn't want that?

Another candle of the clean-smelling variety, Sundried Linen smells just like fresh laundry. It also has so many five-star reviews.

I'm snapping up this candle for summer, which has notes of freesia, zesty yuzu, grapefruit and tangerine.

Best Marks and Spencer Candles

The notes in this candle smell very sophisticated indeed. Expect fresh mimosa that mellows down with vanilla, sweet tonka bean and cardamon. 

Sometimes, you just want a dependable citrus candle to have on your desk to lift your spirits while working from home, or even as a decorative feature in your kitchen or bathroom. This one is ideal and looks really chic too.

With notes of neroli, lime and bergamot, this candle fragrance is really uplifting.

Best Anthropolie Candles

When I first laid my eyes on this candle, it reminded me very much of Loewe's luxurious candle packaging. At £20, this comes in at a fraction of the price and smells like walking into a greenhouse full of sun-ripened tomatoes. 

The name alone had me, and this would be such a great scent to have in a kitchen. I don't bake bread but with this fragrance, I can pretend that I do thanks to the notes of warm bread, rosemary and sage.

Green and refreshing is how I would describe this candle—think freshly cut grass, vibrant citrus and herbaceous basil.

Best White Company Candles

While these are at the top end of the £20 price budget in this article, I really think The White Company's candles are great value for money. These really fill the room with fragrance, and it lasts. Seychelles is one of my favourites and reminds me of summer holidays spent on the beach every time I light it.

Sweet and fruity, there's a reason why this candle fragrance has so many five-star reviews. Pomegranate and mandarin create an uplifting atmosphere, which is paired with patchouli and amber for depth.

White Pomelo is a great citrus candle fragrance. It has notes of grapefruit, lemon and lime which help create a happy mood.

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