"Creating a welcoming, warm, and comforting environment is a high priority as people are spending more time at home," NEST New York founder Laura Slatkin tells TZR in an email. And judging from 2020's best-selling candles, she's not wrong. Because when TZR reached out to some of its favorite candle brands to ask them what customers are loving most this year, almost all signs pointed in that exact direction.
Take Believe in Stars' popular Meditation Journey + Awaken Candle, which was so popular it sold out this year. According to Holly Stars, the brand's founder, it's because, again, its notes are all about that feeling of home. “We are seeing more grounding scents and rooted feeling, a sense of returning back to home or the self, i.e. cedar, spruce, sandalwood, etc." she says, noting that uplifting scents and higher notes were also popular to balance that grounding.
Teri Johnson, the founder of Harlem Candle Co., confirmed that trend yet again. "Fragrances like palo santo and those reminiscent of incense have become popular in 2020 as these really help to lift our spirits and transform the energetic vibrations in a space," she says.
Whatever mood you ultimately decide to pursue, it's bound to be represented in one of the best-selling candles ahead — and considering they've been vetted and approved by thousands of customers, you can rest assured they'll deliver. Keep scrolling to shop them all.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
NEST New York's Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
"Home fragrance was already becoming a larger part of everyone’s lifestyle — but of recent — even more so," says Slatkin, who tells TZR that two of its top sellers this year include its Bamboo and Grapefruit candles. However, Slatkin notes that "the importance of transitioning into seasonal fragrances was more evident this year than ever," so if those feel too fresh for you right now, its Apple Blossom and Pumpkin Chai candles have also become popular purchases since mid-August.
Harlem Candle Co.'s Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
For Harlem Candle Co.'s customers, 2020 was all about creating a "mood" at home, which is why Johnson says the brand saw a surge in candle sales from its most mood-inducing scents. Those scents include "Josephine," an opulent mix of notes like bergamot, jasmine, and sandalwood; "Langston," a warm blend of tobacco and amber; and "Speakeasy," which brings together bourbon and palo santo for a sensual vibe.
Boy Smells' Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
"A smoky wood scent is a year-round favorite, it seems," says David Kien, co-founder of Boy Smells, which had two notably popular scents in 2020. The brand's collab with Kacey Musgraves, Slow Burn, was one of those, which Musgraves herself described as "a little dank, a little crisp." The other was Hinoki Fantôme, a "warm and meditative" blend that's said to induce physiological relaxation thanks to the scent of hinoki.
"These performed extremely well, even during the hottest months of the year," Kien continues. "I think people were looking for the scent of something comforting, like the smell of burning wood, and that makes total sense with so much happening in the world right now."
Pink Moon's Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
Like many other brands TZR spoke to, Pink Moon's founder Lin Chen explained that warm, comforting scents are trending, like its best-selling scent Claire de Lune. "With everyone at home more than usual, and feeling all sorts of stress, anxiety, uncertainty, you want your home to feel like a sanctuary," she says. "Notes like spicy pink peppercorn, warm ylang ylang, bergamot, earthy cedar wood, sweet jasmine are popular right now and give your space a cozy feeling."
Here For The Burn's Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
If you're sick of home, however, why not choose a scent that smells like a vacation? That's what Here For The Burn's customers have been loving this year, according to the brand, which tells TZR that the trend of 2020 has been a "simple olfactory escape." Though all of the brand's candles feature the same guava and mango scent, you may still have trouble choosing one of its cheeky designs — so start with its best-sellers, including AS IF! and Social Distancing From My Family (two sentiments we can all relate to right now).
Joe + Monroe's Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
Cashmere Vanilla (a warm, sexy scent) and Dark Roses (a sultry and playful mix) have been Joe + Monroe's top sellers this year, especially as fall progresses. The brand also says that its mini candles, which it launched in summer 2020, have been a huge hit, so use those new sizes as a way of testing out the scents for a more affordable price if you're not sure which one to choose.
Otherland's Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
Otherland's Rattan candle has been its number one best-seller since its launch thanks to its universal notes of sandalwood, golden amber, and warm musk. "With scent being the strongest trigger of memory, we've seen an increase in purchases of candles with warmer notes that offer a sense of comfort," Abigail Cook Stone, Otherland co-founder and CEO, tells TZR.
According to Stone, however, that's not the only trend Otherland noticed this year. "We also saw some of our seasonal offerings, such as the tennis ball-inspired Matchpoint from our summer Beach Club Collection or shiso leaf-infused Extra Hour candle from our spring Awakening Collection, fly off the virtual shelves thanks to their outdoor-while-indoor vibes."
Homesick's Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
Slightly contrary to its name, Homesick's top sellers this year were all about getting away. “Our most popular fragrances this year are a direct reflection of a trend that offers a sense of escape," says the brand's Director of Product, Lauren Lamagna. "Whether it’s lounging on a warm sandy beach in Hawaii or clinking glasses with friends, people are craving pleasant memories and gravitating towards scents that can transport them to those moments even when it’s not physically possible."
Another trend the brand identified? Personalization, which Lamagna says has been a feature that's resonated with its customers more than anticipated "as people give gifts that maintain meaningful connections with loved ones" — a helpful tidbit to keep in mind as the holiday season approaches.
228 Grant Street Candle Co.'s Best-Selling Candles Of 2020
According to the brand, Grant Street Candle Co.'s customers have been gravitating toward relaxing, grounding, and centering fragrances during the pandemic as they shelter in place and work from home. That's led to its top scents of the year being Meyer Lemon + Lavender and Cedar + Vanilla, while its most popular fall and winter fragrances are Balsam Fir and Amber + Sandalwood.