Why I Stopped Burning Candles

I’ve posted a few different instagram stories lately that have sparked quite the spur of messages from you guys, so I thought doing a full blog post would be much better than trying to manage snippets of conversation here and there via instagram DM.

If you never saw those stories, or want a quick refresher.. here are some links:

Pumpkin Spice Air Freshener Causes School Evacuation
Elle Magazine – Burning Candles Can Be Toxic for You
Huff Post – The Big Problem with Scented Candles
Woman’s Day – Researchers Say Scented Candles Pose Serious Health Risks

Before we get started, let me just say this post is a little long – much longer than my typical posts here on Style Cusp. But my heart is to share with you guys as much as I can and be honest about the journey that I’ve had. I love sharing about wellness with you all, whether it’s whole 30, making small lifestyle changes, new recipes, and now eliminating chemicals and toxins in my home. Sometimes the things we love the most aren’t the best for us (and that’s a hard truth), but thankfully there’s other things out there we can use instead. And I’m going to share that with you guys!

First off, how many of you suffer or have suffered from ANY of the following:

At least one? Two? Five or more? Girl, me too. Enough was enough, keep reading to see how I decreased all of these things!

Are you guys ready for this?

I haven’t burned or bought a candle in 9 months.

Yep, it’s true. Me, the candle hoarder – as in, I would go to Target or Bath+Body Works just to stock up on my favorites as soon as I ran out and always had a shelf full of candles stocked in my laundry room.

I stopped burning candles when I found out how harmful they were to my body.

Whoa, Marissa. Harmful? I’m just burning a small jar that makes my house smell good. Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

Did you know that burning a candle for just one hour is equivalent to smoking a cigarette? What is emitted into the air via the fumes, fragrance, and soot is just as bad for our insides as that nicotine. #nothanks

Surprising. Heartbreaking. Devastating. To all you candle lovers out there: yes, I know. I was there too.

But WHY?! Why are candles so bad? Aren’t they supposed to make your home smell good and give it all that ambiance we so desperately want during this time of year and when we’re cooped up in a snowstorm? Is it all candles? Can I get soy ones instead? I’m sure about 500 questions are swirling around in your mind, because they were in mine.

It’s the fragrance. And while we’re on the topic, any product with the word ‘fragrance’ slapped on the bottle or ingredient list contains some form of nearly 3,000 synthetic chemicals that are somehow allowed to be in our products (but are illegal/banned in other countries…umm?). Per FDA regulations, companies are unfortunately not required to disclose what is in that ‘fragrance’

I am not okay with that. I am not okay with not knowing what’s in something that goes onto my skin or into my body. FYI, your skin is your largest organ!

When you use a product, candle, air freshener, spray, lotion (insert anything that has the word fragrance on the bottle), you’re allowing that chemical to be absorbed right into your bloodstream, lungs, and entire body. YIKES.

But okay, so what. It can’t be affecting me that much right?

Wrong. #cuetears

And we’re all walking around, breathing, living, every single day not realizing that so many of the thing we ‘love’ are causing things that we hate – like those things I listed at the beginning of this post. These fragrances and synthetic chemicals are being absorbed by our bodies and coming out in the form of allergies, headaches, sleep issues, nausea, dizziness, brain fog, acne, hormonal issues/imbalances, digestion problems.. the list goes on. Those are more immediate side effects, but what about long term?

From Dr. Axe:

“About 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil). They include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.”

About right here is when I said okay, no more. I ran to my candles, blew them all out. Ripped my Bath + Body Works wallflower out of my walls. Threw out that shelf full of candles in my laundry room. It wasn’t worth it. The ‘crisp breeze’ scent and ‘lavender vanilla’ plug in just weren’t worth it to me. My body, it’s ability to function, and whether I was poisoning myself or not was more important to me.

I used to suffer from chronic headaches. I’m talking every single day I would wake up with a headache and had no idea why.

I struggled with acne from 5th grade until I was 24 years old.

I had the hardest time concentrating at my desk working from home. To the point that I would go lay in bed some days and thought I was depressed.

I constantly felt tired no matter how much I slept.

I had stress and anxiety for the first time in my life. And it was coupled by all of the above.

My hormones were majorly out of whack – hence my acne, and issues with my period.


Of course, these things can be caused by multiple factors. But with the amount of chemically filled products I was using, scents I had going, lotions, detergents, soaps, sprays, candles, plug ins.. all of that, my body just couldn’t take it.

I figured I had nothing to lose. Goodness, I only had a chemical free home to gain! With the amount of toxins/chemicals we allow in our homes, the air inside our home is actually 5-7 times more toxic than the outside air. HOLY COW. I was done with that. Gimme all the real, fresh air please.

So I made the switch. Wait, Marissa.. there’s a switch? Yes friend, there’s a switch. You didn’t think I’d tell you I threw out all my fragrance filled stuff (and hope you do too!) and not have some kind of solution or alternative, did you? 🙂

I started using essential oils. And not just any essential oils, but Young Living Essential Oils. Before you go all ‘ah not for me’, hear me out a minute. If you’re like yeah, I’m already throwing it all out, sign me right up – then just scroll to the bottom – haha!

Essential oils are derived directly from plants – they’re actually the purest, strongest form of a plant derived from all different plant parts that act as the plant’s immune system. When diffused, they not only smell amazing, but also support and strengthen our bodies system’s as well. Unlike all that fragrance junk we already talked about that disrupts our bodies! The main difference between a pure essential oil and a fragrance is that 100% pure essential oil comes right from a plant and a fragrance is derived in a lab.

Essential oils are everywhere now a days. They’re right at our fingertips, available at Whole Foods, Target, Amazon, Walmart, and so many more stores we frequent every single day. So why is it important what essential oils you use? Can’t you just go grab the cheapie ones at Target or Amazon Prime them to your house? Unfortunately no. A lot of companies are cutting corners, diluting their oils, filling them with those chemicals we talked about before, or corrupting the farms that the plants are grown on before the oil is even distilled. The plants get sprayed with growth hormone, pesticides, and more – which just pollutes the oil you receive in the bottle.

So bottom line, if you buy just any oils, you’re no better off than buying a candle. And if you’re trying to ditch those fragrances in the first place, then what’s the point?! The oils that are altered or added to will give you the same issues that all the fragrance filled stuff will.

I landed on Young Living after doing a little homework. I discovered they own all of their own farms worldwide that you can actually visit at any time and see the entire growth + distillation process (aka, they’re transparent about their product!) They test each oil 27 times before it goes into a bottle to make sure it’s 100% pure. And they have so much more than just oils. Since fragrances are in so many of the product we use on a daily basis, I wanted to eliminate as much of that as possible. Thanks to Young Living, I now have pure essential oil infused shampoo, soaps, detergents, lotions, and so much more.

Getting started with oils seems like it’s overwhelming. Trust me, I was there too – like, okay now what?! How do I even know what to do? Again, girl, I got you. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I ordered the Young Living starter kit that gave me 11 of the most popular oils plus a diffuser and assurance that what my home was smelling like wasn’t giving me headaches, restlessness at night, and so much more.

I ditched the candles and plug ins and haven’t looked back. I don’t even miss them. Now the smells of candles make me literally nauseous because I can pick up the synthetic smells in them. I can’t even walk down the detergent aisle at Target – my body has completely detoxed from all the garbage and it just can pick up on the differences between what is pure and what isn’t. I can’t believe I was walking around thinking all of that smelled ‘normal’.

My house still smells like pumpkin spice.
It still smells like crunchy leaves.
Actually, it smells even better!

My friends come over and are like WHAT IS THAT smell?! I use pure oils to make these smells and you know what? It’s even cheaper than fueling my Bath + Body Works hauls. As we speak, I’m diffusing cinnamon, orange, and clove – the most delicious fall scent ever. #hearteyes

This is so much info – trust me, I know. What I’m sharing with you guys is stuff I’ve learned over the course of months (and trying to pack it down into bite sized info that’s easy to read.. ha, I hope I succeeded). But my hope for you is just that it makes you more aware. Aware of what you’re bringing into your home, breathing in, and even putting on your body. It matters. Your health matters. If you sleep, matters. Imagine if just small changes made a big difference for you? Ones that would matter far beyond today and into your future health, your kids’ health, and beyond.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I love sharing wellness with you guys – because I can impact your lives in ways that another cardigan or v-neck tee just can’t. Yes, I love those things, but if I can help you better your life, health, wellness, or daily functions, then I really feel like I’ve made a difference and succeeded in this platform I’ve been blessed with. Just like I’ve experienced a change in all of those areas above, I want you to have that too – you CAN have that too.

And girl – I got you. You don’t have to make a change by yourself. Change is HARD. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. You think I wanted to take over 20 huge jars of candles and throw them out? Yeah, no. But when I thought about all the things that I’d be throwing out with them (inability to sleep, hormone issues.. etc) I was like BYEEEEE.

Okay, I’m totally rambling now – ha, I think you guys get it. Right?! Questions? I’m sure you have them. Pop me an email, an instagram DM, or leave a comment below. I will totally chat with you – one on one, even! I’ve already helped over 150 make a change, so who’s next..?! I’m waiting for ya! And here’s the thing, you don’t have to go all or nothing right away – guess what, I didn’t! I’ve made small changes every single month, eliminating something here, changing something there.

If you want to try out oils – hey, it can’t hurt to try right? – then order a start kit here. And THIS MONTH (October 2017) I’ll send you a Christmas Spirit oil for FREE. Yep, you heard it – actual Christmas in a bottle with no chemicals or fragrances. See, I told you my house still smells good. 😉

  • ADD IN ANYTHING EXTRA (Some of my favorites: Cedarwood, Peace + Calming, Bergamot, Orange, & Idaho Blue Spruce)

I’ll send you a welcome email (cause I told you, you aren’t doing this alone!), a cute little package from me (yes, I’m into snail mail), that Christmas Spirit oil. #givemealltheChristmas, access to my private team group (so I can help you anytime!), and so much more.

If you have questions, aren’t sure, want more info about candles/toxins/fragrances, or want to ask me specific questions like.. can oils support my ____? or can they help with _____? then shoot me an email or message and we can chat! If you’re just like, whatever I’ll keep burning my candles – then you do you girl! No matter what, I want the best for each of you + am here to share anything as I learn along the way!

You can follow along on my oils journey + learn more info at @CuspEssentials and I’m considering doing an instagram live sometime soon – would that be helpful for you guys? That way we can chat about all this stuff in real time. Let me know in the comments below!








  1. Atiqa said:

    Thank you for sharing your essential oil journey. Quick question for you, the diffuser you have pictured above, which looks like a glass diffuser, where did you purchase this one from? -Thanks

    • Atiqa said:

      Also, I did not see this as an option to purchase from Young Living’s website.

  2. Chelsea said:

    That is the aria diffuser and it is from young living. I’m not sure if you can order it with a starter kit but I do know that it is available for purchase by itself

  3. Sinead said:

    Just read this post!!!! It’s good to be informed. This is something which I will definitely share with others.

  4. Aika said:

    This is worth sharing! We used to get scented candles as gifts but thankfully, we rarely used them and never will after reading this post.

  5. Anna said:

    awesome blog and informative too… thanks for sharing this with all.

  6. 11.28.22

    I read this blog, its really amazing information. Thanks the author to published this valuable articles. I would recommend anyone to read this blog !Thank you for published this blog.

  7. Angela said:

    I am curious if you did anything to clean your walls, carpets, etc… after all that heavy candle burning?



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